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“How To” of Better Blogging – Part 1: Customizing Theme


In an effort to spruce up the “looks” of my blog, I ventured into the hitherto unknown world of ‘ customizing your blog theme’. Sounds easy – trust me it wasn’t! I was quite content to let sleeping dogs lie. But no Siree, there were darker forces at work! Read on……

This entire thought revolution is attributed to Blogchatter  ( & Modern Gypsy  ( )- former a community of blogging stars and the latter a rising shining blog star who agreed to mentor me (read hold my hand) through this process. And it’s because of the shiny new avatar of her blog, that I got sucked down the proverbial rabbit hole. Sigh! yeah a sucker born every minute or so………….. (but do check out her blog )

So the first thing needed for the ‘look’ of the blog is to choose a theme. I started checking out the “free” section of the WordPress themes and got stuck right at that juncture. I just couldn’t fathom out what would suit my blog content – there were so many themes, each with different features and no way to decipher which was better. How to differentiate?

So asked the jedi masters on Twitter for advise to pick on a theme and this is what I got :


Read the theme description and look for reviews. Just look at the theme demo.Do you like how it looks overall? Read the description for features.

 Ease of navigation & readability should be priority, layout shouldn’t  be clumsy, MUST be responsive. Look for themes that have layout  which would suit ur content. Open it in mobile to check  responsiveness. Description gives a good idea about the theme, look  for customizing options to tailor it for ur needs, like a theme with  carousels, gallery for a photo blog. A magazine, news theme for multi  niche etc.

sometimes a good theme kicks in your mojo as well.We feel that 🙂 




OK armed with all that info which had been dumbed down to my level, I bravely ventured where I had never before. And to my surprise, it all made perfect sense now.

I turned on the DEMO of a few themes (free) and observed how my blog looked in each. I spent two whole days in this – it was definitely very time-consuming. Everytime I switched on the demo, some parts of my blog would disappear especially the Sidebar (which has links/categories to help a reader select sections or preview how your blog is sorted) – very frustrating. Then I discovered Sidebars are of different kinds –

  • *Primary – this will appear as the first column on the RHS (or LHS) as per the theme
  • *Secondary – this will appear as the second column on the RHS (or LHS) as per the theme
  • *Tertiary – this will appear as the third column on the RHS (or LHS) as per the theme
  • *Footer – this will appear at the bottom of the blog

Some themes will have one or two or all three sidebar options. (The theme I have selected as this feature) Then there are some that will not have any sidebar option.

Once I played with about four different themes (as noted below),

  • Apostrophe (the chosen one)
  • Sela
  • Dyad
  • Colinear

I knew which I wanted and why. I had observed how they looked in the demo and then clicked activate to see how mine would look. A few trial and errors and Voila…..

So now go ahead and play with customizing headers, footers, colours, fonts, widgets, menus, etc……… And yeah feel free to drop  me at tweet/DM on twitter if you do get stuck.

Love the adulations I have been getting since the revamped new look of the blog. courtesy a new theme which was well researched and well-chosen to suit the content.

shalzmojosays-byline, travel- stories, blogchatter-campaign, alexa -rank, myfriendalexa, shalini -baisiwalaI am gearing up my Blog to participate in Blogchatter campaign #MyFriend Alexa to take my blog to the next level.

Blogchatter-community , Alexa-rank, Better-blogging, customizing-Blog-theme, shalini-baisiwala, shalzmojosays-bylineshalzmojosays, travel-stories, blogchatter- campaign, alexa-rank, myfriendalexa, shalini baisiwala

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11 thoughts on ““How To” of Better Blogging – Part 1: Customizing Theme

  1. Wonderful to see your new theme in action. I know all the thought process and hard work behind this, and this has surely paid off in style. I like the way you have described the process and what to expect. A post that will help many newbies trying on different themes.

    1. Thanks so much Atul – feels wonderful to hear ppraise from you as you really helped me with this a lot. I couldnt have done this without all your help. Many thanks.

    1. Oh wow! Super super nice to hear you say it. I am feeling I sated now with the blog. The frustrations are abated – for now at least. There is so much more to do. But yes for now, am very pleased!!!

  2. Yay. So glad it was easy for you. I had such a tough time. Spending time “customising” each theme to see if it works for my blog. I’m still not happy with it. Haha. Hopefully I’ll be inspired by you. And it looks great Shal. ^_^

    1. Hey. Thanks so much for the praise. But it wasn’t easy at all. It took me too many years to get here. It’s only after being part of the Blogchatter community and getting loads of help from a few ppl mentioned in the blog, was I able to do this. And your blog is so cool. It’s one of the few I looked at for samples of how ppl are doing their blog, what all info to put in sidebar. I think it’s really neat. And if you think I can help in any way to help it better, pls do ask. It will be my pleasure.

    1. Tell me about it, i struggled and struggled and struggled like anything till the fundas just clicked in.
      Glad to hear it paid off – praise so sweet made day- thank you so much!

    1. Thanks so much. Its still WIP as i am never satisfied I wrote this blog after doing up the WordPress one. Then once i migrated to self host, realised the current theme cant be customised as much it could be in wordpress. So picked a new theme and voila.

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