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When surfing over to WordPress.com to log into my blog, I noticed a WordPress blog post that mentioned a new theme had been added to our dashboards. Curious to see what it looked like, I checked out my themes page. Boy, has it undergone a change – just like the WordPress.com home page.  (If you’re not a WordPress.com regular, trust me, the home page used to look nothing like it does now.)

The themes page used to offer a few pages worth of themes, listed in alphabetical order, if I’m remembering correctly. Or were they in order of popularity? In any case, the theme choice was fairly limited. Now, you can choose one of 75 different themes and you can elect to have them appear randomly, in alphabetical order, or in order of popularity.

One of the things I love about WordPress is the ability it gives me to preview a theme before adopting it. (For those of you who don’t know, a theme is the basic design of a blog – the pretty factor, if you will. Forgive me for not explaining that earlier.)

Having used the Tarski theme since starting this blog, I thought I’d preview a bunch of different themes, just to see how The Woo Woo Teacup Journal would look. You might think, oh, what’s a little theme change going to do to a blog that’s not much more than a bunch of words on the screen. Any theme should do. And there you would be wrong.

Other than the Tarski theme, I found only one other theme out of the 75 that would be aesthetically pleasing with Woo Woo Teacup, one called Misty Look. That’s not to say there are only two aesthetically pleasing WordPress themes. Au contraire! Many of them are quite pleasing. The problem is my banner picture. Most of the themes have colors that clash with the pic, or the layout is such that the picture gets wonky. Ocean Mist is a theme that I love. In fact, I used it for the original blog I set up at work. The light blue background works incredibly well with historic pictures, but is horrendous with my green and gold teacup pic.

If I select a theme that doesn’t require a banner photo, my choices expand. Green Marinee, Dusk, Ocadia, and Simpla look nice, but there are other things to consider. Does the blue/black/gray of Dusk really say Woo Woo Teacup? How about the light blue of Ocadia? Is Simpla too simple?

The Treba and Girl-in-Green themes are pretty, but the text of Treba is too small and the text of Girl-in-Green is difficult to read with the light green text on the dark gray background. These would be fine for a blog that is less text-heavy than mine, but, alas! I’m a wordy soul, so I have to take readability seriously.

As you can see, there is a lot to contemplate when selecting a blog theme. If you want the title and the design to work in concert with each other and with the content, you’ve got to choose carefully. Plus, you want to pick a theme you like enough to live with for some time. Whatever you choose is going to become part of the brand of your blog, hopefully for a long time to come, and consistency is key to not confusing your audience.

In the end, I decided to stick with Tarski, but not until I’d previewed Woo Woo Teacup in a couple of the wilder themes – the black and orange of Sunburn and the shocking pink of Sweet Blossoms. Another benefit of the WordPress theme previewer is that it saves you, the reader, from having to watch as I try out each theme live.