I must admit that I get tired of a blog theme faster than other people. But while I shop for options, I rarely actually make a change.
I went back and tried to determine when I last changed my blog theme here at Patrick’s Place. I thought it must have been some time in early to mid-2019.
It turns out I bought it in February 2020.
It seemed like it was so much longer ago than that. But at the same time, the pandemic began in mid-March of 2020. Much changed since then.
I purchased the last blog theme before that in June 2017.
So if I maintain that time interval, I suppose I’ll have to roll out a new look for this blog in another eight months or so.
Is every two or three years too often to change your blog theme?
Well, according to Steven Snell at Vandelay Design, not necessarily. Snell writes:
If it’s been two years since you changed themes, you may want to seriously consider a new one.
If it has been two years or more, I wouldn’t advise you run out and start shopping for a new theme just yet, though. Snell offers valuable advice about when to change a theme. He says you should consider what you want your theme to actually do. Does your current theme accomplish this? If so, and if your readers seem to be able to find your content, you may be better off to stick with what you have.
When I switched themes in 2017, I switched from a theme that didn’t give me a color-coding option for categories. If you scroll up to the top of this post, you’ll see Blogging in a blue badge above the headline. Tomorrow’s grammar post will feature the word Grammar in a red badge.
Since this blog focuses on multiple key topics, I wanted to make each one stand out as much as possible.
This blog design does that.
So I know that if I wanted to switch to a different blog theme, I’d have to find another one that at least accomplished that much. I’d consider anything less a step backward.
What would make me change my blog theme?
At this point, this theme is doing what I need it to do: making it easy for visitors to get from the front page to content they want.
My stats over the past couple of years show that by virtue of a falling bounce rate on the front page.
The bounce rate is a measure of the percentage of visitors who arrive on and leave your site from the same page. When the percentage drops, that means people arrive at one page but then click through to a different one. My home page’s bounce rate is consistently lower. That in itself tells me that my goal for this blog theme is being met.
If I found a theme that expanded the color coding to make finding the right topic even more obvious, I’d consider that.
Until then, I occasionally tweak layout and typography within the current theme.
That way, it refreshes the look from time to time without the growing pains that accompany a theme switch.
Don’t let the calendar dictate when you change your blog theme.
When I worked in marketing, I learned one key fact of life about viewers. By the time you reach a point of being sick to death at seeing a promo that has run for a while, most viewers are only now beginning to notice. What’s more, they’re only beginning to get the message from what feel like a tired promo.
I have to believe it’s the same way for blog readers.
There are so many blogs out there. If a reader has several favorites, they’re probably not going to notice how long you keep the same theme.
After all, there’s something to be said for creating a familiar web experience. It means your regular readers can navigate your site that much easier.
If your design is not crippling your site, stick with it. Instead of continually browsing themes, spend that time making a list of features you’d ideally like to have.
When you find a theme that offers them — or when you save the money to afford a custom theme — that’s when it will be time to get a new blog theme!
In the meantime, run with what you have and focus on the content more than the layout!