There are three levels of blog themes: free, premium paid, and custom. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for… but just how much you should you spend?
It depends. Ask yourself these four easy questions to determine your optimal budget.
How much can you afford to invest?
Have you ever heard the saying champagne dreams on a beer budget? Paid blog themes range greatly in price and you need to be in the correct range for your business plan. Your blog design should be viewed as a business expense as it can contribute to your success, however you should be realistic about your budget and not spend all your resources in one place.
How technically savvy are you?
Can you adapt a free theme to your needs or do you need the help of a blog designer? Many bloggers enjoy and excel at the technical aspects of blogging, other bloggers tend to destroy all things CSS or HTML and prefer to leave the technical details up to someone else.
If you are not a “techie” don’t waste hours and hours trying to figure out how to customize your site. Figure out how much your hours are worth and invest those dollars in a web designer or premium paid theme. For example, if you can earn $12 an hour freelance writing or writing blog posts and it would take you 10 hours of tinkering to figure out how to customize your blog, you have just invested $120 in you theme. You may have been better off buying a click-to-customize $50 theme. (Genesis is my favorite blog theme for this use.)
What stage of blogging are you in?
Are you green or seasoned? If you a complete newbie who has never blogged before it is perfectly acceptable to stick with a trusted free theme until you are ready to commit to blogging as a job. You can find many attractive, free themes at Blogger and WordPress.
Experiences blogger who are already making some income from their blog or simply know the commitments necessary to successfully run a blog can invest in a more expensive theme. The more successful/seasoned you become the more you can increase your theme budget.
Will a more expensive take you to the next level?
Are you consistently making a full or part time salary from your blog? It may be time to set yourself apart from the competition with a custom blog design. Hiring a designer means that you can have a custom look or blog design that no one else is using.
Be realistic about your level of success! While we all wish we could wave a magic wand and have our blogs be massive successes, it can actually take years of consistent work to become an “overnight success.” Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a custom blog design will propel your blog to become an instant hit.
Blog designs can be your best friend or your worst enemy, be sure you are realistically budgeting for you blog design so you feel good about your theme regardless of the outcome.