A blogs theme or template can make or break your site

If you are serious about blogging you likely know that having a well put together, organized and attractive theme for your site is important.

Believe it or not, there are many people out there that judge a site initially on how it looks and if they see a blogging theme that’s a general default theme or one that’s been used on 1000’s of other sites without any kind of customization they’ll often move on to read another blog. The content on the site could be the best they could find, but they’ll leave the site simply because they don’t like the look of it. Silly really, but it’s true.

It’s a good idea to find a theme that compliments your blog and to customize it with a header that further defines your sites topic. You can pay to have a designer create a custom made theme for your site, but it’s easy enough to go into the CSS stylesheet or CSS files of a theme and change link or background colors to give the theme a more personalized look and feel.

I have a number of WordPress blogs and after spending several months looking at themes I finally changed the themes on a few of my blogs in May. I’m still keeping my eye out for themes that suit my other blogs as a few of them need a new look and or better functionality. This site could certainly use a new look.

If you are like me and you’ve been thinking of changing your sites theme it might help to know which themes are considered some of the best. I went searching for people that had already written reviews on what they consider to be the top WordPress Themes.

Top WordPress Themes:

Options WordPress Theme

Options WordPress Theme by Justin Tadlock I’m not even sure where to begin when I type “features” because it would be a daunting task to type them all out. Here’s some things you can play around with, but there’s so much more you can do …

I love this theme. I’m trying it out on one of the sites I’m developing and it’s fantastic. Options is a great name for it because there are a ton of different ways you can set this blog theme up to customize it’s look.

Top 8 WordPress Theme Download Sites (according to me)

These are my top sites I pick for finding quality WordPress themes. I love to look at themes for Worpress. Not just any themes for me though, I am hung-up on 3 column themes and I guess I always have… [[ This is a content summary only …

Comment on 10 Unusual & Original WordPress Themes by Best of 2008 …

10 Unusual & Original WordPress Themes by Mashable Sean P. Aune showcases ten WordPress themes that go beyond standard 2- and 3-column formats with design elements like large banners, Flickr integration, 4-column layouts, Ajax, …

The Top 10 Premium Specialty Themes for WordPress

WordPress has been a popular blogging platform for several years, but the market for premium themes has really just developed within the past year or two. Premium themes ideally will separate themselves from free themes by achieving a …

WordPress Theme Design Contest Series 3 – Vote on Round 6!

Here are the top 5 themes for this week’s voting polls:. Sign of the Nature by Roger. Bloggy Grass by Damien Allen. Blue Moon by Alexandr. Fresh Editorial by Maruf Rahman. Photo Frame by Brian. Round 6 Series 3 Best WordPress Theme is. …

WordPress Themes Converted To Blogger Templates

Yardloo – If you ever fancy Magazine Style WordPress Themes, then you should visit Yardloo. This site reviewed the Top 10 Best WordPress Themes converted to Blogger Templates. Some of the WordPress themes ready for download include …

I’ll write a post about the best blogger themes and where to find them in the near future.




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Use OIOpublisher to monetize your wordpress blog and cut out the middlemen

coupons-deals-bargains.gifWordPress users who want to monetize their blogs, but are tired of giving a percentage of their earnings to middlemen can rejoice. The OIOpublisher plugin is here and it makes it easy to monetize your site!

Even if you don’t have a WordPress blog you can still use their hosted platform. I’ll be discussing the plugin features below, but I believe you can do all of the same things that the plugin does on the OIOplublisher website in hosted mode.

I’ve been trying out a new WordPress Plugin on my Home and Garden blog for the last week or so and it’s called OIOpublisher direct. Perhaps you’ve heard of this innovative plugin?

All you need to get started is a WordPress blog on it’s own domain, the OIOpublisher direct plugin and hopefully a site with decent traffic that might be of interest to advertisers. Of course, as I said earlier you can also use the hosted mode if you have a non-wordpress blog.

oiopublisherads.jpg Once the plugin is installed and activated all you need to do is add the widgets to your widgetized blogs sidebar or add some code to your sidebars manually and you’ll soon be able to sell banner ad space, text link ads, inline ads or contextual links within blog posts.

As you can see from the image on the right I’ve set my home and garden site up so that I am able to sell links, banner space, inline ads and post type advertising. The first banner takes you to the purchase page where an advertiser could select any of the types of advertising features that I’ve enabled. The second banner will take an advertiser just to the banner purchase section. Directly below both OIOpublisher banners I have the first link I sold with the OIOpublisher plugin.

Several of my sites frequently attract the attention of advertisers and instead of either directing them to purchase a link or post through one of the companies I work with, or dealing with them directly and hoping I get paid, I can now use the plugin to do much of the work for me. It can even be set up so that you must get paid before the purchased ad will show up on the site.

There’s even a marketplace at the OIOpublisher website where you can have your blog listed. By listing your blog in the marketplace interested advertisers will have one more way to find your site and possibly purchase an ad for their business.

The plugin is free to use and fairly easy to set up although it does take a bit of time.

When you first activate the plugin you’ll need to go and customize the plugins settings. You can easily do this through the plugins interface. Within your WordPress blog’s admin section you’ll have a tab marked Business. This is the OIOpublisher plugin’s interface.

Within the settings section you’ll be able to set prices for the links, posts, banners and inline ads that you wish to sell. If you don’t want to use one of the features simply keep the price at 0 and that feature will be turned off. If you’d like to sell a different type of ad space that is not listed you can customized your own sales feature. For example, OIOpublisher is set up to either sell links only on the homepage or site wide (not including the home page), but if you’d like to truly sell site wide links that include the home page you can set up a custom option.

In the settings section you’ll also be able to list your paypal address so that when someone wants to buy a post, a banner ad or a text link they can pay you immediately or you can set it up so that payment is not automatically requested by the widget until you’ve approved the request.

Other features within the setting section are the ability to set all purchased links so that they will be no-follow, request that links be family friendly, choose the currency in which the payment must be made (currently the options are USD, GBP, and EUR), pay before or after approval, and whether to allow subscription payments. I believe if an advertiser were to chose the subscription payments a reminder would be sent out to the advertiser near the end of each month reminding them that to continue their ad they will need to submit a payment.

The OIOpublisher site has demos and helpful instructions that should assist you in getting the plugin set up.

Give it a try if you want to monetize your site and keep all of your earnings. It only takes about half an hour at most to fully set up the plugin and you could begin to earn money almost immediately if you’ve already had advertisers expressing interest in your site.

As I said I’m only using it on one of my blogs at this time, but I hope to find the time to activate the plugin on all of my blogs sometime this week.

Earlier today, Simon from OIOpublisher, sent out an email to everyone that had registered at the OIOpublisher site stating that they were also creating a new feature called Social Blogging.

If you read a lot of the larger blogs, you will find that nearly all of them mention from time to time how important making connections is in blogging. As you might have guessed, that’s what the OIOpublisher Social Blogging module will be all about.

Instead of trying to make false connections through link exchanges, or even through advertising, maybe we should be concentrating more on our blog content doing the talking for us. What if you could participate in conversations through your own blog, without having to deviate from your existing blogging routine?

Yes, that’s right, I’ve been busy creating the world’s first purpose-built blogging conversation system, where you can join blogger groups, start new conversation topics, and reply to existing conversation posts right from your blog’s dashboard.

You can read more about Social Blogging at the OIOpublisher website. It appears that social groups haven’t been enabled yet, but if you want to learn all about it read the site and be ready to sign up when this new feature is enabled.

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Create your own social network with iScripts Socialware

iscriptsbox1.jpg I’m sure that everyone reading this has heard of social network sites such as Facebook and Myspace. If you haven’t heard of these sites you’re either brand spanking new to the internet or you haven’t been paying attention because these sites are wildly popular.

Wouldn’t it have been cool if you’d been the one to come up with the idea for Myspace or Facebook?

While you can’t recreate what’s already been created, you certainly can create your own social network site using iScripts SocialWare social network script. Think of the possibilities!

The iScripts Socialware software is a program that’s been developed in PHP/mySQL and it’s totally customizable. You can use it to create a stand alone social network, or perhaps create a social network that goes along with your existing personal or business website.

If you like the idea, but you realize that you don’t know that much about PHP or mySQL don’t worry. When you purchase the iScripts software you may request that the iScripts team set up and install the script for you on your web server. The company will upload all of the program files and images necessary to run your new social network, set up and configure the script and they’ll even test the installation to make sure that everything works as it should.

How’s that for service?

Naturally this installation service is not free, however it’s offered at the low price of $49.99 which I believe is a reasonable price for the peace of mind it will afford you when you see that your new social network is up and running and ready to accept new members within approximately 24 hours of your purchase.

iScripts even offers a full customization service that clients may chose inquire about if they want a truly unique social network.

You can also try a Demo of iScripts Socialware via the website. Just click on the Demo button at the top of the Socialware page and you can sign in to a demo version of the user or admin section and get a feel for the product.

If I were considering purchasing this product I would definitely take it for a test drive, as well as visit some of the sample sites that are listed in the right sidebar of the web page, and I’d also view screen shots of the user and admin panels which can be reached by clicking on the Screen shots button at the top of the page.

So how much does this cost? Only $149.95. I think this is a reasonable price for a product that could give your existing website quite a boost, as well as creating the potential to be the next Myspace or Facebook. You’ll get free support for one year, but you can purchase one to three years worth of additional support if you’d like.

If I were considering creating a social network site this would be a program that I’d look in to purchasing. I did a quick web search to see what other ready made social network programs were out there and I didn’t have much luck finding full featured stand alone social network software of this quality. Therefore I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a fairly unique social network product well worth considering if you are interested in setting up a social networking website.

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