Blogging gets a pro look with iTheme designs

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I’ve been blogging on my personal site for several years. What bothers me the most about blogs is that, for the most part, they all look the same. However, I was excited a couple of weeks ago when I found a company that was selling professionally built WordPress themes.

WordPress is a free, easy-to-use blogging platform.The best part about the whole WordPress experience is its vibrant community. If you have a problem or a question, a post in the forums will surely get you an answer very quickly.

The community also makes a variety of easy to install plug-ins that give you additional functionality like adding “Related Stories” to your blog posts.

Even with all of the functionality and free support, I still longed for a site that didn’t look like everyone else's on the Internet. Granted the community releases an abundance of free themes, but every time an interesting theme gets uploaded, thousands of people use it on their sites.

About two weeks ago, I began looking for some professionally designed themes. I wanted them to be different and affordable. Despite my want for a theme, my wife would kill me if I spent $200 or more for a blog theme.

I stumbled across iThemes and was struck by the professionalism of the themes and the price. For $80 I could get a theme that was fairly unique, customizable, and looked really good.

I must admit I was a bit skeptical, but the company also posts videos of how the themes operate. For instance, some of the themes include a rotating header image—a spot on the top of the site that continually rotates different images by fading them in and out. A nice feature for sure, but I don’t want to go through a lot of hassle to make it work.

Thanks to the instructional videos posted to the Web site, I saw exactly how this worked on the backend. Basically, I didn’t need to do anything besides upload my images—the theme did the rest for me.

I ended up buying the Flexx theme, which has more than 1000 layout combinations. The best part is, you change the layout by simply clicking on the parameters for each of three sections: Header, Body, and Footer.

Cory Miller, the owner of iThemes, made some free themes for the WordPress community and then started getting offers from people to design themes for them. After so many offers came in, he said he saw an opportunity to create a business around something he loved to do.

Miller assembled a team of designers and programmers to build “the best, most easy to use themes on the planet.”

As a longtime blogger, it’s refreshing to still have the familiar interface of WordPress, but be able to have a professional look and feel for my Web site.

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