If you are going to select a template by just taking a look on the design. Then stop, because a good template doesn't mean just the good design. There are the things that should be given more priority over design. If you are going to install a template, then please check these things in the template.
SEO optimization: This factor should get most of your priority, because if your blog is not SEO optimized then your blog will not get the traffic that your blog deserves and remember your blog's design will not make your blog appeared in searches. Some templates are very good in design but are not SEO optimized and after installing these types of templates, your blog may be disappeared from the results or will be ranked lower.
The search engines are changing their system of crawling every day. The search queries i.e. the text that people search in Google or in other search engines should be your priority. A SEO optimized template should be:
- making good use of meta tags like keywords, description and title.
- making use of h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6 tags. Post and page titles that are most important should be with h2 tags. While sidebar gadgets titles should use h4 tags. Blog title or name should be with h1 tag.
- Free from bad HTML structure. Search engines are also checking these things now. You can check the HTML improvements in Google Webmasters Tools.
- Free from malware: Some templates have malware in their codes. Never download and install templates from untrusted sources or websites. These templates will put your blog in Google's black list. They will never crawl or index your blog and your blog will have no traffic.
Easy navigation: Your blog's template should offer easy navigation to your visitors. Easy navigation also depend on your blog's template. For easy navigation check these things in your blog's template.
- Multi-level page menu: Page menu, generally a bar at top of your blog, or sometime in sidebar, is the thing that should be considered. A multi-level page menu is recommended because it makes the navigation of your blog very easy. If your blog has many categories, a multi-level page menu help you lot to give link to your pages or posts. For example, if your blog is about a sport, your page menu on first level can have 'Teams', on second level, 'Asia' then on third level 'India' and other Asian teams. This will make your navigation very easy.
- Simple layout: your template should have simple layout so that people on your blog don't get confused. Never use a template with bad layout.
Page load time: This factor also must be considered, if your blog takes lot of seconds to load, then people will not browse your blog anymore. you can check your page load time. Follow these steps to check the page load time.
- There are many online tools to check the page load time. You can check StatsCrop. In these tools the page load time should be less than 2 seconds. You can check your website or blog's speed or page loading time at http://www.statscrop.com/tools/website-speed
Design: Yes, this factor should be considered also for making your blog professional, eye catching and friendly. A good design increases direct traffic to your blog. A good design means:
- Good Fonts: A good designed template should have good fonts. Good fonts are simple, good looking, and easy to read. The fonts which are complex and it is not very easy to read them.
- Colors: A good theme should have colors that suits your eyes like green, blue or orange.
Browser Compatibility: Your template should be compatible to all leading and popular internet browsers. At least your blog's template should be compatible to these browsers:
- Google Chrome: This Google's browser is used mostly in the world. However almost every template is compatible with this browser.
- Mozilla Firefox: Your template should be compatible with Mozilla Firefox because it is also one of the best internet browsers in the world. Mozilla firefox is the default browser in mostly linux based operating systems like Ubuntu.
- Internet Explorer: Mostly compatibility issues come from this Microsoft software. Because it is default internet browser of Microsoft Windows, your template should be compatible with this browser.
- Safari: This software is default for Mac users. Therefore compatibility issues should also be checked with this browser. Because all Apple computers have Mac OS.
Advertising Spots: Whichever template you chose should have good ad spots. This is very required to increase your revenue. If your template don't have good ad spots then they will not be well visible to the visitors. Good ad spots are:
- In the side of title of your blog
- Above post title
- Below post title
- In the end of post
- Your template should have a sidebar to put ad.
Some trusted and free sources for templates for a Blogger blog: