Starting with a free theme.
Spent more than a week trying to choose a beautiful theme. I was going to buy a premium one and decided not to spend money right away, to build up my web content first.
Most of the pictures in the theme examples aren't as pretty as mine are.
The photo I chose for header image, I took at Reelfoot Lake in Tiptonville, Tennessee several years ago. My husband and I took a photography class that a Park Ranger was teaching at the Vistor's Center at Reelfoot Lake State Park. We met with the other photographers early on a Saturday morning for a sunrise tour on the boardwalk along the water's edge.
It was a cloudy morning. We weren't sure we'd be able to get a good opportunity for a lovely sunrise view. Luckily, a break in the clouds just when the sun began to rise created our perfect chance. We clicked continuously for several minutes while the sun displayed it's awesome colors, it's rays of light dissolving the darkness from the night, the sky brightening rapidly moment by moment as the sun rose it's sleepy head above the lake.
Here are some points to consider when looking for the perfect theme for your WordPress site.
It needs to be fully responsive on all devices (laptop, tablets, mobile smart phones) as well as on various browsers. At this time, I've only used Chrome with this site. I'll have to check it out with Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox also.
I noticed my display size within the WordPress builder (Godaddy's) was at 200% while I was customizing and decreased the size to 100%. I prefer normal print size over seeing it doubled.
Another thing is the site must load fast, so pick a theme that has the features you want, but not a lot of extras that you probably won't ever use.
A simple minimal theme is easier to read then super colorful, cluttered up ones with lots of tiny labeled tabs and a bunch of thumbnail photos.
In looking at thousands of themes, I found the ones that had the beginning of articles, and not just a photo with a caption, more appealing.
You Tube is great for learning how to do things you want to do but don't know quite how to.
While watching a video on how to put Adsense inside a post, I learned you don't need to have a plug in to do this now. You can simply paste the code from Google Adsense's ad generator into the text area (HTML tab), save and publish. This way ads are placed exactly where you want them and your site isn't overloaded with too many ads.
Most likely, I will put ads at the end of the articles. My intention is for readers to stay engaged through the full narrative and not to lose them to an advertisement before they've finished reading the entire post.