Not only does a good theme makes a good first impression to your user, but it helps your SEO. Yes the structure of your design plays a major role in search engine optimization.

Unfortunately, not all themes are created equally. Many of them could be hurting your blog – even if they’re sexy.

Some themes might use outdated coding or invalid HTML. Other themes might not pay attention to Google’s SEO guidelines and misuse things like heading tags.

Outdated or poorly coded themes can cause glitches with the plugins you use and are more likely to be attacked by hackers. In the last month, I worked with 2 bloggers who had their blog’s hacked through their free WordPress theme. The hackers took over the code for the design and replaced it with their own – shutting the blogs down. Luckily, both were able to restore their sites but it was a hassle and they experienced a lot of down time.

A theme might look good, but it might be full of feature heavy coding – slowing your site down.

Here is a great article you can read for more information on properly coded WordPress themes: The Importance of Using a Properly Coded WordPress Theme.

As if choosing a theme wasn’t hard enough! Now I’m telling you there’s more to worry about than the look of it. Sorry about that, but I do just want you to know that it’s not all about the looks. My mom told me the same thing when I was dating!

Take a little extra time to research the theme and its developer/designer when picking a theme for your blog. Read the reviews. Google them. Look at sites that use the theme. Smashing Magazine recommends running the demo through a web page speed test to find out more about the theme. (Check out Smashing Magazine’s post for more tips on finding a quality WordPress theme).

Or you can let me tell you about the sexiest and smartest themes out there:

You probably noticed in the outline for this week’s theme series that the majority of the upcoming posts mention Genesis. Why? Because Genesis themes fit the bill for being sexy and smart (a.k.a great web design with phenomenal coding). The Genesis Framework gives you an HTML5, mobile responsive, fast loading, and secure theme. Add a stunning child theme from a trusted developer and you’ll have a beautiful blog design that will lure your audience in.

I’m super excited to be able to partner with StudioPress to give one of you a licensed copy of the Genesis Framework + a Child theme of your choice. Or, if you already own the framework you can pick out 2 new child themes!

This giveaways is pretty easy to enter: simply log in using your name and email (so I know who to give the prize to – email is not used for anything else. I hate spam too.) and then tell me which theme you’d pick if you win! You can also get a bonus entry for every friend you refer.

The more you share your lucky URL, the more entries you can have!

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