The Third Ingredient of a Successful Blog

This is a guest post by John Saddington (aka “Human3rror”). He is the Creative Web Director of North Point Ministries and the owner of Milk Engine, the Web design firm that built my blog. He is also the founder or partner in a number of successful startups, including ChurchCrunch. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

A successful blog is more than just design. But you knew that already, right? As someone who’s not only been blogging since 2001 but who’s also been designing/developing blogs for nearly just as long, it’s been fascinating to observe how unbalanced blogging strategies can be when it comes to being successful.

Standard Theme Screenshot

For example, many blogs bank on their custom design, look-and-feel, and try to capture an audience by how “pretty” their blog is. You know as well as I that this is only sustainable to a point. Any design, as good as it might be, gets old. A fresh coat of paint might do the trick, but most people can’t afford a redesign every three months or so.

As a result, many blogs will tell you (or scream at you) “Content is King!” and they are right—to a point. Good content, from my perspective, might be “good” on it’s own merit, but it doesn’t do any good without people reading it. I think most people believe they publish good content; the difference is the amount of people (site visitors and page views specifically), that actually get there.

So what’s it going to take?

The easiest answer is, “All of the above.” But there’s one factor that many people don’t consider nearly as much as they should. This is what I call the third ingredient of a successful blog: Good quality code. Solid code paves the way for strategic site architecture, load speed optimization (which is a factor is search rankings), search engine optimization (SEO), and a good end-user experience.

That’s one of the reasons I developed the Standard Theme, an amazing blogging theme for users of self-hosted WordPress installations. Essentially I was tired of having to design on top of blog existing blog themes that weren’t polished or by people who didn’t care about how the actual blog ran in the “backend” (or underneath the hood).

But what I’ve learned is that some of the most successful blogs out there not only have great content and a decent (doesn’t have to be crazy-awesome or pricey) design, they are also crafted well in terms of their code. They also:

  • Are SEO-optimized (so people can more easily find you)
  • Take into account load-speed
  • Are cross-browser compatible
  • Use valid technical standards (e.g., XHTML/CSS, PHP, advanced asynchronous analytics, etc.)
  • Employ best practices for making it easy to virally share the content with a neat persistent twitter and facebook sharing option)

These are only a few of the things that we’ve meticulously included in the theme. You’ll want to check out all the options and features right on the Standard Theme homepage.

Note: I will give away 10 copies of this theme—a $49 value—to ten people who comment below. All you have to do is tell me why you want this theme. I will make a decision on Monday, March 15th.

Finally, while you might think the design of the Standard Theme unimpressive, there’s a strategy involved with that: Here’s what I’ve learned from helping many new bloggers launch their blogs: Spending too much time on design is not smart for the “new” blogger. Why? Because in my experience they’ll want to change it after a few months or so. We did that here with Michael’s blog. As he began using WordPress (having switched from TypePad), he learned what his readers wanted and desired. Based on that, we adjusted the strategy and changed the design.

As a result, “new” bloggers need to be concentrating primarily on developing good content, getting it out there to the public (social media sharing), and developing their particular niche and/or culture. The design can always be changed later. Fortunately, Standard Theme makes that a snap.

Regardless, you want to start with something solid and flexible. That’s exactly why I developed Standard Theme. It provides a great foundation that you will not outgrow.

Question: What limitations or frustrations have you experienced with your current theme?
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://twitter.com/mattedmundson @mattedmundson

    Honestly, my key frustration is not knowing what the right thing to do is…or keep up with the technology/changes required.
    My recent post The poem that makes my wife cry – everytime

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      This is where it might be good to pair up with a “technology partner,” someone who can allow you to focus on what you do best.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sometimes it's just best to start simply, knowing you have a solid theme to just build content. let me know if you have any questions!

  • http://twitter.com/mattedmundson @mattedmundson

    Honestly, my key frustration is not knowing what the right thing to do is…or keep up with the technology/changes required.
    My recent post The poem that makes my wife cry – everytime

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SynapticLight Phillip Gibb

    I have to say that StandardTheme is great. If I don't mess it up with my own css, plugin and other fiddling :)
    Being only a small fry blogger, and not being an expert in coding for the web, having a well coded theme is huge. The credibility gained from using something like this can also be an ingredient as well.

    As for frustrations: it has always been what to do to improve SEO; throwing plugins in did not work for me, infact it made blogging more of a shleep. I know; content, design etc is key. But I get frustrated about those little nitty gritty things like meta data etc.
    My recent post The Stuff I can only Dream about: The Camera

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks phillip! love your support!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/SynapticLight Phillip Gibb

        always a pleasure. – I get the idea that you guys put a lot of good effort, ingredients and time into the StandardTheme and 8Bit Network – great to be a small part of it.
        My recent post Tabbed Widget Part Two

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

          yes… ;)

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mattedmundson Matt Edmundson

    OK – after reading this – I was convinced! Downloaded the standard theme template and it was incredibly easy to upload/integrate. Now I just have to play around with the design (I am working with it on a new first aid blog that I am creating).
    My recent post The poem that makes my wife cry – everytime

    • Tom

      That's awesome, Matt! If you've got questions, feel free to drop by the forums..

  • http://www.stevefogg.typepad.com Steve Fogg

    I’m on Typepad at the moment – I’m at that early stage where I’m still figuring some stuff out.

    One question is how do you find out what your readers want?

  • http://www.brookemcglothlin.com Brooke McGlothlin

    I would love to move from blogger to wordpress, but honestly it scares me to death! I could learn coding and such, but I just don't have the time. i'm going to take a look at this theme. thanks for the info and recommendation.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing!

  • Steve

    I’ve made a couple of attempts at starting a blog, but got discouraged because I didn’t know how to drive traffic to it. If this theme would help with SEO, that would be great.

    • Tom

      It's all built-in. All you really have to do is publish content – the code takes care of the SEO ;).

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      yes. built in!

  • http://www.carusophotography.com/blog Jay Caruso

    I already have the theme so I am just leaving a comment to say that you can’t go wrong with it. It was developed with a cross section of people in mind. Meaning, it will work out of the box for those who just want a nice clean theme for their blog, but it’s easy to customize for all the CSS and PHP junkies out there. It’s a bargain at the price it sells for, so if you can snag a free copy, even better.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      word. thanks jay!

  • http://thelifeofmisty.blogspot.com misty gilbert

    I am new at blogging and would enjoy and information that would enlighten, educate and inspire me. I will be honest, that I probably am not your top canidate to send this to, but nonetheless I would be thrilled and share it with my coworkers and teammates that are building a blog for my employer besides use it for my own personal business.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks misty!

  • James

    I love how well crafted Michael’s blog is. Well done, Human3rror.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks james!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      oh, and mike has done a lot of work by himself. he's amazing!

  • Justin

    As a writer who majored in graphic design as an avocation, I get caught up in the design stage and end up spinning my wheels, never getting settled on the look. I wind up with an empty blog and plagued by the lizard brain too much to deal with it. Then, I read Linchpin. I think the blog is too personal of a project for me to design (I could always come back and do it later). I’m finding it much easier to lay out a design for the company I’m working for. But, come Monday, I could finally flip the switch and let it roll.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      definitely agree here justin!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/rosacola Rocco Capra

    I am finishing up my BS this summer to pursue a MA in Counseling. My desire is to reach as many as I can with the message of hope, grace, and love that God has for everyone of us. Blogging (and social media) will be a big part of that in the future.

    I am such a n00b when it comes to this blogging stuff.

    I could use all the help I can get.

    Thanks,
    Rocco

    My recent post Get out of the Boat!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sometimes all you need is just to start blogging. period. don't worry about design or anything too crazy!

    • http://www.FamilyInsights.net FamilyInsights.net

      That's what I'm doing with my blog! http://www.FamilyInsights.net
      Best of luck on your studies!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      congrats! you've won a copy! email info@standardtheme.com!

  • http://twitter.com/jasongeorges99 @jasongeorges99

    I develop websites for non-profit organizations using WordPress. WP is great because it allows someone to maintain the site with no special software and only basic computer knowledge. I would like to have the standard theme because it is what I call "page" centric as opposed to "post" centric and for most organization who will not be blogging this format help to feature their static content.
    My recent post Which CMS is the most popular?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sweet! that would be great. sometimes we just need to start simple!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/ronlane Ron Lane

    This is very useful for me at the moment. I am on the hosted wordpress and have been looking into going to a self-hosted site. Having a copy of your Standard Theme would greatly help me once I go to the self-hosted wordpress.

    My recent post Self-Improvement: What’s the big deal?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sweet ron! thanks for commenting!

  • codyaray

    I've posted random bits of things I found interesting around the web on my "blog" for some time now. However, this was aimed primarily at me, and things that I found so interesting, amusing, etc that I would want to look back on it at a later time. However, as my college career comes to an end and I start more rapidly building my personal and professional networks, I think it would be very good to start sharing longer, more meaningful bits of my psyche, personality, and thoughts with an ever-interconnected network. In all honesty, I haven't even yet installed the wordpress engine because I have been avoiding the issue of theming; however, you're correct in that it is necessary to start somewhere, and Standard.Theme looks like a wonderful starting place (although I really like the theme of your blog, @michaelhyatt.. and I'd take a copy of that too, if you want to throw that in ;-). It lets me bypass all the nitty gritty details in which I'm not expert and start sharing some of my solid content with ever-growing networks.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      haha. doubt mike's going to give that up! standard theme is a great place to start!

  • http://www.kevindeshazo.me kevin

    Brilliance! I have seen this theme around quite a bit and am loving it. Need to check it out for myself. Great work by John and the entire 8Bit crew!

    • http://twitter.com/alliswell @alliswell

      Thanks Kevin! we are really excited and trying our hardest to give great support.. we are also working on updates and ways to make the products we bring out amazing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      go for it!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    If a person googles my brand, my blog comes up first on the list. If I want to drive up traffic to my site (now averaging between 500-600 visits each week), do I need to do more to my blog design or do I need to work on promoting my brand? I will be ready to push harder this summer when I finish writing my book through my blog, so I know I will have to have some wisdom on what to do. Maybe someday, I'll be in the financial position to hire someone who knows what they're doing!

    My recent post #33 THE DOING OF BELIEVING: FAITH (1)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sounds like you need to spend a bit on both. 500-600 visits per week is great!

  • Wilfredo

    Thanks for the info. I knew something was missing in my Blog. Just until I read this post , my eyes were opened. Yes, i want this theme.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      :) thanks wilfredo for commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/ruthcarlson @ruthcarlson

    I'm considering purchasing the Standard Theme you created for the reasons you stated above plus as a reader of Micheal Hyatt's blog, I've been one wanting a similar layout for sometime now. I started out on blogger a couple of years ago because it was simple. I blog on several topics, and need a better way, other than tagging, to archive my posts. I've been looking at various WordPress templates, and found that none of the styles really fit what I was looking for: a clean, easy to navigate, but classy layout. Certainly if the sky was the limit, and it would be great to have a one-of-a-kind layout and style, but in the end, I think that it might be better to purchase a good starting place (Standard Theme), continue blogging and working on provide consistent and good content, and slow learn about all the ways I can adjust it. Above all, however, I think the Standard Theme reminds me of one of my favorite blogs, and like most things I do on the web, I find someone who does something well, I adopt the idea and creatively adjust it to reflect me!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sweet! let us know if you have any questions!

  • http://www.thesurfrocker.com Jimmy

    I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to certain types of coding, so I need a theme that’s very easy to use. Because I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my blog in those terms, generally I just write and post. Thanks for bringing up some good points about some more “technical” things to consider and remember. You’ve given me some great ideas!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing jimmy! thanks for stopping by!

    • Tom

      Hey Jimmy – feel free to contact the team and let us know if you've got any particular questions!

  • Paul Carreon

    We are launching a church and I would love to win a free StandardTheme to use for our website.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      cool! where's a link?

  • http://kevinowens4.posterous.com Kevin Owens

    As a novice (Pre-School stage would be more accurate), my frustrations include not being able to tie my shoes or zip my jacket; figuratively of course (most of the time). In other words, most of it can be frustrating at times. I chose my blog based on ease. I have zero expertise in design or code and am only slightly more knowledgeable in the areas of driving traffic to the blog via social media. This Standard Theme certainly appears to be a strong solution to my challenges. Of course, if I buy it now, what will I do when I win one. I guess I'll wait until Monday. Thanks for posting.
    My recent post WWYD – What Would You Do?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/KevinDLyons Kevin D. Lyons

    Kudos for launching your theme. There are many players in this space from free frameworks to affiliate wild fires. As a solutions provider, content coach, developer, designer and marketing strategist I constantly struggle to find a solid framework to build client sites and internal projects on. Generally I use organic custom code which has its value but increases production time and subsequently cost to our clients.

    A significant percentage of our clients are ministries and Christian artist. Savings of time and resources along with well implemented innovation and increased opportunity deeply impact their effectiveness in ministry.

    It would be great to give your theme a test run on a project or two but most of all thank you for getting in to the game. It is an open playing field that will probably run continuous in attempt to birth a perfect solution.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks kevin! although it may seem like it's a crowded field it's still quite a "new" field altogether! we're just trying to attack it from a different angle. we'll see.

      ;)

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/KevinDLyons Kevin D. Lyons

        Nice attack plan. Having a client as a spokesperson helps too. :) Have you considered an affiliate play?

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

          there is an affliate program… earn 50%!!!

  • Christopher MacDonald

    Hi John,

    I blogged for about a year several years ago but shut it down when I got divorced. I’ve been looking at getting into blogging again, it’s been gnawing at me,and I have had my new domain registered for almost a year, but just haven’t had the guts to publish yet. Whether or not I win the free copy I will get there soon.

    Thanks for the consideration.

    Chris

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing chris! we'll see monday!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/emilyosburne emilyosburne

    Thanks for the warning to "new" bloggers. Although I am not new to blogging, I am new to self-hosting. I just got my blog to work TODAY (5 minutes ago) and now I am downloading themes like crazy. I need to stop the madness.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      you just need one theme to start. pick one and go! content will help you craft your overall experience long term.

  • Eliza Huie

    Yes! Give me the Theme baby!!! I am a newbie-blogger. I can write– that is not the problem. I have many posts completed and in my holding tank (Google docs). My frustration has been in the design/layout/ usability. I want my blog to go beyond the template. Thanks

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      wow, sounds like your ready to make a move!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      congrats! you've won a copy! email info@standardtheme.com!

  • Nathan

    I would love a copy of this theme. I’ve actually been looking at this theme to use for our church’s website. It’s built well and incredibly simple. So to get if free would be a blessing. Thanks John!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing nathan! we'll see monday!

    • Tom

      Word! Good luck..;)

  • http://www.melakamin.com Mela Kamin

    I would like this theme for the exact reasons you stated – I might want to change my mind later and it's hard to commit to a pricey design, especially when you're not sure the technology is going to serve you well. Plus, I think too many people are concerned with how it looks and they ignore the functionality – I might be guilty of this myself. This theme would allow for more freedom in being creative where it counts – the content. Looks great!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      i agree! people spend way too much time on design and not enough just DOING the blog-thing.

      ;)

  • http://www.coachshef.com Shef

    Hey John,

    With MilkEngine's help I've been blogging for about 60 days. It's going a bit better than I had planned and, honestly, I need make some changes to the blog faster than I thought I would need to. I'd like to add some banners or ads for some conferences coming up but I'm still such a rookie. Is Standard Theme a good option for this? Would you recommend it for this Rook?

    Thanks man…

    Love what your doing.

    Shef
    My recent post Getting Stuff – Part 3

    • Tom

      Standard has a variety of options for setting up banners along the top and the sidebar of the page. All you gotta do is upload images and provide the URLs for the links. Doesn't get much easier..

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      because you're awesome.

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  • ChristianSelvaratnam

    Hi John, I'd love to receive a copy of your theme, not for myself but for my church. We just about to set up a blog where we can post news, reports and photos from our church life and a need a great looking easy to set up WordPress theme that different volunteers can update; that can bring in a flickr feed and hold advert-style links to events.

    Your theme does look great. Thanks for the post.
    My recent post Giving Forms

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing christian!

  • @tcjsaunders

    I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a blog for some time now… But to be honest I don’t quite know where to start! Working for an NFP there aren’t enough hours in my day to do everything for work, let alone pursue my own interests. It is something I would definitely appreciate any and all assistance with!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      we provide support for support license owners… perhaps we can assist you there!

  • David

    I have considered blogging for sometime. I do find myself too focused on the design and thinking about how to make the site perfect. To be able to purchase the theme and design let’s me move to working on content and what I can offer. Thanks for posting you wisdom. I think it will help me move forward with a site.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sweet! glad we could encourage you!

  • Ben

    Hi John. I am a PhD student at Georgia Tech and am looking to build a scientific research portfolio using a highly functional theme like this. This present offer is a perfect mix of great theme/price for my grad student budget. I am looking for something that will really help set me apart as I am applying for university positions around the world. Thanks for your consideration!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sweet! i graduated from georgia tech. ;)

    • Tom

      GT alum here, too. Go Jackets!

  • http://www.gabetaviano.com Gabe Taviano

    Nice work on Standard Theme, John. Definitely a great option for beginning bloggers at the $49 price. You've included the necessities for sure. Spinning off a few blog designs each month, so I might give it a try if it fits a new client. Keep up the great work.
    My recent post You have a Secret Name

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure gabe!

  • http://www.facebook.com/thejeffbrown Jeff Brown

    Great post John. I've admired your work through Michael's blog and have always been impressed. My blog (hosted at WordPress.com) is a little over a year old. In that time, I've managed to see it rank in the top 25 of broadcast industry blogs worldwide

    However, you know as well as I the limitations of a WordPress-hosted blog. I've considered moving over to WordPress.org for a few months now, but part of my apprehension is fear of choosing a theme I regret later (how great would it be if every theme creator wrote a blog post on the advantages of that specific theme?).

    What you've managed to do here is put me at ease about making such a move with the proper theme. I would be honored if you picked me. Thanks.
    My recent post Changing Facebook’s News Feed Default Settings

  • http://www.facebook.com/thejeffbrown Jeff Brown

    Great post John. I've admired your work through Michael's blog and have always been impressed. My blog (hosted at WordPress.com) is a little over a year old. In that time, I've managed to see it rank in the top 25 of broadcast industry blogs worldwide

    However, you know as well as I the limitations of a WordPress-hosted blog. I've considered moving over to WordPress.org for a few months now, but part of my apprehension is fear of choosing a theme I regret later (how great would it be if every theme creator wrote a blog post on the advantages of that specific theme?).

    What you've managed to do here is put me at ease about making such a move with the proper theme. I would be honored if you picked me. Thanks.
    My recent post Changing Facebook’s News Feed Default Settings

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      WOW! that's amazing! we'll see how the drawing goes!

  • http://reformedandreforming.org Jesse Wisnewski

    Personally I use my blog as a means of fine-tuning my research and writing as I finish my Master of Divinity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. With full-time work, family, part-time school, and ordination preparation, my time is limited – to say at the least – in making any such changes.

    My greatest frustration as a blogger is not having the ability to do the Graphic Designing, such as a half-way decent logo and other cosmetic corrections to make it look, well, a lot better.

    Some time in the future I will look to give the Standard Theme a whirl when things slow down.

    Cheers
    My recent post God-Centered Worship is Trinitarian and Transforming

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      very neat! i have a few friends who graduated from gordon. great school!

  • Lisa/Defined Design

    I would love to have a copy of Standard Theme – I've been putting off starting a blog for my home staging business. I have found the process intimidating as to what will work and what won't. I consider myself somewhat techie and agree with the great Frank Lloyd Wright – form follows function.

    Standard Theme is brilliant and will meet all my needs functionally without sacrificing design. I love the ability to update down the road. The fact that you are passionate makes me think you will provide support to help newbies like myself get off the ground, successfully.

    Thanks for thinking about the mechanics, without sacrificing design!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing lisa! love your business name!

    • Tom

      Lisa – our forums are designed *exactly* for helping provide design tips, customization ideas, and general support. Feel free to email us regarding any questions about the theme..

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dannyjbixby dannyjbixby

    If I win a copy, I'll be practically forced to move to WP off blogger.

    So I may as well attempt it ;)

    My recent post The Stats On Slacking

    • http://twitter.com/alliswell @alliswell

      I vote for you! blogger?!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/dannyjbixby dannyjbixby

        Nobody is more ashamed of this than I :(

        (I wonder if the sympathy card works…)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      PUAHAHAHAHA!

      • Tom

        Seconded

  • http://mattjudkins.com Matt Judkins

    Don’t forget, a lot of people will read your blog through a RSS reader and won’t know or care when you change your design. That’s why content is everything.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      definitely! that's right! content will sustain through the design changes.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/johndyer John Dyer

      Except that a person probably will never subscribe to your RSS feed if the design stinks when that person first visits the site!

      My recent post How Roasting Coffee Helped Me Understand Technology and Theology

    • http://bondchristian.com/ bondChristian

      My new favorite quote: "Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about." -Doctorow

      I was actually a little disappointed in this post (still love you, Human3rror). I think code is the important (though I can't speak from experience), but I'd lump it in with design. Design and code are two sides of the same… well, site.

      I would have said the third ingredient is conversation. The rock stars don't create the best music or have the best production (those guys are the studio musicians no one knows about). The rock stars are the ones stage diving and signing people's stomachs, involving their audience… touching, talking, laughing, rocking.

      -Marshall Jones Jr.
      My recent post Your objections to slavery (and my responses)

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mecasually Matthew Erxleben

    I have a hosted wordpress and have been wanting to switch to a self-hosted site. I haven't done it yet, mainly because I don't know what theme to use. Receiving a copy of Standard Theme would help me make the switch I need to make. Help me out.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      standard theme would be a great choice for your move!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      and, we can help you in the forums if you buy the support license!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      Matt, the time is now, if you don't win.

  • http://twitter.com/matt_mccomas @matt_mccomas

    I'd love a copy because I'm a full-time missionary in charge of various website/blogs and don't have time to search for the best theme or spend all day learning how to optimize, or customize. This would help us move our organization ahead quickly.
    My recent post “No one here has shoes!”

  • http://twitter.com/matt_mccomas @matt_mccomas

    I'd love a copy because I'm a full-time missionary in charge of various website/blogs and don't have time to search for the best theme or spend all day learning how to optimize, or customize. This would help us move our organization ahead quickly.
    My recent post “No one here has shoes!”

  • http://Randrambles.com Rand

    I would like The Standard Theme because I’ve been looking for a theme that does all that this one does and haven’t found it yet. I’m not a WordPress expert at all an it seems that it’s an easy to use, full-featured blog. It looks great too putting the focus on content and being so clean, so yeah. I would love to win it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      great. this theme can be used by both experts and newbies! :)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/BrettBarner Brett Barner

    I've been drooling over the Standard theme since it went to beta. Looking forward to the day that I finally get my hands on this and am able to put this on my site. You know there'd be some Standard Theme ad love posted right next to Church Crunch ;)
    My recent post What Can You Get for a Buck These Days?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      whoot! good to see you brett.

  • http://www.jameshalfhill.com James Halfhill

    I would love to get a copy of this theme. Amazing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      james, thanks!

  • http://www.angusnelson.com Angus Nelson

    After a conference call with Mike Foster and Jim Gray, I've been challenged to find a cleaner, faster loading theme for my site, http://www.angusnelson.com. Thus far, I've been yet to find one that meets my needs… until now. The integration, interface and ease of use appear remarkable. Better yet, I'm a graphics guy, not a coder. To have a sleek back end already in place is significantly advantageous.

    With being a stay-at-home dad while promoting my book and speaking engagements, I have little time to revamp and waste. Your theme will be a tremendous help in cleaning up my site. Thanks for creating it.
    My recent post You Tell Me About Me

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing angus!

  • http://twitter.com/jameseaton @jameseaton

    I am starting to brand my photography site and blog now, and the standard theme would be the perfect theme to put on the blog portion of my photog stuff.
    I am a college student, and don't really have the money to buy themes…so a free Standard theme would be amazing!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      yes, we understand the college budget!

  • Tim Davis

    @timothy_b_davis

    Although I have set up two blogs before on various platforms, I have not used them regularly. I am looking to set up a regular blog in the two/three areas I will specialize in (coaching, missions, student leadership). I am one who wants to be involved in design, but that is definitely not a specialty of mine. If I can start with a theme that is manageable and provides for a quality experience, that would be very beneficial in the beginning stages.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks for stopping by tim! cool. focus is great!

  • http://sammahlstadt.com Sam Mahlstadt

    I was so frustrated with my blog design a couple months ago, I emailed John to talk about what it would take for a dope looking blog without breaking my empty piggy bank ;)
    his response, wait a bit, I’m getting ready to launch the best WP theme I’ve ever created.
    Since browsing around on peoples sites who use the Standard Theme, I am completely convinced.
    I love minimalism, and efficency in design. That is what the Stand Theme does so well!
    And I want it!!!!!
    I’m ready to make the jump, and free is a pretty great price point! :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      :) hey sam! good to see you here.

    • Tom

      Thanks for the support, Sam. That's awesome!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      Sam, lets get this done today, what will it take to get you to drive off the lot today with this new theme?
      Just kidding….
      It is very efficient and beautiful.

      • http://sammahlstadt.com Sam Mahlstadt

        Ha! I think I have a career idea for you Kyle…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Lindsey_Nobles Lindsey_Nobles

    I just am sick of my theme. I am ready to change it but I want to make sure I am improving it with the change. And not just changing to change.

    I'd love to try John's Standard Theme.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sorry to hear that! perhaps the wheel of fortune (random online generator) will choose you!

      :)

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/thesachsgirl thesachsgirl

    For me it's finding that theme that just says it's mine. Something that speaks to who I am and what my blog is about. I so want to make a change, but haven't found just what's right, and don't want to make a change, just to change it again, kwim?
    My recent post Early?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      understood! gotta find a good one to start with though!

  • http://www.shawnlandis.com @shawnlandis

    I’m am a designer and I’ve been wanting to pick up the Standard theme since it launched so I can play with customizing it in different ways. But, I haven’t had a NEED to spend the money (read: no place to use it live). My wife wants to overhaul her blog though, maybe I’ll make hers the test subject. Would love a free copy! :D

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      Your wife will probably love a free design as well. That will always score some points with the wife.

  • http://twitter.com/samgamgee @samgamgee

    you're a smart man mr. saddington and if you've leveraged your talents for "something solid and flexible" then i'm betting the Standard Theme would be the best place for us to start. i'm redesigning our outpost's website and migrating to wordpress from blogger. and i'm sure that the standard theme will provide a great foundation that will grow with us. so a free theme would be cool.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/klreed189 Kyle Reed

      Indeed he is.
      Standard will be a great place to start for a switch between wordpress and blogger.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      i try. ;)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      congrats! you've won a copy! email info@standardtheme.com!

  • Kamrie Reed

    I am on a wordpress.com site and the hardest thing for me is getting it to do what i want. I get very frustrated and want to make the switch, but do not have the host to do it yet.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      yup, you'll need to get a host first!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dubdynomite dubdynomite

    I've seriously been considering using Standard Theme since I heard it was released. Reading this makes me want to do that even more.

    So far I've only used a few free themes, but haven't been satisfied with the look and feel.

    (Strangely enough, I actually remember having a dream last night where I was working on changing my blog to Standard Theme. So weird….)

    • http://8bit.io Tom

      Dreaming about Standard Theme? That's hardcore!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      … sounds like you've got enough ammunition to pull the trigger…!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/isaiahq Rusty

    I've been hung up on design for a long time, and it's been keeping me from launching a blog. I guess I wouldn't be the best candidate for you to invest a free copy of Standard in, but I sure would appreciate it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      just start with a great base to build content. then worry about design!

  • http://twitter.com/lantzhoward @lantzhoward

    Frustrations…well Blogger is simply and easy, but does not allow me to take it to the next level.

    Time to move from Blogger and focus on content is why I need the Standard Theme.
    My recent post My Pa was a Fighter

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      wordpress is so good!

  • Frank Chimento

    WOW! I have posted at least 10 online requests to find someone to setup our WP blog site. I'm stunned at how difficult that has been. It was easier to build an entire functioning website with three layers of redundancy and merchant functionality than to set up a simple blogging site. With that said, we would love this theme and even more, would love to learn more about what you can do to "run" our site as we have no clue how to do it and no desire to learn how to code.

    Any help is appreciated.

  • Richard

    I have had a hosted WP blog for nearly three years now and have had two separate themes. My first one was free and I used it for nearly a year. The one I've been using I designed myself last year. I love it, but it is in need of a facelift. I am constantly tinkering with the look and feel to make information and communication easier and I love what the StandardTheme brings.

    I'm also looking to move my business website (currently managed in DW) to a hosted WP site and this theme would be perfect for that. I need something clean, easily customizable and easily update-able and this is that.

    Because I've done this a few times, I know what I need and this theme is perfect! Thanks for considering me!

    http://www.richarddedor.com and http://www.richarddedor.com/blog
    My recent post FOCUS: Each Moment! (v2n44)

  • Richard

    I have had a hosted WP blog for nearly three years now and have had two separate themes. My first one was free and I used it for nearly a year. The one I've been using I designed myself last year. I love it, but it is in need of a facelift. I am constantly tinkering with the look and feel to make information and communication easier and I love what the StandardTheme brings.

    I'm also looking to move my business website (currently managed in DW) to a hosted WP site and this theme would be perfect for that. I need something clean, easily customizable and easily update-able and this is that.

    Because I've done this a few times, I know what I need and this theme is perfect! Thanks for considering me!

    http://www.richarddedor.com and http://www.richarddedor.com/blog
    My recent post FOCUS: Each Moment! (v2n44)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing richard!

  • http://chrisvonada.wordpress.com chris vonada

    I'm completely new to blogging, just started a couple of weeks ago, I love writing and am in tune with the advice to focus on content, but I will admit that I do get bogged down with the structure and layout, I already would like to change and improve what I'm using on wordpress. I LOVE Michael Hyatt's blog, and would like something like this that is fresh, appealing and clean.

    My recent post The Elusive Buried Treasure…

  • http://chrisvonada.wordpress.com chris vonada

    I'm completely new to blogging, just started a couple of weeks ago, I love writing and am in tune with the advice to focus on content, but I will admit that I do get bogged down with the structure and layout, I already would like to change and improve what I'm using on wordpress. I LOVE Michael Hyatt's blog, and would like something like this that is fresh, appealing and clean.

    My recent post The Elusive Buried Treasure…

  • http://chrisvonada.wordpress.com chris vonada

    I'm completely new to blogging, just started a couple of weeks ago, I love writing and am in tune with the advice to focus on content, but I will admit that I do get bogged down with the structure and layout, I already would like to change and improve what I'm using on wordpress. I LOVE Michael Hyatt's blog, and would like something like this that is fresh, appealing and clean.

    My recent post The Elusive Buried Treasure…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      chris,

      mike's done a great job here, hasn't he?

  • Billy Stevens

    Thanks so much for your post and your excellent code. As a former programmer i appreciate quality code. I left db programming after i was called into the ministry 17 years ago and have been developing my content. My game plan is to start a blog for the express purpose of personal discipleship and helping new believers experience the transformation that only Christ can offer. It would be a place where they could interact and not look like another boring blog. Thanks!

    • http://8bit.io Tom

      Love the idea, Billy. I'm a software engineer by day, too (though I've only been there for a few years ;)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing billy!

  • http://twitter.com/rahulusfbcm @rahulusfbcm

    My wife and I are photographers and I need a new blog to use as my website. We currently have http://www.annieagarwal.com and http://www.annieagarwal.com/blog and it is not working. We always are having issues. With this theme we could combine the two and because it is simple it will put the emphasis on speed, SEO and THE PICTURES!

    • http://8bit.io Tom

      Good stuff (and nice pictures)!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      the pictures! yes! love great pics.

      • http://twitter.com/rahulusfbcm @rahulusfbcm

        Thanks!
        My recent post Bible Illuminated

  • Melissa

    this is just what i needed to kick-start my thinking about getting a website/blog going. been a little unsure…debated the "what for" in doing a blog. a great theme really gets the ideas going! I'd love to be one of the 10 you choose for the giveaway!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thansk for commenting melissa! we'll find out monday!

  • http://solveigengh.wordpress.com SolveigEngh@q.com

    I've blogged semi-seriously and seriously for almost two years with moderate success. After major surgery, I felt I had to make changes if God was in this venture. I contacted a young Christian fellow I know who is in the early stages of establishing a web-design business to design something that would provide what I need. He's established I need a self-hosted WordPress blog and has started working on the product.

    This young man has natural skills, but your material would be of great value. I would give the prize to him. He would use it again and again to God's glory–he's that sort of fellow. Meanwhile, it would help me.

    My current active URL is solveigsinsights.blogspot.com. I signed up for a wordpress site, but the new site would simply be Solveig Engh. com.
    My recent post Hello world!

  • http://solveigengh.wordpress.com SolveigEngh@q.com

    I've blogged semi-seriously and seriously for almost two years with moderate success. After major surgery, I felt I had to make changes if God was in this venture. I contacted a young Christian fellow I know who is in the early stages of establishing a web-design business to design something that would provide what I need. He's established I need a self-hosted WordPress blog and has started working on the product.

    This young man has natural skills, but your material would be of great value. I would give the prize to him. He would use it again and again to God's glory–he's that sort of fellow. Meanwhile, it would help me.

    My current active URL is solveigsinsights.blogspot.com. I signed up for a wordpress site, but the new site would simply be Solveig Engh. com.
    My recent post Hello world!

  • http://maddencorner.com Madden Corner

    To be honest I’ve been on blogger for a while and now I’m looking to really change up my blog and make it better. I’ve been in the process of setting up WordPress, but being a dual military family and 4 kids sometimes keeps me from accomplishing my goals. This theme would help me progress forward and it would be one less thing I would have to search for. I like the look and I think it would be perfect for my blog.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      make the move…! wordpress is great!

  • http://www.ryanlangdesign.com Ryan Lang

    While all these points are definitely valid and this theme is definitely more advanced than your average wordpress theme, this whole post just feels like an advertisement for your product.

    Maybe give away your theme to all comment posters?
    My recent post Hello world!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I invited John to write this post because I am a big believer in his product. I think it solves a real problem that most bloggers have. Giving away 10 copies is incredibly generous.

      • http://www.ryanlangdesign.com Ryan Lang

        I think the product is awesome. It does make it easy for the average blogger to have a advanced wordpress blog. I am just commenting on the feel of the post. Maybe if it came from you vs. from the creator of the product it would feel less like an advertisement and more like an endorsement.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

          thanks for your thoughts ryan! sure it's definitely a plug for our product but that's because we believe in it.

          BUT, we also wanted to highlight an often overlooked part of good blogging and what has helped many bloggers become successful: Good code. We hope that this generally helps people become more aware as well as educate people of this value!

          Hope you learned something, and thanks for commenting!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/amvaughn Alicia Hoey

    I work for a nonprofit organization and raise a portion of my salary. One of my goals for 2010 was to create a blog that would accompany my support-raising efforts by providing others with a greater look into what exactly it is that I do. I would like to use the Standard Theme to help take the blog to the next level and integrate something I wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.

    Thank you, John!

  • http://www.albertgrassia.com Albert

    Hey, I am totally new to WordPress. I sat in John's class at Wordcamp ATL and had a great time. I learned a lot. Soon after I started to tinker around with WP and I have gotten 3 new clients and working on a new WP site for a Political Campaign.

    I would love to have one for myself that is a bit more professional and sharp. Granted I am still learning but I am enjoying the whole process.
    My recent post Battle of the Ex’s?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks albert! it was good to see you!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      congrats! you've won a copy! email info@standardtheme.com!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      congrats! you've won a copy! email info@standardtheme.com!

  • http://twitter.com/bobevankc @bobevankc

    Thanks Michael for sharing about Standard Theme. As a new blogger I am really intrigued by the fact that this tool allows me to control my content, which for me is important as content is going to have to be king for my blog readership base to grow. I have attempted to use iWeb and while I am the world's biggest Apple fan, I find the interface to be clumsy and not as smooth as I'd like to see. It seems like Standard Theme could really help me in that area and allow me to stay focused on being relevant to my future readers.

    Thank you for your blog and the way you interact with your readership. I have learned a lot over these last few months reading your posts. Your blog is very well done!

    Bobby Shaw

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      bobby,

      time to make a move! iweb is a good start, but now time to graduate!

  • http://kellycain.com Kelly

    Sometimes it's hard, super hard to customize a theme fully. I will be able to add widgets or plugins but they may not work properly with my current version of wordpress (even if it is the most updated). I also have frustrations with getting my theme to look as I'd like it too – rotating banners or customization with custom fields.
    My recent post the exchange was a hit!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      kelly, this theme keeps it simple. you can add widgets and plugins!

  • Ray Eickhoff

    Thank you John (and Michael for inviting him) for this guest post. The simplicity of your Rule of Three: Design, content, and code. Brilliant! I would be honored to be considered for the opportunity to be gifted the Standard Theme as I have been convinced through friends to begin blogging. I am currently coaching 8 men from Mars Hill Church in Seattle through a Discipleship program that was birthed out of Ministry Coaching International and feel led to share our journey together through a blog. Soli Deo Gloria!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing ray! love mars hill!

  • http://www.AvaWrites.com Ava Pennington

    I'm preparing to start a blog, but I've allowed my concerns regarding design and format to become obstacles to actually starting! With one book being published in the fall of this year and two in 2011, there is much I want to share about the faith and writing journeys, but I have to get over my lack of technical confidence. I opened an account on Blogger, but have been told that I will end up on WordPress, so I should start there. I feel like I'm allowing my lack of technical design expertise to paralyze my decision-making! All that to say that a complementary copy of Standard Theme would go a long way to breaking through the obstacles that have prevented me from blogging!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      yes, i agree. a lot of people get hung up on design. let's break those obstacles!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      congrats! you've won a copy! email info@standardtheme.com!

  • Wisdomcalls

    Hi John,

    I definitely want the copy of your Standard.Theme. I have been blogging for about a year and am in the process of totally transitioning. I don't know anything about code yet, but am going to take classes this summer. I need to get a good clean design that is very user friendly so that I can just insert my content and post quickly and easily. I have been stuck for months now because technical issues relating and the fact I have a very limited amount of time weekly to work on this project. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for recognizing a HUGE need!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing wisdom! we like educating and helping others just as much as building themes!

  • Nolan Bobbitt

    Based on your recent recommendation, I ordered Gary Vaynerchuk's book Crush It. I have absolutely devoured the book and worn out a highlighter on it!!! I would love to have one of the free Standard Themes so that I can set up a new website/info portal designed around my passions and begin "crushing it" in my sweet spots! Getting the free Standard Theme would be huge for me so I can focus on content and not on website programming!
    My recent post 100 Words: Students Becoming My Teachers

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      YES! gary's book is great.

  • http://www.SpiritualKlutz.blogspot.com Joshua Rogers

    I think a lot of us ambitious bloggers need to hear more stuff like this (http://www.lifestream.org/bodylife.php?blid=58) from Wayne Jacobsen, who you may remember as the editor of "The Shack." We are all trying too hard.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      hmm. perhaps we need to just relax!

  • http://bondchristian.com/ bondChristian

    Here's a question I'd love for someone to answer (hint, hint… post idea, Human3rror): how can someone who's inexperienced tell if a theme is coded well?

    I've tried to go off reputation, but so many developers say their theme is SEO friendly. I know I could go with Thesis or a few others, but are there any tips you'd suggest for figuring out what's good and what's not?

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

    P. S. Why do I want to win? Because I want to have a competition and give it away! :-)
    My recent post Your objections to slavery (and my responses)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      education and awareness my friend! you can find best practices on the web and then compare them with our theme.

  • http://michaelsgray.com Michael Gray

    Thanks for the post, Jon.

    I'd like a free copy of Standard Theme because I'm developing a new blog whereby I write a book and give it away for free. I have been reading books (Linchpin by Seth Godin for one) that encourage people to give their gifts away for free, and my gears are turning. I have been working on a memoir, and rather than trying to self-publish or compete with the likes of Jon-and-Kate-Plus-Eight [blech], I thought it would be nice to self-publish in a blog format. Having a solid technology platform from which to deliver my content is essential.

    And if that doesn't convince you, then maybe the idea of having your work tied to an e-book entitiled "Swimming in Circles: A Sperm Story" would be intriguing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      a sperm story…? yikes!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/MichaelSGray MichaelSGray

        LOL! I'm guessing that your reaction is not a very good indication that I might have a chance at winning this contest. :)

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

          who knows?


          John Saddington
          JohnSaddington.com

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kkcoolj kkcoolj

    John, nice work on this one. Still love the personal identity theme you created and I'm using at http://www.kennyjahng.com

    With SEO/SEM consulting/coaching in my background, I fully appreciate your attempts to integrate this into the WP world, especially the no-plugins-necessary part.

    If I get one of the freebie Standard Theme packages, I'll be using it for YAB (yet another blog) that I have to set-up since one of my legacy blogs still using the Blogger platform + FTP needs a new solution (Google announced they will stop supporting FTP blogs via Blogger.com starting 5/1/10). So instead of buying into the custom URL hosting via blogger.com, I will take one of my blogger blogs and convert it to a WP-based platform. It would be a great case study to see just how easy the transition would be.

    Out of curiosity, what features of Standard Theme are missing from michaelhyatt.com's current config or vice versa worth noting? Are you going to integrate them via custom dev work? Or leave as is?
    My recent post My Own [Randomization] Ritual

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      yes. custom dev. ;)

      but you're so advanced! you don't need this theme.. ;)

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/kkcoolj kkcoolj

        Aw, such flattery.

        Here's one right back atcha:
        <img src="http://icrushalot.com/generator/comment_gfx/2010-03-13_06-59_I_Human3rror.png"&gt;

        Seriously though, it will be interesting to see if you can develop case studies regarding this theme where you can demonstrate that usage will bring high visibility on a consistent basis of some sort in the SERPs across Google, Yahoo, etc. Seeing an awareness (& implementation) of both the aesthetics/design elements *and* SEO considerations to a deep level is rare. I think that many designers are now starting to catch onto the basics that should be incorporated, but I don't think the knowledge of general SEO mechanics are understood yet by enough people doing web design work.

        Hope your template accomplishes this, kind of how the THESIS THEME purports to do it as well.
        My recent post My Own [Randomization] Ritual

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

          sweet! good idea.


          John Saddington
          JohnSaddington.com

  • http://rockthedesert.typepad.com marina

    I've been blogging since February 2007 (inspired by @recreate). I've been utterly dependent on the ease of my current platform. I have recently developed a desire to have more control over all aspects of my blog. I've tried WordPress in the past, was completely clueless about how to make it do what I wanted it to do. Your Standard Theme, with its solid foundation and flexibility to grow sounds absolutely perfect for my blog. I believe my content is solid and I've found some key, recurring themes that work for me and my readers. I'm very excited about trying out your new theme, regardless of whether or not you choose me/my blog for a complimentary copy!!
    My recent post January – Tying Up Loose Ends

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks marina! content is king and if it's solid, great start!

  • http://www.facebook.com/fourfecta Mitch Ebie

    I did some research on the standard theme and the man behind it, and as far as I can tell everything is legit. I have not met John Saddington, but my friend heard him speak at a seminar in Atlanta. He only had good things to say.

    I have emailed the Standard theme support a few times, pretty sure John responded to my emails. Here are some direct quotes after I asked how many extra features I could include like e-commerce and profile capabilities:

    “so the sky is really the limit.”

    When I asked about the potential to make money, he referred to the two in the demo, he said:

    “Those two examples are amazing examples as they are doing great financially.”

    I also asked about the ability to custom design it, he said:

    “You could design it in Dreamweaver but you’d have to know how to port the design into the themes css structure correctly. You might need some help with taht.”

    I am going to get the Standard theme.

    • http://8bit.io Tom

      Thanks for the kind words, Mitch..

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mitchebie Mitch Ebie

    I did some research on the standard theme and the man behind it, and as far as I can tell everything is legit. I have not met John Saddington, but my friend heard him speak at a seminar in Atlanta. He only had good things to say.

    I have emailed the Standard theme support a few times, pretty sure John responded to my emails. Here are some direct quotes after I asked how many extra features I could include like e-commerce and profile capabilities:

    "so the sky is really the limit."

    When I asked about the potential to make money, he referred to the two in the demo, he said:

    "Those two examples are amazing examples as they are doing great financially."

    I also asked about the ability to custom design it, he said:

    "You could design it in Dreamweaver but you'd have to know how to port the design into the themes css structure correctly. You might need some help with that."

    I am going to get the Standard theme.
    My recent post The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. –1 Timothy 6:10. Do you think about money all the time. Do you have to have a lot of it to be happy…you better read 1 Timothy 6:10 again.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks! doing your homework is so crucial.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mitchebie Mitch Ebie

        That's right…I suppose if I had tons of cash to throw around I would be a little more reckless and get all sorts of sites and programmers and have fun experimenting. However, I do not yet, so, I want to find the best thing the first time.
        My recent post What are some PRINCIPLES that you live by?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/kkcoolj kkcoolj

      Mitch, what would you be using this theme for? Interesting that you are investigating the ecommerce options.
      My recent post My Own [Randomization] Ritual

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mitchebie Mitch Ebie

        I am starting an organization that is designed to offer help in four areas of life. In the beginning I am strictly building content and just trying to help people…no strings attached. However, at some point I would like this to be a full time job, so, I plan to monetize after a while with products that I am developing. But I do want a blog, as I see the great value in being interactive with lots of people. Hope you are doing well Kenny
        My recent post What are some PRINCIPLES that you live by?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/HSchiefelbein HSchiefelbein

    John – you know I'm SOOOO close to making the switch from Blogger to WordPress. You can be the catalyst and hook me up with a free Standard Theme and my blog will speak your praises! Nice post here on Hyatt's blog.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      DO IT!

  • Michelle

    I'll be honest… I want to post more, but I don't always like how it looks, and find myself trying to make it look cleaner or whatever…to the point that I leave the content and don't get it posted… I want to blog more. I want something that looks better. I've been thinking about switching to wordpress from blogger and I love the clean lines of this theme. I'd be excited all over again to be a consistent part of the blogosphere… Anyway – Oh, can I beg?? Would that work?? (j/k!)

  • http://www.c3chico.com/index Catherine Wolcott

    Currently, I maintain a personal blog, A blog for my quickly growing church, and a bible study blog my friends and I started. I do it all on Blogger and I'm not very impressed with its flexibility. I know a little about code, well, at least enought to know what css, html, and php stand for and how to manipulate html a bit, but between creating our church's website, running our email campaigns, and getting content into the blogs, I don't think there's any more minutes left in the day to learn enough to create a basic blog using wordpress. I sure do love the look and the flexibility of wordpress blogs though.

    so, I give the blogs a new face now and then and hope to get people interested locally by word of mouth, twitter, facebook, email, and whatever else I can cook up.

    I'm not trying to become the queen of the blogosphere, just reach my community with good information and good news. My church blog is http://www.c3chico.blogspot.com

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      thanks for commenting catherine!

  • http://www.helmetorheels.com Pam

    I'm rather new to blogging and found WordPress easy to use, but my level of knowledge keeps me from personalizing the layout beyond what's provided.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      and perhaps that's a good thing for now…! get a good theme to start and concentrate on content!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/genesis5020 aaron

    Would love to receive a copy of Standard Theme. I have gone back and forth between WordPress.com and a hosted site. I am currently on WordPress.com but have my blog sitting on a server in need of a strong template. While I love wordpress.com for all they offer, sometimes the limitations keep me from, what I believe, taking blogging to the next level. Yet each time I have gone to the hosted site, I have found that the templates just don't fit my needs. For the reasons you stated above, Standard Theme would be a great look and way for me to move back to the hosted site (I paid a year in advance). Right now it is money wasted. Thanks for the offer and the information!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing! go hosted all the way!

  • http://www.facebook.com/erictchin ERic Chin

    Presently, I think my biggest "eh" is that many blog themes aren't made for photo /and/ writing at the same time. I mean, I know that it's difficult to integrate the two, but the gray area in between media/writing is tread too lightly.

    From the looks of Standard Theme, it's beautiful, simple, and very presentable for photos AND writing…i.e. "just what I'm looking for!" But sadly, I don't have an income that can accommodate purchasing the Standard Theme, and as a student, I have trouble asking my parents for a penny… :(

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      definitely understand the "student" issue…! i've been a grad student for the last 5 years…! student-forever…

  • http://dominionclassical.org Derek Monjure

    I need consistent code base and structure validated….

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      yes, we all do!

  • http://twitter.com/PGardnerNZ @PGardnerNZ

    I desperately need a theme for my church (http://www.sajchurch.com) that allows me to make the front page less post centric and more like a hub for all our different communication channels.

  • http://8bit.io Tom

    ..that's an awesome idea.

  • http://twitter.com/dijunky @dijunky

    I have no current theme :(, but I would use the standard theme for my Church's post-Easter sermon series: the X-factor. It's about how technology is interfering with our relationship with God and how we can learn to harness the power of technology while still being able to devote time to God.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      cool, thanks for commenting dijunky!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jcisonline jcisonline

    I want this theme because I will be starting a new role this summer at my church. I will be doing 5th and 6th grade ministry. There are a lot of churches that have a felt need for this group but are struggling to make it work. I hope by having the tools to get the word out there. We'll have a way to talk about it and brainstorm successful ways of doing ministry to this preteen group.

    The SEO optimization would be killer for this!!!
    My recent post Faceoff Friday: Shoes

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

    John, I'm glad to see you offering your talent to the world in a rock solid WP design. I am doing a twelve week social media adventure on my blog, and we will be creating a WordPress site from scratch in week 4. Your template would be a great one to feature since it is designed for beginners and has a lot of plug-in features built in. This will save new users lots of time. If I should receive a copy, I'll set it up our project domain (meedeeah.com) on it and do a step by step tutorial. So many of the current professional templates are so complicated, that a new user would be completely lost after a few minutes. This will certainly solve their problem.

    Keep up the great work.

    John
    My recent post Social Media: Set Up A Twitter Account

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      12 week social media adventure…? whoa!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      congrats! you've won a copy! email info@standardtheme.com!

  • Michelle

    I'll be honest… I want to post more, but I don't always like how it looks, and find myself trying to make it look cleaner or whatever…to the point that I leave the content and don't get it posted… I want to blog more. I want something that looks better. I've been thinking about switching to wordpress from blogger and I love the clean lines of this theme. I'd be excited all over again to be a consistent part of the blogosphere… Anyway – Oh, can I beg?? Would that work?? (j/k!)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      WORDPRESS! do it!

      begging works… i think. ;)

  • http://www.fsmleadership.com @finrobinson

    we have recently started a new leadership training blog for our student ministry small group leaders. with a growing number of leaders and the difficulty of any form of centralized training, we are hoping to reach their hearts and minds with regular blog posts.

    i know that our growing body of content would really benefit from the power that standard theme possesses. we are hoping that this site/blog will be a valuable tool in our ministry for years to come!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      "years to come"… i like that!

  • http://www.optimaworldwide.com Kyle Claypool

    Great post! I've been preaching this exact thing for years, and one of my clients sent me a link to this article, saying "Well, you were right all along!" I'd love to check out your Standard theme.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing kyle! preach on!

  • Robert Taylor

    The one idea that captured my attention was John's comment about beginning bloggers need to develop good content rather than toying with the theme. As a fledgling, I found that I spent an inordinate amount of time with the keeping my head under the hood rather than behind the wheel and steering content. Thank you John for keeping me pointed in the right direction. (Looks great, and I'd love to win a copy.)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

      sure thing robert! focus focus focus!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

    sure thing alicia! we'll see monday!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/adam_herod adam_herod

    I just thought I'd say that I heart my standard theme. :-)
    My recent post appropriate response

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Indie_Business Donna Maria

    I'd like the theme so I can compare it to Thesis, which is what I use now. Also, so I can compare it to other blog platforms I've used including TypePad, Blogger and another custom theme created by a freelancer. I really like Thesis, but without knowing much about code, I feel that it has some limitations. At the end of the day, I need to hire someone like John, and I'm working up to that. I'm not sure if he remembers, but I had a conversation with John a few months back and he quoted me a rate to design my blog. I could not afford it. Hence, another reason why I want to try his theme. Because I already know it will be good.

  • http://twitter.com/samrhall @samrhall

    I can share in the desire of having to customize themes that are large and bloated just because of one or two features that are already built in. I do a lot of work for clients who need attractive sites that offer several entry points into different aspects of their content. These are generally non-profit or political organizations.

    Generally what I run into are completed jobs where the sites looks and operates just fine, but I know it's a bit pieced together in the back. That doesn't make me happy from a personal standpoint.

    I've thought about building a "base" theme that I could use as a starting point, but I've never taken the time to do it. And why do it when there are a couple of pretty good ones out there that have already put in the work.

    I'd love to have Standard Theme so I could build better sites for my smaller customers without having to do a ground-up customized design for them. It would be more affordable for them, and I could be prouder of what was under the hood.
    My recent post Productivity as a Hobby

  • angie_seattle

    I think it's great you are offering some free copies of your standard theme. I won't ask for one, as I have a theme and am already trying to get my self-hosted blog launched. I was tempted, though. I can appreciate the comments about just getting the content out there, as well as the frustrations of getting hung up on trying to get the design just right and teaching ourself as you go.

  • Hillary

    I am about to run a contest that involves essay submissions from students from 45 schools. My greatest concern is categorizing each post and making each category visible so that all submissions are deemed as equally important and none are buried too deeply in the archives.

  • http://twitter.com/Theatre_Sexton @Theatre_Sexton

    I've been thinking about jumping into the blogosphere for the past couple of months but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. Today was about research for platform, themes, etc. and I saw the tweet. Want to start me off on the right foot with this theme?

  • @RandysRules

    I am ready to design and build my first blog, and have been extremely impressed with your work here and on display in other referenced blogs. Your positive attitude, well written “helps”, and attention to the complete package would bring joy to that effort through use of this theme!

  • http://ruach.worpress.com david

    After almost three years of blogging, I finally hit the front page of wordpress this week and for a few days, the number of hits exploded. Most of the folks who dropped by won’t be back because they are not really looking for a spiritually focused blog. But, I know a lot of people out there are looking for “something more.” I would like to make it easy for them to find and link to me. If that number is 100 or 500 people a day, so be it. But, I want to do the best job possible with my limited time.

    I lack code writing ability (unwilling to spend the time to learn it is a better way to say it!) so I have tried various themes over the years to tune up my blog but always with some frustration. I would look forward to the use of a new tool to help sharpen my focus and better target my audience. Thanks!

  • Chris

    Been thinking about starting a blog for a while now. Just found out that I'll be moving to a new city to take a creative arts apprenticeship with a church for a year and then I'll be moving on to help plant new churches. I'd really love to be able to document the journey. Standard Theme looks like it would be the perfect place for me to start.

  • http://ohamanda.com ohamanda

    I knew this was true! And I'm so glad to hear someone say it—content is king within the confines of a decent workable design. I'd love to have the Standard theme–my design is just a boring premade I found somewhere and liked it b/c it was purple. Ahem. Anyway, what I like in a design is the ability to have lots of info (twitter feeds, subscription options, blogrolls, ads, etc) without looking so junky and homemade. I write 2 blogs–a mommy blog and a crafty parenting blog. And both need a step up in the design department!

    Thanks for the great tips and resrouces!
    a

  • http://Www.brianjosephrussell.wordpress.com Brian Russell

    Our mutual friend Tony Steward has sold me on the theme. Love the look and ‘feel’ of his new site & what he has to say about the brilliance of the coding.

  • http://rustyboozer.com Rusty Boozer

    John – I could not give you a bigger Amen! Being new to blogging, I've learned a valuable lesson. It's not the content or the look of your site, it's the "Quality" of your site.

    Everyone always talks about getting people to return by offering valuable content but if they can't find you or their overall experience is bad, you're done!

    I'd love to not know what it's like to have a good experience.

  • http://Www.adammearse.com Adam Mearse

    I’m a youth pastor and someting of an aspiring writer. I’ve launched several blogs over the years and most of my frustration with then has been in the limitation of the various publishing platforms. I’m on WordPress now and have see Standard theme through Twitter posts recently. I’d live to gave the functionality and able to do all things it offers with content. Thanks for doing this. Blessings.

  • Dean

    The design is really clean and so wonderfully functional. I’ve looked for a design that will elegantly facilitate the relatively simple needs of my blog site and enhance the experience for those who visit it.

    Thanks, John (and Michael) for I introducing this design,

    A future user

  • http://writingtoserve.net Maria Keckler

    Wow, John, this post could not be more timely. I have been so frustrated with a theme and host that make posting and reading every post painfully slow–the reason I finally stopped blogging untli I can get my blog dilemma under control (you may remember me from my cry fo help email :). I am very impressed with what you have done and the philosophy that has driven you to produce a qualifty product. Everything you have said here I have learned the hard way, and I look forward to having a good testimonial to report later as I explore Standard Theme, even if I didn't get the free copy.

    Keep doing outstanding work!

    Maria
    My recent post Profiting from Reader Feedback

  • http://Www.clergygirl.wordpress.com Jen

    I fell into blogging two years ago when I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer as only a way to keep friends updated. But now that I’m NED I’m using my blog to encourage others with IBC. I still have a lot to learn, but after two years of only standard theme and hopefully somewhat quality content I’m pursuing more. I’m pretty certain this would be useful.

  • Pingback: The Best of the Best Around the Net |

  • http://twitter.com/NRTdave @NRTdave

    Small furry bunnies…
    It's ok, everyone says I'm a little crazy…

    I'm a photographer, and an ok writer.. I do have a passion of sharing my concert work (how I shoot) as well as thoughts on why Christianity as actually reasonable.. Not sure if I'll pickup readers but it's a passion of mine to get this out there and pray that it's just not more noise in the blog-o-sphere..

    Now, I have the photo stuff down, and I have some good content ideas but every time I talk to you (John) its always the same thing… "more images. more spacing. bigger headers. content's good!" … "Format, titles, and spacing", "Format, titles, and spacing", "Format, titles, and spacing", "Format, titles, and spacing", "Format, titles, and spacing", ….. ahhhhhggg…

    So I find I spend soooo much time worrying about this instead of getting my stuff out there… so I tweek and tweek and tweek and struggle with my template.. I'm just not much of a backend dude… dude … but following you I know this is valuable insight and information and I need to do it.

    for the looks of your template it looks like it could really help me get out there and get read faster and to help minimize some of the backend tweeking.. I'd love to have a copy of this to use…

    Help me Obi-wan Kenobi…your my only hope….
    david
    My recent post Why Christian Music

  • http://speckleofdirt.blogspot.com Speckle

    I've been posting on blogger for about a year now, and I've been able to manipulate html somewhat, but some of the gadgets are hard to play with (or maybe it's just me). In fact today I'm going to go in and see if I can just install 'tabs' for the different categories of content I write…blogger would only let me install one tab…uggghh! I'm new and working on content and social sharing right now, and figure the design will morph as I go…Thanks for the post!
    My recent post #5 Frivolous Friday: Senate Bill 6345 (Cell Phone Frivolity)

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/kcroy kcroy

    John, your Standard Theme looks absolutely stunning and easy to use. I want to blog more often and I believe your theme will make it easier to do that. I love the look and design of Michael Hyatt's website, and if he recommends you then I know this is good for me.
    My recent post Build a Club You Can Be Proud Of

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/daveanthold daveanthold

    As someone who shifted to wordpress.com sometime ago, I have the desire to shift over to a self-hosted blog soon, but seem that price is unbelievable w/the free hosting solution; however, I can't seem to get the whole "look and feel" I desire.

    For me, the "look and feel" enable me to contribute more to the the site (even with my own writing). I'm not sure if its a hang up or that's just how I am wired. Regardless, one of these days, I will shift over to a new self-hosted solution and the Standard theme John developed would be a great way to begin. Please consider me for one of the giveways :).

    My recent post iPad and Me

  • http://asadiyah.com asadiyah

    great post, thanks for sharing.

  • Bill Prettyman

    John, please consider me for a copy of your new Standard Theme. I am starting a new blog and want to have a well-coded blog site right from the start so I can just focus on creating great content and a niche for our readers. The Standard Theme would allow me to create a niche in the print and marketing services industry where I would be easy to find via SEO with the code you have written. I have admired what you have done with Michael Hyatt's and NPCC's site and have even created a blog site for launch but yours seems to be put together with more thought with the code. I am a member at NPCC and we had to re-schedule a lunch due to your wife's birthday – totally more important! In the future, as my blog develops a niche, I will probably want to change the theme and with you so geographically close by I thought it would be easy to work with you. I wish you the best of success with your new theme.

  • http://www.fixyourtodolist.com/blog Jeffrey Cox

    I'm a huge proponent of web sites dynamicly and automatically displaying correctly on mobile devices. I just tried the Standard Theme on my Palm Pre and it looked great. More and more, this is what the web needs to be, and your theme does a great job. I would really like to give this a try for my site. Thanks cery much in advance for the opportunity.
    My recent post Robert Has it Wrong

  • http://unretouchedphoto.com Melodee

    I've been blogging for 7 years and my current WordPress blog theme does not work for me at all. It was custom-made but I am unable to do much of anything with it myself. I've been trying to figure out how to improve it and considered a move to Typepad, even. I can't even post photos on my blog at the moment. It's frustrating.
    My recent post Memoirs, memoirs, memoirs (try typing that five times fast!)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/miller_schloss Becky Miller

    I admit, in thinking about setting up a new blog (bought my domain, got overwhelmed with design stuff and figuring out WordPress, haven't finished it) I never even thought about coding. I am NOT a tech-savvy person, I'm a writer…Maybe Standard Theme is the solution for me.

  • http://www.lauraclick.com Laura Click

    Admittedly, I'm not a tech guru. I know just enough to be dangerous, which is likely why my current blog theme is rife with bugs. When buying my theme, I'm ashamed to admit that I fell for the looks….and it shows.
    While it looks nice, it doesn't perform the way it should.

    A techy friend of mine helped me set up my blog, but it sounds like it would take a bunch of work-arounds to get it to work as it should. It's sad how many irritating problems I've discovered with my theme — the comments all show up as the date of the blog post instead of the date people comment; punctuation is often omitted from the blog excerpts on the front page (as a grammar nut, this is disconcerting); the excerpt from the front page is repeated on the blog post itself; plug-ins and widgets don't work the way they should and only show up on certain pages; and the list goes on.

    This post proves that looks aren't everything. While I don't understand how things "work under the hood", it's important to pay attention to this aspect of your blog. Clearly, I didn't the first time. While I don't want to spend a lot of money on blog design, it is important to have a blog that works. Right now, mine doesn't. This is proof that you often get what you pay for!

    Michael's blog, in my opinion, is one of the best-designed blogs out there. The fact that it runs on the Standard Theme gives it a ton of credibility. The proof is in the pudding! I would love to have a blog that looks, and works, nearly as well.

    Thanks for the great post. I'll have to give the Standard Theme a look (especially if I don't win it!).
    My recent post Seven Tips for Developing Relationships Online

  • ThatGuyKC

    Why I want this theme? I'm a relatively new & amateur blogger (currently using WordPress.com's free service) and am trying to take the next step as a blogger/writer. This theme would provide a very clean, crisp and effective foundation and give me the tools to launch forward.

  • http://www.wizetime.com Wize Time

    lots of great things on this theme but it's only two columns – I like three columns for a variety of reasons – but you certainly have made an impressive looking and functioning theme –
    My recent post Facebook Mystery – 130,000 Member Group Disappears – No Clues

  • http://www.fromrussia.com Russia

    Hey very nice blog!! Man .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…

  • http://genericwpthemes.com WP Themes

    Amiable post and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you on your information.

  • summer

    thank you so much for this insight! I agree and would like to quote you on some of your ideas in an english paper for class. This is just the sort of content i've been searching for. I currently have both a WordPress and blogspot blog- blogspot more for fun and WordPress for a class. I would like to use WordPress for both of my blogs, but I would rather work with HTML than CSS. However, your theme would be wonderful to make the total transition to WordPress. Please consider me for the theme– I will try to make it a solid investment on your end. if you would like to see the blog i am attempting at blogspot… well check it out:http://heb121.blogspot.com/
    anyway, thank you again for your words.

  • http://www.beforethecross.com/ Mike Mobley

    Some things I have experienced comes down to some menu options, especially the top menu options, or lack of really. Really looking forward to the Get Noticed theme.

    If anyone has any pointers on how to best improve my site located at:

    http://www.beforethecross.com

    Please let me know! I would love some feedback. Thanks!