Regular readers here at make money writing online know that I am on a quest to find the perfect WordPress theme for writers. After numerous new free themes came out proclaiming themselves to be WordPress themes for writers based on the fact that they were “plain” and therefore made “writing the focus” of the blog, I wondered what features and WordPress options would make the best theme for writers.
Obviously, this is no small undertaking. Writers come in all shapes and sizes. From writers looking to earn money writing online as a side business, to professional freelance writers, all the way to those looking to startup a writing business from home, covering all writers is tough business. However, as we’ve searched the WordPress theme gallery, and Google searched our way around the WordPress theme world, some very useful WordPress features have stood out as necessary to a top WordPress theme for writers. We’ve been cataloging those things that WordPress themes require to be the best money making writing themes out there as we go along so that until we do find a nice catalog of great WordPress themes for professional writers you can use the features for writers we have discovered to do your own analysis of themes that you find for yourself.
Today, we look at an important WordPress theme menu navigation feature that all good writer’s WordPress themes should have.
Customizable Menu Options for WordPress Themes
It is bad enough that as writers we have to dumb down our writing to fit into the outdated model that Google uses to index and rank search engine results. Clever titles and crafty writing are nothing more than suicide notes from writers who want more traffic to come to their websites. With that in mind, the writer should not also be further boxed into small minded navigation and menu options by theme developers who claim that all writers want from a WordPress theme is simple black and white text display.
While most on-page SEO tactics are nothing more than snake oil pedaled by SEO consultants and other search engine optimization experts, one critical SEO feature for writers is getting the right keywords in the titles of their webpages. Nothing gives a writer (or anyone else) a better chance of ranking high for a keyword or key phrase than exactly matching the search query typed into that little box on Google’s home page. To do that, requires titles that are occasionally wordy, or poorly framed. Fortunately, those bad writing titles can be hidden within the unused (by humans) title tags of the webpage in question. Then, a more sensical (but still optimized) title can be used in the H1 tags of the page.
All of this works provided that WordPress theme does not insist on taking whatever title it finds and jamming it into the menu bar or link list displayed automatically by the theme’s source code. For example, consider this money making blog theme currently being used here on makemoneywritingonline.com.
You see that menu in the upper right corner?
See that last tab? The one that says, “Writing Business Start-Up Guide“? You can about imagine why that is the title of the page. Fortunately, this particular theme uses small text up there and it doesn’t mess up the look of the theme, but that isn’t always the case. The problem is particularly acute for web developers and content publishers looking to take advantage of the Page functionality of WordPress. Many themes insist on listing all pages as menu options, and of course, using their full titles to do so. Unfortunately, most of them do not have the ability to deal with a WordPress blog that has enough pages to require two rows, or provide the webmaster with any easy way to configure which pages to display or how to have them titled when they are displayed.
So, we add another criteria for a good WordPress writer theme. Menu bars, side menus, and features that work based on displaying Pages must be configurable both for display as well as for which ones are displayed. All other themes shall be relegated to the for use only by Internet marketers and those who like flash over substance and success.
Theme on, my friends.