Blog Templates or Themes are a whole bunch of html code that forms the basic templates, design and layout of your blog. Most blog platforms come with a bunch of inbuilt templates or themes, but you can also scout around and find pre-made templates to download on the internet. You can also pay a designer or developer to create a custom theme or template for you (or they can tweak an existing one!)
Blogger refers to their back end layouts as templates and has an inbuilt template editor to help you choose and customise your blog’s look. You can also find themes online at places like this. Check the reviews on any templates you want to use, notice if the designer is helpful and responsive and any comments for or against the layout.
Wordpress refer to their layouts/templates as themes. There are a bunch ready for the picking in the back end of WordPress (under Appearance > Themes) or you can shop around (sometimes for free!) at sites like ThemeForest.
Has a whole bunch of great themes and templates too. Have a look there as well. You’ll be buying from an independent creative and they will be able to help you with other design elements on your blog.
Some other tips:
Look for a template or theme with lots of flexibility so you can easily add or hide columns and other page elements without having to hire a developer.
It’s a great idea to choose a responsive theme that is designed to be viewed across all kinds of devices.
Make sure your theme allows you to click chronologically from one post to the next. Some themes require you to return HOME or use a widget archived by date… Much better to have ‘earlier posts’ and ‘later posts’ at the bottom of each page, methinks. Make it easy for your readers to see the flow of your work.
WordPress themes can be enhanced by downloading plugins. More on those here.
Make sure the theme/layout/template you choose is from a reputable source. You are putting this code on your blog, so you want to be sure it works beautifully. Also, if you are tweaking a pre-existing template/layout, make sure you go carefully, back up your existing template first and are able to undo any changes you don’t like.
If you hire a developer to help you customise a template/layout, be sure they come highly recommended. You will probably need to use them more than once, so make sure they do a great job and are easy to communicate with.
When you’re looking for the right template/theme, it’s a good idea to use some extra search terms to narrow things down: try ‘minimalist theme’ or ‘photography template’ or ‘magazine theme’ or ‘responsive theme’ or ‘3 column theme’ for instance, to save yourself wading through tons of crappy results.
Here’s a bunch of nice Blogger templates to consider, if you don’t know where to start.
The WordPress theme we customised for Meet Me At Mike’s was called Bonsai, but it doesn’t seem to be available anymore.
Here’s the WordPress theme I’m USED to use on Blog With Pip. It’s called Customizr and it’s really ace and easy to work with… (I’ve just updated to a paid theme called Simple Mag – I use it on my Meet Me At Mike’s blog too.)