Backlinks are the golden path to page rank. Building backlinks however, can be a slow and tedious process every blogger has to face. We constantly find information on the web telling you to “write quality content”, “get involved with social networking”, “establish relationships with readers and other bloggers”.
All of these are excellent points and hold a lot of truth, but what if you want to speed up the process? What if you want to build pagerank by the time Google’s next update comes around?
A quick trip to the theme viewer gives us the answers we are looking for. For example the WP theme “Networker 1.0” has received 4,174 downloads at the time of this writing. If you were the designer of that theme you would have your link in the footer, which means that as of right now you would have 4,000 backlinks give or take, depending on how many have left the footer intact after downloading. That would be a surefire way to get that page rank you are after, and all it takes is one good theme.
WordPress themes are probably the easiest and fastest ways to build backlinks to your blog, with little effort. They are free to download which means you open the doors to anyone interested, the millions of WordPress users are all looking for one and there is new bloggers setting up their sites each day so the traffic will continue to flow. When designing your theme you want to go for popularity so scour the Internet for popular themes, check the popular section in the theme viewer and use what you find as an outline for what others are looking for in a theme.
Some Good Ideas to Include in Your Theme
- Search engine optimization is always a plus!
- Add functionality for the most popular plugins. Nobody likes a theme that won’t work with their favorite plugins.
- People love money! If you can add off the rack monetization people will thank you (Google AdSense ready)
- Make it widget ready, there is no reason not to and everyone wants it.
- Keep it light! Although there are die hard fans of dark themes they usually don’t accumulate as many downloads.
- Add some flair to your theme. Give it something unique, maybe a recent posts box or a nice subscription form.
- Offer support! This is very important, people will have questions when downloading your theme. Should you choose to ignore them they will find another theme, there is plenty of them out there.
- People like options. Maybe you can include several header styles with the download, which will give them the opportunity to personalize it. For ideas, look into these templates for blogs and websites.
What if You Don’t Know Anything About Web Design?
Don’t leave this article feeling empty if you don’t know anything about web design, there are alternatives. Below are a couple of ideas you may consider when trying to jump on the backlink train.
1. Sponsor a WordPress theme. Many theme developers are looking for sponsors on their themes. This gives them a way to make a direct income on a free design and they love it. A typical sponsorship will cost anywhere from $15 to $400 dollars depending on the popularity and the designer. Theme sponsorship will give you a link in the footer, usually “Sponsored By YourSite.com”. This is a valid alternative to designing your own theme, but with all advertising efforts, check the fine print and know what you are getting into, before dishing out your hard earned money.
2. Pay someone to design a theme for you. The funny thing about this is, you can probably find someone to hard code a theme for you in the same price range as sponsoring one. Which would make this a more viable option for your consideration. Take a look at some of the freelance coding sites and forums to see how much you can get someone to do this for. Never pay for services up front, you should expect to see a fully functional theme before handing over payment.
Which option you choose to go with is up to you and your skill level. Never put your name on a poorly coded design, you want people to think quality when they think of you and the better the theme the more backlinks you are likely to generate.
Sujan Patel is Director of Search at Single Grain, which specializes in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing