A Case Against Using The Default WordPress Theme

Teli Adlam —  October 6, 2005

With the popularity of WordPress growing, more people are looking to harness its power. Why not? WordPress is a great tool.

I don’t see anything wrong with having a lot of blogs, otherwise I’d be the pot calling the kettle black. I do, however, see many things wrong with having a lot of splogs.

I’ve even seen software specifically developed to create “thousands of WordPress blogs in seconds.” Software of this nature only serves to streamline the creation of WordPress powered splogs.

Splogs are becoming such a nuisance that there are websites dedicated to bringing them down and people who come across a WordPress blog using the beautifully functional Kubrick default theme consider it to be a splog.

I even have to admit that I’ve come to that same conclusion a number of times myself. The vast majority of the spam comments I receive link to one WordPress splog or another.

I’m not saying that all blogs using the default theme are spammers and I’m not saying sploggers won’t get smart and start changing their themes (some already have), but the majority haven’t.

Even if you are confident you’re not running a spam blog – change the theme, or at very least, customize the default theme to make it your own. You want people to read your content, not wonder if they ended up at a spammer’s site by mistake.

Teli Adlam


16 responses to A Case Against Using The Default WordPress Theme

  1. Great post, Teli.

    I’ve been wondering about the same issue
    for some time, as we was using Kubrick
    at a music blog, jazzenvoy.com.

    What theme, in your opinion,
    is the closest to Kubrick,
    yet different enough to satisfy
    the conditions of “not a splog”?


  2. Hi Jim,
    A comparable theme to WordPress Kubrick, in my opinion, is a theme called Relaxation or even the Three Column Relaxation (doesn’t work in 800×600).

    Hope that helps out 🙂

  3. Thanks Teli,

    I think I’ll go for relaxation 3 column
    on a blog or two.

    #1. How important do you think it is
    for a website to be no more than 700 px wide?
    I’m thinking of all those folks at AOL
    and their default AOL browser settings.

    #2. I saw some of your gorgeous custom
    work on the blogs at

    Great stuff!
    How did you get the RSS feeds from other
    network blogs into the box top right
    at the bloglogic homepage?

    Is there a RSS plugin that you used
    into the sidebar?

    Once again, thanks for all the great tips
    in your blog, and in your ebook on WordPress!
    I was just re-reading it again last night,
    and it’s simply chock-full of great tips
    on how to make more $$ with WordPress.


  4. Oops, I meant to type 800 pixels
    in the post above



  5. Hey Jim,
    Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to this question (I didn’t forget about it)…

    #1 – it depends on who’s going to be reading your website. There are still quite a few people out there still using an 800×600 monitor, however, if your site is geared more towards the technologically inclined, then most of them will already be using a higher resolution and it won’t matter whether your design works in 800×600

    So, check out your target audience. (Over generalization coming) regular non-tech type folks = important; tech type folks = not really important.

    #2 – Thanks. I can’t take all the credit though. Paul did most of it :).

    As for the RSS feeds, that’s Paul’s doing – however, there are a couple plugins that you could use to get the same effect.

    CaRP (learning curve)
    RSS Link List (WP Plugin)* – I’ve used a modified form of the script on a few client sites, so can vouch for its relative ease of use

    *Apparently the author has changed the name and it’s now called feedList

    Let me know if there’s anything else I can help out with – and thanks again for the kind words!

  6. Hi, I’ve found a theme I like but it doesn’t come with a readme file on how to install it. It’s the “Identification band – the triplets boyish style” from http://t37.net/identification-bands.

    Can you give me some pointers or direct me to a site that has instructions or a tutorial on how to install themes?

  7. Hello Jerry,
    There is a section of the WordPress Codex dedicated to using/setting up themes.

    Fist, upload via FTP the entire theme folder to [WP_INSTALL]/wp-content/themes/ (where WP_INSTALL is your root WordPress installation).

    Then login to your WordPress admin panel, click on Presentation and select the theme you’ve just uploaded.

    Hope that helps out,
    ~ Teli

  8. Teli,

    Turns out it was as simple as you pointed out. Apparently, it isn’t until you start modifying the templates themselves that you run into more difficulties. For example, this one does not have any menu buttons at the top, so I may have to add those myself. I’ll start playing around with it like I did with my zen-cart store.

    Thanks for your assistance,

  9. You’re welcome Jerry and if there’s anything else I may be able to help with – just lemme know.

    ~ Teli

  10. Excellent article.

    Just to let you know, the WordPress Default Theme Equals Spam article is at this URL (the URL above returns a 404 error):



  11. Thanks Kathleen,
    I’ve gone ahead and fixed up the link. Maybe I should do a follow up post about switching permalink structures once a site is already established… 🙂

    ~ Teli

  12. I like the way you integrated your newsletter signup. Can you tell me if that’s a plugin or something? I’d like to put one on my own site (http://www.stc-suncoast.org). Thanks,


  13. Hi Tom,
    Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

    The newsletter is courtesy of a heavily modified version of the E-mail Notification plugin.

    There’s a post called Powering the OptiNiche Blog that outlines all of the plugins I currently use on the site.

    Hope that helps out and if there’s anything else, just let me know.

    ~ Teli

  14. The permalink to the WordPress Default Theme Equals Spam article has changed again!


    I think this proves the necessity for a permalink structure post!


  15. Thanks Kathleen,
    And you’re right. I’ve added it to my drafts as a reminder to myself.

  16. Wow, I didn’t know that. I was actually using a different theme but I decided to go back to the default theme because it seems to look better to me now that I have more content on my site. I was curious why not a lot of people are using the default theme so I decided to do some research on google and found this post. Thanks for the info!