Posted December 11th, 2009 by Michael Janzen

After trying dozens of minimalist themes over the years I finally decided to code one myself. It’s open source and called Basic Simplicity. It’s super simple, loads fast, ad ready, widget enabled, validates, and has an administration control panel that makes quick color edits easy.

Download Basic Simplicity

I built Basic Simplicity because I always found myself editing other people’s code to get the look & feel I wanted. I also wanted more sidebar regions for easy inclusion of widgets. There are actually 10 widget enabled regions in this theme and all of them are optional. Scroll down for a description of all 10 regions.

Cluttered designs might be good for ad clicks but I really wanted my content, especially on Tiny House Design, to take the lead. If it’s all about the content shouldn’t the website’s design be all about the content?

The main column is also wider than most blogs allowing for much wider images (600px) than most blogs. The font size and color in the main column is also more visually dominant making it easier to read. The right sidebar is 300-pixels wide which is ideal for the ubiquitous 300×250 ads.

My Blogging and Theme Strategy

Instead of trying to squeeze every penny out of my blogs with Adsense I’m focusing on increasing readership and the number of impressions. By focusing on the content and leaving the home page easy to scan I’m encouraging people to click for more content. I think I’m also building my readership faster because the blog looks less about ads and more about the content. I think people like that and the ultimate goal for sucessful monetization is increasing readership and impressions. See Tiny House Design for the best example of this strategy in action.

About The Banner Photo

Just in case you’re curious about the header image; I lifted it from a photo of the tiny house I’m slowly building. The house is called the Tiny Free House and I’m building it from mostly reclaimed material like old pallets. Any money I spend building it will be reclaimed by selling free stuff I find.

In the theme download file above included an editable header.psd file in case you want to keep the blue sky but change the name. Feel free to use the header image on your blog or replace it with a photo of your own.


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