Two Column or Three Column WordPress Theme? Which One is Best for You?

There are 1000s of WordPress themes that are freely available to be used on your blog. Many of these themes are categorized based on the number of columns they have. You have a choice of having a two column theme as well as a three column theme.

Two column based themes have a main content area and a single sidebar whereas three column themes have a main content area and two sidebars.

The question of which theme you should use is mostly based on how good the theme looks, there are some other factors too which you should consider while choosing a theme. The decision to choose either a two column theme or a three column theme is a bit difficult. I will run a comparison between both these format in certain key areas which could help make your decision easier.

Main Content Area

Two Column Based WordPress Themes

Two column based WordPress Themes provide you with a large content area usually more than 500px up to 650px. This makes reading content more easier and using large width images easier.

The content area also provides you with better options to align your images to the right or left of your content.

Three Column Based WordPress Themes

Two column based WordPress Themes usually have lesser area for content. If you are someone who uses images in your posts, you will always have to curtail the width of image to fit into content area. Also since the content area is lesser it would mean that a user would have to read more lines. This is not particularly good when you write longer posts.

Also right or left aligning of images is a bit difficult for large images since it would break the whole design.

Sidebar

Two Column Based WordPress Themes

Two column based WordPress Themes provide you with a single sidebar, this is the a big problem if you have a lot of content to show in the sidebar. If you try and put it all into the sidebar your page will stretch a long way down thus leaving blank space in your main content area.

Though the sidebar does provide you with a bigger size thus allowing you to make better use of it. If you still want to fit in huge content then you should read my earlier post on how to compact your sidebar to fit in more content.

Three Column Based WordPress Themes

The three column based themes provide you with a better option in the sidebar, you can fit in more content into the sidebar all in the same space. This is one option that many users look at while choosing a three column based theme.

I preferred a three column theme just for this reason. In addition to that it also allows you with flexibility of having your sidebar on either side of the content.

Advertising Options

Two Column Based WordPress Themes

Two column based WordPress themes provide you with a bit more options to advertise on your blog.

Main Content Area

In the main content area you can use 336 * 280 or 300 * 250 ad size on the right or left side of your content at the start of the article. You can also use the same format above your content, but having it at the right or left gets you more clicks.

In addition to this you can fit in a 468 * 60 banner within the content area itself. In short you can fit in most of the ad size images in the content area.

Sidebar

The sidebar too provides with a wide range of advertising options, you can fit in 300 * 250, 250 * 250, 200 * 200, 180 * 150 or 264 * 60 size ads. The biggest plus point of two column themes is the 125 * 125 ad option which provides a great option for advertising.

With 125 * 125 ad size you can fit in 2 sponsors / ads side by side thus giving you a wider range of advertisers. You can see that most 2 column themes have the 125 * 125 option pretty visible in the sidebar.

The only thing that you can’t fit into the two column is a skyscraper ad or banner. I do miss those on my site, but you have to give way for something in lieu of something. But I am pretty happy with the options I have on a two column based theme.

Three Column Based WordPress Themes

Three column based WordPress themes also provide you with advertising options but not as much as a two column based theme.

Main Content Area

The biggest loss for a three column theme is that they can’t run ads adjacent to content area on left or right side of the content. They could but then the content will look like one word on a line. You can run those ads just above your content though.

The 468 * 60 option is also mostly not available on a three column theme. Overall the main content area does not provide a wide range of advertising options.

Sidebar

In the sidebar 3 column themes provide with a better option of running skyscraper banner which is a plus point. Other than than that there are limited options for placing other ad sizes which are bigger than 200 in width.

Also 125 * 125 banners can be placed on the sidebar but you can place only one banner per line thus limiting the number of banners you can place.

This is what I feel should help you in deciding whether you should choose a two column WordPress theme or a three column WordPress theme. I would love to hear why you choose between both of these options. My personal preference is a two column based WordPress theme, what do you prefer?

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6 Comments

  1. Erik Karey November 5, 2007
  2. J.D. November 5, 2007
  3. Frank C November 5, 2007
  4. Girish November 9, 2007
  5. Gary Ooi March 12, 2008
  6. Shabd - Nikhil Gupta May 5, 2008