Boring Memo WordPress Theme

Boring Memo WordPress Theme

One of the keys to having a successful niche blog is for the advertising to be the star of the blog. It doesn’t matter if it is the Adsense ads, the eBay affiliate widget or an affiliate offer. You don’t want visitors to waste time reading your search engine optimized writing, you want them to click through to the advertisers site so that you can get paid. There are different schools of thought on this but one holds that you should use a plain, boring, ugly theme with long boring articles. Boring Memo is designed specifically for that.

Boring Memo Features

This theme is one column with the sidebar section at the bottom of the page. It is widgetized although you probably don’t want to use many widgets with it to prevent blunting its search marketing impact. It was developed and tested with WordPress 2.51 although it should work OK with previous versions of WordPress. It’s a pretty standard and simple theme.

The theme uses a Courier font to make it more boring and to resemble an old fashioned typewriter memo. This font isn’t as easy to read as proportional fonts and will most likely cause a reader to click out, hopefully by clicking the much more readable ads on the page.

Date references have been removed to help make the content more timeless and less ‘bloggy’.

The theme is very minimalist, just the bare essentials, and should be well optimized for internal SEO. If you notice anything SEO-wise that might be a problem, let me know.

Advertising With Boring Memo

A key feature of this theme is the advertising block. Inside the single page template there is a block where you can insert your advertising. To change it, go into the theme editor and look for the section marked like so…

<div class="inlineadblock">
<!-- Replace with your own Adsense or other Advertising Javascript or HTML -->

You will want to delete my dummy advertising there and replace it with your own. You can leave mine if you want, but it won’t do you any good.

The theme and the advertising block are optimized for a 336×280 Large Rectangle ad. You can adjust this size if you want by modifying the the height and width in the inlineadblock section in the Stylesheet. It’s at the very end of the stylesheet so it’s easy to find.

You can plug just about any kind of advertising into this location and it will appear inline on the left top side of the single page articles. This is one of the better places for advertising since English readers will look there first when they begin to read a page.

OK, I’ve bored you enough, here’s the download and demo links…

Download the Boring Memo WordPress Theme

View Demo of Boring Memo WordPress Theme

Any questions and/or suggestions about this theme? Please leave me a comment and let me know.


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Comment by Houseboat Rentals
2008-06-08 19:56:54

DANG FRANK! You are so right. This is awfully boring! I am not sure what I would use this wordpress theme for. People are used to seeing pretty wordpress themes and to stumble on your Boring Memo theme would definitely create a pattern interrupt.

Grizz thinks his choice of templates are plain and ugly for niche blogs but this tops any niche blogging sites I have ever come across.

Seems you have to write a ton of content just to fill the space. I have a hard time writing a little content.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-08 22:32:50

Hi Denise,

Akismet doesn’t like you anymore. I had to pull your comments out of the filter. Contact them and have them fix it.

The font size can be increased and the font style changed to make it more readable and be less crowded so that you can get away with shorter articles. Another option I thought about was using a large font which would have been just about as annoying.

Comment by Houseboat Rentals
2008-06-09 05:23:03

Thanks Frank! You could have deleted on of these comments as they are repetitive.
I sent a message to Akismet. I am not sure if this is a result of Fast Blog Finder or what. I always leave on topic comments. Does this mean any comments anywhere are Akismet?
Have you had any luck with conversions on this Boring Memo wordpress theme or have you not had time to test it yet?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by jfc
2008-06-09 06:28:17

Hi Denise,

As Vic says, some bloggers are shellfish ditches and one of them decided that they didn’t want anyone leaving anchored links and they Akismet’ed you.

This comment came through, probably because I removed both your comments from the filter for this blog, although you still may be under a cloud so you should contact them.

As for conversions, this particular theme is new but I’ve used similar 1 column themes that did well, generally in the 10-20% range.

Comment by Houseboat Rentals
2008-06-08 20:09:41

DANG FRANK! I can sure see why this is called Boring Memo and Akismet gave me a false positive so I had to type this in twice. For a wordpress theme this is about as plain as you can get.

You have made Grizz’s site look pretty. I know in niche blogging you want boring content but this whole thing is boring. Talk about pattern interrupt.

You really have to write a lot of content just to fill up space. I have enough trouble writing a little content.

2008-06-08 21:44:05

[…] The Boring Memo Theme. […]

Comment by Grizzly
2008-06-08 21:44:09

haha… I love it Frank!

Who would have thought wordpress could get ugly - nicely done - I may have to try it myself! :-)

Comment by jfc
2008-06-08 22:52:22

Hi Grizzly,

I was thinking of you when I picked golf articles to mangle up for the demo blog.

I’m not sure how to define ‘ugly’ though. Ugly to me are static HTML site that have animated GIFs, tables and frames and look like they were coded in 1996 even though the site went online in 2007.

2008-06-08 22:03:56

Thanks for sharing all this stuff Frank. The tools are great and these template tweaks are fantastic.

I’ve been working a ton of Blogger blogs with the eBay widgets like you’ve been talking about. I adjusted the templates like you suggested. I’ve also been using some SmartLinks from CJ and “Make a Page” from Shareasale as well. I spent more time than I wanted getting links, adding articles, blog directory submissions and commenting on blogs today. Hope I get a few clicks and capture that cookie for future purchases. The only downside is getting the dang blogs indexed. It just ain’t happening.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-08 22:54:11

Hi Splork,

I’ve had some indexing challenges with Blogger blogs recently too. Perhaps Griz can shine some light on this if he knows anything.

Comment by Link Building Bible
2008-06-09 02:20:23

I just had someone ask me about their blogspot blog not really being indexed, or very few pages.

Anyhow, do people really click through on such sites with such a dull dull dull theme?

Comment by jfc
2008-06-09 06:42:17


I think it may depend on the niche to some degree. Some audiences are used to seeing and expect flashy, Web 2.0, style sites while others aren’t that shocked to see awful, circa 1997, stuff like ugly animated GIFs and frames. Whatever the case, you really aren’t expecting them to hang around and read the article fully and browse the site. You’re expecting them to either hit the back button, about 70-90% of them, and about 10-30% of them clicking the ad within a few moments of the page loading.

Have you seen those long boring full page ads in business opportunity magazines? This theme is sort of like those ads.

Comment by splork
2008-06-09 08:04:58

Well yesterday I decided to build a couple of affiliate blogger blogs and hammer them with backlinks. I submitted an article to the main article directories. I did the commenting. I submitted to blog directories. And I ran through a couple of BMD runs. I used an RSS submission tool. I checked and this morning they were both indexed. My guess it was because of GoArticles. The article was indexed. Or from a link on my blogs.

It will be interesting to see if they stay out of the sandbox, assuming they aren’t there already.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-09 08:20:01

Hi Splork,

I think the links from blogs are as close as you can get to a ‘magic bullet’ right now so far as getting a new blog indexed. I’ve got some with PR now and that seems to help even more. However, certain niches still seem slow to index. I guess that’s just the way it is.

Comment by splork
2008-06-11 09:59:00

I did a test yesterday with two new Blogger blogs. One I blasted with BMD, Twitter, Squidoo lens, directory submissions and commenting. The other I dropped a single link in a blog post.
Want to take guess which Blog was indexed this morning?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Trucking
2008-06-09 16:07:38

Damn Frank! That’s one ooogly theme. I noticed your demo ads, is that just straight html? I’ve been looking for something that I can put some links in and have the text wrap around like that. I got it and am going to try it out.


Comment by jfc
2008-06-09 16:26:39

Hi Wayne,

Yes, the ads are just plain HTML. I use spans to vary the font and size to get them to look sort of like Adsense. You can look at the single post template to see the HTML code and the style sheet to see the styles used for the spans.

Comment by DeMerchant
2008-06-10 05:35:57

Hey Frank,
Any suggestions on getting ads on your main page with this theme? I couldn’t make it looks right. I’d like just the single block in the top left with the content wrapping it just like in the single page. Is it possible?

Comment by jfc
2008-06-10 06:57:10

Hi DeMerchant,

I’d recommend not putting ads on the main page since it’s unlikely to attract search engine visitors and not having them there theoretically wins you some points with Google.

I’ll look at doing this for you though and making some other modifications available in the next few days.

Comment by DeMerchant
2008-06-10 12:43:18

Cool. I know since my site is really targeted (using some of court’s keyword sniping techniques) I get them majority of my searches pointing to my main page as opposed to long tail searches to my inner pages.

Will keep an eye out for your update… now I’m going to spend my hours thinking of suggestions for this theme… I’m sure I’ll post some more, but here is a start

- Copyright 2008 in footer
- Keyword tag at top of the page like with Court’s keyword sniper theme

Just a couple ideas for now.

Thanks a TON,

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by DeMerchant
2008-06-10 13:00:59

Maybe a “leaderboard” at the bottom of your post so if people do read all the way down your page they have a place to click out? It shouldn’t hurt your CTR since a page view only counts one I believe… not sure how it could affect CPC

Comment by jfc
2008-06-10 14:21:52

Hi DeMerchant,

I tried this on a similar design and people never clicked it, even when the content was better and the font was more readable.

This could be added rather easily though by simply placing the banner ad code just before the comment section in the single post template though. Since it wouldn’t be inline it doesn’t require a special DIV area for it to look right.

Comment by Marc
2008-06-17 09:59:31

From your Concentration and Confidence in Golf Memo:

“Drill this into your brain: I am a slack jawed yokel when it comes to Golf ball. I think you already know that for Golf and by getting large volumes of Golf. That’s so great.”

Wow. Looks like you’re using sawdust filler for your fast food content. Hope the Health Department doesn’t find out!

Seriously, how many of your visitors escape via the back button?


Comment by jfc
2008-06-17 10:27:23

Hi Marc,

I’m glad you liked the filler. It’s more entertaining than the typical Lorem Ipsum filler, isn’t it? :)

About 80-90% of visitors to a site like this will back out or close the tab/window. 10-20% will click an ad. This is one of the keys to understanding how Boring Memo works. You need to have selected a niche where you can make a reasonable amount from the minority who do click the ad. In a good niche this could be an average of $30-50 a day, even more if the traffic is in the 1000 or so uniques a day range.

You aren’t looking for repeat visitors with this theme. It is totally unsuited toward any kind of social blogging or social media traffic. It is geared entirely toward search engine traffic, Google traffic. The content should be a cut above what I have on the demo pages, especially if you use Adsense, but it can be dull, dry, boring and rambling as you can get it as well as keyword rich.

Comment by Marc
2008-06-17 10:11:09

Oops. My question was already answered in above comments:

70-90% hit the back button.

Comment by Marc
2008-06-19 10:43:19

I guess I’m being a bit of stalker here…sorry about that, but I’m wondering if the visitor back-out rate could be reduced by including a pretty header graphic. Like the venus fly trap, the graphic is the nectar that draws them in. Then start the content with a couple of compelling sentences which draws the visitor right into the boring stuff where an ad is nearby for his exit.

Yeah, I know…everyone thinks they’re an expert.

Comment by jfc
2008-06-19 11:20:51

No Problem Marc,

Having a header graphic might help build a comfort level with the site for some. But it could also distract attention away from the visitor clicking the ads. I’ve had decent success with Blogger blogs that were quite plain using variations of the Minima template. This theme tries to duplicate that same look and build on it.

I do have a new theme in the works that is more standard blog like in some ways. It will have a header graphic, sidebar and so forth although it will still be dateless. This might be a good option if one wanted to compare the stark appearance of Boring Memo vs. something more graphically pleasing.

2008-06-27 09:56:00

The theme looks pretty simple and it looks like as if we are reading a newspaper.

Comment by Discount Gift Card
2008-07-01 00:03:16


I wonder how your Boring Memo Theme compares (click rate wise) with the dark theme Vic uses. Has anyone done a comparison?

Did you SEO the theme like Court does to his?

Comment by jfc
2008-07-01 15:11:32

Hi ‘Discount’,

Boring Memo is based a lot on the Minima Blogger theme which Griz uses a lot with some variations. I don’t know if one approach is any better than the other. I’ve had some success with both white and black background themes.

There are probably some additional minor SEO tweaks that could be done to the theme but it’s such a minimalist theme that nothing much needs to be done to it.

Comment by Cect 168 Phones
2008-07-02 13:34:43

I’m going to be trying this theme on my next AdSense oriented blog. It’s a deathly boring subject, but I had some real success about a year ago doing AdSense arbitrage on the same subject.

Now that arbitrage seems to be dead, I’d like to see if natural search plus this theme can be as successful.

Comment by Luxury Paris Hotels
2008-07-03 02:39:44

Having recently been resurrected from Askimet I am now a little nervous using a theme as “boring” as this one - its even than Court’s I worry that a “normal” blogger which just spam me if they see the blog - regardless that the content is readable and not computer generated ! Have you had this issue or am I just being paranoid?

Comment by jfc
2008-07-03 07:03:33

Hi Lissie,

Guess what? You’re back on Akismet’s hit parade.

I don’t do comment runs for niche sites where the style (very ugly) and/or content (not that readable) might cause shellfish ditches to hit the Akismet button even if your comment is good and on topic. Many bloggers are obsessed with their ‘brand’, have controlling personalities and so forth to the point it is ridiculous.

Instead, I use ‘entourage’ blogs to boost these sites. The entourage can get the PR comment links without a problem since they look like a typical noob Personal blog and are anchored on the persona’s name. The entourage blog then surreptitiously links to the niche blog in a post with an anchored link.

2008-07-09 02:00:29

Wow, this theme is a whole new world of boring … great job! I have a pre-owned domain that has been sitting for a few days while I work on other projects, and this theme is exactly what the doctor ordered to turn it into a successful niche blog. Thanks Frank!

2008-07-10 19:51:06

I am now a blogger expert: I got this theme up and running on a niche and it is very,very ugly! The only problem I have with these ugly themes that seeing as I now get regularly askimeted on sites using Court’s (relatively) attractive kwsniper theme I assume that once I have the ugly theme on no more commenting with it as a link. So I guess that’s another reason for using intermediate sites? Lissie

Comment by jfc
2008-08-22 07:23:22

Hi Lissie,

I don’t know how I missed this comment earlier. Oh well.

Yes, intermediate sites, which can include Squidoo, Blinkweb,, Blogger and many others are a big part of boosting your ‘money’ sites.

I hate to do it to Court but I usually remove his link from the footer on the themes I use on money sites and even intermediate sites. I repay him by giving him higher quality contextual links in posts on higher PR sites instead.

Comment by Cheap GPS Systems
2008-08-12 00:59:03

That is very boring yet very nostalgic for the boomers.

Comment by Houston23
2008-08-21 21:14:15

Frank, I have a question here, I like your boring wordpress theme, sure will have high CTR on it but is it against the adsense TOS for having the ads under the title? Hope to hear from you soon.

Comment by jfc
2008-08-22 07:16:17

Hi Houston,

I don’t think that there would be a problem with this as long as it didn’t try to masquerade as navigation or content. What Google apparently had a problem with in this area is where the Adsense could be confused as navigation/content at first glance, for example, putting a text link Adsense block jammed up against site navigation links or graphics. In this theme, the ads are obviously quite separate from the navigation/content.

Comment by Bruce
2009-02-05 20:40:50

Frank I am looking for a good adsense theme for wordpress. Ha this one proven to be any good? I want something basic like on Blogger. Any ideas?

Comment by jfc
2009-02-05 21:05:12

Hi Bruce,

This one has done well for the sites where I’ve used it or modifications on it. Others who’ve used it have gotten good results too from what I’ve heard. Of course, nobody wants to reveal their niches so most people remove the footer link and I’m OK with them doing that if they want although I would appreciate a link here from somewhere!

Also check out my Dateless Mini Site themes and I hope to have a couple of new theme sets ready in a month or so.

Comment by melayublog
2009-05-21 10:12:47

Although it is boring, but this theme was perfect to get high CTR if you know a bit of ads placement.

Comment by Adrian
2009-09-13 05:11:18

OK, I totally understand that a theme must be simple and that advertising should be a big part of it BUT this is way too boring :)

2009-10-02 21:15:38

[…] Boring Memo - and leaving the most boring of all hard to believe a designer developed this LOL […]

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