Fragmented thoughts on Friday, Blogging

This blog is on WordPress and I’m actually a huge fan. It’s incredible to me what you can for free on this platform. I choose to pay just under $30 a year to have my blog ad free and don’t pay the very small fee to have my name be instead of Doesn’t bother me as I’m not selling or trying to become a media star. The problem is every couple of weeks they e-mail a notice with a new blog theme (look and feel) they’ve added. Those of us who like creating, pictures, imagery and color could simply spend our days trying out new themes, new blog headers, new color combinations and never get around to updating a post. I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into this mode this week.

Now here’s the “isn’t that always the way?” kicker. Over on Facebook another blogger was lamenting she might have to give up blogging because it was costing her so much money. I helpfully jumped in and suggested she try out WordPress. If you can maneuver Facebook, you can have a blog using the easy free themes. But, I was in the middle of my “let’s try out a different theme” mode and anyone who stopped by my blog in the last few days would’ve gotten a gander of an unprofessional looking space. I thought “Pink Touch 2” (not pink) was the one for me and converted. But, preview is a slightly smaller screen and once my blog was up I wasn’t as enamored and the whole real-time fussing began. One of the very few downsides with the free blog is that you cannot off-line edit when you change your template. There is a preview capability – you can go through the 135 themes offered and click preview to see your header, posts and color scheme imported to that theme. Depending on the column width, the text and photograph wrapping could be horridly off when you apply that theme. Your beautiful header image might have your blog name smack dab in the middle in a font color that’s jarring. There could be no search widget or capability to follow the blog. Each of these can be easily fixed, but you’re doing every change one at a time in real time. Folks who stop by while you’re in the middle of editing could possibly swear off your blog forever. With the “isn’t that always the way?” kicker, I’d also linked my blog to a popular crafting magazine and I’m guessing folks who popped over from there got an ugly
view as well.

I’m not done yet. Was fussing about until 3 AM last night, 2 AM the eve before and still have a list of eight themes that are quite doable, just require a bit of fussing on my part. The 3am shows in that I thought I left this on 2 column – but as I type this, it’s one.

Why change? Well, love the 2010 theme and all of its features with the exception of positively hating its formatting of the side columns. The dark boxes for bullets were too big and the times font looks so wrong there. Not sure why, but quite a few of their designers mix fonts on one
theme. With 2011, the boxes are a bit smaller and it’s a sans serif font. Do wonder they’re pushing you to buy the font upgrade as on so many it’s just a tad off. The themes  designed this year offer even more features for easy iPhone viewing and a couple come with lovely widgets for following in Facebook, Twitter and so forth. Some of the previous themes are hardwired to show only RSS for posts or comments up in their header, a dead giveaway they’re not current.

What WordPress says about 2011:

Options: Widgets | Menus | Theme Options | Background | Header | Custom Design | iPad | Extras

Tags: dark, light, white, black, gray, one-column,
two-columns, left-sidebar, right-sidebar, fixed-width, flexible-width,
custom-background, custom-colors, custom-header, custom-menu, editor-style,
featured-image-header, featured-images, full-width-template, microformats,
post-formats, rtl-language-support, sticky-post, theme-options,
translation-ready, blog, bright, clean, contemporary, elegant, minimal, modern,
photography, simple, tumblelog.

When viewing themes, you can search on any tag. I like to search on new, because I found Misty Look, liked it, but it was designed in 2007 and I want more current features. Generally, I search on ‘custom header’ as that feature, more than any other, allows you to have a blog that doesn’t look like you’ve adopted a cookie-cutter.

Mrs. 4444s holds a blog party on Fridays she calls Fragmented Friday. You put together all those assorted thoughts that aren’t worthy of their own post, plunk them together and link it up. I’ve occasionally composed these posts with perhaps not explaining why the Friday post is so disjointed. Now you know. Of course, today – one topic – not so fragmented, but you stand forewarned. Generally this blog is focused on creating – crafts or food, my town or books. I try to avoid opinion posts, but for a little while I’ll try out fragmented Friday. I’m off to continue to fuss with the blog (unfortunately, playing with the design is something I love doing – it’s hard to stop). If you stop by and things are visually amiss (egads like now – just found out the post “paste in from Word doesn’t work as well in 2011 as it did in the 2010 theme…), just give me a few days. Hopefully it’ll be set soon.

6 comments on “Fragmented thoughts on Friday, Blogging

  1. Betsy Henry says:

    I love the chateau. How do you download it to try it out. I’ve been trying to find a slightly new look. I’ll hopefully hear from soon and be doing just what you are: staying up late trying to redesign!! 🙂

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Betsy, To preview a theme go to Dashboard, Appearance, Themes. When the themes come up, you can key Château into the search box. It may not come up because of the carat above the a, in which case click “new” from the choices row and page until you see it. When you click preview your previous settings will come over. So, I had a black background but was looking at light themes and the preview would load up dark with gray or white writing. I had to change my background to none to see what they look like. Open a new window with the themes page linked in my first paragraph and find Chateau so that you can see the preview in one window and all of the choices that theme offers in the adjoining window. Let me know if you have questions, but know it can become addicting.

  2. lisleman says:

    Just another FF poster or should that be poser here? I’m on blogger and am too cheap to pay for my blog platform. Maybe it’s the you-get-what-you-pay-for thing that brings people to wordpress. I know I have not experimented with the theme as much as you wrote about but I did change mine this year. The one problem I had was older posts had their fonts colors messed up. Did you have any problems with older posts when switching the themes?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi – WordPress is completely free if you don’t mind that occaisionally folks will see an ad when they access your page. The good news is they keep it completely clean, but I hate ads so I put out the small fee. Some may choose $$ features, but this isn’t a business for me.

      The last few days I’ve activated at least 10 different themes. You can’t always tell until you get in there if you have footer widgets or some header details. Font colors were okay in translation once I paid attention to what was happening. For instance, with a black background checked on my current theme, the new one would come up in the dark theme with the black text coming over – pretty unreadable. Once I set background to clear, I didn’t run into that issue. The main formatting problem I had is that each of the themes has different column widths. The formatting of pictures plus type in some themes was off enough that if I chose that theme I would have to edit every post for spacing.

      I still haven’t made up my mind. Château and 2011 have the best features (they’re the only newer ones with full width column, customizable header plus post featured image header). Quintus is beautiful but goes back to too big bullets with the serif fonts in the sidebar. Mystique might do but I think that had formatting issues. Clean Home, Blogum, Under the influence, Enterprise and Pink Touch 2 all have a clean look with decent features.

  3. Unknown Mami says:

    I spend so much time tinkering with things on my blog. It can be a total time suck and in the end I’m focusing on such tiny details that I am probably the only one that notices.

    • Maggie says:

      Just imagine doing it all on a slower satellite connection (arrrggghh again). But, all the little bits add up to the image folks see when they land – s perhaps it’s worth it (truly – could you resist doing it??)

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