Switching Themes: Just the basics you might want to know.

 

Declutter. Ahh, I love this word. I’ve been doing this for who knows how long (ok perhaps a few weeks) with my blog. I.just.can’t.help.it. I think I’ve developed an OCD already when it comes to redesigning my blog. 

I just can’t watch an out-of-place photo in my post, oversize buttons in my sidebar, and unnecessary borders without having to tweak or modify them. If I don’t do it, I can feel a twitch coming every time I see it. So yes, I’ve learned things from scratch, thanks to the creative bloggers (stay tuned to find out who they are) who are more than willing to share their talent to the blogging community. I raise my bean jar to you.

I think so far, I’ve done my utmost best for my blog. Note, I’ve not purchased the Custom Design yet,  since at this point I’m not ready to shed some cash for it. Perhaps in the future, when I feel that it’s really necessary. For now, it’s all DIY – free style. I’m sure you’ve already noticed the little changes here and there*. I just want to do my best to give you a feel-good environment while reading some of my posts. That’s the least that I could for your time and attention.

*Including the square-thing-eyesore-ad, my apologies. I’m finding ways to fix this and put it somewhere else.

You could say this post is inspired by my newest blog buddy Devine (or Devina a Lemon flavoured jellybean!). I know. She decided to change her username and made it yummier. I wanted to reply to her recent Site Update’s post, but since apparently I had many things to share and it might look like I was writing another post on her site, I thought of sharing it here instead,  as it might help a blogger or two.

Here are the things I’ve learned when picking that perfect theme for your blog without Custom Design:

  • There’s no such thing as the ‘perfect theme’.

To me, that is. Why? Because, if there was one, we wouldn’t be tweaking our blog when we get a chance  to make it look the way we want it to look.. But a good layout is something worth considering. This would just make your life easier when you’re ready to DIY your blog. So if there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect theme’, what in the blogosphere am I supposed to do next? Simple.

  • Pick a theme that’s tamable. Tame that theme!

Choose a theme that you can easily modify later. You don’t have to crack on it right away. If you’ve just started to blog, you have other priorities to focus on, and that’s writing and publishing good reading material. But seriously, do give your blog some love in the design department and a facelift. It deserves that, too.

  • Do I need a sidebar? Can I afford to not have one? Is having a footer widget good enough for me or shall I embrace a full-length width layout?

Questions overload. I know. But definitely worth asking yourself. I don’t think I can live without a sidebar (ok I can, but my blog won’t suffice without one.) I love me a sidebar, left or right, but never liked it on both sides. I am not keen when my writing get all squashed up in the middle. But two sidebars can work for other blogs, just not with the type of blog I have. I’ve seen a few while blog hopping, and they’re neatly crafted to contain some of the blog accessories and necessities.

  • How much customization would make you a happy blogger?

We all love to personalized things. Who wouldn’t? We want to transform things and call it ‘my own’. So customize things to your heart’s content. But how much of it, without having to say how much it will cost? Well, most themes have header and background that can be customized to your liking. While there are those that you can only do one or none at all. So if you want that personal touch, you need a theme with both features.

  • Writing/sidebar background

Some have fixed white background, which nowadays I actually prefer for readability. Other themes do have the feature where your main background will also convert your writing background – this type of themes, you need to be very careful with when choosing your desired background. Otherwise, us readers will go cross-eyed and get a migraine. Not sure? Choose a theme you like and then click Live Preview – try to play around with the Background option see how it would change everything else.

  • Post formats

You love to blog. And from time to time, you like to mix things up. Images, quotes only post, links, galleries and your standard post ramblings. Then I think a theme with post formats is worth considering and might make your blogging life easier. Although I should point out that even without post formats, you can still present your images, quotes and standard posts nice and neat. You just need to get to know more about your theme and the possibilites you can bring upon it. Hence, the taming.

Here’s the link for all themes with Post Formats feature.
http://en.support.wordpress.com/themes/post-formats/

 

Ok. I don’t want to overload your brain any further. So I’ll leave you these little things I’ve learned to ponder. But if you have any more to add to this that I seem to have missed, then feel free to share your thoughts below.

I really want to be able to share some more beginner tips with you, after all, we’re on the same boat, or bean jar (?) if you like. So let me know if there are other things that might be helpful to you.

And last but not the least, know your theme’s measurements. The header image size, the column width and the sidebar width and utilize this to optimize the look of your site. 

Are you ready to embrace CHANGE?

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16 comments

    • Thanks hun! I hope it is. Sorry I couldn’t help you with yours, though, :-( although let me know if there’s anything I can do. Is this the last one you’re talking about? I’ve tried the new paper like I found on the net and see how it would look. But thanks for the feedback, appreciate it. Unfortunately it seems that I have to change themes that are WordAds friendly, as there might be a hope for having it on my sidebar – although I’m not sure whether that’s worst. What do you think? The way ads are on my site now, is it better or have it on my sidebar? The ad would look like this http://www.gojulesgo.com – just same as how it looks on her site. And we don’t even have Advil here! Just paracetamol! LOL

      Reply
      • Yep, this is the background. Thanks, I’ll let you know :) I see the square ads in the middle of you posts on your home page not on your individual posts There’s only one ad I see at a time when I visit. If you were to put the ads like Jules did there will be TWO big boxy ads, one above your header and one above your photo in the sidebar. So I think you’re better just the way it is but if you can manage to push it into the sidebar it’s better but you say you’re having trouble with that, right?

        Reply
        • They appear in my post right at the end when you’re reading them in full format. Unless, you’re not seeing it from your end. I would have to switch themes if I want to find out and take it from there. Forever is my next choice – just need to tweak it a little. I don’t mind, I always find it as a challenge and new way to learn. Really appreciate your feedback. Very rare to find these days. I’ve had not a very good experience not long ago who I thought was nice but with fame, people change, apparently. Even in the blogosphere. Not good. :-(

          Reply
        • P.S. You don’t mind me calling you Devine, do you? Or shall I say Divine? Or just stick with Devina? LOL. Just didn’t want to keep calling you and your just waiting to slap my wrist haha

          Reply
      • I’m always happy to help :) I know what you mean about people changing and I’m lucky enough to have not experienced what you have … at least not as yet.

        I really don’t mind you calling me either Devine or Divine, actually I think it’s flattering :D not that I think I’m divine but it’s nice. So don’t you worry ;)

        Oh, I meant to ask, how’s AJ coming along? Is he sleeping soundly in the night now?

        Reply
        • Divine, it is. ;-) I guess I just need to change the circle of bloggers I am in or something, because people like that can only bring you down. Not worth it.
          We’re on and off when it comes to this whole sleep train thing, and I feel bad. I need to really get a grip and just be done with it for a straight 10 days since that’s when the result would really show. Thanks for asking. Right now he’s sleeping soundly. :-)

          Reply
    • Thanks Kirsten! Took forever to make these tiny details and whatnot but I always I enjoy making them. If there’s anything I can help you with – give me a nudge. Always happy to help. :-)

      Reply
      • well i think the extra effort really paid off! your blog looks great! i’m still working out the kinks on mine lol now that my classes are done with for a bit i have more time to play around. i may experiment myself and see if i can do anything to make my blog even better. i may come to you for some help :)

        Reply
        • Thanks Kirsten, that’s so nice to hear from you. I bit you’re pleased that you can now take some ‘me’ time since your classes are finished. :-) You know where I am, if you need me.

          Reply
  • Reblogged this on Brave New Web and commented:
    Very interesting blog post, on a topic that usually has me tearing out my hair with clients. Thank you, Ms. Fashion, for your musings. And, clients out there, do read this!

    Reply

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