I don’t know if I’m ever going to reach the point that I’m 100% happy with the blog’s appearance. I recently decided to implement some more of the functions within the Thesis WordPress theme. Thesis is a premium theme, which means that I spent good money on it awhile back. It’s almost an industry standard when it comes to getting serious in the internet marketing blog world. There are other providers of premium themes (any many free ones) too, but Thesis is what many marketers recommend for it’s stability and ease of configuration. I wouldn’t disagree at all, but the one downside I have with Thesis is that it’s not exactly pretty. If you’re someone who has visual arts skills, you can make Thesis look amazing… but right out of the box, Thesis is not a real eye catcher. To help me make it more palatable, I’m using a free Thesis skin called Thesis Sharp, which sits on top of the Thesis framework. It’s not fancy, but I think that it’s better than the default look. I’ve actually been using the Sharp skin for awhile, but in the blue version. When I decided to change things recently, I opted for the default grey theme.
So what else has changed? I’ve gone back to the two column look. I’ve gone back and forth a few times between 2 and 3 columns, but for the moment I’ve settled on the 2 column look. It means that all the widgets are put on one side, and you may have noticed that I’ve removed a few of the widgets that I don’t think were really necessary. If you’re looking for the blog archives, they’re gone. I don’t think people were really going back and reading old ones anyway. I’ve removed the Twitterbabble, although I’m torn about that one. I want to use a Twitter widget that DOESN’T display my replies, because I know that gets confusing for people. I just want to display a few of the random thoughts that I tweet. WordPress has a Twitter widget as part of their Jetpack combo, but the damn thing doesn’t always want to connect. When it does, it looks great. When it doesn’t, it gives a big error and tells you to hit refresh in a few mins. Not exactly the look I’m going for.
One of the most noticeable changes is that I’ve broken down the front page into featured and teaser posts. I’ve experimented with this in the past, but never on this blog. At the time I was told by a reader that she didn’t like the look of the teaser posts (the ones at the bottom) so I opted for just having all featured ones. I’m backtracking on that now, because I think that it makes the blog look a little neater. Rather than a long rambling blog, it’s condensed somewhat. If you’re a regular reader, then you are probably going to see all the posts as features, because they only become teasers when pushed down the page by newer posts. I think that works. If it bugs the hell out of you, please let me know.
I’ve also changed the font and font size. It may not seem important to some people, but I didn’t care much for the old font, and it took me awhile to find something that I wanted to use. I settled on Droid Sans 12 pt. I’m aware that it’s a little smaller than what I had been using before, but I think it makes it look neater. Please let me know if anyone finds it too small.
I’m still trying to get a few things working properly… the multimedia box doesn’t seem to do what I’d like it to, so I have that disabled. It should cycle through pictures or movies, but it’s a mess. I’ll dig into it a little more, but for now… the other thing is that I expect to place a small box along the side with links to some of the programs that I use. These are tried and true things that I personally use in blogging or on my computers at home. People are always asking me “what do you use for… ” and it’s time for some of that stuff to go right on the blog. Some of those will be referral links, but that doesn’t necessarily mean affiliate. I’d love to see more people using SugarSync, but I don’t get paid for it when someone signs up. The extra 500MB bonus space is nice though!
So that’s pretty much it for the changes. There’s nothing static in the blogging world… So I know that this will not be the last change, but now I’m starting to put more focus on some of the other blogs to get them up to the level of this one. Wish me luck!
And don’t forget, if you’re curious about what the blog used to look like before getting to this point, you can use Archive.org’s Internet Wayback Machine to see just how far it’s come!