Tag Archives: wordpress

A much needed re-design… What do you think?

If you’re reading in an RSS reader, please click through and have a look…

Seriously, I’m feeling a huge sense of relief. When I chose my previous theme (Bella) over a year ago, I loved the look of it, but had issues from the start. Most notably it was difficult to customize and often loaded painfully slow. I only found out a couple weeks ago from a tip from a reader that my titles were flash-based, which can not only crash your browser, but sucks for my SEO.

To be honest, I hate choosing a new WordPress theme. It usually takes me hours upon hours, as I’m really picky, but indecisive. Also I like to customize my themes and make them really feel like ‘mine’. But my HTML/CSS skills are getting a little rusty, so I at least need a theme that’s well organized and easy to figure out, which my previous one was definitely not.

Also, I discovered this time around that not all themes will work. A few months ago I installed the Mainstream theme by Woo Themes. Very modern, clean and customizable… However when I activated it, it was a mangled mess. I was discouraged. Yesterday I found a similar theme I loved, called Charade, by HTML Rockstars. Again though, I activated and it was a mangled mess. After tweeting my frustrations, I was told it’s likely because the theme was developed for a previous version of WordPress and may not work on newer ones.

Ready to give up and just shut my blog down (seriously, I get really worked up over this!), I continued to search through recommendations of sites from my Twitter followers, and eventually found this theme–Producer. I love it because it’s elegant, clean and attractive right ‘out of the box’, however it also has tons of configurable options, and easy to work with CSS files.

So hopefully, I’m sticking with this one for a while, and over time I hope to customize it and really make it mine. I’d love to know what you think and I’m open to any suggestions you may have. After all the look of my blog is really for your benefit.

Also, here’s a list of sites to find WordPress themes, courtesy of my awesome followers:

So please, leave a comment with any feedback. And I’m certainly not looking for an ego-stroke here. I’m wondering if you think the text is too small, or if the archives are too difficult to find, or if the red makes you feel angry and want to leave, whatever pops into your head. I’m going to maintain a wish list of tweaks for me to make whenever I have the time (which is not often enough!) So I appreciate any feedback you may have.

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Can't-live-without web tools

Since my previous post was all about sites you’ve forgotten about, it seems fitting this one be all about ones you can’t live without. However, now I want to address web tools. I was just thinking the other day, I self-taught myself HTML when I was 13 and built a couple web site back in the day but of course it was a tedious, time-consuming effort. So after the novelty wore off, I gave up on building web sites because I never really wanted to be a web developer. However, I remembered just how rewarded and accomplished I felt to have my own little piece of real estate on the World Wide Web…

And look here I am again! However, this time, I built the blog from nothing in a couple of hours. First I bought some hosting and a domain. I went with a hosting provider that self-installs WordPress, so piece of cake… then I picked out a template, tweaked it a little and voila! Really *anyone* can do it. Really freakin’ cool when you think about it!

So on to the point, here are some web tools/apps/sites I just couldn’t bare to live without.

WordPress

I think I just explained this one pretty well, but I would also pick WordPress over Typepad, Movable Type and Blogger (yes, I’ve used them all!) because I just find it amazingly versatile and you can set up your blog ‘quick and dirty’ as I did with this one, or spend a lot of time making it absolutely how you want it (which is what I *want* to do with this one day). Also I’m constantly amazed with all the plug-ins, and constant updates. It’s just great.

Feedburner

Because what’s the point of talking if no one’s listening? I love the details Feedburner provides and tracking subscribers. Paired with Google Analytics you’ve got a full picture of who’s visiting your site, and after following for a while you can start to get a solid grasp on what works, what doesn’t, etc.

Google Analytics

Back when I learned to build web sites, as best as I can recall there wasn’t really much to measure your traffic aside from those stupid hit counters which never seemed to work. When my parents ran their own business I maintained the web site and I remember they had paid some company a lot of money to produce these “reports” about the traffic. Which were about as easy to read as a Japanese dictionary. While there are some great analytics tools out  there today, Google Analytics is fabulous…AND free. The great thing is, even if you don’t really know too much about analytics, Google makes it so easy to understand, within a couple of hours of poking around you will feel like a pro!

Youtube

Can you even remember life before Youtube? It’s only been three years, but for many of us, it’s changed the way we use the Internet.It used to be such a pain for the average person to post a video. I remember working on an e-newsletter for my college, and the administrative staff wanted to put a video in it. I remember spending hours trying to figure out how to convert file formats, compress the file as much as possible and posting a link on the landing page that subscribers would have to click to download the video file. It was ridiculous.

And finally… My *all-time* favourite…

Twitter

Twitter has literally changed the way I communicate. (Now it is only in 140 character intervals!) but seriously, via Twitter I am able to quickly find answers to probably any question I can imagine, “meet” people in my field or with similar interests around the globe and network/get to know each other without it being creepy or overly personal–which I love. I could go on all day about how handy I think it is, the versatility and many uses… but it’s Friday, so I’m out of here! (Oh yea, if you aren’t already, don’t forget to follow me!)

So what tools have changed the way you live/work/socialize? What could you absolutely never live without again?