So I declared a theme change here two days ago. And a theme change doesn’t just happen, Zonk. A lot goes on in the crazy-fraught-with-tension period between the declaration of a theme change and the actual changing of the theme.
Think of it as the Wordpress equivalent of adopting a child. You need to look at your blog, make notes about it’s current appearance. Make a list. Make several lists. Figure out what works and what doesn’t, what is essential and what is unnecessary clutter. Then figure out how much of the clutter you are willing to give up.
Remember to weigh the pros and cons of every extra widget you’ve added in your sidebar, see if you can do without it, see how much of it is too dear to part with. Do you really need a calendar in your sidebar? Has anybody in the history of your blog’s readership ever clicked on it or used it to navigate through time to posts you may have made on particular days that mean something to both you and them? And how about the tag cloud? Sure it’s fun when you first start blogging. It’s nice to see the words grow and shrink and come together randomly in pretty little patterns. But unless you’re a really organized tagger, you’re going to end up with around 50 words in the cloud eventually, and about half of them will be nonsensical things that are only attached to One post. It’s going to look ugly, Zonk. It’s going to look really ugly. And it’s also going to reveal disturbing things about your psyche to casual trollers. You don’t want random people to glance at your tag cloud and discover your obsession with pajamas. You don’t want them to know if you’re dumb or depressive or absurdly and consistently happy. You don’t want a potential employer to come over to your blog and find the word ‘drunkkk!’ staring at them in size fifty Georgia bold italics. You don’t want them to know that you have around twenty posts dedicated to socks and several more telling your ex to go to hell. Moral of the story, the tag cloud needs to go. Soon. A text widget to generate random advice, on the other hand, is something you can definitely not do without.
And so it goes. You figure all these things out and wage wars with yourself and shed bitter tears over dead widgets that were oh-so-fun-but-also-pretty-useless and you harden your heart and let them go. You could have kept them, of course, except that you’ve gone through all five pages of wordpressdotcom’s themes and you’ve realized that the very few nice ones there have only footer widgets. And that’s another thing I’m personally having several issues with, Zonk. I was kicked when I moved to wp from vox, because vox basically sucked and wordpress was a massive upgrade. It still is, mind you. I love wordpress more than I love most people. But the themes..
The themes feel beautiful when you sign up. But then you become a designer and work with a few wordpress mods and your eyes open up to the incredible world of premium themes. And things are never the same again. I used to love Structure theme, which is what I have right now, but I put it on Dischordiandotcom and changed it around a Lot and it looked a gazillion times better and now I hate how the default looks. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and I really want my blog on wordpressdotcom and not on a personal domain or anything. So I’ve been going through all five pages of wordpress themes to find the perfect one and there really is no perfect one. Believe me. I know. I have seen every theme there is to see here. And the entire experience has been a pretty unhappy one.
I like minimal. If I were told to design a theme I’d probably make it really minimal. But I’m not a minimal person, if you know what I mean. And I think my blog should a little bit cluttured at least to give it the right vibe. So here’s the lowdown on free wordpress themes here –
There’s Oulipo, that’s pretty nice. Minimal and clean, but something isn’t there for me. I love Manifest, but it’s way too minimal for me. And too writerly, if you know what I mean. I don’t have a writerly blog, Zonk, I have a pretty random, personal blog that doesn’t focus much on writing well. So that throws Manifest out of the window. Bueno’s very neat and pretty, but it’s too pretty. And it’s also too Dear Diary. So what I’m probably going to settle on is Chunk. It’s a brilliantly clean design, I love the white, grey, black, blue swatch, and I like Bebas (unless it’s something else that looks similar to Bebas). The cons of picking Chunk –
- It doesn’t really have the right personality for me. I think I need to be the type of person that makes quick decisions and feels confident in every scenario to use Chunk. I need to wear rugged shoes and have a certain set to my jaw and walk like I know I’m walking fine to use Chunk. I need to feel Awesome and Unafraid and Focused. And I am not any of those things.
- It doesn’t have a sidebar.
- I hate cramming widgets into the footer.
Noooooooooooooo! I love Chunk, but I feel like I have to be Vin Diesel to use it. Or Vin Diesel with a taste for delicately balanced yet bold designs. What would be Perfect, though, is if WordPress would just get Verbage from Organic themes. There’s a free version out now, and Verbage is just so fucking beautiful.
Oh well. I’m going to make a suggestion on the themes forum and hope that they bring it soon. You can help too, Zonk. You can help make wordpress a better place. You can go vote for Verbage when I have made the suggestion and when it’s here we can all bask in it’s beauty together. And drink wine but wear slippers and pajamas while we’re at it. Because it’s that sort of theme, is Verbage. And now I need to run. Also, if you actually read all the way up till here, I’m sorry. I suppose you didn’t really want my opinion on wordpress themes at all, and I didn’t intend to rant. But I started and then got carried away and it’s not like I didn’t warn you in the title of this post. Oh well. I owe you a cookie.
Edit: Please vote for Verbage here. As in comment, saying it’s an awesome theme and you want it. Vote vote vote! PLEASE!