And the winner is…
It’s not often I try to really tinker with the blog and try to change things… might break something. But anyone that has ever had a blog know it takes a lot of work to write a blog, it also takes a lot of work to try to make it look good. You want to make it easy and pleasing for the readers that visit to look at and read, as well get around. Probably want to try to keep it updated in looks or features every once in a while maybe, change the look and feel of it. Yet its all a personal thing a well… its your blog! Blogs become even more personal things once you have had one for a long time, they can be serious business too.
So since WordPress sent me the thing reminding me just how old my blog is. I thought about it and decided to maybe change the blog a bit and tinker with things. I haven’t done much to change the look in… umm three years I think either. I was looking at blog dashboard after the WordPress notification just pondering something and it caught my eye right on top the dashboard that the WordPress Theme for the blog was also recently changed or updated from Misty Look to the now Misty Lake theme.
I decided to check it out and eventually updated the theme on the blog. It’s a nice and good-looking theme the Misty Lake. I was also notified of a few new themes as well to check out, which looked quite cool to try out on the blog for possible changes. And so I ended up spending literally the entire Saturday looking at a whole host of very new and many other WordPress Themes I hadn’t looked at in a very long time.
Updating blog Theme for the year 2013 in blogging I guess.
WordPress Themes and what I was looking for:
- Something fresh & elegant in theme design layout maybe.
- A free theme design if possible or maybe a very cheap one at most.
- Something pleasing to look at from a reader standpoint.
- A spacious looking theme if possible.
- A theme that supports good or creative use of photo’s or screenshots (I like pictures, screenshots) or even making an Image Gallery.
- A theme that has a very clean look.
- A possible magazine style theme look maybe.
- Something maybe with ability to change the theme with a custom background and header.
- Fairly easy to use.
- Anything else is all a plus!
Not too much really in demands, though I wasn’t quite sure what I was exactly looking for until I saw it or saw it in use by someone else for theme demo. So through the blog interface I checked out some 200+ different themes (That was time-consuming). Looked at most themes through just pulling them up as samples and then demoing some and activating others to see how they actually look on the blog in layout. Some at a glance didn’t seem to work. Eventually I figured I could not remember all the themes I was looking at so I had to make a list of the theme styles I liked.
WordPress Themes I liked one way or another
- Misty Lake – New theme. Also my default theme choice from the previous theme. Free.
- Opti – Nice but cost $.
- Booklite – New theme. Liked the look. Free.
- Simfo – Somewhat still new. Looked interesting but cost $.
- Twenty Twelve – Not as new, 6 months old. It looked interesting. In the end my choice pic. One of WordPress most popular theme. Free.
- Linen – An older theme and really nice theme. But it cost $ though not too bad the price.
- Mixfolio – An older theme interesting in look and design. Free.
- Sight – An older theme interesting in look and feel. Free.
- Mimbo Pro – A bit older theme, interesting but wasn’t quite what I wanted. Cost $.
- Ideation and Intent – A bit older theme and looked quite interesting. Quite picture friendly. Free.
- Skeptical – A bit older theme and fairly popular. Quite interesting in look and feel. Free.
- Chateau – A bit older theme and fairly popular. Quite stylist and elegant. Free.
- Lifestyle – A bit older theme, very popular. Interesting, very bright in colors and lots of layout. Cost $.
- Traction – A bit older theme and one of WP most popular. Cost $.
- ThemeMin – A bit older theme. One I initially liked the most and was stuck on the most by far. Cost $ though not too pricy.
Theme Short List
So in the end after looking over 200+ WordPress Themes, those are the ones above that stood out initially the most on first pass look. I then looked over all the ones above in more details and withered down the list to the themes.
Both the themes for ThemeMin and Linen costed $ though were not too bad overall. But ThemeMin was the one I really liked allot as well. So that left Twenty Twelve and Misty Lake as the only two choices. So after trying out the Twenty Twelve theme on the site and playing around with what it can do, it met most if not all of what I was looking for. In the future I may end up eventually getting the ThemeMin or something more updated like it at some point in theme features. But for now I’m quite happy so far with the new one.
Playing with Fonts
So now I have the blog theme updated. And then… umm I had to change the Fonts.
After playing around with Fonts & Colors a while ended up deciding on buying the Custom Design upgrade package from WP through the blog interface for the Fonts and Color Schemes. Cost me $30. Not too bad. But I’m no expert on Fonts! I can barely name one or two Fonts on a good day. But I like style of Fonts and liked the one for the blog site title and its obvious in look and resized it up a bit.
The Fonts for the Headings I like but even when I made changes to other kinds of Fonts I can barely tell the difference though only slightly. The Body Text Font which is likely the more important as that makes a difference, though the change seem really small when change the Font. It’s still noticeable though. I like the Sans and Serif font styles, but I can’t say looking which is better on the eye as well on the site for look and feel. Maybe someone out there has a better trained eye for Fonts and Topography (recently learned that word) and can tell the differences much better than I or in their uses.
I tried playing with the Theme Header and compared to the other blog theme. I can now have many multiple headers that randomly change quite often automatically on their own, on page refresh, page clicking which is all quite cool. Since I often take lots and lots of screenshots in EVE Online and have many in the blog media gallery, it was quite easy to clip various images to make many variable headers of background space and set them to randomly change the blog header. I kinda like that feature in the new theme. As well, I just used some the background images I have of space in EVE for the blog background image. The image background seems to blend well with the variable headers also.
More Spacious on the Blog
I’m still working on things to likely revamp a few things around the blog. If it wasn’t for trying to find a theme that also preserved getting to the Blog Roll links finding a WordPress Theme would have been allot easier. The new theme allows the option to keep Blog Roll links on selective pages without having to remove or add them across the entire blog. That’s a rather cool feature.
As well there seem to be some other options in publishing a blog article without the sidebar info/links taking up space on blog posts. Thus making it look more spacious on the full page than it actually is, much more than the old blog theme. I haven’t quite figured out as yet how exactly to do that. So will see how that works out in time.
I tried to condense the sidebar of the blog with all the Blog Roll and links and all that stuff to make it look cleaner and condensed. I’m always weary of the Blog Roll being too long all the way down the side of the blog, but I’m not sure any real good way to condense it without a good widget. Nor is there a good way best I can tell on WordPress to see which blog in roll is updated without going through any the links.
I’ve always missed that old Blogspot feature where it shows you at a glance in your Blog Roll which blog is updated automatically. I removed the commenter feature on the side bar as well in trying to condense the sidebar, even as much as I liked having it there to at a glance see who commented on the blog without having to see the yellow notification logged into the blog. For now I decided to remove it, I may put it back, but for now its gone.
I’ve always loved making screenshots of just about everything I do in whatever games I play and at times displaying them on the blog. Pictures are Cool! I used to do that all the way back when I played WoW posting lots of images which made blog posts look that much better. On the old Blogspot blog there never used to seem to be a way to make that happen easily, which was one the reason I also changed to WordPress.
Maybe I just never knew better where the right tools was back then. But the new blog theme allows easier use of pictures, screenshots, photos, videos as well making use of Image gallery for a lot of screenshots. And that’s a huge plus for extra features in the theme. So I quickly revamped the old Image page and made it an Image Gallery that anyone can scroll through once you click the image. At first I made it a slide show, but I didn’t quite like that. So I made it a display gallery and anyone visiting the blog can click on whatever image they want and it goes into image mode from there and they can scroll through as they like. I can add more images over time as well expand the Image Gallery options as well. Rather cool feature there and much simplified. I like pictures!
But as far as the new and updated blog theme goes that’s it so far. I’ll work at other things on the blog that the theme feature allows that look cool and see how it turns out and maybe add a different front page as the theme has an interesting option for that. I’m curious to see how that works as well myself. But blog maintenance is serious work, no wonder few people like to tinker with theirs once its up and going.
For now that’s it, let me know how you all enjoy the new and updated look so far. If anything I’ve certainly saved you or someone else quite a lot of time trying to find you a theme for Your New WordPress Blog.
- Changing up the look of things (ardentdefense.wordpress.com)