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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3 thoughts to “A much needed re-design… What do you think?

  • Paminottawa

    Hey Kelly. Like the layout – very clean, but REALLY love the follow toolbar in the upper right – did this come with the template, or did you get this elsewhere?

    Actually…I don’t really have any html or other training at all, and have been trying to figure out what to do for the next iterations of my blog. I just set up a basic cookie cutter a year ago, but want to customize it and ‘own it’, you know?

    Can a non-webby person use WordPress? Do you have recommendations for or against this platform? Should I use Blogger or Tumblr or …??? Just not sure how to proceed, and a lot of articles are written from the perspective of the ‘experienced’ web person and presumes a level of knowledge and PATIENCE with setting these items up.

    Don’t have much of that patience stuff. I don’t know how you didn’t quit a long time before you landed upon this layout….!

  • Parker

    I totally feel you on the pain of going with a new template. Unless you really know CSS, it can be pretty frustrating trying to implement it. I’ve gone through that a few times with BlogCampaigning.

    Thanks for sharing those links to other template sites – I’ll have to check the out for a site I’m building for a friend.

    Your new design looks good, too!

  • Kelly Rusk

    Hi Pam, Anyone *can* use WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, without any specific web skills. All are pretty intuitive & easy to navigate. I’d say Blogger is easiest, then WP then Typepad, but it’s definitely a close race.

    I like WordPress because if you do want to ‘go under the hood’ it’s very easy to and provides the most options. However, if you don’t care about doing that at all ever, then it might not be right for you.

    Tumblr and Posterous are two others that are extremely user friendly for the non-webby person. I’d say with little patience, one of these is your best bet. Posterous seems to be exploding in popularity–I know a few people who love it, but I haven’t used it myself.

    Hope that helps!

    Parker–thanks for stopping by and commenting!


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