11 Years With My Blog Theme; All Good Things Come To An End…

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll notice that something’s changed. Actually, a lot of something has changed, and it all starts with a new theme.

First, let’s talk about the “why”. I loved my other theme, but in reality it was the 3rd theme on this site. However, that last theme was my favorite; I’ve had it since the middle of 2009. I used it for every blog I’ve owned since then, and the best part of it was I knew how to alter the code to get it to look however I wanted it to look. I could change colors, fonts, links… pretty much everything. In my eyes it was perfect.

The problem? Suddenly comments weren’t showing on 3 of my blogs after the most recent WordPress update. I know they were there beforehand because I never updated one of my blogs, and those comments are still showing.

What to do? First, I put out an emergency social media call, looking for people who might be able to figure out a way to upgrade my theme. I had one person who responded, who took a look at it… and he basically said “no way”. Man, my technology was old!

Next, I had to work my mind through the reality that I needed to find a new theme. Do I go free or do I pay for something? My research started earnestly looking at both free and paid themes, but my caveat is that it had to have 3 columns, otherwise it was a deal breaker.

Maybe this isn’t an issue with lots of people looking at new themes, but every single theme I looked at (well, maybe one or two were different) only showed the home page and no real columns. That was problematic because I wanted to see what the pages looked like with content and at least one image. If the individual blog posts looked as I wanted it to look, I could give way to a different type of home page. I also had to do a crash course on the term “responsive“. most of y’all probably already knew this, but it wasn’t anything I had to deal with previously.

When I couldn’t find anything I wanted, I decided to look at the WordPress themes already loaded with all the WordPress updates. Only one of them fit what I was looking for… kind of… that being Twenty Fourteen. I ran it as a test on my local blog, but things just won’t format properly there. I then decided to test it on this blog… and I had much better results. I still haven’t totally figured out how to get the images in each post showing up the way I want them to, but it’s much better than it was on my other blog.

The next issue is formatting. I wanted to format links to be a different color. I also needed to get rid of everything green (I hate green). The problem is that I couldn’t get into the style.css file to get anything to change. That was irksome to say the least, but I thought I’d found a workaround.

Turns out there’s something called “child themes” that, once again I had to research. Their main purpose is to allow changes to be made to a theme that looks like the theme you’re using, select it instead of the real theme, then make your changes to the CSS file there. That way, when WordPress or whomever’s theme you’re using receives an update, your CSS changes won’t be wiped away; that sounded pretty good.

Unfortunately, only one of the changes I made seems to have worked at this point. That’s driving me a bit nuts. I did find out about another plugin called Fourteen Colors, which was made specifically for the Twenty Fourteen theme. It allows modification of colors for a few things, which is why you see blue on the left side instead of black, and you see the links, the search button and the “buy” buttons for my products as a light blue. If you have a wide enough monitor you’ll also see a red stripe on the right side. I love red, but my monitor’s not wide enough, and even if it was I enlarge the print on my monitor so I wouldn’t see it anyway (although I shrank my browser so I could see what it looked like).

At this point, I’m just happy that comments are showing again. The only big thing I need to figure out is how to get my images to format the way I want them so, as it seems WordPress is overriding my coding; the weasels! lol I also can’t get my logo working properly, let alone an image header, even though I formatted one to be the size that was recommended… sigh…

So… for now, what you see is what you get. I’m not married to it, so if I can’t get it looking the way I want it to long term, I’m open to looking for something else, paid or free… but I’m not paying a lot for that muffler (if you don’t know that reference, go look it up on YouTube lol).

What do you think about what you’re seeing now? If you know of any themes that fit this format, please feel free to share the names; just don’t put any links in, as your comment will automatically go into the spam folder if you do. 🙂

20 thoughts on “11 Years With My Blog Theme; All Good Things Come To An End…”

    1. You know, people keep saying that, but it’s not true for everything or everyone. Maybe I’m like that because I’m older, but I do little blog reading on smartphones. In any case, you still want your desktop to be presentable. Thanks for the comment, but I hope to make some continuing changes to it.

    1. Hey, a DeAnna sighting! lol I’d actually gotten the other theme to load fast through a lot of coding changes. It’s possible that’s what helped break that original theme. The more I see it, the less I hate it! lol

  1. It looks clean and modern. And at least now it’s USA, all the way. (I liked the old colors fine, but you’re not in New Zealand!)

    There is still the issue of sizing on different devices. Get our friend to take another look, specifically for “responsiveness,” now that you’ve joined the current decade. Oh, it’s my turn to nag YOU about that! 😀 What fun.

    1. Supposedly twenty fourteen is a responsive theme. I looked at the code and it’s set properly also. Based on what I found via research, it’s a complicated thing to try to code for larger monitors. Even if I did it, once WordPress updated the theme again it would wipe out anything I changed it to (it changes all the php files, one of which is where the meta for responsive themes sits). Looks like you’re odd person out! lol

  2. Hey Mitch,

    LOL, I can so relate.
    I can easily use the same gadgets, etc for years and years while everyone else around me upgrades constantly (although I do change my blog theme from time to time).
    Truth be told, though, that when I do make some changes, I find the upgrades work so much better and I never knew what I was missing.
    At least this is the case most (not all) of the time.

    The blog looks good. Hope you have an easy time with it 🙂

    1. Thanks Dana. I came into this kicking and screaming, but I’m getting more used to it now. I’ve figured out a way to make more changes I like, and I’ve been experimenting with imaging on some of my older articles that I promote on Twitter… just like the one with the dragon in this one. I figure the visuals are more in line with modern blogging; so much for my having to code everything the way I’ve been doing it for 15 years. lol

  3. I recently changed my theme and although I was nervous whilst editing it, once I had finished, I really liked the new look.
    It’s really nerve-wracking when changing something you had for so long, then getting used to it!

  4. It’s good to change themes from time to time. It gives a fresher look to both you and your visitors. I also love your new blog theme. Thanks for sharing this article. It will surely inspire others to make some changes on their websites.

  5. I really like this one, but it looks like you’re not using a good third of your real estate (on desktop, anyway) to the right. Almost a third of my screen is just RED. It’s a little lopsided!

    Shrunk to tablet/phone size, it looks fine here, but that’s because the sidebars both drop to the bottom. (Don’t use infinite scroll or you’ll never find them on mobile!)

    It’s an adjustment. I try not to get TOO attached, and as you know, I usually rip my own site up and start over from scratch every – what, 3-5 years? 🙂 JP Habaradas is glad I don’t try it on the live site, anymore. Yee haw!! He and DiTesco used to have to figure out what the heck I’d messed up and dig me out of my own moat, every time I started to play. But you learn a lot that way, too, and the knowledge of WordPress and its core updates doesn’t get TOO rusty.

    1. I thought we had this discussion before. You had a widescreen whereas mine’s normal… even with my new 32″ monitor. You and Mitchell have the same issue; I see perfection, though much bigger now. 🙂 at this point, using a child theme over WordPress 14 seems to be working nicely, and hopefully I’ll never have to deal with changing it again… though I am having to readjust my images from a lot of older posts.

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