To Theme, or Not to Theme?


Well, everyone, I’m at a crossroads. One I’m not happy to face, one that I hoped would never come. Alas, here it is; and I am faced with a horrible choice.

Those of you that know me to any degree know that I bore easily. With each and every blog I’ve had (and there have been as many as four, albeit with identical content), I’ve become quickly and horrifically bored with the theme. I’ve changed it to suit the seasons, the mood I was in, the things I was writing about … whatever excuse I had on hand.

But I finally found a few of them that I really liked here on WordPress. I found MistyLook, and it was so cool, because I could control the header. I liked that, and it was something I was interested in playing with anyway; so a few Photoshop sessions later, I had banner images for any blog that’d let me change it. (Not many.) But, it was rather narrow, and made my posts — especially my fiction — really, really long. So I chose another one with a flexible header, and I’ve stuck with it ever since: Cutline.

I’ve loved my theme. I like the cleanness, the look and feel; I like the fonts (well, most of them), I like the width of the text column for entries … man, it was a match made in heaven. Until …

As a service to other writers, I try to provide links to sites that I’ve found either interesting or in some way helpful. Since I fancy myself a “writer”, I thought it made sense to have a “Writer’s Resources” widget on my sidebar. But I’ve also met a lot of really sweet people here on the blogosphere, and thought it would be nice to have links to their blogs too. And I’ve got a lot of other interests that don’t show up in any other way except that I have links to them on my sidebar. Things like Christian Apologetics and art. So, I have all those things in my “blogroll” list, but they’re not organized in any way shape or form over there.

I also really like the little visitor map utilities that show a little dot for every visit I get. It’s not accurate, it’s not reliable, but it’s cool looking and fun. So I have that up there.

Then I started taking cues from traffic-whoring articles and things, where it was suggested that you have things like a search bar on your sidebar so that people can quickly search your blog for what they want; have RSS feed links available for people to subscribe to your blog; I have a SiteMeter counter just ’cause lots of other people were doin’ it; and I put a li’l horkenwedger in there for people to use other subscription thingies as they see fit. By the time I’d created text widgets for all that crap and organizing my blogroll into meaningful little sections, I have one long sidebar, baby. It’s running away from me at this point, and I’m not sure what to do about it.

I could eliminate the calendar widget and create a bit of real estate. I’ve already limited the number of posts on my front page to speed loading it, but now the sidebar goes way down past the last entry. Folks don’t like scrolling for nothing so I figure no one’s getting to the bottom, which is where my buddies and people I care about are. I mean, the links to them, not the literal them.

Now, my dilemma:

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5 thoughts on “To Theme, or Not to Theme?

  1. I think Sherri wouldn’t mind. And I think yours would be different enough that most people probably wouldn’t notice. There’s only like 50 or 60 themes total on WP, maybe 6 that are 3 columns, so lots of people are using the same ones. Go with the one you like best. πŸ™‚

    Maybe we should petition WP to create more themes?

  2. Nice thoughts, love. I guess we could petition WP for more themes, but … do you think we’d get any sort of response from them?

    If I could have another column on the theme I have without sacrificing the width of the posts column that would be ideal. But … what do I know?

    They probably won’t do anything, though. Just tell you (me) to check for other themes that will work.

    Thanks for your thoughts, babe. Love you.

  3. I agree with DarcsFalcon, a friend wouldn’t mind having the same template and regardless of the basic appearance, they wouldn’t look or be the same anyway. Think of it like two people drawing the same picture. Perspective makes the difference. πŸ™‚ Personally, I like 3 column pages.

  4. They’re right, I don’t mind if you use the template I chose. I’ve changed a bunch of colors, and the headers will be completely different. Go for it!

    Three-column templates are easier to work with, I think, especially since most of these WP templates are fixed-width and waste a lot of space. You could do it, and if you don’t like it change it back.

    One I really liked was a 4-column, but the post part was too narrow.

    I can’t wait to see the new look!

  5. Penfury – Great analogy! No two artists render a drawing exactly the same way. I mean, unless they’re working on an animation production. Or they’re being commissioned to do something exactly like someone else. Or they’re doing an homage and not putting their own spin on it … well, okay, sometimes they do draw a picture exactly the same way, but it’s on purpose when they do. Still a great analogy!

    Sherri – If you’re not the sweetest friend I have, you’re in the top two. Thanks, hon, you’re the best there is!

    Maybe Monday will dawn a new look for the DarcNess. πŸ™‚

    Thanks again everyone for coming by and taking a look!

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