Have you noticed the new look? I’m super excited about it! It was an interesting process, so I wanted to share a few things that I learned when I updated my theme.
It’s OK if I don’t do everything myself
When I started my first website so many years ago – 1999! – I taught myself to code. I always enjoyed and took pride in coding my own layouts. But my skills are lacking when it comes to creating a responsive theme. And having a responsive theme is so important today because you never know what kind of device your visitors might be using. I also knew that I no longer wanted to use a free theme. I wanted a theme that was more professional looking.
As soon as I saw the Duplicity theme from Nose Graze, I knew it was just what I wanted. I loved the colors! I loved the Featured content box! Which I see on so many blogs, but it’s usually huge and in your face, which isn’t me at all. I love how simple this one is. It’s perfect!
I do plan on learning to code my own themes, because I enjoy it! But there was no reason for my blog to suffer waiting on my skills to get caught up to where they need to be.
Featured images are important
My previous theme was Twenty Fifteen. I didn’t care for how Featured Images looked in that theme, so I never used it. Well, with the Duplicity Theme, if I wanted all the features I loved to work properly, I needed to be using Featured Images. Apparently, it’s something that most themes utilize, so if you ever plan on updating your theme, be sure you’re taking advantage of this WordPress feature.
Ashley at Nose Graze was kind enough to recommend the Set All First Images As Featured plugin. It set all my first images to Feature, but it left the picture on the page too, which gave me double images. So, I had to manually remove all those images. Kind of made me glad that I didn’t start using images regularly until last year.
Stock images aren’t for me
With the new look, I realized how out of place stock images look on my blog. Or at least, I think they do. So, I’m going to start experimenting more until I find just the right look for my images. I’m very excited about this creative endeavor. I even plan to go back and update older posts once I find the right look.
Widgets can be customized
Another plugin that Ashley recommends is Widget Options. This plugin allows you to customize the CSS for a widget, and you can even even check which pages you want a widget to appear on. I decided that with the Featured content box on the homepage, that I didn’t need the Recent Posts and Most Popular Posts Widgets to be on the homepage, so I set them to only appear on the other pages.
A new look can be re-energizing
I was feeling kind of blah about the blog, mostly because of Winter, which just sucks the fun out of everything! But as soon as I installed my new theme, I felt excited about the blog again. I have so many ideas and plans! I can’t wait to get started!
So, what about you? Are you thinking of updating your theme? Do you code your own layouts? What do you do when you need to feel excited about blogging again? Let me know in the comments!