Over the past couple of days, I’ve been plagued by the need to choose the perfect theme for my blog. I even got the business plan ($32.42/month) to try out the premium themes. My justification was:
I’ve been on this road before, when I spent around 6 hours trying out all the free themes. The grass definitely looked greener on the premium side, but it seems that the moral of the idiom still stands. These were some of my unwelcoming discoveries:
- As long as the blog is hosted on wordpress.com, you can’t use any of the downloadable themes and plugins
- Customizing a theme is a surprisingly restrictive experience and there isn’t a standard for customization parameters
- Most blog styles are oriented for photography portfolio, hipster fashion, or a startup ventures.
I must have spent another 4 hours trying out the premium themes. What contributed to this length was the lack of vision I had for my blog’s purpose and audience. But after facing many restrictions in the blog styles, I now have the ideal image of my blog in my head:
A blog that is boxed in and doesn’t stretch on wide aspect ratios. From the top: the blog title or a banner, and a menu below it. A single column view of my posts, with a featured image serving as the cover/icon for the post. An excerpt of the post, truncated automatically without me needing to insert the read more tag. A right-hand sidebar widget that stays there across all pages. Finally, it would be nice if a search bar was built into the menu bar.
That’s about it. What’s funny is that this is basically one of the very first WordPress themes, made by their team, called Twenty Ten. The problem with this one is that it doesn’t have the option to automatically truncate my posts and that it doesn’t use the picture from featured image. Although it was possible to get around these two issues by doing more work, the lack of customization options this theme had along with the small font size was an issue for me. And although I couldn’t figure out how, Digibro who uses this theme has his search bar in the menu tab.
So even after all the looking, I wasn’t able to find the theme I wanted — and perhaps I never will. But overall, this process has helped me to better realize the vision for my site. What I wanted was a blog; a medium comfortably restricted by texts and pictures. Nothing too proper and business-like or too minimalistic and hipster-like. I wanted my blog to feel casual and welcome, like a mom’s blog with cooking recipes and household items reviews. Something that shares life experiences and can be trusted. I mostly just want to express and share my thoughts, but I also want the blog to be a bit of a plug for my art. This blog is not my profession, but it’s also not just a hobby. I want to eventually establish a voice in the communities that I’m passionate about.