A blog overhaul

As you have probably noticed, I have not been very active on my Grains of Sand blog in recent months. Even my Finding Frohsinn photo-a-day blog has had an extended nap. Only Flat Kathy is still sharing her fantastical adventures around the world.

My blog is getting an overhaul

My home in the blogosphere is getting an overhaul

The usual reasons apply:

Life just got too busy, responsibilities demanded attention, and flurries of intense work deadlines ontop of each other alternated with periods of stagnation, apathy and exhaustion. It all outweighed the longing to share photos and stories.

In addition, though, I’d become a bit bored with the whole look of my blog.

Every time I had a gap between work assignments, I’d peruse the free WordPress themes, trying out the ones that I kind-of liked, only to find that they came with limitations and problems. Many of the newer ones, like Goran, Edin, Harmonic, Hemingway Rewritten…, seem to be really BIG – large images, large font. Frustratingly, there are only a handful of ‘magazine’ style themes – unless, of course, you’re willing to buy one of the premium themes. For a while, I had the Twenty Fourteen theme active on my blog, but I didn’t like the cluttered look, and just couldn’t get the darn featured posts functionality to work. I even went back to Twenty Ten again, which had been my favourite for a long, long time.

I’m currently trying out the Expound theme, because it allows me to create a nice Front Page, where I can highlight certain categories or my favourite posts. And because I really like the Featured Posts functionality on the Blog Page; Expound also makes good use of featured images and excerpts on the Blog Page, so that it doesn’t look too cluttered and overwhelming. The downside is that my various sidebars and widgets are reduced to a single sidebar of excessive length, and that I no longer have a footer.

The problem is that, whenever you change themes, it means that a whole lot of housekeeping needs to happen too:

  • The patio is a bit of a mess at the moment... Not conducive to a relaxing Kaffeeklatsch in the garden

    It’s a bit of a mess at the moment… Not conducive to a relaxing Kaffeeklatsch in the garden

    widgets and sidebars and footers (if you’re lucky to have footer widgets) need to be re-designed, re-created, shuffled around…

  • menus may need to be reshuffled and redesigned,
  • header images will need to be re-uploaded, re-sized, re-cropped,
  • featured images will need to be assigned to posts that don’t yet have them,
  • excerpts will have to be written for posts that you want to highlight,
  • featured posts need to be tagged as such,
  • workarounds have to be found for lost functionality,
  • new functionality has to be identified and used properly.

As a result, my blog is currently in a bit of a mess. I reckon that most of us in the blogosphere go through these design upheavals at some stage.

So, please accept my apologies in advance for any lost links, blank posts, misaligned images, moving widgets, and general untidiness. Hopefully, it’ll all be temporary. And when it’s all nice and tidy again, I look forward to inviting my dear blogfriends around for some tea and cake – or a browse and a chat. 🙂

5 thoughts on “A blog overhaul

    • Hi Sybil – thank you! I know how you feel! I started off in Blogger too! But I got so frustrated with the lack of choice among the different themes, layouts, colour schemes, etc. I don’t regret moving to WordPress, but I essentially lost my blogposts at Blogger, because I couldn’t figure out how to export/import them. Luckily, it was only a few months’ worth of posts!

      I’ve been blogging at WordPress since 2008, and have since accumulated so many posts and pictures on this blog, that it’s become increasingly awkward to change themes because there’s so much housekeeping that has to happen to make it look nice again. Over the years, the behind-the-scenes functionality has also changed, sometimes quite dramatically, and if you stay with one of the older themes, you risk being left behind and stagnating – and the older themes aren’t always updated, or worse, they’re ‘retired’.

      Have you thought of creating a trial blog on WordPress, to test the waters? You can initially make it private and non-shareable, so that you can play around and figure out whether you like it, before you ‘go live’.

  1. Hi Reggie! 🙂

    I really like the new look! It’s fresh and clean, and makes all your material so much quicker to find.

    As you say there’s a lot of work to be done if you do a major overhaul like you’ve done. Good luck with that! 🙂

    • Thank you, Lisa – I’m glad you like it too.

      I made a big mess a few days ago, when I tidied up my sidebar widgets; I thought I was cleaning up and removing duplicates (because this theme only has one right-hand sidebar, and no footer area). Alas, I discovered too late that I was not deleting *duplicates*, but *originals*. As a result, almost ALL my widgets are now gone. Sigh.

      I still really like the premium theme you have been using on your Notes From Africa blog for a couple of years now; it has a great ‘magazine’ style look, with the featured images and short extracts on the front page.

      I know you always liked playing around with the themes – have any of the new ones tempted you to change over?

      • I’ve been contemplating moving some posts from my “photoblog” to my primary blog, but the prospect makes me rather want to go and do some really boring chores! 🙂

        I really haven’t been keeping up with the new themes lately, but if I come across something good I’ll let you know.

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