Thinking of changing your WordPress theme? Think again!

Well, I certainly didn’t expect that setting up a new WordPress blog theme would take over my life, but it did. It started so innocently. I began browsing through my then free WordPress themes, searching for one that would give me a more professional online look as a published author. There were many to choose from, but none grabbed me. None said, “Hey, Lily, this look will enhance your author’s ‘brand.’”

What the hell, I’m not even sure what an author’s brand is, though I recall helping my stepdad brand calves and sheep when I was a youngster living on our Canadian farm. From that experience, I know that branding animals leaves a permanent ownership mark burned into their hides. A painful process.

And so is revamping a blog. At least it was for me. An amateur in the computer tech world, I had to research endlessly, and I still am.

When I didn’t find a WordPress theme I liked in its free offerings, I began looking elsewhere after googling “Wordpress themes for authors.” And that’s when I fell in love. Through “Meanthemes,” I found “Literary,” one made expressly for writers. I loved everything about it—the special books’ page, the carousels where book covers and titles can be shown, the revolving blog post conveyor: it was “ME”! I even fell in love with the colors used in the demo theme, a delicate turquoise shade and yellow.

So I bought it. That’s when reality hit me. Free WordPress does not support this theme. If I wanted to use it, I would need to upgrade to a business plan for $300.

I began rationalizing. The business plan was tax deductible and would allow me to do many more things on my blog than I’d been able to do in the past, most of which I’m in the process of discovering. I get improved SEO coverage (do you understand what SEO is? I don’t!), as well as plugins I’ve never heard of before: Google Analytics, Page Builder, Akismet Anti-spam, Jetpack, and so much more.

I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland, lost amidst this plethora of sources I knew nothing about. But I also had gained a helper: WordPress Happiness Engineers are available to me now and try to answer my numerous questions. Many of them have made me exceedingly happy until I run into my next problem.

But some couldn’t answer questions that dealt directly with my new theme. For that, I had to consult its author, who had done a poor job of documenting “Literary” for new users. It took weeks before this person got back to me and many more before s/he finally answered my questions.

I finally made the transition. Sort of. I still needed to better incorporate the landing page with my blog. A Bangladeshi technician created it through Fiverr (more on this next time), but at least it was workable.

As for my author’s brand. I’m still not sure what it is, but I do know that making these extensive changes has branded me. It was a lengthy (two-month) process that prevented me from doing much writing during that time. But at least I had a literary theme. I guess. Until I could no longer get the help I needed to upgrade it and ended up dumping the whole thing for something simpler to use.

I hope you like my current non literary theme!

6 thoughts on “Thinking of changing your WordPress theme? Think again!

  1. You have done the experiment I didn’t dare try – going commercial with a theme – and ended up dumping it.

    Since I respect your smarts, you’ve saved me a heap of money and trouble, so thanks!

    Whatever I’ve done and do with my free WordPress blog is enough for me: basics, information on where to buy, nothing tricky, and definitely no moving parts (the free ones don’t even allow it). And I mean ‘moving’ literally: my damaged brain does not like getting to a site and finding something moving out of my control – i.e., because I clicked on it and started the motion. When I get those, I leap out and never go back.

    I’m indie because the control allows me to do what I can’t otherwise do. I need that to function at all, and do quite well on nice quiet stationary sites. Including my own two, the one listed below, and the books’ site, prideschildren dot c o m. Which I maintain and add to when necessary, within my capabilities.

    I’d love a site where I could post pieces of my stories without having to fight the WordPress defaults for text blocks, but if I want to bypass the problem, I do a screenshot and put up the image. It’s like being given a spoon to dig out an Egyptian tomb, so I have to use a lot of patience, and not try to do too much at a time, and swear a lot sometimes.

    The problem is you need the sales to justify getting pro for the site, and the site never guarantees sales. Maybe when I finish the trilogy. In a few years.

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