Blogging has become a major part of my writing process. Each Monday, I publish a new blog post that is related in some way to reading and writing. Today’s is no exception, but it’s about the process of creating a new blog. In 2009, I took advantage of WordPress.com’s free blog templates and platform. I felt satisfied with the theme I’d been using. I also appreciated not paying a monthly/yearly fee for using it. A newbie to creating a blog, I needed something simple so I could teach myself how to set it up, and WordPress offers online guidelines for doing so. Over the years, I became somewhat adept at publishing my posts and keeping my pages updated.
But then I started publishing additional novels, and I wanted a more professional looking site. When I couldn’t find a free template on WordPress that would give me the kind of author platform I need, I searched for literary blog templates. That took me outside of the free WordPress world and into Envato Market where I found a whole new range of options. And I fell in love with what became my new theme. Yes, the theme’s name is “Literary.” It was designed with writers in mind, and I loved the way it displayed published books on its pages.
Unfortunately, I not only had to pay for this template ($60), but I also had to upgrade my WordPress.com account to the business plan. Otherwise, I couldn’t have used this more advanced theme. The business plan offers continuing support from “happiness engineers” (and they really do bring happiness to novices like me who are fumbling around in this world of codes and obscure language), as well as access to excellent plugins such as Yoast SEO, Google Analytics, Page Builder, and so much more. It even includes ways to sell your books directly on your site. I believed it was well worth the expense (around $300 a year), and it’s a tax write-off.
So while my approach ended up costing me more than I had anticipated), I not only had my own easily remembered domain name (lilyionamackenzie.com), but I also had a site I could constantly improve as I grew more familiar with all of its possibilities, including sliding images, videos, and other tantalizing prospects.
Unfortunately, “Literary” turned into more of a nightmare than a bridge into new blog country. I had to work though an entity called MeanThemes, and any time I needed help figuring out something, I had to submit a support ticket and also pay extra for this service, around $30 for six months of help. I could have tolerated the expense if I’d actually received the assistance I was seeking. I didn’t. And while I was paying $300 a year for the WordPress business plan, its happiness engineers couldn’t help me with problems I was having with “Literary.”
Since the WordPress business plan gives me access to premium themes, I finally saw the light and looked for a new template. “Mayer” is the one I chose and is so user friendly compared to “Literary.” I also was able to put a book carousel on each page that shows all of my titles, the “Literary” feature I was most drawn to. So now I can call on happiness engineers again when I run into problems with my site, and I’m definitely happier that I’ve made this major (Mayer?) change!