Using a New Theme

I Forgot How Much of a Pain it is to Use a New Theme

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Today, I decided to pull the trigger on buying the themes from Themegrill. I paid for three sites so I could spruce up all of my blogs. But I forgot just how much of a pain it is to set up a new theme.

Keep in mind, I haven’t had to configure a theme since I built the green blog. And even then, a lot of it was centered around the default setup.

However, switching this site to the Radiant theme from Themegrill is a bit of a convoluted process.

Why Use a New Theme?

Although I like the ColorNews layout, I’ve decided that I want to try something new with the appearance of this site. I have a few ideas that are just easier to manage with a new theme.

In this case, I’ve chosen to run with Radiate.

Like most brands and sites online, it’s good to change up the appearance once in a while. I’ve been using the same theme and layout since I moved from Joomla to WordPress many years ago.

Not to mention that I think some of the performance issues I’ve had on the site were theme-related.

Then there are the premium options for controlling the typography and whatnot, which is a hell of a lot easier than trying to change things using CSS and HTML.

Especially when you really don’t have time to dump into development or the money to hire a programmer.

Setting Up the New Theme is a Process

With a new layout comes new settings. And if I remember right, it took a long time to get the first theme to look just right, even though the font was squiffy and the in-article headings were smushed.

Nonetheless, I had to go through a lot of different features, functions, and read up on the theme’s abilities.

Here I am with this new theme and having to learn all that junk again.

It’s not that it’s overly difficult, mind you. In fact, many theme developers go out of their way to make settings and functions simple for beginners.

It’s more time-consuming than anything.

For example, I now have to create an entirely new header image template because the old ones are not sized correctly. Then, I need to figure out how the slider works and the image sizes for it.

Color choices, typography, sidebar layout, new pages, designing a new home page…it’s quite an undertaking when you don’t have a lot of time to spare in the day.

New Featured Pages for the Home Page

As WriterSanctuary centers on Self-Publishing, Blogging, and Freelance Writing, I am creating landing pages specifically for each. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time, and Radiate has a nice layout for those featured pages.

In reality, this feature was one of the driving forces behind spending money with Themegrill. Well, that and having a slew of functions not available in the free versions of the themes.

The whole idea is to slim down and streamline the home page as much as possible. This includes getting rid of the sidebar, ads, and other elements that will just get in the way.

Those things will still be on the individual posts, but I want the home page to be a bit less cluttered than it was in the past.

At the time of this post, the home page is just showing the most recent blog posts and the sidebar. I’m spending time polishing up the actual home page before it goes live.

Well, at least getting the three featured pages up on the site. Then, you’ll be able to see the small changes periodically as I have time to make them.

Continued Adjustments Are Guaranteed

I’m not sure how long it took me to get the original theme to work as I wanted. I know that it took more than a year of making tweaks and changes.

I’m sure it’ll be similar with this new theme.

Remember, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands throughout the day. There are a ton of things I need to get done before I can start piddling around with the theme’s settings.

Especially when it comes to polishing up the home page.

Regardless, I am pretty excited to really put in the effort to see what I can do with Radiate and the other themes from Themegrill. I’m hoping I didn’t waste $103 for the next year for three site licenses.

However, I view damn near everything as content in one form or another. So, you can expect a review of using Themegrill Pro themes in the very near future.

Maybe that article will at least bring in enough ad revenue to offset the cost.

Fixing Up All of the Blogs with a New Theme

The reason why I paid for three sites is that I wanted to fix up all of my major blogs this month. One of which is the dead blog I am currently working on fixing up.

I’m not sure if the new theme will make a difference, but the functions over the free theme might be worth the price.

Another fun task I have this month is going through and removing old plugins, changing a few settings to get things to work right, and re-adjusting a few security settings.

Needless to say, I’m going to have quite a busy month or two getting everything to look and work just right.


Fixed Two Problems While Trying to Fix Something Else

Here’s a slice of fried gold for you; when trying to fix something on the new theme, I wound up fixing a couple of other issues.

If you haven’t noticed yet, the “Like this:” button is back without the continuous “loading” message. Turns out that was being caused by EWWW’s lazy load function.

Once I switched to Autoptomize for lazy loading, the Like button started to work again.

So far.

The second thing that I managed to fix while working on the new theme was how YouTube wasn’t giving me credit for video views from this website.

If you don’t know, I embed videos into their blog counterparts in case someone wants to watch instead of read about the topic.

In any case, it turns out that there was a mixture of two things that affected the videos: my YouTube wizard plugin and the security system’s firewall.

Knock on wood, but it looks like I finally fixed the video issue. It only took me a bit over a year, but at least it’s working now.

Currently, I have to use the embed code from YouTube to put the videos into the blog posts. I haven’t tried just adding the link as an embed yet.

Anyway, I am pretty excited that I fixed these two issues. What’s funny is that I wasn’t even trying to fix them when I stumbled across the solution.

What is Your Favorite Theme?

So, there we have it…the new theme is running on the blog and I am kind of liking it so far.

Sure, there are a few other things I need to do before I am completely comfortable with the layout. But at least I’m finally getting things rolling.

Now, I just have to do this with two more websites.

What theme are you using for your blog, and would you consider a premium theme instead?

Michael Brockbank
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