Blog Themes: It’s Like Trying on a New Dress

25 04 2012

Do you think this is too much for a blog theme?

I figured it was time to work on a custom theme for my blog, because you know, I don’t have enough to do in the 15,000 things I need to get done in a week. Right now it’s 9:00 a.m. and I’m sitting at my computer still in my pajamas with a pile of laundry at my feet that would choke a hippogriff (shout-out to you, Harry Potter fans), a stack of bills on my desk just aching to be paid (and not enough money to pay them), and a neglected refrigerator full of odd-looking food items (at least they used to be food) that collectively smell like bad sour kraut mixed with dirty gym socks, neither of which I think is in the fridge (and honestly, that kind of scares me).

Yesterday I received notice of my 400th blog follower (Yeah! Thanks everyone!), so I decided my blog theme should look like I pay more attention to it than I do my perpetually unmade bed OR my refrigerator (also known as “The Rotter” at our house). I want to give my blog theme more personality, but at the same time I’m cheap, so I don’t want to pay for a custom theme–at least not right before my kids run off to college (which, as you know, will drain me of every cent). Nor do I want to spend inordinate amounts of time learning how to program in HTML or CSS so I can build my own blog page template, only to have it look like it was it was done by a gay auto mechanic on holiday in Brazil (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Since I’m ridiculously anal and over-think everything I’ve been “trying on” new blog themes all morning, like I was searching for the right prom dress. I want something simple, yet fun, but not too professional-looking, because after all this is a comedy blog. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

So in an effort of camaraderie fellow bloggers I humbly seek your advice. Did you buy your blog theme off the rack or have something tailor-made to fit your personality? Or did you do a little of both by making alterations to something you bought that was prΓͺt-Γ -porter? In other words, how did you decide upon your blog theme and how did you get it done without going crazy? And most importantly, are you happy with it? Feel free to post comments to enlighten me. As always I love hearing from you!

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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.


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70 responses

25 04 2012
Momma Margi

I looked through the Free Themes and picked a cute one that I felt fit me and the majority of what I will be writting about! And it made me smile when I saw it. πŸ™‚

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I looked at your theme, and I agree that it fits what you’re writing about to a T. In fact, that theme almost looks like a custom theme. It does put a smile on my face when I look at it, especially when I see that cute child stirring melting marshmallows in a pot. Now I’m hungry!

Thanks for giving me your perspective! I appreciate it.

25 04 2012
Doug's BoomerRants

I also picked a free theme.. then tried to change and manipulate a couple areas.. all-in-all my blog theme represents me pretty well; someone totally incompetent in programming a blog site who has something marginally of value to say to an uncaring world. Mission accomplished! πŸ™‚

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Okay, Doug, I’m not sure if ALL that is true…I think what you have to say is more than MARGINALLY of value. πŸ˜‰

But I’m with you on the free theme thing. When I look at the paid themes, I’m not quite sure what I’m paying for. I just want something a little more unique than I had before AND I want to be able to put a big picture somewhere on it. You know, doctor it up a bit.

25 04 2012
Doug's BoomerRants

Just a thought, Stacey.. and likely you might have given this some thought already given you seem assertively creative… but your About Me suggests that you have a number of income-producing talents (author, speaker, yada yada) that you could easily assimilate into your blog here. If you choose to do that I might suggest that you then seek a more custom blogsite done by a professional who will listen to your direction. I suppose it’s the republican in me that is constantly thinking if you have something to sell then use what you got to sell it. You have a ton of exposure in here. Maybe a spinoff section to sell what you have to sell.
I had a site years ago.. it was up for nearly ten years and the subject had to do with sexual relationships and fantasies (noooo… not porn…) but I had a huge exposure (um.. no pun intended there) and for years I tried to figure out a way to sell something other than my free time counseling others. I kinda regret that. Anyway, strike while the iron is hot!

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

We’re thinking along the same lines, Doug. (Vulcan mind meld.) I’m working my way up to that. Right now I have a website that touts all the things I do, but I wanted this blog to just be a platform for my stand-up (since I can’t realistically be on the road anymore 40 nights out of the year, nor do I want to). But my blog has outpaced my website, so my blog needs to evolve to keep up. I eventually will hire someone to turn my blog int the be-all, but until then I want to work my way up to that. I have a pretty good blog and Twitter following (Btw, are you on Twitter? I’d think your acerbic wit would be perfect for 140 characters or less.) so I don’t want to overwhelm everyone with TOO much self-promotion. (Is there such a thing?)

Thanks for the tip. I appreciate your insight and I think you’re totally right. I just have to figure out the best way to put your plan in motion. (Starting with finding the right blog designer. I have been looking around.)

25 04 2012
Doug's BoomerRants

OMG! And here I thought it was Vulcan Mind Mold! I don’t need the shots after all!

Well, I am totally impressed, Stacy (and sorry for your name mispell in my last post)… that you can actually determine how many characters (or less) would actually be interested in reading my Tweets! Normally I don’t get too many characters replying to anything.

I’ve not really signed on to the Twitter thing. I’m afraid of being way too inspired to reply back while doing those things humans do in the bathroom… and my hands are usually busy elsewhere. I recently got a smart phone and the phone won so I surrendered it to my girlfriend, so I’m back to the comfort and solitude of a flip phone. Beam me up, Scottie.

(no.. no such thing as too much self-promotion…. well, ok… Gingrich comes to mind.)

25 04 2012
The Waiting

Well, I think your new look suits you just fine! Looks great.

I have a free theme, but it’s very customizable. I pay for fonts, though. That was a little b-day gift to myself.

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I really like the “clean” look of your blog theme. I looked at that one, too, because it is very customizable. You may have hit upon the answer in that you select a free theme, but then pay for fonts so you can make your customizations look different from anyone else’s. At least then I know exactly WHAT I’m paying for–special fonts. The problem I have is that a lot of those purchasable theme look more blah than the free ones. What’s up with that?

25 04 2012
The Waiting

My husband was just saying the same thing about the purchasable themes the other day! Really, it’s kind of like you’re paying for nothing, which is saying a lot because some of those themes are incredibly expensive.

25 04 2012
Christine

I secretly “try on” all the new blog themes they publish… and when I love another blogger’s theme, I often try it on to see if it works for the book of alice. They usually aren’t exactly right, but I’ve been toying with two in particular lately (Bueno and one I can’t remember off the top of my head). We’ll see if I ever actually make a switch.

As for this theme you have up now, I like a lot about it. It is clean and well-organized (perhaps The Rotter can take note). That said, I love the picture of you and your sons (as a former band geek and hopefully future band geek mom), but wish I could see your faces. It could just be my small screen…

Cheers!

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks for your input, Christine. I really appreciate it. I can see our faces on my screen (a MacBook) so it could be your screen size and/or setting, but then again that’s something for me to think about for other readers, as well. If you can’t see the whole picture then it’s a good bet that others can’t either.

As for this particular theme, I’ve been test driving it all day, and although I like the fact I can put a picture on it, It’s not singing to me. I’m not secretly impressed by it when I leave it and then come back later. It is a little “whimsical” (which I like) and it is free (which I like even better) but I still think there might be something better out there.

Thanks again for weighing in! Your opinion means a lot to me. πŸ™‚

25 04 2012
MJ, Nonstepmom

I tried a couple, then settled on one because it was fairly customizeable & I could add that obnoxious pink to the background. I was warned tough not to change too often etc cuz it can confuse people.(really?) …but I thought itd be fun to change every season so I was bummed about that ! I like what you have here!

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I like the pink background on your blog because it provides good contrast with the text, which makes it much easier to read for my old, tired eyes.

On the warning of not changing the theme of your blog too often, nuts to “them”, I say. Change away. I love the idea of changing themes for the seasons and holidays; summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring, etc. People will come back to your blog (or not) because they like (or don’t like) what you have to say, not because you short-circuited their brains when you changed your theme.

I fully intend to change my theme several times before I settle on the right one. So buckle up and prepare for craziness to ensue!

25 04 2012
coffee zombie

I use a freebie theme that’s somewhat customizable. My blog is too young for me to seriously consider a custom one, but I haven’t found a freebie I’m 100% happy with yet. It’s frustrating.

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Yes, I totally agree with you, it is frustrating. I liked the high contrast in my previous theme, but I didn’t like that I couldn’t put a big picture on it. I like the big picture option on this theme, but I’m not nuts about the actual layout and colors (which I guess I could change). Can’t someone just read my mind and give me what I want…for free? Geez, how hard can that be? πŸ˜‰

25 04 2012
coffee zombie

For me, I wanted two things: A non-scrolly theme (I hate having to scrollllll to see the posts) and a theme that balanced photos and text well., which eliminated the tumblr styles and most of the free portfolio themes.

The theme I ended up picking was the closest to what I had in mind. What I don’t understand is why WP won’t let people customize it for free. Blogger does.

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I really like your theme. In fact, I just forwarded your link to a photographer friend of mine in San Diego. I’ll be surprised if she DOESn’T end up following your blog.

I agree. I think it’s bogus that WP won’t let you customize themes for free (you have to do the $99/year thing). I would think they’d get more people to sign up if they at least let you make small modifications without first giving a credit card number.

25 04 2012
annettevelarde

I have absolutely nothing of value to add because I’m not a blogger, but I am one of your best friends so I can honestly tell you that while your blog theme is great, I hate that prom dress. Don’t they have it in pink?

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Screw the prom dress, I want to be built like the girl wearing the dress. Can I get a custom theme for my body? Wouldn’t that be great, Annette? A free custom theme for your body type? Let’s see, today I’ll be wearing a low-cut dress, so I’d like to have a Marilyn Monroe figure. But this weekend I’ll be going sailing so I don’t want those ta-tas to get in the way, therefore, I’ll opt for the more athletic Gwyneth Paltrow look. Sign me up! I’d even pay for a custom theme at that point.

25 04 2012
notjustamommyblogger

I like blog themes that incorporate animals, nudity, murders and food. But that’s a pretty wide net so maybe just pick one.

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I can assure you that NONE of those themes would be free. Okay, maybe animals and food, but it depended on what you where doing with them.

25 04 2012
MrsPeas

I chose a free one that had a bit of a carefree look. I think it suits me for now and I am still learning about the options available with it. I was very tempted by some of the pay one though! I also wish I could change fonts and font colors, but I’m cheap too so I settle for free. I really like the photo you’ve choosen for the background.

25 04 2012
The Waiting

I LOVE the look of your blog and I’m really surprised you didn’t pay for it because it looks so unique from the masses! Nice job!

25 04 2012
MrsPeas

Oh wow! Thanks Emily!

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I agree with Emily. Your blog has a very custom look to it. You are a great example of how you can modify a free theme to make it look like you paid big bucks for it. That “hand-drawn” looking banner at the top is like a storefront sign, which is really cool. (I encourage everyone to go take a peek at it by clicking on MrsPeas handle above.) Great job!

And thank you about your comment about my photo. That was originally taken for either the cover of my book, but we ended up going with a hand-drawn picture cartoon of me instead. So now I for sure want to use this photo somewhere prominent on my blog. I was hopping to use it as a banner across the page, but that can’t happen on this theme. Stay tuned, because over the next week, I’ll be changing my themes quicker than you can say, “Oh Stacy, that looks like crap!”

25 04 2012
MrsPeas

Thanks Stacy! I did make the banner and logo myself but the theme lets you upload custom banners. Have fun trying on all the new “dresses”. It’s certainly a fun distraction from Laundry piles!

25 04 2012
Rich Crete

Here’s how big a help I am: Until I read this post I had no idea anyone could pay for a blog theme. I’m techtabulous….technoriffic….techtastic….
You’re welcome. Any time. I mean it. No problem. Happy to help.

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Rich, you have the exact same blog theme I had, which I love, btw (great minds definitely think alike). But I’ve seen our theme on several other blogs and I want something more unique that I can doctor up with pictures of all the screwball faces I make (my post office faces, alone, would stop a water buffalo dead in its tracks).

I’m so glad you were able to glean something new today from my blog. YES, you can buy custom themes. Who knew! You can even modify the one you have (to a limit). I just have to find the right one!

25 04 2012
Missy

No, seriously. Why would your theme reflect murder or food? I’m so dumb sometimes. But here is my real feedback: I liked the old theme better. The green really stood out. It made an impact. This blue-y purple-y color is almost the same as what I see in my yahoo email account. IMO, the new color scheme is much less dramatic than the old. The archived posts on the left don’t pop like they did on the old one and your tagline is so tiny and white it’s almost invisible. I like that tagline and think you should find a theme that allows you highlight it. That being said, I do enjoy the photo in the background.

My final analysis is go back to the green or keep looking… Hope that helps!

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Missy, I can’t thank you enough for your straightforward feedback. I tend to agree. I like the contrast and edginess of my old theme better (in fact, I like it better overall), but as I told Rich above (who also has the same green theme) I want something a little more unique that I can doctor up with pictures. I think what I need to do is keep looking. “They” (whomever “they” is) say you shouldn’t change themes too often because it can confuse your audience. I totally disagree. I think people come back to a blog because they like the writing, not because they like the format (although I will agree that format helps sell it in the blog in the beginning).

Anyway, I appreciate your comments and will definitely take them to heart. Thanks! πŸ™‚

25 04 2012
Dee Macaluso

I didn’t know how to help so I bought you a prom dress (it’s pink, Annette) with more pouf than the one in your picture. And since I’m cheap I got it at Goodwill. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Okay, so we need to take a picture of me in this pink prom dress that you got at Goodwill and put it on my blog. But first I have to find the right theme. Did you happen to find a good “gently” used one when you were at Goodwill?

25 04 2012
Life With Lullabies

It was really the only one that fit the theme of my ramblings! Plus I paid a small yearly fee for a whole package of blogging goodies. Once my son becomes a teenager, I’m certain he will no longer appreciate the theme or title, so I hope you find a great one and are able to point me in the right direction in about 10 years:). I love your blog no matter what the theme! Good luck!

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thank you so much for your nice words about my blog. You know, I obsess about crazy stuff like this, but your comment puts things in perspective. People come to blogs for the writing, not for how they look. Although it’s important to put some thought into the visual aspect of your blog, if the writing engages people no one really gives a rip what it looks like.

And as for your son in 10 years…he’ll take issue with your blog no matter what it looks like. Trust me on that one. πŸ˜‰

25 04 2012
Carol H. Rives

Hey Stacy…. really like the look of this site, but I liked your previous one, too. They both look so crisp, clean and catchy. Kind of like being “Freshly Pressed” with the crisp and clean description. I have the Twenty-Ten theme… one of the free ones, but I have added custom fonts. I play around with trying on all the new themes when they come out… it’s a real fashion show to say the least. A lot easier than me changing outfits, but still a doggone lot of time!!! I have found a few of the “charge-your-credit-card”type themes, but there’s always one or two items that bother me. It’s as if I want a cafeteria style theme; a bit from this one and a bit from that one over there, and so on.

Twenty-Ten suits me for what I write about, and I can change my header image,background and font, if needed. You know that I’m not blogging all of the time… I really need to get back to it, but I’m reading this REALLY good book by Stacy “Someone”, along with another for book club. I can only imagine that if I had a blog that I had to write code for…… well, let’s just say that I’d probably create new 4-letter words!

The picture that you are using for your backdrop is great, especially with the book about your life as a mom, and the title of your blog. Keep up the great work!!

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks for the great feedback, Carol. I have always liked the look of the Twenty-Ten theme. When you change the header image, background color and fonts it really gives the blog a unique look. Some bloggers (like you) have done a great job of making it their own. I may try that one out next, as the backdrop picture I have in this theme would work well as the header in Twenty-Ten.

And yes, I’d love for you to blog more often. I love your writing. I’ve gone back and reread “An Added Benefit of Dusting” a couple of times. And I’ve e-mail the link to that story to several friends (who’ve also enjoyed it). But I know how it goes trying to find time to do it. I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve written in airports, on airplanes, in hotel rooms, or in the car waiting for my kids. Right now I’m in a Starbucks in Barnes and Noble in Salt Lake waiting for one of my sons to finish a lesson. It never ends. Actually, it does eventually end, which is why I don’t want to miss a moment of it now. πŸ™‚

Thanks again for being so supportive. You’re the best!

25 04 2012
Michelle at Motley News

I found a freebie that I liked, then purchased the upgrade and edited the CSS to fit what I liked – as best as I could. But I’m not sure that you can completely have a new theme written for you without going to the professional level – which is very very pricey – because the normal upgrade does not allow access to the PHP files. Which if you have a custom made theme, you would have to replace the CSS and the PHP files which go with it. Otherwise, I would install the custom themes I use on my wordpress.org sites – but I’m not paying the money like Huffington Post and Cheezeburger pays for their sites. No way, no how. Not to be a blogger with no income from my site.

I like your theme. You may want to consider making the background stationary though rather than the image repeating itself as I scroll w….a….y… down to your comment box.

LOVE your site and humor. So glad I found you! And congrats on 400! I just hit 200 today.

Michelle

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Michelle, for such great insight. I know I whine like I don’t know what I’m doing (in terms of technology–in terms of life I really DON’T know what I’m doing) but in reality I’m more of a propeller-head than I let on. I could write my own themes, I’m just too lazy to do it. Actually, paid work gets in the way. After I upgraded so I could modify the canned themes I quickly found out (like you) that WP doesn’t give you access to the PHP files. At some point, when it’s worth it financially I’ll create a wordpress.org site so I can have someone else write some custom theme pages for me. My goal is to work my way up to that. I don’t think I’m there yet, but I’m on my way. My blog now gets way more traffic than my website. So eventually I’ll need a custom blog to promote more than just my book.

I appreciate your feedback on my theme, but it’s not really rocking my world (even just a little bit). I think I’m going to (word)press on and try out some other themes. Everyone’s feedback today has been invaluable. I really appreciate you (and everyone else) taking time to weigh it. It helps a lot.

And congrats to YOU for hitting 200 followers. I LOVE your blog. I’ve forwarded your link to many young women who need to be more aware of the things you write about. Thanks for putting it out there.

25 04 2012
Michelle at Motley News

Honestly, now that I’ve experienced both .org and .com, I’m leaving my site where it is. I thought about moving it since I purchased unlimited hosting for two years. Moving is a pain in the ass, though. I moved one site and going through each post to fix it to the new theme was not fun. What I have discovered since then, though, is that the SEO in wp.com really does kick ass! And I don’t have to enter in a ton of SEO info with each post like I do with the plug in’s on my .org sites. Then when I found out that Huffington Post and Cheezeburger are both on .com (of course they’ pay out the nose for business accounts), I decided to leave Motley News where it was.

That is way cool you sent my blog on to other women. Everyone really needs to be aware of what’s going on and that our reproductive rights are quickly disappearing. We all need to make sure to vote these fools out come November.

Looking forward to more of your posts!

25 04 2012
Linda Galindo

I am all about the “free” and then put in pics to draw them into each blog. My thought is once you have “a look” ala the prom dress, they are used to it…then spice it up from there.

25 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I agree, Linda. At some point I hope to be successful enough (I mean I WILL be successful enough) to justify paying someone to create custom theme pages for me. But until then I’m going to just modify the freebies. I received a lot of great feedback from everyone today (can you believe how generous people are with their time and expertise–I love it), and as a result I’m going to keep looking for the right theme. Because, you know, I have nothing better to do. (Say what?!?!)

On another note, I REALLY appreciate you following my blog. You’re one of the busiest people I know, so it means a lot to me! Thanks!

27 04 2012
Linda Galindo

Not busy…just effective, which creates the illusion of busy.

25 04 2012
Patrick

I got me one of those free themes. I was lucky enough to find one that basically fit the feel of what I had in my head… a father’s den, all polished wood and leather.

26 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Yes, I went and checked out your blog. Your theme does fit what you’re writing about. You’re lucky you found something you like.

The general consensus of everyone is that free is the way to go. I have to agree. I did pay for the $99/year upgrade, so I could modify the free themes (although, the modifications are limited), but I figure that’s what it would cost to host a website anyway. So I justified it my own little head.

Thanks for weighing in on this, Patrick. I really appreciate your thoughts!

26 04 2012
Ruth2Day

I used a free theme and just added my header photo, a nice piece of lemon meringue pie that I had not so long ago. Not sure I’d pay somebody to create a blog for me. I like what you have here now, your faces popping over the the top is quirky and fun, and as your blog is very much about your family it works for me.

26 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Ruth. I really appreciate your insight. As you can see I changed my theme from the one you commented on. After I read your comment I decided to find a theme in which I could place my kids and I in the header without the title written over our faces. It was actually hard to find one I liked! (Picky person that I am.) Even though I’m not nuts about the color scheme on this one, I do like the layout better. What do you think?

26 04 2012
metan

I am using a free theme and have changed the background colour and added my own header photo. I don’t have a problem with people using the free ones (who can afford to pay!) but they always look better for a little tweaking. Otherwise they look the same as every other blog in the same theme.

This theme is a bit blue for me (sorry!) but I like the photo at the top. I changed my theme a few months ago and was worried I had looked at so many in preview that the one I settled on looked terrible and I just couldn’t tell!!

26 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I totally agree with you! This theme is too blue for me, too! I’m glad you were honest! I took your advice and used a theme I could modify (I couldn’t really do much with the old one I had). You’re right, adding a header, and a few extra pictures really makes a different. I can’t change the color scheme on this one, but if I could I think I’d experiment a bit with color. (Hmm…maybe it’s good that I can’t.)

Thanks for your comment. I took it to heart and it really helped! πŸ™‚

27 04 2012
metan

I like this new theme with the grey background, it is a nice clean one, glad you are still using your own header picture, it really makes the blog your own πŸ™‚

I was glad to be of some help, there are so many themes it is hard to decide which one suits your purpose! I spent one day going back and forth when I was looking for a new one and just hoped that no-one was looking at it and wondering what the hell I was doing!

26 04 2012
Everyday Mom Style (@EverydayMomStyl)

I picked a free one (on WordPress), then upgraded to a paid one, only to go back to the freebie! There are so many choices out there- a free one with a tiny upgrade (custom font, etc) should be enough! Good luck! Just found you from MJ- who is hilarious- as are you!

26 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Every Mom Style, nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment, as it seems everyone seems to favor the freebie themes with a little tweaking. As you see, I’ve changed my look yet again, taking your advice. I didn’t get a custom font (that may be next for me), but I did pick a theme where I could add a header and some pictures. What do you think? I’d like to change the color, but this particular theme doesn’t let you.

Thanks for complimenting my writing. I appreciate it. And I appreciate the comparison to MJ. I think she’s hilarious, too, and I’m so happy to have found her. And you, too!

26 04 2012
Turn Around and Swim Life | Lessons| Laughter | Love

I just figured out that a Gravatar is not an alien-like figure gracing WordPress…so I’d love to see what theme you come up with. I obviously have a theme but have no idea where it came from. Just kidding, it’s the freebie from WordPress No 31456 or something like that. Maybe when you hit 500 followers you get a discounted rate for a custom do-up. Anyways, wish ihad more insight for you but I enjoy reading your blog while you figure it out! Good luck!

26 04 2012
Carol H. Rives

OK Stacy……. drumroll please……. I have FINALLY gotten around to passing on the Sunshine Award! Thanks again for bestowing it upon me…. I feel so honored, and I’m LOVING your book. Reviews to be written, most definitely!!

26 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thank you, Carol. You are so sweet. I really appreciate you reading my book and being such an advocate for it. I really look forward to seeing your reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.

As as for me giving you the Sunshine blogging award. YOU DESERVE IT! Just keep writing so we can all enjoy your wonderful perspective! πŸ˜€

26 04 2012
mygirlfriendvoice

Hi! I too have experienced the same thoughts about my blog but let me say this…..I love your blog the way it is because the focus on the CONTENT. You can add lots of bells and whistles but the thing I look for is the story and how it connects to my heart.
Keep writing!!
From the heart,
CaraW

26 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Wow, Cara, thank you so much. Your comment sincerely warms my heart! I know I obsess about things like this too much, and I realize that the content is what matters, but now that I’m getting a few loyal followers I want to dress my blog up a bit. I honestly put zero thought into the theme when initially set up my blog. It took me about two seconds to pick a free theme. I just scrolled down and picked the first one I liked. But now I really want to put some thought into it, with a couple of pictures and and a header, AND I don’t want to pay for it.

Thanks again for your comment. It means a lot to me that you recognize that I can tell a story in less than 1,000 words. I work hard on that, so thank you for noticing. πŸ™‚

26 04 2012
lynnlovesediting

I think simplicity works for your content. You’re hilarious, and your writing is colorful enough to make the website pop. If anything, maybe a crazy font would be nice.

I am so glad that you wrote this blog! I’ve been trying to figure out a nice theme for my blog as well, but my cheapness and laziness led me to pick the theme that was closest to my apron pattern. It fits my attitude of “grab and go” frustration. Now I can just read through your comments. It’s like I paid someone to shop for me, lol.

26 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thanks, Lynn! Actually, I had two different themes before this one so all of the commenters above talk about a theme other than the one you see on this blog right now. So far I like this theme best, although it’s not perfect. I’m not nuts about the color scheme, but I do like the layout. I especially like adding the picture header at the top. I couldn’t do that with my old theme.

It’s interesting because several commenters have said that the theme is secondary to the content–it’s the words that matter. I agree completely, however, I wanted to update my blog’s look and add more personality with pictures. Except I didn’t want to fork over any money to do it. I got some great advice from many bloggers. In the end, I think this theme is a nice compromise, until something better catches my eye.

P.S. I’m so glad you can also take good advice from these comments. I hope they help!

26 04 2012
siouxsielaw

I picked one of the free ones and then I customized my header. But recently, the theme I picked stopped supporting my sidebar. So I had to pick a new theme. Very distressing, and I’m still trying to figure out what to do. It is like I am wearing a dress that doesn’t fit at all. 😦

27 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

I know how you feel! I think we’re custom-theme bloggers who have to make due on a “ready-to-wear” budget. For now I’m sticking with this theme, even though it’s not exactly what I want. I have a good friend who is a website designer. I’ll see if I can wrangle some free info out of her in exchange for buying her coffee or something. You gotta love the good, ole girlfriend network. πŸ™‚

27 04 2012
thelaughingmom

Just like my wardrobe, I’m basically cheap and lazy so I just keep wearing the same old crap even though I’d like something cute, and more flattering to my words. You’ve motivated me to do some blog design shopping. A great design can even hide writing flaws, something you certainly don’t have to worry about.

27 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Thank you, Laughing Mom, for such a nice compliment about my writing. I like your blog a lot, too, which is why I follow it!

It’s funny, but on Wednesday I just looked at my blog and went bleh! Kind of the same way I do with my closet every once in a while. From that point on I was on a quest to dress up my blog. I’m still not where I want it to be, but I do like this theme better. Maybe it’s the like the quest for the Holy Grail and I’ll never get there, but in the mean time I’ll have “playing dress-up” with my blog!

27 04 2012
Phillip

You Blogger people have an Overlord who charges you for your right to free speech????? How naive I am! You didn’t make up your own theme? What happens if you do make up your own theme? Google cuts off your index fingers?? Silly me; I feel so small…..Perhaps a larger font would make me feel less like a speck of fly shit on the universe?

Phillip AKA eggsuckingpup

27 04 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Oh, Phillip, where have you been? It’s been a while since you’ve graced my blog with your always quirky and entertaining comments.

Yes, we bloggers “kinda” have an overlord. He’s called WordPress. Lord WordPress will let you speak for free, but only in a very visually pedestrian manner. If you want to dress up your blog, then you have to fork over some cash. Not a lot, but enough to make you think about it. If you want, you can make up your own theme and use that, too, but that assumes one is smart enough to write one’s own theme–or is motivated enough to do it. I happen to fall in the later “unmotivated” category, which is why I’m on a quest to find the perfect theme. If one happens to fall in your lap, let me know. πŸ˜‰

27 04 2012
Phillip

Well live and learn. I can’t think of a single theme that would attract more than derision from my loyal followers. Perhaps a sort of “English” theme? Sure, now it’s starting to gel; the prom dress and derision! I think that there could be a connection?

Phillip

PS Thanks for filling me in in the mechanics of “The Blog”. I really didn’t have a clue how it is all done.

28 04 2012
danielbogogolela

you damn right, it is harder to choose a blog theme than writing.

28 04 2012
danielbogogolela

it is hard choosing a theme because it has to gel with blog posts.

5 05 2012
The Background Story

I love your metaphor. πŸ˜€
We’re cheap so we just picked from among the free themes. πŸ™‚ We can’t afford the designer ones. πŸ™‚
And somehow it works for us. Though we’re on some kind of transition now because of the word ads.

5 05 2012
Stacy Dymalski

Yes, it is a conundrum, isn’t it? It’s kind of like WordPress gets you hooked on blog themes FOR FREE. But then when you see some of the better themes they make you pay to upgrade. You can see how someone could easily become a “Blog Theme Addict.” Heaven help us! πŸ˜‰

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