The Theme’s The Thing

I’ve always enjoyed the chance to write and publish it online. I have been at it now since the late 1990s, first by having a website and later a blog. My very first website was  the “canned” variety – I went to GeoCities, got an account and used their layout. Later on I learned how to code my own HTML and then all I needed was an online Web host.

IN the early 2000s I also started a blog – again I went to a commercial blog host (Blogger) and wrote my first articles there. For a while I thought of a website and a blog as two different things. However the landscape was changing with companies like WordPress and Joomla coming along. The website and blog converged into something called a Content Management System. And so it was that a couple of years ago I gave up on maintaining my old school website and migrated my blog posts to WordPress.

I still needed to have a place to host my material, and in the process I got my own domain name. Then I needed to install WordPress on my domain and I was all set to start writing. Or was I?

Actually two things are needed to make a WordPress blog work for you:

  1.  WordPress software. This is really the back end for your blog. It’s a database and working environment so you can write, edit, update and publish your posts. It also provides ways to speed up access, kill spam comments, get updates to the software. The Web host provides the software as part of its package; all you need do is install it with a couple of mouse clicks.
  2. A theme. This is a collection of common elements that gives your blog a look and feel. For example if I wanted a theme to revolve around Autumn, I might have a photo like the above to be part of it.

WordPress software comes with a number of free themes but they are pretty generic and boring. Also it is pretty obvious to any seasoned blog reader that you are using a “canned” WordPress theme – thousands of first-timers do just that.

So I didn’t want to have a generic WordPress theme (they have names like Twenty Twelve, Twenty Fifteen, etc.) What now?

There are literally thousands of themes out there – some are free and others are “premium” or payware. The paid themes are generally better designed, more stable, updated more often and have support if you run into problems. I decided I’d look for a premium theme.

But what did I need? A few things actually:

  • Simple layout. This is a blog, after all, not a commercial website or online store. The technical term for this feature is Minimalisitc.
  • Responsive. I want it to look OK on a desktop, notebook, tablet, or smartphone. A responsive theme changes as needed.
  • One column design. That way the blog post is front and center.
  • Ability to put in pictures, links, and formatted text.
  • Reasonable cost. It can get expensive in a hurry if you look for a  bunch of of rich features and I didn’t really need a lot of them anyway.

So I ended up buying my theme from a site called Themeforest. It was made by Playne Themes and it’s called Bayse. I think it ticks most of the boxes.

The Bayse theme can be and is modified to suit the user but I like it pretty much as is so I stuck with the default settings.

Although I tweet my posts and link from my Facebook page I don’t think my blog has a large circulation. No matter. I enjoy writing it and keeping friends and family up to date. It’s also a good place to write about family ancestry and document it for future reference. If you have read this far I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

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