The Woes of Re-theming

I wish I could say there was nothing better to do with my Saturday other than re-theming my WordPress site, but that would be a total lie. The truth is I had the Mistylook theme for a while, and although it suited my needs at the time, this site has grown much larger since I first started this blog up, oh five years ago. The theme was an older one and didn’t support all the cool features that are available in the current themes like Featured Images or gracefully handling sticky posts. Also my menu was too large to fit without causing some nasty design issues.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a decent theme that I liked. One that would be more text-focused (because let’s be honest, my photography isn’t exactly top notch), but would also fit my simple needs. I was looking for:

  • Quirky design features. Like social media links built-in and eye-catching designs bits.
  • Two-column support. I don’t like to overwhelm visitors with ten different columns. They might confuse my site with a browser plug-in.
  • Menu support for 6-7 items. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?
  • Headers would be nice, but not required.

My first attempt, I was going to go with the Quentin theme. It looks sophisticated but simple enough that I didn’t think it would be too difficult to get used to. Plus I liked the rustic quality that came with it. Of course when I activated it, my side-bar disappeared and I scrambled to recreate all the items I had on it. Luckily I screencapped them so I could create them again *just in case* everything broke on me. I was halfway through when I found a deal-breaker.

Quentin doesn’t support menus, of any kind.

That threw me for a loop. I guess I’ve just gotten used to themes automatically including them that I didn’t think to double-check before activating it. So I was scrambling again.

Here are a few themes that I almost went with:

  • Sketch – A little too image-focused for my needs, though I loved the minimalistic design.
  • Fictive – The stylistic choices were great here: the social media icons beneath the author info and the individualized post designs really stuck with me. However your menu that you include is expanded by default, and I wasn’t too keen on simplifying my menu structure down to three or four items.
  • Flounder – This one was also so tempting, but the expanded menu on the side was a big let-down. And you had limited color options which was a real bummer for me. That color scheme just didn’t allow me the flexibility to show horror & fantasy in the same arena unfortunately.
  • Writr – Another tempting one, but the blank area to the side leaves a lot of empty space on larger monitors.
  • Adelle – The structure/design was great, but the lack of customization for the pink details at the top really took away from its flexibility. Again I have to take my writing genres into account.
  • Balloons – I *love* the dynamic balloons on this page, but with very limited color options and the fact that the balloons occasionally obscure the text, it didn’t seem a right pick for me. (I think the Something Fishy theme handles this much better since the movement happens in the background. So cute!)

So I ultimately went with Reddle, which didn’t have all the features that I was looking for, but it has enough. Surely I’m not the only one who has gone through re-theming woes, either on a site or on a custom-built site. I can’t offer any wine to soothe the pain of redesigning, but I can offer my sympathy!

11 thoughts on “The Woes of Re-theming

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