• Deborah

Help! I can't stop changing my blog themes!


It’s an obsession. It’s procrastination. It’s all I’ve accomplished today.

Themes (for my friends who aren’t knee-deep in blogging) are the pre-set templates for the blog format. They make the blog look like the blog. Headers, footers, color palettes, photo placement, text font. WORDPRESS has a bunch of these for your picking and you can try them all, with just a click of your thumb. It’s like going into an ice-cream shop and sampling each of the 33 flavors.

Unfortunately, the calorie-count (in lost work hours) is obscene.

I’m new to blogging. Sure, technically I “created” this blog in September (right after I bought the URL for my start-up) but I wrote my first boring post in October, and its duller follow-up in November. Truth is, I had no idea how one used a blog, let alone why. All I knew was people were using “blog” as a verb and every business had a link to theirs on their website. I found WORDPRESS by googling the word “blog.” They were giving them away free. I named mine “totefish” (’cause that’s my clever company name) and checked it off my To Do list.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t a total pop-culture, tech idiot (although I do believe in the Big Brother conspiracy theories about the inner-workings of Facebook). I was aware that there had been a social media explosion while I was picking up the newspaper from my wet lawn. Eventually, I even bought an I-phone (as the world’s most expensive distraction tool for my kids at restaurants). But once I committed our own personal money to building an internet company, I was deep into social media.

I opened a Facebook account. I synced a Google work calendar to my I-phone. I learned it wasn’t cool to say “Linked ‘N.” Tech childs’ play. As I said to my mother (who shuts her cellphone off after she leaves you a message because she doesn’t want her battery to run low), “I should have majored in Computer Science. I did go to LOGO computer camp in the second grade, didn’t I?”

But blogging… I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. If a blog was filled with news, then why not call it a newspaper? If someone’s looking for a recipe, don’t they just go toEpicurious.com? Blogs were like a foreign exchange student. Pretty to look at it and although I’m smiling & nodding… I haven’t a clue what they’re saying.

A tag is different than a category which is different from a menu which does or does not need a label but should contain a link with a feedback loop that, I think someone said was called a pingback although maybe that’s a piggyback, as in pretending to like someone else’s blog just so you can pimp their subscribers for your blog, which would give you a higher chance of getting your blog on someone else’s blogroll, which makes that flat little bar graph below your browser bar grow high and jagged.

I took me two days to figure out how to upload my gravatar image. I begrudgingly posted a blog in December. I had 3 followers. My husband. My CTO. And me.

Well, well, well. Every new challenge has a learning curve. Practice makes perfect. If life gives you lemons. Blah, blah, blah.

I finally cracked the nut.

The theory: Blogging is the way of giving yourself that magazine column you always wanted to write but couldn’t get hired for. Write what you care about. See if anyone cares to read it. Easy.

The specifics: Tags = Keywords. Categories = Files. Links = Shortcuts to a Website. Blogrolls = Recommended Reading. Widgets = Additional Features (or “Bells & Whistles”). Dashboard = The charts that show you if anyone cares about you or your writing. Menu = Still trying to figure that out.

All this heightened knowledge got me back on the blog train. I started writing about… me. As I grew up as a blogger (you’d be surprised who quickly one moves from baby to toddler in 5 posts), my old blog title didn’t work. Totefish. That’s my business idea, not my blog. But what about the 55 friends I’d forced to subscribe to Totefish? Would they be totally disoriented if I suddenly, without warning, changed to “Canyon Woman: Hear Me Blog”? Fans, even if gathered hostage-style, need respect.

I worked an hour or two on title hybrids. I took photos of the sky outside and downloaded 12 different treetop versions. I whipped that color-wheel until I found the perfect shade of grey-green. I “previewed” every theme until the lines blurred between “The Linen” and the “Twenty-12”. The clock struck 3, my kids barreled through the side door and I activated this theme. Not a (wasted) moment too soon. Who cares that I didn’t work all day?! I run tbe company. Can’t fire myself, now can I?

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(1 hour later)

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I’m back. I’m just thinking that maybe I should change the photo? Or the small tag line under the big title. I mean, do you think it’s weird that I mentioned my label maker rather my husband? Maybe I should splurge for a Premium Theme. Something with pre-tabs already designed in it for my category sections. Or, I should leave it alone, right?

Oh my God. I’m a WordPress Theme Junkie.

Make it stop.