Currently, this blog uses the Splendio theme. Originally, I hoped to work off of a theme mentioned on YouTube WordPress by Tyler Moore, but alas – the theme no longer exists. Initially when I started searching for an alternate theme, it looks as if they offer a ton of themes and one can truly get lost in the sea of imagery and styles. But most of the free themes are much simpler. And when I say simpler, an obvious example is how this theme didn’t even offer a default contact form page. (Even so, there are ways to work around that of course and still set one up.) Things like the much-popular jet packs and plugins are suddenly far less customizable when using the cloud-only free version.
Choosing a Theme
A lot of the selection in themes involves sifting through lots and lots of showy images that are sometimes completely optional – unless of course the theme is designed to feature photos. In that case, applying the theme transforms the web pages to have odd grayed out boxes of nothingness. Or sometimes on the other hand, the image featured in the theme preview is actually part of the theme itself by default even when you apply your own content.
The Eighties Theme, for example is such a case. It looks stunning as preview and I was left imagining, “Wow, I bet this would look fantastic!”, but I quickly learned that when I converted over the material I was using, it still much resembled… (surprise!) the Eighties theme with just my own text and therefore did not turn into something fantastic at all. Most importantly, it certainly did not even come close to resembling original and I did not like that.
So in summary: images are often not required. In the end, I completely avoided using a featured image for the header and the blog still looks terrific.
WordPress themes are not an excuse to avoid design at all! One still has to consider colors and positioning of elements and of course the what, where, and how for what will be done to a WordPress site. They provide a skeleton, but until it has some sort of planning to it, it initially feels like getting lost in a giant floppy bag, instead of even imagining the set up of a basic tent. I really came to prefer using what is called the “Customizer”, which gives real-time previews of changes as they happen to the appearance of the website.
Using WordPress as a CMS
WordPress seems simple yet sophisticated enough that I am sure anyone with basic computer skills could go really far with what they have to offer. But there are also tons of restrictions if one only uses just a specific theme as their template. Essentially, “you play by WordPress’ rules”, which can be frustrating. Even so, while there is a ton of flexibility to navigate and to change things around (reminiscent of say, using Microsoft Office applications that let the user choose between the menu bar, or buttons, or keyboard shortcuts, to essentially do the same thing) – this is only worthwhile straight off the Internet if you have a fast connection. Sure, WordPress also offers a Desktop app for download, I think ultimately I still truly prefer the brick-and-mortar means of coding it on a separate editor form scratch.
Blogging Versus Web Page
One can make both a blog or just a website with WordPress, but it does seem like WordPress lends itself to being a blog format over a website. All of the admin tools are set up in a way just asking for users to blog their hearts out. The menu options on the left side in the wp-admin page includes detailed information on posts and their dates and just about all themes extensively offer options for the customized display for things such as recent posts, popular posts, a calendar to follow posts, buttons to follow the blogger, etc. Allowing comments is standard and sharing and reaching out to others is clearly the life breath to WordPress, so adding social media buttons is made super-easy to do as well. The standard header, footer, body, etc. layouts can be set up with a basic level of flexibility for creating basic web page features.
WordPress versus Version Control
Lastly, a nifty feature offered is to save constantly and if one clicks away without saving, a warning will be given. This is a great feature and it gets even better: in the WordPress admin section under Projects, all revisions are tracked, previews can be made, and one can even compare different revisions side-by-side. This is strikingly very Git-like, but at the same time should not be surprising. This approach is undoubtedly the standard for all professionals in the web development field.