On Changing Blog Themes

What’s a blog to do when it’s lived with itself for too long?

Bottledworder began on an impulse as a first attempt at blogging with plenty of enthusiasm, some talent but little idea of the possibilities and limitations of the blogosphere.

Despite having read vast amounts of material on the internet and having much knowledge of writing, I must confess, from the perspective of what I know now, that my approach to blogging at the beginning was rather bookish.

The Bookish Approach

I thought blogging was going to be a one way street.

I thought I would write, people would read. I would have my fare on display and people would either be dazzled or say meh and move on. I would present material, I would organize posts, I would guide readers so that my best material was most easily accessible as it would be in a book. All I needed to do was to make it easy for the reader.

I’d decide what was best and I’d decide how to hold my reader’s hand.

The predetermined reverse chronological order of blogs did present a challenge to this approach but I was sure I’d work out the details.

My Old Theme

The themes I gravitated towards then tended to be somewhat minimalistic and static in their display. Because of my personal preference, they also tended to have less sharp angles, more pastel shades, less contrast colours and fewer distractions of images, widgets, moving sliders or haphazard boxes and shapes strewn across the screen.

I thought this would be best for my usually reflective prose.

So the theme I chose was Coraline and I stuck with it.

Screenshot from 2014-01-08 22:52:45_Coraline1

When I think about what I did then now, I feel like the way I dressed the blog was the screen equivalent of a rather particular little girl dressed in a white, crisp dress with blue satin sashes, rather worried about the folds and creases, curtseying at a party where others were having fun tackling others in pillow fights, throwing cakes, splashing in the pool and shouting at the top of their voices making a lot of noise. 

I hesitate to call her prim but I must say she was trying to be rather particular.

The Blog Artist

When I started the blog, I thought artistry, at least in a blog about writing, reading and reflection was going to be about controlled reading and navigation, about a pretty, subtle, understated, nuanced display, about putting myself out there for people to read.

I thought blogging, my blogging, would be about words.

My words.

But this blog has outgrown that pretty little white-and-blue frock now. It’s grown a little messy. It wants to splash about a little.

Why? Because I learnt a few things about art and artistry through blogging on my little corner of the internet.

Art is hard work. Art is perfection. Art is a Japanese tea party.

But art is also messy. Art is pillow fights. Art is experimentation. Art is splashing about. Art is heady. Art is exuberance but art is also failure.

Art is strife. Art is noise. Art is discussion. Art is a clamour of voices. Art defines, yet art defies definitions.

Art is about expertise. Art is about control. But art is also about giving up that control to others.

I learnt that blogging is about people and both blogs and people are ephemeral. A blog may become permanent but permanence can never be its goal. A blog finds satisfaction not necessarily through permanence or excellence but simply through the fact that it exists.

Changing Themes

Hence, on my little corner of the internet, I’ll get messy with a few different themes. I’ll try some and then I hope that I’ll find one that will grow with Bottledworder.

I’ll stop worrying that readers will be distracted by something or the other because I won’t pretend to know what’s best.

So Bottledworder will head for the theme wardrobe now and try on a few themes for the party. 

DeliciousMagazine
TwentyFourteen

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56 thoughts on “On Changing Blog Themes”

  1. oohhh, join the club, BW! I’ve lost count of the number of different themes I’ve tried to get the reader experience (sorry for the cliche!) just right. And I continue to experiment all the time because I’m too cheap to buy upgrades…

    Have fun!

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  2. I’ve tried a number of different themes over the last two years as well. Have a great time experimenting with the different themes. You’ll find that a new theme will act as your Muse.

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  3. The thing about dressing up is to do it in a way the makes you happy. What others think is of little concern to you.

    Go ahead. Knock yourself out.

    G<

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  4. Looking forward to seeing what you try on. :)
    I changed themes once, and have been considering changing again. It’s so much like shopping, though, I’ll probably wait until the current one is too tattered to wear in public ;)

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    1. That’s a great analogy. After changing over to this somewhat clunky theme I realized that the old theme could do so much less–the world changes so fast nowadays. But the themes that do more are less “elegant” somehow and the ones that do more are angular with sharp edges!

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  5. I changed mine a year into blogging, and am thinking of doing so again. Just like you, we change so much over time, and just like deciding something we wear no longer suits our personality, so too with a blog theme. As long as the name remains, and we can always find you, why not try out a few and reflect on your own perspective on it? Isn’t that what it’s all about- learning while enjoying the process? I’m looking forward to your experiment, and thoughtful,helpful posts.

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  6. Interesting that many bloggers (including myself) wonder about the same issues. At the beginning of this new year many of us question their work and its relevance. It takes guts to approach change and even more guts to change. So I applaud your reflection and attitude and I am looking forward to another year of great posts.

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    1. Thanks. The changes aren’t easy–either the themes are clunky and distracting but useful or they are sleek and elegant but allow for little presentation o a variety of material. Such is life!

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  7. I updated my blog by changing the background color for 2014 and began a new regime of posts for Mon, Wed & Fri – each on a different theme. I kept the header and format the same so people still recognized it as my blog.
    Have fun!

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        1. Thanks. I did think of that all on my own but soon realized too much silly content would need to be created before the test blog could represent the original in any way (unless there’s a way to copy the original blog into the test blog).

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  8. Have fun in the change room! Change can be good!
    I added a bit of color but that’s about all. I too worry that my page might look busy and filled with distractions.
    Loved you lessons learned through blogging. I’ve learned many of the same along the way.
    Jennifer

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  9. Enjoy playing dress up. I must admit I went through the same process as I was a writer turning her hand to blogging. But with a background in a visual industry like fashion I couldn’t underestimate the need for arresting accompanying imagery. For me, the landscape created by words was enough, but for many, a little eye candy makes the trek through that landscape more memorable. I try to walk the line, think of some magazines as a model for my blog- the ones that feature writing by my favorite authors and fashion by my favorite designers. I never know if I’m truly happy with it, but I’m going back to my second novel after several months break, and can’t really worry about it at the moment. I look forward to seeing which outfit you decide on. The fetching fuchsia satin is eye-catching at a party :-)

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    1. :) I agree. With fashion blogs, you’d need images for sure. But with reflective blogs like mine, I worry that a “trendy” form might equal non-seriousness in some people’s minds, especially older readers. I think the young are always accepting to new forms.

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      1. I know what you mean. I had the added complication of not wanting to do a “fashion blog”. No photos of me against an urban graffiti-d wall wearing the latest duds or that kind of thing! More a place to showcase my writing but as my first novel was set in fashion industry and inspired by my own experiences, it couldn’t be ignored either. Finding the balance proved quite a challenge to me, actually. Still working it out…So that makes two of us, then! :-)

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      2. Not sure, I agree with the age thing. I mean I’m heading into my second childhood soon and I’ve moved blogs from Blogger to WP, merged blogs and look for new themes *all* the time in the hope that someone will produce a new, FREE one that makes me think “that’s right for my idiom”…

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  10. Be sure to check how it looks in a mobile device. I tend to read a lot of the blogs I follow on the WordPress app on an iPhone or iPad. I notice that some look as good or better than on a web page but some look really bad.

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      1. I was thinking Twenty Fourteen because it has new widgets and can do more than many others out of the free themes but it’s not very phone friendly and I’m running into issues that people talked about on forums. Also, it’s very generic though beautiful.

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