My Bloggy Makeover

Thanks, Shell, for prodding me (ew) to “announce” that—as you know if you know my blog—I’ve changed its look. I did this because, as much as I liked the other blog template, I was always dissatisfied with the physical look of its print on the screen: it was, to my eyes, too small and light. I like this bigger, darker, more newpapery font; I find it easier on the eyes. It looks more like print.

I also like the way it basically presents the last three blogs at once. That’s good for me, because I tend to run fairly radically different sorts of posts: I just ran a poem, fer cryinoutloud. So it’s good for me to be able to readily show new visitors that I have stability issues.

Anyway, if you’re inclined, lemme know what you think of this new look. I’ll pretend I care. (KIDDING!)

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  • Shell

    It's very nice, very manly. But your old blog looked (to me) so much more friendly and inviting, especially with the photo of you smiling out from the top of the page. I know I don't comment all that often, but I check in and read the new posts and comments every day.

    As an aside, the comments on your blog are great. I check in sometimes several times during the day just to read any new comments. You've attracted lots of thoughtful readers with interesting things to say. (And I'm not even talking about myself!) The comments section is icing on the cake.

    Again, this is YOUR place. But I'll have to mourn the loss of the old look for a while…

  • It certainly is very clean and easier to read, and I like that the last three posts are beside each other. I think you need to better organize the items "under the fold" so that you don't have an almost empty first column and very heavy third column with feeds,books, comments, comments, and a duplicate of the archives.

    I'd like to second what Shell said. Your writing is great and all, but I really only come here (every day) to read the comments. 😉

  • Shell

    I didn't say that I only come to read the comments! (David!) And see–I SAID it was manly. The first two positive votes came from men. (Not like that's a bad thing.)

    Like Ric, I do poorly with change. It's too much stimulation for my delicate constitution. I hated it when they rearranged things at my local supermarket recently. I've been shopping there for many years. I could shop with my eyes closed. But now the pasta's where the tuna used to be, and they moved the cereal and the cheese. It's traumatizing.

    Sorry, John. I'm going to need some time to sort through the pain.

  • Print appearance–good. Individual post/commenting page–good. Last three posts right there–good. The extremely long rightmost column feels a bit awkward, but then again I am math nerd. Asymmetry doesn't sit well with me. Or maybe it's just the change of it all, like the others said. I'm gonna need a minute…

  • I think if you threw in a photo or 2 somewhere up top it would help with the changeover.

  • Shell

    If it'll make you feel better, I read YOUR comments too, John.

    Ditto on the "title blasting out like a huge billboard and nearly flooring me" part. I thought my computer was broken.

  • Um … did I say I felt BAD about something? I wasn't being sarcastic or anything: I was just saying how I appreciate that some of you read the comments.

    Hmmm… so the title's TOO huge, you say. Man. Bummer. Again, nothing I can do about that.

    Hmm…I wonder if Better Readability (sp??) IS worth what it looks like?….

  • Candace

    So there's no way to just change the former 10 pt font to a 12, eh?

  • Candace

    I meant to whimper a little after my question, but the little bracket thingies I put around it apparently made it invisible. What, I ask, is the point of whimpering invisibly??

    I'm also having trouble adjusting. Although I do like seeing what time the comments were posted. But it's not accurate. It says mine above was at 12 a.m., when in fact (here) it's 3:40 in the morning. Making it 1:40 PST. Weird.

  • No, these templates are (largely) fixed. I couldn't have made the old font any bigger, nor any darker. It's why I didn't like it.

  • Candace

    Yeah, you said that; I was just being hopeful. Or dense 😉

    Oh well. We'll get used to it. Certainly not enough to keep me away. (Aw, shucks.)

  • I may not keep the new one. Switching is as easy as hitting a button. I liked the old one a LOT. I just always felt sorry for people reading it, cuz the font was so light-colored, and small.

  • Els

    You can alter the font-size and -color, if you purchase the CSS-upgrade. Says 15 credits (whatever that means) or 4 cent per day. That's $14.60 per year just to have a different font.

    For me, I like the new font and simplicity of the layout, especially the bold links to earlier and newer posts, but I hate that I have to scroll all the way to the bottom to get to the information that used to be readily available in the right side column.

  • This IS much easier to read. I like print font. And I like the contrast of black on white. I do miss the old. I’m not good with change. Was the old a tattered shroud?

  • With this template, I can’t do anything about the symmetry; I, like you, Skerrib, am basically a Symmetry Nut. But there’s just nothing I can do about it here; each piece travels as far down the front column as it is long, period—and so of course the ones next to it, if not as long, end up leaving empty space. I don’t like that. I also can’t do anything about placing photos up on top; this template doesn’t allow for that. I’m a little more okay with that; frankly, I’m not keen on seeing my own mug every day.

    For me, it’s ALL about the readibility. WordPress doesn’t offer any other template that even comes close to this one for readibility. I don’t really like how it handles pages and subpages. I don’t much like its sidebars. I REALLY don’t like how it puts the “About Me” page at the bottom of the front page.

    But I LOVE the way the thing reads. In the end, I have to care more about that than anything else. This DOES read easier: the font is more of a 12-point than a 10. To me, that’s gold.

    Overall the thing does look a little… sparse, though. The asymmetry of it is just so … not good.

  • Oh, and hey, thanks for saying how you read the comments. That means a lot to me. Thanks.

  • I use a 19″ monitor, and the title of the blog, Suddenly Christian came blasting out of it like a huge billboard. Almost floored me.

    I like my Ocean Mist theme with it’s customizable header image. I like to change it with a new image every month, just to keep it interesting. I may not keep my audience entertained, but I will keep them guessing.

  • Els

    The most useful part of the ex-right side column, is the latest comments. No quicker way to figure out where the action is! (and I already wish it would display the latest 10 or even 20, since I don't really refresh the page every half hour throughout the day ;-))

    One more thing about the current theme, although minor, is the fact that names are below the comments. I usually read this blog on my 800px high Macbook screen, and I often need to scroll down to see who is writing the comment I'm about to read. (yes, it does matter who wrote it :-))

  • Shell

    Oops, sorry, thought you were doing some joking around of a sarcastic nature, in response to David’s joking around of a sarcastic nature. (Or were you not being sarcastic about anything either, David?) Um, I think I’m going to turn my computer off now. I’m getting confused.

  • Shell

    I agree with Els about how cool that ex-right side column was, and always checking for the latest comments. And I wished it would display the latest 24 hours worth of comments. Because sometimes someone makes a really great comment on an old entry that I would miss if I didn't catch it during the small window of time it was showing.

    And I never noticed that the old blog was hard to read. Really, I never once thought that.

    Good old blog.

  • Wow! You guys are making a good case for keeping the old template! I had no—I mean, NO—idea anyone ever read the comments besides the people who made them—and even then.


    So you never thought, "Man, I wish this font was darker and bigger." Maybe it's just … my eyes, or something.

  • John, I access your blog just to read what you say….you have such a unique way with words….AND I read every comment….although sometimes I feel we each glean something different from your thoughts… I have a theological mindset that I am trying to lighten up on! I like this format…'cause I like change. Follow your heart!

  • Els

    I actually looked up a Google-cached entry of your blog, to see the old theme. It was then that I realised you were right about the small light font. Never paid attention to that before. I'm sure it will trouble me in 10 years or so, but then I'll just set my browser to display it larger…

    Also.. did you see that the comments (that is the section of your blog we like to read most ;-)), are still in a smaller font, with a non-black colour against a non-white background? (and this box I'm typing in sports an even smaller font, although black on white)

    Maybe we should all have a look at the available themes for WordPress hosted sites, and help you pick out the best one 😉

  • Judy

    I have a small monitor as well, so Suddenly Christian REALLY jumped out at me. I think after a while I'll get used to it. I wonder what your blog will look like tomorrow? 🙂 I do like what you said at the bottom about screening the comments and deleting the bad ones! Yeah. I remember that bad one.

  • arlywn

    hmmm, John- gotta say this scares me. I changed my blog thing too yesterday, then I come over here… madness. I dont like the blaring red title. Makes me feel as if something is wrong. I like this comment message thing though.

    It all depends on how handy you are with a computer. You can make the font bigger and colorful without the upgrade. And you can put the option on having 3 posts displayed (not sure if they would be side to side)

    And you dont have to mess with the CSS. At least I dont. Love the blog…. not the new look. lol

  • saramason

    The large black text on the glaring white background is actually a bit harsh for me. But then it just might have been a shock to see the new layout without any prior warning! 😉

  • Els: What information, though? Like, the “Most Recent Posts” and “Most Recent Comments”? Well—duh: You must mean that stuff. I had no idea anyone CARED about that stuff.

    Arlywn: You’re mistaken on the font call. WordPress rejects html insertions within its display fields. Without going CSS, you’re stuck with what they give you.

  • John,

    A little heavy on the title, as others noted, but it IS easier to read the content. Heck, it's easier to cut and paste in case I need hard copy to pass on to friends through snail mail.

    You get kudos from me and I can't wait for your next story like the one about how you met your wife, or the one about the coyotes (any of those in your new neighborhood?) or the woodpecker or playground monitor impersonation, etc…

    Keep the copy coming – especially now that it's easier to read.


  • Dan Harrell

    John, I like both formats for different reasons. When I comment, I find I visualize your photo as I write.

    I read all the comments and every post. I'm sure there are others who read but don't often comment.

  • I'm with Els on the most recent comments section. That's often my first stop.

    It's rather tragic that we can't have the nice, big, bold print…AND the more convenient format, including calming blue & yellow…along with John's half-smiley mug to greet us.

  • Wow! Do you know, I'm touched that anyone CARES what my blog looks like. It's so … nice.

  • FreetoBe

    I like this–it's only when the comments open up that all the columns go to the bottom of the page. And I read every post and every comment. I'm glad the comments are screened and "bad comments will be deleted." Did you have that previously?

    I'm just not sure that the comments are easier to read now–dark gray on light gray, I dunno. But overall, it looks good, AND you kept that oh-so-attractive picture.

  • Hi, Free. Thanks for all. I didn't write that thing about the bad comments being deleted; it comes with the template. But I like it. I'm forever deleting obnoxious comments off this blog, so I'm glad to have that little manifesto there. Maybe not EXACTLY the way I would have said it … but I like it!

  • FreetoBe

    Thanks John. Although I think the clock is not set correctly–I made the previous comment at about 8:30 CST, which is 2 hours ahead of CA time (and you're up at this time already?!?!?!) Anyway, I'm thinking just some tweeks (if you can even change the time?)

  • As long as the content of your posts don't change – I could care less about the appearance! And while I am not a big fan of change – I think this design makes it a little easier to read!

    Speaking of change, I gotta go and finish cleaning up after Hurricane Ike….man, that storm changed all the landscaping in my front yard….without asking….and I am not liking his design at the moment! :0

  • Well that HEADLINE certainly jumps off the screen!

    A little bit of color would help.

  • I just did a bloggy makeover myself! Tis the season. I was using "Ocean Mist" but hated the tiny grey font – so I was manually changing the HTML code for every single post…for 10 months (Do you think I have issues with "holding onto pain"?) I finally threw my hands up and opted for a change. Experimenting with the "Press Row" template now (come over and check it out – maybe you would be happy with that one – it offers a custom header). My title is a little more bold than I prefer, however yours definitely wins that category hands down! (not that there's anything wrong with that) Like others here, I miss your smiling photo. WordPress offers a new feature now called "Sticky Post" – were you designate One post to stays on top – and new posts to come underneath (See if it is available for this template – on your new post edit page it will be to the right, under "Publish Status") – By using that, you could keep this template you like, but also keep a photo and short note to visitors visible every time they click in. – either way, congrats on embracing "Change" 🙂

  • Free: I can't seem to do anything about the time thing. I'll … keep trying.

    Kelly: Thanks. Amazing to hear about Ike's rearranging your yard. Yow!

    Chuck: Sorry, but there's ZERO I can do to alter the looks of this thing at all. This is … how it comes, san color and all.

    Mormon: EXCELLENT IDEA ABOUT USING STICKY POSTS! I'll try that, see how it looks. GOOD THOUGHT! I like the Press Row template; it's actually the first one I used. I'll go check yours out.

  • Kathy



    and i do agree that the previous layout (was it b/c of the yellow?) seemed a lot more 'Hey buddy!' while this one is more 'Mhm, that's right.' The content is always just as good though, so no complaints about anything. BUT BRING BACK FRIENDLY PHOTO!

  • Hey, Kathy. Well, for whatever it's worth, that lovely photo of my gleaming mug is available for your enraptured contemplation whenever you care to hit the "About Me" tab at the top of the page.