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  1. #1
    Member
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    Question for WP pros...
    I have installed a variety of tasty themes on Wordpress that I need to narrow down for my main theme. I'm shooting for visual simplicity, with the focus on the writing.

    I was wondering if such simpler themes are more difficult to expand on for future addition of affiliate tags, widgets, radio button links, video inserts and what not, versus the busier, more visually oriented ones?

    What are the repercussions of changing themes three months down the road if I don't like the original?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager
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    Three months down the road? Repercussions probably won't be a big deal. Unless you've got the hottest new blog ever, you probably won't get enough traffic in the first three months to really worry about it. Try to choose something simple now that will still be attractive and then you can work on a final redesign in the first couple of months.

    I found that once I had a lot of content, I was able to narrow down my final theme a lot better than when I only had a couple of articles. So I started with a basic blog theme and moved to my more final design about 2 months later.

    Here's a tip with themes: The ones that come with the most options are usually the least customize-able. If the theme designer has created pre-set widgets, color schemes, sidebars, footers, etc., then the ability to edit the CSS without killing the whole theme is a lot smaller. General rule of thumb for beginners is that if you don't know CSS at all and don't intend to really learn it, find a theme that is flexible and gives you the options that you need and will want down the road. If you're planning to do more granular theme editing via CSS, then just get a simple theme with not a lot of built-in stuff and then customize it from there.

    I am in the camp of not really wanting to learn CSS to the degree that it would take to manually customize my themes, so I picked one that has all of the built-ins that I want.

    Avoid playing around with themes on the live site, especially if you've got a steady stream of traffic. If the Live Preview option in WordPress isn't enough for you to see what you want, then create a dev site and do your creative testing over there.

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  4. #3
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Also --- the themes with all the bells and whistle may not play nicely when Wordpress upgrades. Not all theme producers keep up with all the latest WP versions - in fact some of them aren't even around very long and you are left with an orphan theme.

    My most profitable three WP installs are using the old Twenty-Ten theme. I KNOW it will be around because it it done by the good folk at Wordpress, themselves. Not "fancy" but it is a good clean design with plenty of widget areas and a photo-header that can be changed for each section of the site.

    The photography site in my sig is a Twenty-Ten example.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.


  5. #4
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Bill is dead-on. My two most popular blogs are on 2010 as well (one is the sports blog linked below), but my newest blog site uses the 2014 theme and I love its look.

    I've tried other themes, free and paid for, and still like these WP developed standard ones the best, for blogs. However, if you want to use WP to build a standard, non-blog site, then Headway gives you the most flexibility and options, but it is pricey.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  6. #5
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Another thing to watch out for is "too many plugins." Some folks go plugin crazy and try to jazz up their WP installation with all kinds of cool looking (usually NOT) stuff. Plugins sometimes don't play nicely together and can cause crashes. They also tend to go "out of date" when Wordpress upgrades; and, again, the plugin creator may or may not be around tomorrow.

    I use JetPack and WordFence and sometimes a small weather widget. That's all. JetPack and WordFence are from the makers of WP so I'm pretty sure they will be kept up-to-date.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

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  8. #6
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    2010 is one of my top ten choices as is 2012 and 2013. If I choose to deviate from my standard idea of blog-only and make a picture essay blog (short paragraphs with accompanying pictures to illustrate each, or at least every other paragraph), then this is doable with one of these themes? I don't want to get too crazy with the widgets, but I have a LOT of pics I would like to use in near-future blogs.

    Thanks greatly for the input!

  9. #7
    Affiliate Manager
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    “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
    Simple is always better.
    One of my favorites is a blog with photos & few words. It's so much easier to understand the emphasis when there are not endless side-bars, advertisements and widgets to contend with. That being said, I know everyone has to make a living somehow, so I'd say just go with your gut & if you can simplify in any way, do so.
    Erin Walsh,
    Director of PR, [URL="http://bit.ly/1oapxzB"]Boost Affiliates[/URL]

  10. #8
    Newbie gaylabaer's Avatar
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    A couple of years ago, I began using Catalyst as my choice theme. I bought the developer version since I sometimes get an itch to create something new. I am a super busy person who likes to focus on my writing and less on all the other little mechanics that go with affiliate marketing and blogging. I have worked and tweaked and worked and tweaked until I have all but automated my affiliate linking process. Not with some Warrior purchase, but with tools I tried and my own mind.

    Once in a while I will run more customized campaigns, but for the most part, I have my system set up to where I write and my affiliate links take care of themselves.

    Gayla

  11. #9
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    I have pretty much worked exclusively in Wordpress for the last 5 years and have built sites with most of the premium frameworks, Thesis, Genesis and Woo.

    The advantage of using one of these frameworks as opposed to just a random theme off Theme Forest, is that these frameworks will continue to be supported for many years to come. They have an established base of users and will be upgraded to match the ongoing development of Wordpress.

    I generally default to the Genesis framework nowadays, although the tighter integration of the Woo Framework with Woo Commerce is probably easier for shopping cart based sites.

    In terms of plugins keep it lean and only use ones that are well supported. My defaults
    1. Wordpress SEO by Joast - onpage SEO, XML sitemaps, constantly updated.
    2. Gravity forms - Premium plugin for form creation, very well integrated with Genesis.
    3. Ithemes Security - Harden and protect your Wordpress site, prevent brute force attacks and schedule backups.
    4. W3 Total Cache - caching, minify, CDN integration.

    That has you covered for most of the essentials. Avoid using additional plugins unnecessarily. Keep it lean and the potential for conflicts and bugs is greatly reduced. As a bonus your site will be far more secure, as not all plugins are created equal! The Timthumb exploit from a few years ago is a good example.

    Lastly reiterating what several others have said in this thread, simplicity is key, whitespace is your friend and more is not necessarily better.

    Denis

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  13. #10
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    Interesting thread.
    I've been using Genesis Framework for sometime and have just made only my second theme change since I started blogging. Being a decorator I'm fairly conscious of how my site looks so about a month or two ago I took a deep breath and made a theme change. I'm certainly happy with it but it still needs some tweaking. The mobile responsiveness has been the best part by far!
    Admittedly my number of plugins is too high but I am trying to get people to connect with me on Pinterest, FB and Twitter as well as to get them to visit other posts on my site so I feel that all of the plugins are necessary so I am probably sacrificing some speed for those.
    I guess my weigh in on your original question is that the theme change probably won't hold any repercussions, it's all the stuff under the hood that matters the most IMO.

    ~Kylie

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  15. #11
    Newbie viku5350's Avatar
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    I don't have many sweet memories of the Genesis Framework (using the Streamline Child Theme from StudioPress). I am not sure if I am going to use it again. I junked quite a few of my plugins after I found them breaking the code. Ever since, it has "somewhat" stabilized.

  16. #12
    Newbie overflowcafe's Avatar
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    Interesting and insightful thread

  17. #13
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    I also like the old 2010 Wordpress theme and have built a few sites using it. It works well for blogs and small (6-7 pages) sites too. As everyone else is saying less is more to prevent users being distracted or confused with too much visual elements, content or choice. It's probably something I need to revisit on my own Wordpress site!

  18. #14
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    As everyone else is saying less is more to prevent users being distracted or confused with too much visual elements, content or choice.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

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