Out with the old …

You might think, who has this shiny new blog?

You might not!

When I started blogging back in 2011 I asked my writing group which platform I should choose. A couple of them had been with blogger, didn’t like it and recommended the big W.


I feel like an old man when I type this, but back in the day (you know, when I was a young lad back in 2011) you picked your theme and everything updated.

If you wanted to change your existing theme you didn’t know how things would look. You had to commit fully as the big W changed everything as soon as you clicked the button.

There was no middle ground or testing zone. After changing the theme you’d then have to fiddle about with the widgets, what was available, what to include, what to ditch. Only to decide you didn’t like the new theme and then take another hour to switch things back.

old blog

That’s my excuse for not updating the theme for the last few years anyway 🙂

I’m no technophobe. I fully embrace technology as my wife often comments on the amount of gadgets I have on the go at any one time. When I started afresh this month I thought a shiny new blog would help me forge ahead and not look back.

Imagine my surprise when I saw you could now do a “Live Preview” of how your blog, with your widgets, and menus and whatever would look like. There were 304 themes (I’m cheap so only looked at the free ones) and I took about 35 out for a test-drive.

There’s two hours I can never get back 🙂

I narrowed it down to a couple and I’ve picked the Twenty Ten theme. I know that it is not exactly new, but it was the best one I viewed that gave me everything I wanted.

I’ve finally been able to add an image to the top of the blog though I’m still deciding whether I like it or not. It also felt like the right time to remove much of the clutter.

Let me know what you think? Particularly if you find it too difficult to read or navigate.

How did you pick your blog theme? Any itchy feet to swap things around?

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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25 Responses to Out with the old …

  1. noelleg44 says:

    I’m so glad you’re back! I chose my blog theme based on something I really like to do, something that frees my mind. I don’t think I’ll change it but I might change the format (done that already once). Welcome back to the blogosphere!

  2. Looks good. I use the 2011 theme.

  3. Laura Read says:

    Your site looks great. I find that I update my theme every so often, when I get bored with my old theme.

    • Laura Read says:

      Also although I like the option of having an image at the top, I’m not sure about the police tape – the words aren’t really encouraging readers to read on.

    • Pete Denton says:

      I’m definitely someone who is set in his ways 🙂

      I like your blog theme. The crimping of the pictures is good. A bit different.

      • Laura Read says:

        I like the crimping but it’s automatic for my theme, so I’m not sure whether I could turn it off if I tried! 🙂 I’m using Canva for finding free pics at the mo (although they’re one-time only use) so you could try looking there for an image. I’m also looking into setting up a sign-up page for my site (readers who sign up will be able to get my first chapter for free) so I might change my theme yet again! I also need to look into buying a domain name and migrating my content across, so I might get more themes to play with soon!

        • Pete Denton says:

          I think domain names are so cheap nowadays it makes sense. I used to run a website on British Basketball back in the late 90s and even then they were only about £20 per year.

  4. davidprosser says:

    Welcome back Pete. The new blog has nice clean lines. I think it looks crisp and efficient. There don’t seem to be problems from this side.
    Being afraid of the way technology has of biting back, I haven’t changed my theme since I first set it up.but why change something that works right?

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, David. I know what you mean. There is a comfort around accessing a familiar blog and it looking the same. That’s one of the reasons why I think I left mine as it was for so long.

  5. Jemima Pett says:

    I know what you mean, Pete. 2010 is still one of those I keep in case I want to go back to it. I think it’s the best designed for people who want a good professional theme.

    I moved onto self-hosted, which gives you a slightly different range to choose from. Some are too clever for their own good – I liked the demo but couldn’t work out how to get the same look for my own. I know someone advised on having the books in a unified look, and I’ve finally settled on Catch Evolution for all my book sites, even if there are key option differences between them. I only had four on the shortlist, though, and 2015 and 2010 were two of them!

    • Pete Denton says:

      Some themes do seem to be better than others. I thought some of the ones I tried were too confusing. I like your blog. One of the one’s I tried out was a similar column style.

  6. Hurrah! You’re back. I need to pick your techno brains to reinvigorate / design my blog.
    PLEASE get that book finished this year mate, I put in first dibs for a signed copy.
    How about a guest blog next month, no idea how to set that up, I’m sure I know someone who can 😉

    • Pete Denton says:

      I hope to finish it during 2016. There, committed to it in writing (or typing).

      We need to try and pin Mr H down to a date and time when he’s not off gallivanting around the country!

  7. Oh, by the way I think the banner is a bit off putting saying don’t enter unless you want to go for the revers psychology, maybe a crime scene tape image is less officious (just a thought, although I can be a bit anti establishment so the blue and white is a bit scary for me!)

    • Pete Denton says:

      You’re not the only one. My wife pulled a face when she saw the image as well 😦

      When I started the blog this was the type of image I wanted, so have built up to it over the last 5 years! Might not last the month. We’ll see. I kind of like it.

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    A while back I went with the Able theme because it offered so much of what I wanted and has a nice, crisp look. Like you, I took out some of the clutter. Even then, I’d bet many people use their smartphones to read and don’t even notice the widgets I’ve kept! Oh well. There will never be a one size fits all unless technology suddenly goes back to the Henry Ford approach. “People can have any color they want—as long as it’s black.” 😉

  9. Kourtney Heintz says:

    I like the new picture at the top. It fits your genre and personality. 🙂 The layout is great. I think I used the same one but with a different color scheme. I tried out a few different ones–the free ones. I try to change it every 2-3 years. 🙂 And I remember when you had to just jump in without a preview to a new theme–scary dark times we lived in!

  10. cassmob says:

    I like it Pete and have used it myself. I also like the preview look. Yes, a new header from time to time can be interesting but it is also your “brand” so people recognise where they are. Good luck with the return to blogging.

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