Blog Makeover: From Garland to Chateau

Before my blog went public, I spent hours–well, okay, it was WEEKS!–experimenting with different formats, different colours, different features, before deciding on a green/blue customized Garland theme.

Screen Capture

I liked the simplicity and clean lines of the layout, and customizing the colours meant that it didn’t quite look like every other website using the Garland theme. Over time, I experimented more and learned to add a translation widget, blog badges, and social media icons.

I was very happy with my new and developing blog, but over time I also started a wish list of things I’d like to see: a responsive layout  so my blog would be easier to read on different devices, post formats for more variety, a more visible comment section since some readers had trouble finding it mixed in with the tags at the end of my posts.

It might have been possible to add these things to my existing site, but it seemed easier simply to switch themes, so today I introduce this customized Chateau–still a free WordPress theme, still uncluttered, still the same basic navigation with blog posts appearing on my home page and a menu of other pages at the top. But now I also have a responsive layout, post formats that I look forward to trying, and a more prominent spot for comments just under the post title.

At the same time, I decided to dispense with the like button in favour of encouraging comments, and have started tightening up my categories and tags to make them more useful. I expect to do some more tweaking over the next while, but I’m happy with this new look and functionality. Comments welcome!

Some sites I’ve found helpful:

For WordPress users, I’ve always found the Forums a helpful resource.

How often should you change your WordPress theme? Daily blog tips suggest as seldom as possible, although if changes are needed, somewhere between 6 months and 2 years, so at 10 months I’m well within their suggested range.

If you’re starting a blog, or would like to give your blog a makeover, check out this infographic (and you’ll also see where I decided to skip their advice!).



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5 replies

  1. Looks good, April! Love reading your posts!

  2. The new look is very attractive! A well thought out makeover.

  3. Maybe I’ll take some lessons from you and the links you point to. Lovely photo for this topic!

  4. Thank you all – the photo is the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona, which my husband and I visited one year on vacation. I love that photo and am so glad it works here. Melodie, I’m also learning from you and thought I might start Writer Wednesdays too.

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