Considering a new theme!

I have been tinkering with the design and theme of my site for sometime now. The amount of free themes available is vast, a true testament to the ‘spirit’ of the blogging community. However despite all the options and the numerous editing options that exist I am having to accept that I can’t get the ‘exact’ look and feel that I am after.

In searching through many, many blogs on the web I keep getting drawn back to Glenns site. I knew that he had recently done some work on a new look for his blog and so as I had communicated with Glenn before on a number of things, not least the fact that we both contribute to Surfbits, I thought I would ask him a few questions. As ever his answers were so detailed and helpful that I thought I would share them with you.

CM. You seem to be on Version 3 of your site. At what stage did you decide that a bespoke theme was what you needed?

GW.Version 1 of the site was running under Symphony, the design was done by a designer I know called Pat Yan. When I decided to move away from Symphony and use WordPress, the theme couldn’t be ported, so I ended up using a free WP theme from Derek Punsalan.

After my profile began to grow, and I began to develop a greater passion for blogging, I knew I needed an “image” which stood out from the rest, something I could call my own – which is how I came to hiring Andreas.

CM. You mention that Andreas Lengyel did a very quick job on designing the site. How long did it it take you to actually be happy with the layout and structure that you wanted him to design around?

GW. I was happy the minute he showed the design to me. I approached Andreas late one evening, and the original V3 theme was completed within 24 hours of the project starting. I was pleased with the design for around 3 weeks, until I realized the need to add another column to the design where I once again approached Andreas, and he had it completed before the week ended.

CM. In one of our earlier chats you said “…. it’ll push your blog to the next level. The money I spent with him has been the best money I’ve ever spent online (in creating a presence).” Could you expand on that in terms of how you feel it has taken your blog to the next level, and what else had you tried before, specifically where else you had spent money?

GW. It took my blog to the next level in terms of creating an original online “feel and look” for myself. I didn’t want to be stuck using Derek’s free theme for too long (as much as his designs are great). I wanted something to call my own – something which was different from what I had started out, and something I could grow with.

CM. Your blog has great content and excellent involvement from your readers. The two obviously go ‘hand in hand’, but did you give your readers the chance to contribute to your design changes?

GW. Not publicly, though I did correspond with blog readers via email and IM and grasped their take on what they wanted the site to look & function like.

CM. You have given advice before on developing your blog, but do you have any thoughts on where you will go next with your own blog? Personally I am doing more and more collaborative stuff (joint interviews, segments on podcasts, reviews with other contributors) to develop more ‘angles’ on items. I see you have recently started doing interviews as well.

GW. In terms of the direction I am heading with my blog, it’s no where other than keeping on creating quality content. In the future I’d like to re-arrange my focus so I’m only working on a few projects online, one of those being my blog. This should give me much more time to focus on arranging interviews, creating content, and improving my site for both my personal desire and readers.

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