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Check Out My “New” Blog!

new blog screenshotIf you’re reading this post in an RSS reader, that’s good — it means my feed moved over when I spent the last few days moving my blog to being self-hosted. If you’re reading this in your RSS reader, it also means you should click on through and see the new design for my site!

Note: When the site opens the first time, it tends to look wonky. Just refresh the page and things should look as they do in the screen shot at right, except bigger, and stuff.

The Nuts and Bolts

Although there are a ton of free themes for WordPress powered blogs, I just couldn’t find one that I wanted AND that I could edit easily. So, I went with a premium, paid theme I’ve been coveting for awhile called Thesis.

The nice thing about Thesis is that a lot of the customizing (fonts, number of sidebars and locations, pages, etc.) can be edited without ever going into the PHP or CSS for the theme. And if you know any PHP or CSS, the customizing options are practically unlimited. Plus, there are great support forums and a lot of specific tutorials on how to edit the theme further.

On the downside, Thesis did put me back $87. However, I use this blog semi-professionally — I put it on my resume when applying for journalism jobs to show I’m tech-savvy and familiar with social media — so the money was an investment (or so I keep telling myself!).

Site Features

Above the right sidebars is a multimedia gallery which, for now, is rotating a couple of images with quotes I enjoy. I’m still not sure what to do with this section long-term, but it’s a cool feature of the blog.

I made the custom header in Photoshop, using a character from the South Park Studio. It’s pretty minimalist, but for now I like it.

Threaded comments for old posts got lost in the move, but they should be back for new posts. And my replies (as the author) will be in a different color, just so ya’ll know who I am 🙂

For now, I elected not to include a blogroll, partly because those links didn’t make it over in the move. However, I found out via a discussion on blogrolls at BethFishReads that there is a widget you can add that will include shared posts from Google Reader. Installed that and plan to use it as a blogroll, as well as do a better job of highlighting posts from blogs I like here and via Twitter.

My Ongoing To-Do List

  • Fix up my sidebars. There are a few widgets in them, but I want to add more… I’m just not sure what. Suggestions welcome!
  • Add links to Twitter/RSS/Delicious on the front page.
  • Keep updating plugins. I have a number done already, but I have to figure out what they do and which ones I could still add.
  • Continue to update my blogroll. This is not even close to accurate to the blogs I regularly read.
  • Catch up on Google Reader. I haven’t read blogs in like five days, so I have some catching up to do.

Is there anything basic I forgot to add to the new site? Anything you dislike or find confusing? Anything especially cool? Add your thoughts so I can keep improving the design — this is very much still a work in progress!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Steph September 4, 2009, 10:10 am

    The new website looks great! I don’t remember your old site being an eyesore, but this one is definitely fresh and easy to navigate.

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 11:07 am

      Thanks Steph! I don’t think the old site was especially ugly or anything, but I like being able to switch, and I love how much more flexible it is having my own site.

  • Anna September 4, 2009, 10:30 am

    Lookin’ good! 🙂

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 11:07 am

      Thanks Anna 🙂

  • Carrie September 4, 2009, 10:53 am

    I love it! (but i am getting a little side scrolling on my 1024×768 work monitor so you might want to make things a little narrower, i think side scrolling is almost a sin)

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 11:08 am

      I agree, Carrie, side scrolling is a pain. I have a widescreen monitor at home, so I didn’t even think of it. I made the main column 50 px smaller, so hopefully that’ll take care of it.

  • Jessica September 4, 2009, 11:15 am

    Kim, this is great! I’ve been coveting Thesis for a while myself. It sounds like it’s amazing to use and edit. I use a free theme called Neoclassical by the same designer, and I really love it, but I have to go into the code a lot for editing. I really love your color scheme.

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 6:04 pm

      Thesis was very easy. I didn’t have to go into the code until I wanted to change the colors, and even then you just add some things to a separate CSS sheet (rather than manipulating the underlying code). It’s been really easy so far.

  • Dorte H September 4, 2009, 11:17 am

    Yesterday the link did not work, but today there are no problems.
    Your new blog is beautiful, and the colours are so tasteful!

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 6:05 pm

      Good, I’m glad it works today, and hope it continues to work.

      I love aqua/tan/white — beach colors. That’s how my whole bedroom is decorated. It looks like that scheme just appeared with the blog too 🙂

  • Kathy September 4, 2009, 12:03 pm

    Congratulations! It looks great!

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 6:05 pm


  • Jenny aka "Sister" September 4, 2009, 3:22 pm

    This blog looks really cool. I like the monochromatic theme that it has. I like the quotes on the top, but you might have them scroll a little faster?.. otherwise until I read the post I had no idea that the quote ever changed. Just a thought

  • Jenny aka "Sister" September 4, 2009, 3:23 pm

    I have an additional question, is there a way to subscribe to your blog so that I get an e-mail when you add new posts?

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 6:06 pm

      The quotes only change when you refresh the page or click on a different post, so it’s not really scrolling. Just random each time the site opens.

      I don’t know how to do e-mail subscriptions, but if I figure it out I’ll let you know.

  • Joanne September 4, 2009, 3:25 pm

    I love this new look! Thesis is one of the themes I’d been looking at before (when I considered trying WP.) What I really love is how the revolving quote box tops off your two side columns – it really grabs the eye!
    The only thing that’s wonky for me is the site shows up perfectly in IE but in Firefox it cuts off the right side so that your header name is missing the last s and half of the second last s. Could just be me though.

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 6:07 pm

      I love that too. I’m still not sure if the quotes are what I’m going to stay with, but for now I like it. I ahve a ton of quotes I want to design little photos for when I have time.

      That’s weird about the header, it shows up fine for me in Firefox. I’ll have to look at it on a couple more computers and see what’s up. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Jodie September 4, 2009, 4:14 pm

    Really like your header and your theme (well worth the money) and you have a search, which is such a good idea.

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 6:08 pm

      I’m confident over the long term the theme is going to be well worth it; at the moment though, almost $90 was a lot to invest!

  • Nymeth September 4, 2009, 4:46 pm

    It looks fantastic, Kim. Well done!

    • Kim September 4, 2009, 6:08 pm

      Thanks Nymeth!

  • Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books September 4, 2009, 6:16 pm

    The new site looks great, Kim! I came over from a link in one of your tweets; I’ll make sure that my feed is pointing to the new space.

    Congrats on the move. The easy customization of your theme is smart (makes me think I should change to a priced theme … learning CSS is not really high on my priority list!)

    • Kim September 6, 2009, 9:41 am

      Dawn: I’d love to learn more CSS, but it really just wasn’t the time for me right now. I’m sure I’ll be learning more as I try to customize the theme further, but I’m just glad I got it to be something I liked easily.

  • Kay September 4, 2009, 8:58 pm

    It looks fantastic! I love the new theme (I had been considering it myself for a while before I changed the colors on mine) and you did a great job with it. Your previous site looked good but this one is really classy!

    • Kim September 6, 2009, 9:41 am

      Kay: Sometimes a color change is all you need 🙂 I’m glad it looks classy, that’s part of the look I was going for. I wonder how classy the South Park character at the top is though!

  • softdrink September 4, 2009, 9:07 pm

    It looks fantastic! For some reason I especially like the border. I love borders…it was something I struggled with in my theme.

    Good work!

    • Kim September 6, 2009, 9:42 am

      softdrink: The border was sort of a happy accident. I copied some CSS code from a tutorial, then changed the colors to what I wanted, but apparently forgot to change the border. Turns out I loved it, so no problem!

  • Anastasia September 4, 2009, 9:42 pm

    Aaaah, very cool! I especially like the Delicious and Google Reader feeds in the sidebar– glad I’m not the only one who hopes they work! (Do they work? I’m thinking of doing a weekly link round up again because I’m reading all these nifty posts and I’m not sure people are finding them in my Delicious feed! Eek.)

    • Kim September 6, 2009, 9:44 am

      Anastasia: Me too, I was so excited when I found those plugins to add! I’m not sure whether people click on the links or not, actually, I feel like people probably don’t, especially if they are reading posts in Google Reader or something like that. I’ve toyed with a weekly link post, but don’t know if those get read much either. What’s your experience with it?

  • Hazra September 5, 2009, 7:12 am

    This looks really great, not that your previous blog didn’t! I love the aqua, it’s soothing and peaceful.

    • Kim September 6, 2009, 9:44 am

      Hazra: I have a think of aqua/tan/cream colors, they remind me of the beach. I wasn’t planning on using blue for the site, but I happened to find the pallet and fell in love with all the colors. Oh well 🙂

  • Jenny September 5, 2009, 9:26 am

    It looks great! Well done you!

    • Kim September 6, 2009, 9:45 am

      Thanks Jenny 🙂

  • J.T. Oldfield September 6, 2009, 1:40 am

    I like it. It has a clean and clear sort of look to it. And BTW, I came from Google Reader, so, Yay!

    • Kim September 6, 2009, 9:45 am

      J.T.: Great, I am not a fan of messy and cluttered looking blogs. I too much stuff distracts me from the content. I wanted mine to be pretty minimalistic.

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) September 6, 2009, 3:17 pm

    Congratulations on the move!

    It looks great! I am impressed that I came straight here from google reader without having to update my links.

    I love your delicious links and shared posts. That is a great idea!

    • Kim September 7, 2009, 10:30 am

      Jackie: I’m so glad that worked. When I was at wordpress.com I had the domain name connected to that site and used Feedburner with Sophisticateddorkiness.com. I wasn’t sure if the feed would just move when the domain did, but it seems like it did!

  • Jennifer September 6, 2009, 3:28 pm

    I love the new site – It’s gorgeous. All your hard work obviously paid off.

    • Kim September 7, 2009, 10:30 am

      Jennifer: Thanks a lot!

  • Rebecca Reid September 8, 2009, 7:18 pm

    I love the new look! congrats!

    The feed didn’t automatically update for me; I had to delete the old one and add the new one. Was it suppose to be automatic?

    • Kim September 8, 2009, 7:52 pm

      Rebecca: Yes, and no. I actually had two different feeds at my old blog. One was the original, first feed for grayskyeyes.wordpress.com — the URL when I started my blog. When I got my new domain name, I switched the feed to a Feedburner feed for sophisticateddorkiness.com. Anyone subscribing to the Feedburner feed should have migrated over just fine. But anyone who subscribed to my blog before I got the new URL and switched the feed didn’t come over automatically.

      As a temporary fix, I’m leaving the grayskyeyes.wordpress.com blog up for awhile and posting message to remind people to switch their feed subscription. Hopefully they’ll read that, switch, then be all migrated over!

      • Rebecca Reid September 8, 2009, 7:58 pm

        that would explain it; I”m an old timer 🙂

        • Kim September 8, 2009, 8:57 pm

          Yup. I think you were one of the first people to comment on my blog who wasn’t a teacher or family member 🙂

  • Kim L September 8, 2009, 8:14 pm

    I like the redesign! Especially if you use it for your career at all, I’d say it was worth the money invested. I don’t have any tips, since I haven’t redesigned in a while, but keep up the good work.

    • Kim September 8, 2009, 8:57 pm

      Thanks Kim!