blog reFresh

I am quite happy with my blog. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it achieves everything I set out to do.

Emphasizes my writing ✓

Looks clean and neat ✓

Incorporates non-text elements seamlessly into the text ✓

Looks good on mobile and desktop ✓

I find my blog to be clean and professional. The theme I went with before our last update, Ixion, includes those two words in its description. When I searched ‘clean’ and ‘professional’ amongst the free WordPress templates, Ixion was one of my top matches.

Ixion did not fall onto this list of the top 40 Best Clean & Minimal WordPress Themes for 2017, which kind of bummed me out, but then I realized that the vast majority of those listed required downloading and paying for use. I think Ixion gets the job done without costing a dime!

So I do owe a lot of my satisfaction to the theme itself⎯ not to mention the fact that the colors are black and yellow (just like Pittsburgh’s)!

But I will say this, WordPress is not the most user-friendly site I have encountered. Especially for something that allegedly is home to 27% of the web’s sites. I personally would expect a platform that holds such a large chunk of the market to be significantly more accessible.

Say, for example, I did want to change my site’s colors. I thought about it but wasn’t able to figure out how or if I am able to do so using Ixion. That’s slightly frustrating.

I do like the widgets at the bottom of my blog. As I mentioned in my last update, I added my Twitter and Instagram feeds. I also connected my Twitter to my WordPress account so that I can automatically share my blog posts as they go live.

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I also added another widget that holds all my categories. This way visitors to my sight can go straight to my posts that fall under ‘Blog Update‘ if that’s what they want to read.

Wait! Just now I figured out how to customize my site background. As you can see, it’s a little bit off-white, kind of purpley. I think it’s easier on the eyes.

Scratch that, I don’t like the way certain parts of the site are still in white. That looks janky.

There are still the black & yellow accents though, don’t fret! As far as I can tell, those are not up for debate!

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Bloggin (young, wild and…) free

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Last week as I began thinking about the types of edits and updates I would make to my blog, I found myself suffering from a severe case of blogger’s block. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if that was a real thing, but the Huffington Post has covered it, so I’m just gonna run with it.

After I added little widgets that link directly to my (new!) Twitter and Instagram, which I really only use for voyeur purposes, I wasn’t sure what to do next. But then I had a thought: Why not seek inspiration from the websites and blogs I like to visit?

Guess what I learned? Some of the sites, including Quartz, that I check out on the daily are also “Powered by WordPress.com,” albeit maybe the VIP version. If big names like TechCrunch and FiveThirtyEight can make WordPress great again, surely I can too lol!

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I admired the clean lines and neutral color tones – with hints of bright color- these news companies employed on their sites. So I started playing around with different themes to see if I could achieve a similar pop-of-color effect. It’s not perfect now by any means, but I think it is somewhat closer to the look I was aiming for. I want the content/ the writing itself to be center stage.

I also temporarily changed the title of my blog to “digital media & culture.” The all lowercase aesthetic was inspired by our friend, danah boyd. I can’t say for certain if the name will stick, but I thought I would put that out there in case anyone in the WordPress world is looking to add a little digital media education to their life.

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I plan to add more photos and finish up my “about me” page. Also I think it would be cool to add a slide show of recent posts to the top of the home page (see example from IntoTheGloss above). I will be hitting up YouTube for some step-by-step instructions because that may be difficult!

Something I have really enjoyed about this process and project is that nothing’s static. So there’s no pressure to stop exploring all that’s out there.

Bottom line: we’re going places. Definitely not there yet.