Themes-Where is the Perfect One for Me


Image by kuribo via Flickr

How many of you are not happy with your blog’s theme? It just doesn’t look or do what you want it to do and simply want something that meets your wants/needs.

That has been my dilemma for several years and I still have not found my “perfect” blog theme, I have switched, customized, hacked and everything in between in my effort to find the “one”.

There are some choices:

Pay to have a custom theme created for you

This is not the cheap alternative, but you get what you want and your blog to look and perform the way that you want – for a price.
Pay for a theme that someone else created
Supposedly these are better themes with more bells and whistles, that allow you to easily customize the theme more easily to meet your needs. In many cases being able to drag and drop different elements to where you want them placed.  I have never tried the premium themes for Blogger, so I can’t really comment on this choice, other than to say with so many free themes it is difficult to justify spending money on a premium theme.
Use a free template from the internet
Finding great looking and free Blogger themes on the web is easy, there are thousands of them. However, finding one that exactly meets your needs without needing customization or having to change/add something in the code lines is probably not going to happen – at least it hasn’t for me. The other big problem themes from the internet is safety. You don’t really know what is hidden or linked to, in the code, so unless you are relatively savvy with coding this could be a situation where you set yourself for unexpected or unwanted consequences. Free is not always free.

Use Blogger’s template designer tool

Blogger’s template designer tool is okay if you are looking for a basic theme, but I have always wanted the extras (tabbed widgets, custom RSS feed and other icons, headers, favicons, styles, etc.) that many theme provides you, so I was never really satisfied with the final product from Blogger’s template designer.
Build a theme yourself
If you can code you could build your own blog theme and it will be exactly what you want based upon your skill level. The second option to build one myself is a problem because I do not have the programming/coding skills to build my own, unless I want to take the time to learn HTML/CSS, so that option is not even a consideration at this time.

My Blog Theme Search

As some of you may have noticed, I have been experimenting with different blog themes, layouts and designs over the past few weeks. While I did like the way my previous theme looked, it had some problems with loading and freezing, plus it just seemed “busy”. So I have been searching through the “free” blogger themes and then slightly customizing them to appear the way that I want.

I have downloaded over 40 different themes on my test site and then around 10 on One Foot In Reality to see how they looked “live”. One was fairly close to what I was looking for, but I could not get it quite the way that I wanted and gave up on it, because the changes I wanted to make were beyond my abilities.

I knew it was time to stop for a while because I was starting to get frustrated, so I took a break and walked around a little bit, watched some baseball (yes the Red Sox beat the Yankees) and while I was sitting there watching the ball game it came to me.

What has changed?

My priorities are and have changed a great deal since Memorial Day weekend, when I made my decision to resign from teaching and go into semi-retirement.  As part of this decision, I have started to really look at simplifying (not quite minimalizing) and downsizing many aspects of my life.

While One Foot In Reality is successful in my eyes, with its past focus, that focus will shift a great deal as I move further from being classroom teacher/special educator and farther into semi-retirement.  I finally realized that I wasn’t happy with any of the themes I was trying recently, because I have been going through a significant decision process (over the past 3-4 months) and I had lost what the focus of One Foot In Reality is now or will become. This struggle about the direction I am going has affected what image that I am attempting to portray to my readers – because I don’t know where One Foot In Reality is going – except forward.

Since I wasn’t sure of the next direction of this blog, I decided to go with a very simple theme for now.

The New Theme

Once I made that decision, using Google’s template designer was very easy and intuitive. Within 15 minutes I had the basic template finished, it took a couple of days to tweak it to where it is now.

I stayed simple and didn’t do a lot of eye candy. I actually like the results quite a bit, the widgets may change a little as I find something I like, but I have a feeling the theme will stay this way until I figure out the new focus of One Foot In Reality.

The reality is

At some point you have to say good enough and focus on the content more than the appearance.

I have reached that point.What do you think? Are there any improvements that I could do to make it better?

“Are you doing the right thing for the right reason.”