Tag Archives: themes

Pick a New Theme for Bookshelf Battle

Happy Saturday 3.5 Readers.

I’m shopping for new themes. Take a look at some of them with me, will you?

After all, as my 3.5 readers, you’ll need to be as satisfied as I am:

#1 – NEWSMAG  – I like it but I’m not sure why the menu is there twice. This has been pretty much been my experience. I find something that seems acceptable but for one weird little thing:

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#2 – WILSON – Hmm.  I like posting various funny pictures right at the top of my blog, often pictures of the “bookshelf battles” occurring on my magic bookshelf. For the 3.5 people who read this blog, it really ties the theme together.

Otherwise, the theme is crisp, uncluttered, it does pull Twitter, Facebook feeds and other widgets up to the left instead of leaving them buried at the bottom like my current theme does.

I guess the tradeoff is the main photo becomes smaller and off to the left instead of prominently at the top.  Ironically, the photo does appear at the top on tablets and phones.

It’s free, so that’s a plus.  I do prefer the menu at the top but I think the design so clearly helps the user to distinguish what’s the written content and what’s the menu content that it’s not a concern.

Hmm. This one’s a contender.

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#3 – HIVE – This one needs two photos. First, it didn’t cut off “my” face but rather it all just comes out to big to come out in one screenshot. Take my word that my head is there and you just scroll down through a pretty sweet funny photo and bold headline before you get to the meat of the blog.

“BQB you wanted a blog that has a prominent photo and bold headline.”

That I do. That’s what intrigues me. It is like $150 which I don’t relish spending but I guess if it’s something I enjoy doing I guess I can sacrifice some dough for my 3.5 readers.

If you move to the second photo, you’ll see the posts come out in a newspaper like format.  Side by side, crisp columns.

You end up with a blog roll where many, many of more posts are clickable before you get to the bottom of the roll and have to click next to get to the back log.

No one ever clicks next.  So more posts before you reach the end could attract more than 3.5 readers.

So I’ll call what’s on the front page “teasers.” You basically get a paragraph of the post and then when you click it you get the whole thing.

I’m not sure why my photos don’t show up in the teasers but they do show up in the post itself when you reach it.

I’m not too worried about that because I have read other blogs where photos are in the teasers so there must be a way.

I’m on the fence on this one. It’s very beautiful. It does come with a lot of features that seem like they’d increase the ole click-a-roos.

But I feel like no one understands the concept of my blog as it is. It’s a blog about a nerd with a magic bookshelf who engages in all manner of nerdy hi jinx while he pursues a career as a novelist to appease an alien dictator.

Does this format make it a newspaper about all that above?

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#4 – PENSCRATCH – Oh my God. It’s got the prominent headline. It’s got the menu at the top. It’s got the menu at the top. It’s got the place for the funny header photo.

The shopping list is complete! But…shit. Is it me or is that font very light? It looks like what happens when someone tries to write with lemon juice on paper.

If I can figure out how to darken up the font and maybe come up with some spiffier fonts this one could also be a contender.

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CONCLUSIONS –

My gut is telling me to go with WILSON but I can also see the argument that PENSCRATCH is the closest to what I have now and perhaps I shouldn’t take my stinky socks off in the bottom of then ninth. Not crazy about that light font though.

Sheesh. Picking a new theme is like picking a mistress. Chunk’s like my toothless, frazzled hair wife. Sure, she’s not the best, but she’s always there for me and gets the job done.

If I’m going to leave her I want it to be for a super model that’s really going to rev my engine but it just seems like I’m trading one toothless wife for another toothless wife.

I’m from the 90’s. I can say things like this.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Have You Ever Used Another Blogging Website?

Hey 3.5 Readers. You’re in luck.  A second Daily Discussion.

Obviously, you all use WordPress, but I was wondering if anyone out there has ever used another blogging website?

I don’t believe I’ll move Bookshelf Battle off of WordPress.  Too many of my 3.5 readers use it and I would lose them.

But for other websites, I have been thinking about branching out to see what other blogging sites might have to offer.

For example, I am thinking about creating a website that has information about my zombie western book and proposed zombie western book series.

I have my eye on Wix.  They have many pre-made templates, plus the ability to create your own.

They say it is “drag and drop” and they explain that means what it says.  Drag what you want to the place on your site where you want it to appear and voila it appears on your site.

If that actually works, it could save me a lot of hassle.  I hate to knock WordPress because I understand that sometimes it might be my lack of knowledge, but there are times when it won’t do what I want it to do.

WordPress has many nice themes but you are limited to that theme’s layout.  For example, I feel like I could get more Facebook/Twitter hits if I could put my Facebook/Twitter info at the top right of the blog but instead, this theme puts it at the bottom of the blog and few people scroll down that far.

My concern about Wix or another site is I don’t know if they come with the built-in audience that WordPress has.

My readership mainly comes from other bloggers.  If it weren’t for WordPress’ ability to let you tag your posts so they show up for people interested in those tags, I wouldn’t even have 1.5 readers.

Wix will allow comments, but you do have to comment through Facebook or Disquss.  I’m not sure how Disqus works but I know with Facebook you have to identify yourself and I understand many people understandably don’t want to so that could limit your comments.

So it seems there are some trade offs.  I suppose I might investigate more to see what capabilities the other websites have, but due to the built-in audience, I’m not about to leave WordPress anytime soon.

By the way, I’m told (and have seen it myself) this site doesn’t come off the best when you read it on a tablet or a smart phone.

Do you find that is the case?  I think the issue is on a tablet or smartphone people really want your menu to come up as a little button they can push and scroll down through that.

I have mixed feelings on that.  I think when the site is viewed on a laptop, the best option is to have your menu right at the top of the screen, all the choices laid out right there for you.

I have noticed there are some themes that split the difference.  When you view them on a laptop, it is all laid out right there, but then go on a mobile device and the menu turns into the button.

I’m not sure I want to abandon the theme I have now anytime soon.  Frankly, it is what gave me the idea for “Bookshelf Battle.”

When I started, I knew I wanted to blog, I wasn’t sure what about or what I’d call the blog, then as I looked through themes I saw this one with the ability to put a picture right at the top and I was like, “Huh. Well I don’t have much in the way of a graphic design department, but I suppose I could take pictures of my action figure collection and put them at the top and then I could call it umm…Bookshelf War? Huh no, Bookshelf Battle?”

I know. How more women don’t throw themselves at a guy who takes pictures of his action figures is beyond me.

Anyway, I like this theme because of that and also I just feel like it looks very comic-booky.  Add in the silly shutter stock photos and it feels, to me anyway, like you’re reading an online comic book.

So I don’t want to lose the theme anytime soon but I know in the long run I will have to resolve the mobile device issue.

Honestly, I know my menu sucks anyway as I have never really decided what to put up there and I am never able to figure out how to get it all organized.

Long story short, if you can think of an alternate WordPress theme that would fulfill BQB HQ’s needs, let me know.

Further, I have not yet given up on Pop Culture Mysteries.  It is just on hold a bit until I figure out how to streamline it a bit more.

I have been thinking that I need to rework that formula.  In many of Jake’s case files, he’s asked to solve a mystery – so example, if he’s asked something about Star Wars, he’ll start out by hitting on and getting rejected by Ms. Donnelly, then he’ll opine for a long time about some sad memory in his life, then he’ll walk through the neighborhood and complain about how the world has changed, then he bullies Agnes the Librarian into doing the research for him and THEN he’ll finally get to the answer.

I’m thinking the case files need to be shorter – ask the question (Why did Luke do X in Star Wars) then give the answer right away (He did it because…) and then I can take all of Jake’s life story stuff and work it into an ongoing online story.

At any rate, here’s what Pop Culture Mysteries looks like know. I like this theme because it looks like all the posts are files coming across Jake’s desk.

It does not have the “menu turns into a button on mobile devices” option that I suppose could be an issue, but I looked at it on my mobile device and thought it looks good and the menu bar stayed the same, it didn’t move around unlike how Bookshelf Battle’s menu does.

Anyway, give me your opinions on a) my current themes b) alternate themes and c) alternate blogging sites.

Also, give me cookies.  You know you have cookies. Stop holding out on me.

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