The trouble with blogging – part five

I think I already mentioned that as a writer, the disorganization of the “typical” blog bothers me, and that may be why, instinctively, I start doing things that “force” organization to blogs, like naming them “parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5,” for instance.  But that very philosophy is somewhat contrary to blogs in general.  The disorganziation and immedicacy is what appeals to many people… and then “twitter” took that one step even further…

For example, blogs appear in reverse-chronological order, so writing a “series” requires new readers who come upon the blog in the middle to either miss the beginning or “scroll down” to the start.  But do they scroll down?  I would, because I like organization.  But that very requirement of having to scroll down just to get to the “start” of something troubles me. Perhaps it’s the writer in me… I know that novels begin on page one.  But blogs begin on the date they started, and that first blog isn’t at the top of the blog; it’s at the bottom.

It’s even more problematic since I’m writing many of these blogs in advance, and usually writing multiple blogs on the same day, and then scheduling them to appear on different days in the future. For example, I started this “Trouble With Blogging” series on January 3, but am scheduling them to appear throughout January, with the last posting in the series scheduled for the end of the month.   But if I keep having to worry about writing a “series” in order to force a particular organization, I am probably missing the point of blogs…

Speaking of which, I just saw a link in the WordPress help section called “Write a book” and of course, being president of Outskirts Press, that phrase intrigued me, so I read the tip in which WordPress outlined a process for organizing a blog in a more traditional, book-like manner.  Judging from the amount of blogs I’ve seen that offer any sort of organization like that (namely, none), I’d say that doesn’t seem to be too popular of a topic on WordPress.

Perhaps what people are expecting to see when they click on a “Write a book” link is a procedure by which they can take the content of their blog and publish a book out of it, and to that, all I have to say is… “We can help you with that.”

Back to the blog theme drawing board

This isn’t rocket science! But choosing an appropriate blog “theme” for the look and feel of my blog is proving more time-consuming than I would have anticipated.  I stopped liking the “Journalist” theme when I began adding other widgets to the right-hand column, beginning with our twitter feed.

Note: Whenever you mention your twitter feed, you should link that twitter feed link to your twitter feed.

Sidebar: Did you know twitter isn’t profitable?  They haven’t figured out a way to monetize their traffic and all that bandwidth is costing someone something…. so, twitter-people, listen-up:  The same thing happened when the Internet first launched. No one could figure out how to “make money” with it.  Then, this company called Google came along and figured that it would make money with the Internet the same way companies have been making money for decades — through advertising.  Twitter,  add contextual advertising tweets through applicable accounts and posts and you’ll have figured out a way to monetize your business.

Anyway, back to the story.  The twitter feed widget for the “Journalist” theme is horrible. The CSS doesn’t highlight the linkable words.  Translation: “CSS” stands for Cascading Style Sheet — the aesthetic architecture for dynamic webpages.

So, now I’m trying INove — I think that is the name of it — and it already has a few more advantages over Journalist. For one, it’s not QUITE as black/white stark, but still keeps that as the basic color scheme. Hey, WordPress, what’s with all the pink-colored font choices in your theme selection?

Another advantage is that the widgets “look” a little better.  And the right-hand column width is wider, which allows me to use the actual width settings for the graphics.  With “Journalist” I had to force a width of 160 to my photo and the book covers, which required HTML to ‘shrink’ the image dynamically from 200 pixels wide to 160.  It still looked okay, but sometimes when you do that, the image looks horrible, so why not keep the native width settings if I can?

Well, one reason is that now my photograph along the right is enormous… it’s a little TOO big, I think… but I’ll stick with it for now and see how I feel about it in the future.  I like having the cover images 200 pixels wide, and I’m afraid if they stayed at the same size and my photograph was smaller than the overall aesthetic of the page might suffer.

I also realized another criteria I’ve had in the selection of my themes since the beginning that I may have failed to recognize.  The “main content” section/column needs to be white.  I realized this fully today as I was looking for a substitute to “Journalist” and selected a number of possibilities that had alternate colors other than white in this big “text space.”    In my opinion, that’s a no-no, for two reasons.

1)  It’s “easiest” to read black type on white spaces, so why mess with people’s eyes?

2) When/if I ever get around to adding graphics to these postings, I don’t want a big ugly “box” around the image AND I don’t want to have to worry about background color matching  the color.  White just makes everything easier in this regard.  Life is hard enough; take the gimmees.

Another advantage to this new theme is that the RSS Subscription button and the Search functionality is included in the actual theme, rather than my having to add those features as widgets.  This was one thing I liked about the “Blix” theme, which is what we are currently using for – so I’m happy I found another blog that shares those advantages.