I Updated This Site’s Theme, and I’m Still Picking Up The Pieces

I Updated This Site's Theme, and I'm Still Picking Up The Pieces blog maintenance

After several weeks of planning and careful testing, and consulting with the theme's developer, I have replaced this site's theme with a new one.

What do you think?

TBH I am not happy with the result, but I cannot go back. The old theme (Magazine from MH Themes) had to go. IThe developer hadn't updated it in 3 years, it never completely worked the way it was supposed to, and several features broke in recent updates. (Plus, when I first installed it I modified it in a bunch of ways that broke basic rules of good web design practices, and that fact continued to bug me.)

The only option now is to move forward. I'm going to edit the new theme so it looks better, and I would appreciate all critique and feedback.

What do you think should be changed?

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

14 Comments

  1. Anthony20 October, 2018

    Nice!

    Only change I’d suggest: just use one set of social media share buttons. It looks like you’re using the Jetpack plugin’s buttons *and* another plugin’s? I’d just go with one.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder21 October, 2018

      I took care of it.

      This is one of those things that were leftover from a period where I was experimenting with new share buttons.

      Reply
  2. Brandon21 October, 2018

    Hi Nate, glad to read that you’ve found a theme that you like. However, I think you’ve probably missed something as I’m currently using the same theme on my website that you were previously using and I don’t have any problems at all. The theme has been updated several times in the past 3 years and for me it didn’t break anything after updates: https://www.mhthemes.com/themes/changelog-mh-magazine/

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder21 October, 2018

      I guess I didn’t explain that very well, so let me elaborate.

      We weren’t actually running the same theme. I had the 2.x version, and you had the 3.x version. The reason I say they are different themes is that MH Themes changed so much when they released 3.0 that I actually cannot update from 2.x to 3.0. I would have had to redesign the site from scratch.

      This is one of the things that bugged me about that developer, and it’s why I looked elsewhere for a new theme.

      Reply
  3. Bill21 October, 2018

    I like it. Looks great and flows well on my tablet. I like the images with each article. Very magazine-like.

    Bill

    Reply
  4. Martin Lake21 October, 2018

    I agree with Anthony, it would look better with only one set of social mediat buttons. I’d prefer it if there was more space for the articles and you somehow shrunk the width of the Let’s Connect column.

    Reply
  5. Name21 October, 2018

    The first thing I had to search was the link to the blog from the landing page. To click it, I now have to scroll down on my phone’s display, which is annoying. Pictures and their subtitles are displayed rather small in this new theme. In order to read the subtitles, I need to resize the page area.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder21 October, 2018

      Do you mean the mobile menu button? The previous theme didn’t have that, no – it’s one of the things that never worked.

      Reply
      1. Name21 October, 2018

        There is a black area at the top with links to “Home”, “Hire us”, “Resources”, “Blog” etc. I can see it on a desktop computer but it is not displayed on my phone. It used to be displayed before on my phone. Now, there is a nonfunctional hamburger menu symbol shown on my phone but not on the desktop. Oh, and the black area is white on my phone and clicking the search symbol doesn’t work. This might all be related to JavaScript being disabled on the phone, so please consider a CSS menu and search field implementation instead, which wouldn’t silently fail. So, on the phone, at present, I have to use the text link “The Latest posts from the blog …” further down in order to get to the blog.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder21 October, 2018

          Yes, that is the menu bar. It is standard practice to save space on smartphone screens by replacing the bar with a button. The old theme was supposed to do that, but it didn’t because the developer goofed. Instead I had to jury-rig a fix so that you could still see the menu bar.

          I did look at making the same change to the new theme so that you could have the same experience, but it didn’t look good.

          Reply
          1. Name22 October, 2018

            Would be nice, if the menu button would work without JavaScript. After all, the previous menu bar worked without it: when I tapped “Blog”, it would show (IIRC) the subcategories (“hardware”, “debunking”, “infographics” etc.) which it still displays now on a desktop computer with JS enabled. It’s a minor issue though, I’m used to this kind of inconveniences since the web has started to become overtaken by designers about a decade ago. I’m happy, that your site is still usable at all.

  6. anonymous22 October, 2018

    Not a fan of the new landing page for Blog posts at all. Sorry. Will see if I get used to it.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder22 October, 2018

      I don’t like that page either. The only reason I installed this them was that the developer promised a solution where I could have all the photos on the left or the right.

      Their solution didn’t work.

      Reply
  7. Hannah Steenbock23 October, 2018

    I’m late, but no, I don’t like it.

    It lacks structure.

    I hope you can find another theme that works for you. We reader willl get used to it..

    Reply

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