I spent a few hours last night moving my parents’ travel blog from Blogger to using WordPress on their own domain. I tried out a few free travel-related themes, but I eventually decided to purchase a premium theme.
I’ve come to the conclusion that if a theme has a custom theme admin, it’s way overcomplicated. I got analysis paralysis from the sheer number of options; I didn’t know where to begin! After a good two hours wrestling with admin settings, trying to figure out how to manage their data the way the theme wanted it, I gave up and decided to use WordPress’s Twenty Fourteen theme.
Twenty Fourteen is a solid, clean design but there aren’t a whole lot of options to customize it. I stumbled upon the Fourteen Colors and Fourteen Extended plugins. I wanted to keep in the previous blog’s color scheme so once the plugins were installed, I recreated the same colors for links and backgrounds, centered the blog on the page and removed some awkward white space (there’s a setting for that!).
While adding featured images to the existing posts, I noticed that the theme doesn’t display the featured images all that well because of how they were getting cropped so I installed the Post Thumbnail Editor plugin. This awesome plugin allows a user to re-crop every thumbnail size for every uploaded image. I didn’t do that, of course; just the thumbnails that the theme is using.
I’m also using my new favorite plugin, Social, to make it easy for my parents to broadcast their blog posts to their Facebook timelines. Any comment or like to the broadcast post on Facebook will be pulled into the blog post as a comment, so they are getting maximum visibility and still retaining rights to their content. Now if I can only convince them to drop Picasa…
There were a few more immediate tweaks I wanted to make, so I created a child theme to customize further. I centered the header image, added a repeating background around the header image, and placed a width maximum on the post comments. For practice, I placed everything in a repo on BitBucket.
I know there’s a few styles I still need to massage and maybe I’ll recreate the header image (sorry in advance, retina folks). If you notice anything broken or off, leave a comment here and I’ll address it.
You can see my parents’ new blog and follow their adventures at escape-artists.net.