Themes and appearances

Update to this post.  After all the -most welcome- comments, I am now using this theme (called Penscratch)  for a while, and experimenting with header photos. This current photo is not mine, but very like the area nearby where I walk Ollie by the river. It will do for now.

I think most bloggers get to the stage where they become tired of using the same theme and style to present their posts. Many change these themes regularly, others once a year, or on a whim. Some change when their own blogging style changes, or use the themes to reflect their moods. Many photographic bloggers look for styles that showcase photos well, and some literary bloggers prefer darker, black or brown themes, with light text, when they are discussing books and stories.

I have used my theme since day one. I picked it to give a ‘warm and cosy’ look, with an idea of the countryside. As I rarely publish photos, I felt that I didn’t need a landscape format, or bright background, and the A4 page design seemed to suit my idea of a ‘journal’ too. The green and grey text on a clear background seemed to me to be able to be ‘read well’, and the absence of any border images meant that nothing distracted from the words.

After almost three years, I am now getting a little tired of this theme though, and wondering if it is not looking a little stale. I have recently made use of the excellent preview feature provided by WordPress, to examine just what my blog would look like, if I changed to something new. After trying more than twenty different themes for size, I didn’t feel comfortable enough with any of them, to risk the change completely.

So not for the first time, I am throwing the topic open to my dear readers and followers. What do you think? Do you like the current theme? (MistyLook) Should I stick with it, or do you think I should grasp the nettle, and change completely? Or would that just be too strange?
Please let me know in the comments.

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54 thoughts on “Themes and appearances

  1. I’m in the minority and prefer the old theme. I find this font too big and it makes the site look a little cluttered. But at the end of the day it’s not about the ‘look’, it’s about the content, and beetleypete is unsurpassable. You remain my favourite blog and I don’t care what it looks like, as long as it’s there. A x

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    1. Thanks A. I have settled into this bigger font now. It’s easier for my old eyes, but I know what you mean about the old theme, I miss it sometimes.
      Your comments are most kind, and of course much appreciated. x

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  2. I like this one better than the older – it seems to give ampler space to the text, letting it “breathe” (I also like the font and bigger header photo). But I understand your hesitation – I’ve used my theme from day 1 as well, and I don’t think I’ll ever change it!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts Nandia. I felt it was time for a change, and the old theme was feeling a little cramped on the page. Glad you approve of this theme, it is really growing on me, and could be a ‘keeper’.
      Best wishes from Norfolk. Pete.

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  3. Another vote in favour of change and experimentation because it better reflects your diversity of interests, your passionate opinions and versatility as a writer and social observer! XX

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  4. Wait! Your theme photo isn’t a spot in Beetley? Walking across that lovely bridge in the mist isn’t a part of your daily walk?

    I think you’re on the right track if you’re opting for a change. Experiment with all options and then follow your heart.

    I like the typeface you’ve selected; it’s gracious and communicates well in that it’s easy to read.

    Have fun with this!

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    1. Thanks Gretchen. I wish the misty bridge was part of my walk, but I would have to live in Oxfordshire perhaps, to enjoy such gentility. I quite like this current theme, but may continue to experiment for a while.
      I hope the cats are well and flourishing. Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. As an Artist I say experimentation is great!

        Things are ok here. Computer fixed, kittens warming my heart and the sun is shining. I have a student today so probably won’t be blogging until tomorrow or Saturday. Until then, best wishes!

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  5. I agree with Eddy Winko, that you should try a few different themes on us. Misty Look is good but I often wish you would personalise the header photo. Many people use the given header and that makes them look exactly like others and it can be confusing as to which blogs you’re visiting or remembering whether you’ve visited. Happy Thursday!

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          1. Pen scratch is a goodie – clean and clear – but I still think you need to attract with an image header, regardless of the fact that this is not an image-based blog. As Alice said, what is a book without pictures.

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  6. Hi Pete, change it! It’ll be fun to try out a new look or three, and in the end, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ anyway. If you really can’t get used to any, you can always return to the tried and tested original. I think you’ll enjoy playing around with it. Are you a premium member? In that case there’s a whole world of things to try, way beyond installing a theme.
    All the best to you both, I look forward to seeing what you decide on!
    Arne

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  7. Oh no, now I’m thinking about changing mine!
    As long as it’s easy to read then I rarely take notice of the theme, but as others have said it’s easy to change back. Perhaps you should do five posts with five of your favourite themes and see what feedback you get?

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  8. I have always loved Misty Look since I opened my account here. We are using the same theme Pete, the only difference is I change and customize my site now and then. I just changed my header image and my Gravatar profile. I tried using other free themes too but I always go back to Misty Look. How’s that for loyalty?

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  9. Pete, I’ve gone into the area where you can pick and choose.. I’ve even done the preview, but something kept me coming back to the one I have. Yours here suits your writing style.. and yet, another but… I’m not one for change.. when I find a pair of pants that suits me or a pair of shoes, I wear them until they are dust.. wink.. Change on the other hand is good for the spirit too… either way I’m certain you will find the right one that is just the right fit for you..

    Take care and happy blogging to ya, from Laura ~

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    1. I suppose that the premium themes and individual personalisations might allow us to come up with an ideal Cindy, but why pay, when it’s there for free?
      Thanks for your comment, always appreciated. Pete.

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  10. Pete, I don’t even use a banner on my blog, as you know. I just have a background image of green grass blowing in the wind, which is appropriate for a blog called Millerswindmill (wind) written by LividEmerald (emerald>green). I did experiment at the beginning, but settled on the blowing grass and will no doubt keep it. Of course, my blog, which I’ve neglected for a while, is vastly different from yours.
    I like your banner, which I immediately associate with “beetleypete.” I don’t see anything wrong with keeping it, but perhaps a change of scenery would breathe some fresh air into the blog and encourage you to post more often. In any event, as others have pointed out here, you can always change it to something else, or simply change it back to the original.

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    1. I agree that certain themes become associated with bloggers. I follow some that are slow to load, or use either very large or very small text, and I always felt that my theme was a good balance. At present, I am of a mind to stay as I am, but might take up Eddy’s idea of actually publishing in another theme, to see the reaction.
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

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  11. I use the same theme for my blog and have been using it for seven or eight years. It suits me. The one thing I have done to make it my own is that I have always used a custom header. I used to rotate them from season to season, however, about six months ago I discovered that I could use the built in random rotate feature for my header. So now I have about twelve photos, that I’ve taken myself and customized, loaded and they change at random. So when the page loads, there is a different photo that loads. You never know which one you’ll get. I like that free feature. It’s easy for me and is less work than changing the header entirely. And I can load as many photos as I want to use randomly. I was just thinking yesterday that I should add some new photos to the random list.

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    1. Corina, I just bounced back and forth to your blog a few times and noticed the random changes in header. Quite interesting! During one of my stops, I made a comment about Zzyzx, a place with which I’m quite familiar.

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      1. Yup, the random header is a neat free feature on WordPress blogs. I uploaded my own headers then in the dashboard chose to display the headers at random. When the page is loaded, it does just that. Kind of a neat and easy way to have something fresh on hand!

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  12. As someone who is new to your blog, I really like what you already have. I haven’t had a chance to get bored with it yet and it seems to me to work well. The soft green is gentle on the eyes and the picture breathes peaceful rural life… which is how many of your posts come across. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t change it. In the end, it’s up to you. Whilst keeping your readers happy is always going to be a valid concern, it’s important that whatever you choose reflects what you want for this blog. If the theme doesn’t match the content, then it may distract potential readers. Do what feels right to you.

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    1. It seems that the mixture of header and text is getting the right feel across. It will be interesting to see what others think too, if anyone has strong opinions either way.
      Thanks very much for taking time to comment Ros.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. I think there are some very nice themes for writing, which, as you say, have different needs to what a photographer wants. My OH has Misty on one of his and I want him to change that too (it is not a photography site) I rather like Penscratch and Fictive.

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          1. I like Penscratch (you have that as I am writing this) nice, clear and larger text. You just need a lovely header (one with Oliie in of course, maybe running around on Beetley meadow that we hear about so often 😀 )

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  13. I love the preview because it allows you to see how your viewers will see it – but also, unless you are paying a premium, just do it and see the response – it’s so easy to change back!

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