Why I am one frustrated & disappointed Thesis Theme customer

The problems that I’m having are neatly captured in this screen shot.  My beautiful picture of Castle Raby is obscured by a square picture thingy and two widgets that I don’t know how to get rid of.  Can I just select it and hit delete? Not a chance.

How did I get into this pickle? How did I end up with a website that has so many obvious problems?

I was recently convinced that my web presence needed a complete overhall. I am one of those people that have my website hosted by one provider (in my case, Yahoo!) and my blog on another (WordPress). But at a recent webinar, the person I’ve come to think of as my tech guru, said that all authors should have an integrated website, with blog and site rolled into one.

I have been blogging for about 4 years on WordPress.com, and I’ve been very happy with it. True, there was a learning curve, and I seem to remember that 4 years ago there was an issue loading images. But they’ve constantly upgraded the software, and it’s now so easy to use that I hardly need to think about it. So when I learned that moving over to WordPress.org, i.e. downloading and using the open-source software as both a website and blog, would be easy, I was hooked. Especially as it gave me access to premium themes such as THESIS, which are optimized for SEO (search engine optimization). I’m planning to publish a novel this fall, and SEO will give me the visibility that is so sorely lacking on my current site.

Last Thursday, I downloaded WordPress onto Yahoo. Then bought Thesis, and downloaded that. It was a glorious afternoon, so I yanked myself away from my oblong-eyed mistress and made myself take a walk for a few hours. As I sat on a wall looking over a glorious view of Georgetown, I happily contemplated getting my website up and running that evening.

If you are one of those people who’ve heard about the husband-and-wife team who got their Thesis theme working in a weekend, or about all the praise that is heaped upon Thesis, and have just bought the license for $87 and are trying not to feel stupid because it just isn’t’ working, this post is for you.

I returned home, and happily set about adding new pages. But they weren’t appearing in the top panel. Why not? On WordPress.com, all you had to do was go to the sidebar, click on “Pages”, click on “Add Pages”, type in the name, and voila!, it magically appeared at the thing on the top (which I understand is called the Nav bar).

That didn’t happen. Can you get rid of a picture by selecting it and hitting delete? Not a chance. I spent hours trying to get THESIS to work, and here were the problems I encountered:

  1. I couldn’t find anything. True there was a whole page of stuff, but I didn’t know what it meant.
  2. I don’t have the vocabulary for what I’m looking at. For example, there is a default square picture on Thesis that keeps changing picture. I don’t know what it’s called. I do know I’d like to get rid of it.
  3. There is no indexed Help on the page.
  4. There is no-one on the end of the telephone to help you out. The only people who helped were the ones at Yahoo!, which now has a fabulous customer service.  As a small business owner, I can actually ask them to call me. How wonderful it is to be able to speak to intelligent people who can solve your problems in a matter of minutes. You certainly can’t do that with open-source software.

I was just about ready to throw in the towel, and get my money back. But my tech guru convinced me to hang in there. Why? Three simple letters:  SEO.

So what does my life look like these days?

Build ONE thing on website.

Get STUCK on second thing.

Go to FORUM.



On Friday, I learned how to get those Nav Bar Tabs (the ones that say “Welcome”  “About Cynthia” across the top of the site) to appear.

On Saturday, I got my images to upload.

If anyone has any suggestions about how to make that square thingy go away, customize widgets for each page, or even how to find the visual web editor so that I can make changes to my font, I’d be most grateful.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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