What a difference a theme can make!

Well, I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised. I’ve actually been able to work with my wordpress.org site WITHOUT using much code.

How come my experience is so different this time? In one word, THEMES.

Be careful which Theme you go for, because it can make your life hell.  As many of you know, a few weeks ago I decided to shift my site over to WordPress.org because I wanted to have my blog and website all in one place. The person who advised me to do this, raved about THESIS theme from DIY themes. And it is true, THESIS has gotten a lot of rave reviews. So I plunked down $87 to buy the license, thinking I could get my website up and running in a few hours. How wrong I was. I found it impossible to work with, because it demands that you know a lot about html code. So I got my $87 back and gave up.

But I’m publishing a novel this fall, and I need to have Google Analytics on my website. When I found out that WordPress.com doesn’t support GA, I was obliged to rethink my decision.

I reactivated WordPress on my Yahoo hosting service, and picked the TwentyTen theme to work with. What a huge difference that made! I found it to be almost exactly the same as working with interface at WordPress.com. The only difference was that I now had access to a whole lot of plugins that I didn’t have before.

What have I achieved so far?

  1. I’ve successfully installed Google Analytics code into my footer.php so that it can track my new site.
  2. I’ve successfully installed Pilcrow, my favorite theme from WordPress.com. I love this theme because it has so much functionality, with a special feature area, two sidebars and two footers. Lots of places to put your widgets!
  3. I’ve discovered that for the reasonable price of $119 I can have a so-called “Happiness Engineer” move all my stuff from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. So I’ve set aside two days in early June to make this happen.

Stay tuned.

Here are some useful links for those of you who are trying to build a site on WordPress.org:

First Steps with WordPress. An invaluable read for those of you new to WordPress.org. Relevant for those of you who have just installed WordPress on your hosting service, and now wonder how to proceed.

Getting Started with Google Analytics, courtesy of WordPress tv. A short video clip that explains how to load Google Analytics into your WordPress Theme, either using a plugin, or manually. Remember that if you CHANGE your theme, you will have to go through this process all over again.

WordPress Main Page, where you get access to all of WordPress.org’s documentation, including how to install WordPress on your hosting service.

Good luck, and let me know how you fare.

–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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