One of the things that I don’t love about maintaining a WordPress blog just happened today: I had to update my customized theme with a new version. I forgot how much time that takes, but I’m happy it’s over! I figure since I went through all of those efforts, I might as well talk about some of the things that are different now.
A Few Navigation Changes to the Site
Nothing too crazy happened here, but I had to remove and shift a few things around to make the updated version of the theme I use work in an aesthetically pleasing way.
The About Page has been moved up to the Main-Menu.
The Email Icon (Contact Me) was removed from the Sub-Menu.
I removed the Social Media Contacts from the site’s Footer.
If you click any of the main categories (Life, Culture & Expression, Stuff, JW3’s Mind) in the Main-Menu, you’ll notice those resulting pages have sliders at the top now that take you through the most recent posts in those main categories. You’ll just want to click the little arrow on the left or right side to go back and forward.
The sub-categories beneath those main ones (e.g. “Good Vibes” nested under Life) DO NOT have the little slider on their pages.
Theme Format Switches That Took a Little While
The creators of this theme took a few key page formats away, and I just kind of had to play with elements of the new set-up until I landed on something I liked. I think a lot of flexibility has been greatly enhanced to take advantage of some of the features of the new version of WordPress I’m running on.
So, all of site’s main pages had to be re-jiggered a bit. All of them. That includes…
I also had to go through and mess with settings that impacted the appearance of the Homepage and a bunch of visual elements all over the site (called “blocks”) that some people might notice, but most won’t care about – LOL!
Posts Look a Little Different Now
I spent the bulk of the time I was working on this actually reengineering how blog posts looked on the site. If you’re on a desktop, you may notice that the top image now takes up 100% of your screen real estate until you scroll down. Some of you may have noticed that an estimated reading time is on each post now. The stuff in the sidebar of the posts is a little different now (Note “The Gram”). Just things like that.
Getting all of that JUST right involved a lot of time messing with settings that many of you would never notice or care about, but I hope it all looks alright to you and that you don’t find anything wrong – haha!
As you can imagine from looking at this site, this theme has a TON of customizable features. Sadly, when you update – a large amount of those features were reset to defaults that come stock with the theme vs. sticking around. This really does give me a little bit of pause with how I do my updates in the future as the site grows – LOL!
I literally had to go through each post and turn on the Dropcap feature again (that’s what causes the first letter of each post to be 6-times larger than the normal body text). All of my Social links had to be re-done to fit in with this new set-up (which was actually a good thing because in the past you had to know how to manually add those in with a bit of code vs. it being native). Resetting the colors for each section and then deciding what portions of the site I wanted in Dark Mode vs. not. All of THAT took a while today.
But… It’s all done (yay)!!
I Admittedly do This Incorrectly for WordPress
A few people will call me a savage for this, but when I do my site theme updates, I work through everything in Live (I know someone who knows what I mean shrieked or gasped).
With most self-hosted WordPress sites now, you have the ability to work on a non-public version of your site when you work through updates like I did today. And then, once you’re all done, you just flip that version of your site to be viewable by the public and either replace (as in “delete”) or remove (as in “make dormant”) the old version of your site. That is what you’re supposed to do. It is best practice for many reasons and will keep your site from being down for any period of time (and then you’d tweak errors here and there as you come across them).
That is the method I would recommend to everyone and will recommend to clients in the future ^^ (I plan to start doing a little blog consulting on the side in 2021 if I can).
But, I go against that convention with the way I do it.
This is simply because it forces me to do what I did today: Sit my butt down and get it done.
Knowing myself, if I did it the other way – things that may typically take up a few hours in a day could be exploded into a 2-week long project, and I just don’t want to do that.
I’d rather create backups of everything, take notes and screenshots on how settings and features are supposed to be, and then JUST DO IT (#NIKE) *dabs*
I know, I’m crazy.
Anyway, that’s it. I know that I’ll come across little issues here and there over the next few days – but hopefully, I can get those managed before anyone notices anything major. If you see anything awry, please hit me up in the comment section – or click the little envelope under my little blurb in the “About the author”-ish part that follows each blog post on this site.It has a picture of me there as an adorable little pissed off kid beneath each post. You can’t miss it.
Thanks in advance for your help if you catch anything and inform me about it. I will get back to regular posting tomorrow.