Updated Look for the Blog

If you’ve visited my blog over the past couple of weeks you’ve noticed a series of changes to the look of my blog.

I post a LOT of pictures on my blog – which takes up a lot of space. I sometimes use composite pictures made in Photoshop and they take sooo much space. I made this large collage of our 2015 Route 66 trip.

2015 Route 66 Road Trip Collage

Back in 2016 I ran out of space on my WordPress.com subscription that hosts this blog. So I had to upgrade from a $99/year plan to $300/year.

Here is the image (Tuscan bean soup) that sent me over the top in December 2016.

Tuscan Bean Soup Collage

Since then I’ve taken Matt Kloskowski’s Photoshop System course which has some resizing classes so the problem is not as acute going forward.

I make no money from my blog, it’s a personal endeavor. Every November when the WordPress renewal comes up I think about how to save money. Every other podcast I listen to seems to be hosted by Squarespace so I thought I’d give it a try. The price is right: for $144/year I can have unlimited space – point for Squarespace. And the themes looked nice.

So I started a two week trial to see how it shaped up. I’m pretty happy with the nice, clean look. As the next step, I imported my current blog content into it. You can grab a sneak peak at here: https://dinosaur-grape-ykat.squarespace.com/ Don’t worry about that funky name. If I decide to move my regular domain/URL of 2for66.com.

I made a few changes to the theme and even had a few friends take a look to let me know what they thought: the feedback was favorable. So, I kept moving forward. I then ran into 2 problems. First, the import of my current site has a problem. The pictures – all those pictures – should have been copied from my WordPress.com site to the Squarespace site. But they weren’t. They still look good, but upon inspection I found that many of the pictures were still being pulled from WordPress.com. That’s fine now, but as soon as I terminate my WordPress subscription those pictures will disappear. Not good. I’ve engaged Squarespace support on the issue and it’s taken almost a week to get it escalated to technical support. As part of the troubleshooting I had a few other friends look to confirm the problem I saw. Tech support is finally working on it today.

I remember when I had a problem with missing pictures on WordPress back in January 2019. They jumped on it immediately and had the problem fixed within a day. Point to WordPress.

My second problem is that to include a Subscription button I have to upgrade to a Squarespace business plan which increases the cost to $216 a year: An $84 annual savings instead of $156 if I could stay with the cheaper personal site. I’d also have to create an account on Mailchimp to make this work. On WordPress the subscription option is simple and immediate – it’s helped me garner (barely) over 200 subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed, please look for the subscription button on the side bar.

Those two problems pushed me to reevaluate my WordPress site. I played with various themes until I’ve settled – for now – with the Sapor theme. This theme has a few elements I like:

  • I can post just blog post summaries which loads quicker and allows for blog viewers – like you – to see a picture and quick summary of each post.
  • I can get the Search and Subscribe options in a prominent space on the left side.
  • I like how quoted text – which I make use of in book reports – is treated. It my previous WordPress theme, the quotes were too big.
  • My subscribers won’t pull over automatically. My 201 followers will have to make a special effort to move.
  • Captions on images won’t import – this is a feature of the Squarespace import process, not part of my problem.

On the other hand, the linked text on this new WordPress theme doesn’t show up in underlined blue; rather, it’s hidden until you roll the mouse over the text then it shows green. I’ll have to see if I can fix that.

So, what to do? What to do? One of the biggest benefits of this blog is for me to take time to document things like this. In order to write about it, I have to think clearly about it. As I write this it becomes clear the loss of features I would have for saving $84/year ($7/month).

If you are so inclined I invite you to take a few minutes going through the posts, menus, and options on this site and compare it with my temporary Squarespace site (here’s the link again: https://dinosaur-grape-ykat.squarespace.com/

Then leave me a comment (that option is at the bottom of this post) to give me some feedback.

4 thoughts on “Updated Look for the Blog

  1. Wow, that Squarespace site is looking mighty fine indeed. Hope you come to a satisfying decision soon! I myself would be tied here because of the Reader and the community. Do consider that as well (no affiliation).

    1. Thanks for the input Stuart! Quite a few of my followers come from the WP community so that is definitely something to keep in mind. I’m thinking I’ll stay on WP. I still don’t have resolution of the SquareSpace import problem; when I had a WordPress problem they were right on top of it.

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