If you are visiting Resistance is Fruitful on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, you may notice some hiccups with the blog, as I am rolling out a new theme. I’ve got a plan of action… but we all know what that means.
Although I’ve grown very fond of the features and the “look” I got with Suffusion, I want to see if I can find a theme that is leaner, sleeker, faster. I also want my blog to be more friendly to those using portable devices, tablets, smart phones etc.
If all goes well, I will be using WP-Clear, a premium theme from Solostream. Wish me luck, and have a very Happy New Year!
[Note: No, that is not a picture of me, and yes, I did pay to use it.]
I am not impressed with Solostream, or WP-Clear, but will be keeping it for awhile.
First of all, Solostream bills the theme as “mobile ready”, but it’s far from being so. I was forced to resort to using a WPTouch, a plugin theme switcher that delivers a completely different page to smart phones and mobile devices.
I’m having to edit style sheets just to increase the font size of the body text, for example. The theme settings allow me to change some of the fonts and styles, but not the size? Inexcusably sloppy, imo.
(correction: There is a place to change body text font size in the WP-Clear theme, I just couldn’t find it. See comments from Solostream below.)
The “Featured Articles” slider at the top of the home page is far more clunky than what I had with Suffusion. Instead of being able to click anywhere on a post shown there, the user must notice and navigate to the nearly invisible “Continue Reading” button.
So, why am I keeping the theme? For one thing, I don’t have time and patience to change it right now. For another, I want to see if I notice an improvement in load time and SEO results. I’m experimenting, and despite it’s shortcomings, WP-Clear is no worse than a lot of the free WordPress themes out there. It just wasn’t worth spending any money for, either.
The image for this post must have been prescient. Changing templates was a HUGE mistake. I owe Sayontan Sinha yet another cup of coffee and Solostream owes me a refund, but they wisely chose to establish a no-refund policy and I foolishly agreed to it. Money down the drain.
If you can’t tell, Resistance Is Fruitful is back to using the Suffusion theme, which has been getting accolades from the WordPress blogging community. I am using a very tiny fraction of its functionality. It has so many features that it can be a bit overwhelming, which was one reason I considered trying a simpler theme. If I had one suggestion to Sayontan, it would be to offer a “Suffusion Lite” version for us basic bloggers.
I have been a fan of Suffusion since I started using it I two years ago. I am sold on having the featured posts slider on my home page. It helps me bring important posts to the attention of new readers, regardless of age and I occasionally update what content gets displayed there. The feature content slider on the other theme I tried was lame, to say the least.
I don’t regret the experiment, as I have been able to determine that the increased load times I’ve noticed the last few months is not due to the theme I am using. I will review the plug-ins I am using, as well as the CDN (content delivery network) I am using. It could even be changes involving my host.
Despite the complexity available with Suffusion, the coding must be tight and sound, as it loads as quickly as more “minimalist” themes.
Suffusion rocks, Sayontan. Forgive me for even thinking of using anything else!
UPDATED yet again 1/5/2012:
Giving credit where it’s due (pun intended): Solostream has refunded my purchase and I will be contributing it to Sayontan’s “coffee cup” (his nickname for donations). Personally, I think anyone doing business on the web should have a very proactive return policy. Why create ill will by telling people they’re stuck with your product if they are dissatisfied with it, particularly when your competitors are working for donations?
BTW, this is what I think a “mobile friendly” theme should look like. Just the posts. No extraneous columns, widgets, etc. People with smart phones don’t want to have to zoom in on a blog page, just to read the latest post. When I read “mobile ready”, I expected a built-in theme switcher, not just a downsized version of a 2- or 3- column webpage. WP-Clear’s featured slider caused the page to freeze up on the two mobile devices I tested: an iPhone and a LG Optimus V Android phone. I don’t consider that “mobile ready”.