How Not To Fix a Blog

Can we all discuss me and one of my character flaws for a minute?

If, at this point, you have started compiling a long mental list and are trying to figure out which one of those character flaws I am finally going to meet head on, well, you can go to hell. If you can’t come up with a character flaw at all, well, welcome to Stimeyland; this must be your first time here.

The character flaw we are going to discuss today is my tendency to be an overconfident moron and jump in feet first to do things that I have no idea how to do. Eventually I fuck things up SO badly that I have to learn how to do it in my own little haphazard Stimey way and then I know how to do just that exact thing, but it gives me the confidence to jump feet first into the next thing, which I eventually fuck up terribly.

Repeat.

The newest example of me doing this began in September when I freaked out one day and decided to change all my blog service providers and then migrate my blog from Blogger to WordPress all in one weekend all by myself. I was all, “How hard could it be? They have procedures all set up and buttons to click to make this happen. I can totally do it.”

Here is what I remember from that whole procedure: I entered my credit card number at a few places, clicked some of those buttons, felt okay about things for a while, started to panic, did some yelling at Alex to “fixitfixitfixitFIXITFIXITFIIIIIIIXXXXIIIIIIIITTTTT!, calmed down, asked everyone I knew for advice, figured out how to fix it, panicked some more, calmed down, and eventually got everything put in enough of an order that people could read my blog again.

I was going to write a post back then about How to Migrate Your Blog From Blogger to WordPress With No Experience and Even Fewer Smarts, but I didn’t get around to it right away and think I blocked the whole thing out because I only have vague memories of what happened and when I looked back through the screenshots I took during that arduous time, this is all I found:

I saw this a lot.

Oh how I hate that sad, disintegrating robot.

I managed, however, to bring my blog to a readable form and even though it isn’t how I want it yet and I have a WHOLE LIST of things I have to do to make it the way I want it, I refuse to hire a designer because I am (a) cheap and (b) irrationally certain I can do this myself.

My next step is to find the right theme for my blog. I currently am using a free one. I am ready to move into a paid theme and maybe a child theme or a skin or whatever terrible Silence of the Lamb-y thing they call it. To do this, you should pay money to a designer, then they will click “install,” and everything is happy and you get to go on your merry, well designed way.

OR.

Or, you pay money to a designer, click “install,” and then lose ALL access to your blog, dashboard panel, and everything. That is how I do things. I didn’t even know which entity that had my credit card number that I should panic to. (Answer: your host—you panic to your host. Then, after your host tells you that they can’t figure out the problem and the “higher-level tech” they checked with can’t figure out the problem and they tell you that they’ll have to email you with the solution later, you panic to your friends.)

I did that last weekend.

Well, what I did was spend a whole day to make my blog even worse than it was before. But at least I eliminated one option of a theme that COMPLETELY didn’t work for me. I know because the exact same thing happened to me twice, even after I followed specific instructions on how to not let the same thing happen a second time. I did learn that the good people behind Genesis are really fast with their customer service. If I had managed to install their theme, I think I would have been very happy with them.

I’m thinking of trying Thesis next, but I am interested in crowd sourcing this as well. Thoughts? Also, I know now that I should disable all my plugins before I install a theme, but I wonder if there are other “everyone knows you’re supposed to do that” things I should do before I click “install” on my next choice.

Seriously, people, I’m desperate. What is something easy to tinker with but awesome and highly customizable? Maybe thoughts on some must-have plugins? Also, I know html, but I don’t know CSS. AND, if you say, “Hire a designer,” you kill a puppy.

9 thoughts on “How Not To Fix a Blog

  1. I really like Genesis and plan to switch to it in the next week or two. As part of my job, I get to make changes in people’s blogs all the time, and I love the flexibility of both Genesis and Thesis. Genesis has slightly nicer looking child themes, though, and I’ve been slowly putting together my Genesis blog on a test site.

    If you need any help, let me know. I can’t write out code from scratch and I suck at graphics, but I’m pretty good at changing widths and moving things around. And I’ve uploaded Genesis twice now and nothing crashed on me. Yet.

  2. This gave me a headache. I am NEVER moving from my free blog site to a paid/hosted site. Not. Ever.

    But you, friend, you are very brave. And you did it (after some setbacks). So next time, you will be a PRO at this. Right?

  3. I use thesis and I really like it. It was no problem to install and whenever I want to tweak something, I can get it to work. Sadly, my blog design is so far down my to do list that it will likely never get the facelift I want to give it.

    Good luck! I seem to break my blog regularly, but somehow always stumble away from the edge where it would blow up completely.

  4. Try Squarespace, my friend: http://www.squarespace.com/

    My husband recommends it highly–in fact, he’s already set up the page for my own blog, which he’s been nagging me to start for years. (I tell him I will as soon as I convince myself that people would actually want to read the tripe I write.)

    Anyway, it’s very easy to customize and maintain and very modestly priced. Bill uses it for both his personal and professional websites.

  5. I didn’t even have to do any of that to break my blog. I just went to bed last night leaving behind a perfectly good working wordpress admin site and woke up to a big warning sign telling me off for doing something idiotic, while I slept presumably, to cause some sort of major problem leading to me having no access at all to my admin site today.

    Just thought I’d share my pain with you…absolutely no help to you at all though.

  6. I have no idea what most of that means which is sad, but I guess at least I’m aware of my limitations. Apparently I’ll be staying on Blogger forever.

  7. O. M. G.

    Since being called a “hobbyist blogger” at a gathering recently (it was accompanied by a snort of laughter) I’ve decided I might try to class up Thrift Store Mama.

    I’ve also been thinking about switching over to wordpress, because I want to get readers based on internet searches and I think wordpress has better SEO than blogger. So, I’ve been reading up on word press. Then I decided I was going to get a theme that would go with the whole Quimby pseudonym I use. So I started looking around at the various designers. I even allocated money to myself to make this happen.

    Then I read your post and I’m not going to do any of this.

    Thanks Stimey !!!

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