Welcome to the new BobAngus.com! A complete redesign of my blog theme has been a long time coming. My primary goal is to increase the total amount of time you spend on this site. Great content is the #1 way to achieve that objective, but an excellent theme is incredibly important to properly deliver that content.
The new theme is based on Stephan Miller’s More than Multiple Widgets theme. This theme is fantastic to work with and hopefully provides you with a much better experience. Plus, Stephan was very helpful in answering some questions that I had. Thank you Stephan!
All of the structural elements of the new WordPress theme are complete. Only a few minor tweaks should be necessary over the next few weeks. Now I can spend more time writing posts!
Here are some details on what the redesign has added to the website and how I have customized a great free WordPress theme.
More than Multiple Widgets is a free, professional 3-column theme that is chocked full of features. I like the theme for 4 key reasons:
- Easy to read – The large content area and white background make my verbose ramblings much easier to read. Plus, the header, sidebar, and bottom units allow for better navigation and visibility of what readers are interested in accessing.
- Flexibility – The layout is very flexible and accommodates all the plugins, features, and links that I could ever want. I manually edited the header, sidebar, and bottom units, but Stephan has set up all of the core areas so that you can also use the drag-and-drop functionality of WordPress Widgets.
- Options – This theme steals a page from many WordPress plugins by offering a complete Options tab. This is rare for themes, but can save you hours that otherwise would have been spent changing colors in the stylesheet and fiddling with Gravatar images.
- Clear Code – The structure, style, and documentation of More than Multiple Widgets’ various PHP files are exceptionally easy to understand. This makes manual customizations a snap. It is obvious that Stephan spent a lot of extra time polishing this theme so that it could be accessible to novice bloggers.
I have added several new plugins and features to help you read the posts and information that you want. I have also kept fundamental parts of my old theme, like Feedburner subscriptions, New Tag Cloud, and blogger network widgets from BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog. Here is a brief summary of the new elements.
- Most Popular Posts – I am using the template tags functionality of Alex King’s Popularity Contest plugin to display the most popular posts from BobAngus.com. This plugin offers an amazing set of options that allows you to calibrate each factor of the “popularity” algorithm.
- Related Posts – Yet Another Related Posts Plugin by mitcho (aka Michael Erlewine) can dramatically increase readership by adding a list of related posts at the bottom of each post or page. YARRP is the best WordPress plugin I have found to contextually determine relevant posts and present them effectively.
- Valuable Content – I have added two common plugins Recent Posts and Recent Comments that helps you find the latest activity on the blog. Additionally, I have manually added a sidebar element called Featured Post, which highlights a post that I feel offers extraordinary information.
- Testing 1,2,3 – Redesign projects can feel like changing the tires on a car while the car is moving. No worries about exposing your new theme or any possible hiccups while tinkering thanks to Theme Test Drive by Vladimir Prelovac. Here is my previous post on this new must-have plugin.
Now it is time to get back to producing awesome posts and marketing tools that you can use to make money online. Some of those posts are definitely going to be about the key lessons that I learned on this redesign project and instructions on how I did it.
I have a list of about 20 minor tweaks that I plan to implement over the next few weeks. More importantly, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on the new theme… or this blog in general. After all, this website is for you.