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blog theory

blog theory

Tips for Selecting a WordPress Theme

Coffee bar

I am experiencing a bit of Stockholm Syndrome with my blog theme.

Most of you know that I have a tendency to get into these blog redesign rabbit holes. I am on the verge of falling into another one. Maybe.

This blog has been around in one form or another for about 12 years. It started life on Diaryland (because I am ancient) and then moved to LiveJournal before eventually moving to WordPress in 2008.

There have been so many themes since I started.

First there were the freebies on WordPress.com. Then I graduated to Atahualpa, a clunky sandbox theme that I customized the hell out of. I had Atahualpa throughout law school, but then shifted to Solopine designs in 2013.

Most blog readers know Solopine designs. It’s the IKEA of the blog world – most of the moderately successful bloggers use a modified Solopine theme.

And like an IKEA poster hanging on the wall, my Solopine theme began to feel a bit tacky after I kept seeing it on other peoples’ blogs.

So I decided it was time for a change, and I found this gorgeousness:

The demo site of the Kloe Theme by Select Themes.

The demo site of the Kloe Theme by Select Themes.

I promptly handed over my $60, installed the theme, and my saga began. Continue reading “Tips for Selecting a WordPress Theme” »

blog theory Life

5 Blogs That I Actually Read

Apartment with laptop

I have a cyclical love-hate relationship with blogs and social media networks in general.

Here are the phases:

  1. Discovery: Gorging on great content and conversation, meeting new people. All is good.
  2. Silence: People get busy, fall silent.
  3. Spam: Bots and “brands” flow into the network and clutter my feeds with crap.
  4. Despair: I feel like the social network (and some blogs) have become an echo chamber of low-quality content
  5. Rediscovery: I find new blogs, start new conversations, and the cycle begins again.

I am currently in stage 5: rediscovery.

Here are the blogs (new and old) that I am excited about currently.

The Jenny Journey

Jenny Journey

Jennifer is actually one of my neighbors! When I am not bumping into her at the Cedar Springs Tap House brunch, I’m keeping up with her excellent travel photography.

I recommend:

Continue reading “5 Blogs That I Actually Read” »

blog theory Law

How Facebook Killed the Personal Blog

Laptop and iced coffee at a cafe by Startup Stock Photos via StockSnap

A recent WordPress theme update forced me to do a massive manual update of the 2,000+ posts on this blog.

Although layout and coding changes always threaten to mangle the appearance of my old posts, the bulk of the content remains, thankfully.

My semi-annual dive into my archives was sobering, with all of the usual angst regarding whether my best years are behind me.

I also noticed that many of the blogs that I used to read have gone silent or disappeared altogether.

I’m not going to rewrite Frank Chimero’s seminal Homesteading Blog, but I will state the obvious – personal blogs, particular law blogs, tend to have a very short lifespan.

There are always the usual concerns about a potential employer (or opposing counsel) finding your blog, but there is something else at work here – Facebook. Continue reading “How Facebook Killed the Personal Blog” »

blog theory Goodies

A Free Blog Content Calendar

Staying organized is one of the most common blogging challenges.

Whether you suffer from a lack of ideas or have way too many of them, a content calendar can help you organize your thoughts and stay on track.

Here is a free Microsoft Excel Blog Content Calendar to help organize your blog.

The file includes a blank template and a tab with a completed example:

Free Blog Content and Strategy Template.

Free Blog Content and Strategy Template.

Let me know whether it is useful! Continue reading “A Free Blog Content Calendar” »

blog theory Marketing Oak Lawn

What I learned from my first paid blog post

Nestle Crunch Cocktails

So my campaign for Nestlé® Crunch® is wrapping up, and a few people have asked me about the background story.

Why do a campaign at all?

This blog is officially a decade old, and I’ve used it to generate revenue in the past. Although my intention was never to become a full-time blogger, generating cash from the blog means that it is a financially self-sustaining hobby.

Also, revenue from the blog is a great quality assurance tool.

You know that you are (probably) producing something of value if someone is willing to pay to do it.

Cal Newport explores this “playing for money” concept in “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” if anyone is interested. The gist is if you want to get better at your hobby, get paid for it.

This blog previously generated revenue solely from Google Ads, but that became increasingly unprofitable around 2014. Now, affiliate marketing is the best low-level source of revenue for most personal blogs. Continue reading “What I learned from my first paid blog post” »