My blog was long overdue for makeover. It looked dated and there were a few other major issues.
- I had a terrible bounce rate
- It was not mobile friendly/responsive
- It looked dated
I had been running Thesis for years and it had been great but I was due for a makeover which meant that I was going to get stuck playing in the control panel and messing with code a bit.
I immediately upgraded to the most recent version of Thesis 2.x and began looking for premium themes (or skins as they seem to call them) I could use with it (I am not much of designer). I don’t want to be an a$$ but I am not doing anyone any favors if I beat around the bush. It quickly became very obvious to me that they had done something bat shit crazy with the backend/control panel of thesis 2.x. I loved 1.x due to its simplicity but 2.x has all sorts of new terminology and features – at first glance it seems like they have made everything really easy – and then you try to change something, anything, and realize that nothing is straight forward. They use something called boxes – I don’t know where to find one or how to make one but it seems you need to use them to do anything. They have some sort of drag and drop interface, I dragged, dropped, pushed, pulled, clicked, double clicked, and then threw my mouse – none of this seemed to change anything.
The Thesis back end is sexy. I just can’t figure out how to use it.
In Thesis’ defence, I didn’t give it much of chance. Mainly because I don’t like to spend significant time learning something that is so specific.
Enter Genesis. There has been a Genesis/Thesis debate for some time. I grabbed a copy of Genesis along with a premium child theme (metro). It was very easy to configure. There are a few great videos on configuring it, and within about an hour I was feeling pretty comfortable with it. The only thing it seems to lack – and I could just be missing it – is a good way to make changes to child themes. It’s bad practice to update a theme’s files as you don’t want to lose your changes when new versions come out but they don’t give you custom functions/css files and you can’t just create a child theme because WordPress doesn’t currently allow “grandchildren themes”.
Overall I am super happy with Genesis. It’s pretty easy to modify. It works really well out of the box. The User community is a good size and seems to be growing. It’s affordable. An unlimited licence (use on unlimited sites) is only $59.99 for the framework and the framework with the Metro child theme was just $99.00.
Since switching to Genesis I was able to reduce my bounce rate significantly. It was near 80% and now it’s in the 40% to 60% range. The dramatic drop is result of using post teases vs. the entire post showing on the homepage, the button to the monthly earning report (people are nosey, they love income reports), and possibly a more current professional design.
The new blog is also mobile friendly, this is particularly important because Google likes to see that and because I have been pimping some posts on social media and the majority of social traffic comes from mobile.
I still need to do a few things –get a logo designed, clean up the design a bit more, optimize the download speed, and possibly look at some basic SEO stuff at some point but it’s a good start.
I hope you are enjoying the new look.