After re-reading several articles weighing the pros and cons of WordPress and Blogger, I decided that when I bought my own URL, I was going to go with WordPress.org over Blogger (that’s another post for another day). I was more convinced when I tested out buying a URL through Blogger and found out that you have to buy through GoDaddy*. I have nothing against GoDaddy, but I have used Network Solutions when I was helping Mom with her site and PowWeb for Dad’s site, and I knew that I wanted to host with PowWeb (again, another post for another day).
So I installed WordPress through PowWeb’s Install Central feature, and several live customer service chats plus one long chat with Sarah later, WordPress was installed correctly. Now I had to find a nice theme! I searched through all of the themes on WordPress.org. After a while, they all started looking the same to me: newspaper themes, 2 columns, 3 columns, artsy pretty themes, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t want my blog to look like everyone else’s blog, even though there are many great themes available. I wanted something different.
A Google search for “free wordpress theme” and I found three themes that I really liked: Ligneous, Isolated, and Agregado. Ligneous is just pretty, and I seriously considered Isolated because I could play with my name as the name of a tree, not to mention how different Isolated is from 99% of the other WordPress themes.
I don’t remember how I found Agregado, but once I had played around with Isolated and realized the limitations as far as making my site look similar, I decided to give Agregado a try. I was immediately hooked. Here’s why.
5 Reasons I Chose the Agregado WordPress Theme
- The color scheme and graphics. I’m no graphic designer, and my web page color schemes have been compared to clown pants. I know when I see good color combinations, I just can’t put them together myself. Thanks to Darren Hoyt, Matt Dawson, and Smashing Magazine, I didn’t have to.
- The seamless integration with my lifestream. I like using Twitter and Plurk, Facebook, Flickr, and Google Reader, and I’ve done my fair share of convincing people to try out these sites, especially Twitter. But social media is only fun if you can use it with other people and sites. I could easily add a Twitter plug-in to any WordPress theme, but Agregado integrates all of my feeds into one beautiful “rotating carosel.” Go check it out, and play with the “rotating part.” Cool, huh?
- The most useable archives page I’ve seen. I’ve never seen a method of browsing archives that was useful, until the Agregado archives page. Most archives pages make you choose by month, only telling you how many posts the author made that moth, or by listing every post–every full post–over several pages. Neither of these methods is very useable. But the Agregado archives page lists the title of each post and the number of comments by month. You should go check it out; it is accessable it through the little tab menu in the upper right-hand corner and in any listing of my “pages.”
- The emphasis given to new articles. When you visit the front page of my blog, an excerpt of the most recent post is very prominent below the header. Below that, the titles of each of the last 8 posts appears, along with comment counts, so you can easily browse those by title. Basically, 9 of my most recent posts are visible in a glance. No scrolling down through the posts and excerpts or entire posts to read recent content. It’s all right there.
- It’s free! I’ve seen some really nice WordPress themes, but you had to pay to use them. I already paid for hosting and my domain, and that’s about all I’m willing to pay for to have my own website. Because this great theme was commissioned by Smashing Magazine, it is completely free. Sweet.
Question of the Day
If you had to choose between spending your birthday money on your own domain and spending your birthday money on [insert your vice here, i.e. buying new shoes, new purses, new gadgets, Starbucks coffee every morning for two weeks, books, etc], which would you go for and why?
*I could be wrong that you have to host through GoDaddy, but that is what it appeared to me. Please leave a comment to correct me if I’m wrong!