An Extra Benefit of Going ‘Free’


A couple of weeks ago, I made a change here at the old blog.

I had become frustrated with the premium version of this blog’s current theme. In particular, I was frustrated with elements of the code that were difficult to figure out. And then there was customer “support,” whose answer for every question seemed to be, “Submit a support ticket for that” and whose follow-up answer seemed to be, “We can do that for a fee of $30 per hour,” without ever telling me how many hours it would take. When I asked, I was told — both times a “customization” issue came up — that it would take two hours. That meant that the total for the tweaking would have been higher than the amount I paid for the entire theme to begin with.

Needless to say, that wasn’t going to happen.

So I made a few minor modifications to the free version from the premium version — since I had paid for the premium, anyway — and the current look was the result.

There was another result I hadn’t anticipated, although I now realize that I should have: the load time has been cut significantly. In fact, according to Pingdom, which offers free response time and outage monitoring for a single website, the current version of the theme has slashed load time in half:

That’s certainly a relief.

There are still a few minor things I miss about the premium version. I just don’t miss them enough to switch back.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.


  • I like the change a lot! I feel a bit bad that it had to be at the expense of the reaction buttons, though…

    • Admittedly, I was a little stubborn about those buttons. They weren't getting a lot of use, so once I got over my own stubbornness about them, it was easier to let them go.

  • Thanks for the suggestions, Mika.

    I made some adjustments that moved at least the headline for the "Most Recent" post above the fold. That meant I had to disable the reaction buttons plugin — which, admittedly isn't getting much use, anyway. I also had to drop the "Featured" count from 5 to 4, but that's not the end of the world, either.

    As for the Recent Posts, they actually ARE in chronological order, with one minor exception: any post that has been assigned to the "Headline" category, which also makes it appear in that lead story spot at the top of the front page, doesn't show up in the Recent Posts list. As soon as I assign a new post to "Headline," I unassign the previous "Headline" story from that category, and it appears. So other than that one single post in the spotlight position, the Most Recent post list does include the most recently posted entries.

    Let me know what you think of the changes and thanks again for the input.

  • I personally don't miss the scrolling featured posts box. It looked neat, but it also made the front page somehow "too busy" for me. The one thing I wish for is that the simple list of recent posts was closer to the top of the page. Occasionally I only have time to read one post during a visit, and so I come back at a later time to read several. However, the recent posts don't show up on the front page in a chronological order, so I find myself missing posts that I didn't know had been posted. What works well for me is the recent posts list that resides in the footer, but I keep forgetting it's there. Perhaps a link to it at the top of the page?

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