In this article, I will hope to address some questions that I know I had when I was new to WordPress and Blogging. Hopefully you will be able to learn from my experiences, as I cover content managing systems, frameworks, and themes.
I Want to Start Blogging… Where Do I Start?
Blogging is very easy once you have the tools to do so. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel and create a blog out of scratch with html and css… save yourself so much wasted time, and instead decide on a content managing system. There are lots of them out there, and they are almost all free:
Each of these are content managing systems, but they are a bit different from each other, and you need to know which one best suits what your site will be doing. For me, WordPress is the best thing since sliced bread, and all of the others fall by the wayside. The reason is, that WordPress is an excellent platform for blogging and millions of people already use it–this is great because then there are tons of developers writing plug-ins and designing themes for it. WordPress is also super easy to customize, and you have complete control over all of the tools, so you can pretty much tweak it to meet whatever demands you may have.
If you use one of the others in the list, then you needn’t read onward, as I will be discussing all things WordPress.
What’s a Framework… Do I Need One?
Frameworks are basically the bare bones of a functioning WordPress website. They typically do not have a lot of CSS or styling, so the basic framework theme tends to look like crap. But don’t worry about that, because a framework is not supposed to look pretty, it is supposed to:
- Perform tasks well and have good functions that run correctly,
- Have the ability to be highly customized,
- Have the necessary elements of a WordPress website:
- Widget Ready
- Header(s), footer(s), menu(s), navigation(s), sidebar(s), etc.
- Comments work well, with nice features like nesting (comment replies), comment RSS, etc.
So when you are looking for a framework, look for these sorts of qualities.
But Wait, You Said I Didn’t Need One…
That’s right… you do not need a framework to have a WordPress site… and for a very long time, I didn’t use one, but I kind of regret it. You see, you can download a free or purchased theme from the endless sea of WordPress themes but then you are stuck with that theme, and what it can do. Granted you can customize an existing theme (and I always did) but it was more difficult than starting from a blank slate would have been–which is what I can do with a framework.
Another downside to working without a framework, is the fact that you will probably not have a theme that can do as much as a framework could. For example, many themes do not have the ability to have nested comments, that is, the ability for people to reply to other comments–And that is a deal breaker for me when it comes to a lot of themes, because that is what I consider to be an essential element of a blog, and yet, many themes just can’t do it. There are other examples, but that is the first that came to mind, and I don’t want to ramble too much about framework superiority anyway.
Okay, You Sold Me, I Want a Framework… Which One Do You Recommend?
I have used themes in the past such as Mystique and Arclite by Digital Design, and I was quite impressed because these were only supposed to be themes, and not frameworks, yet they were remarkably thorough. That is why I highly recommend them to anyone who refuses to work off of a framework.
…But I must say, Digital Design has now released a “framework” that is apparently brand new, but I don’t really buy it… it looks exactly like the other two themes, so I’d say that the framework was already there, but it is now just called a framework rather than a theme… but I digress…
If I had to recommend a framework, I would choose Thematic. I am now using Thematic, and it has been a dream and I wish I had been using it ages ago. Here are a few reasons that Thematic is great for bloggers:
- Libraries of functions to be used
- Comes with a standalone theme in case you are lazy :)
- Runs lite, and smooth
- Super easy to create a child theme–so you can customize the look and feel of it
- Huge amount of users, and therefore, huge amounts of support and help
So I’ve Downloaded Thematic… What Now?
Well my friends, I am very happy that you have come to this conclusion, and hopefully you will have found this early on when starting a blog. I wish I had read an article like this when I was first starting my blog, because I could have saved a ton of time, and heartache.
You should now head over to the Thematic Website, and I will leave you in their very capable hands. Use their forums for help, and read the documentation. If you are a bit frustrated at first, don’t worry… just keep reading, and eventually everything will click, and you will love the framework as much as I do.
I feel that I should mention that I am not being paid by Thematic to praise them like this… in fact I am not related to Thematic in any way, but they deserve these kind words. I’ve been using it for about a week, and I already love it… and I was able to go from never using it before to creating a child theme (you’re looking at it), and customizing the functions to my liking in about a day or two. Now if that isn’t a deal maker, I just don’t know what is.
Thanks for reading, and please leave feedback… Do you like Thematic or not? Do you use Thematic or a different framework? Do you use WordPress or a different CMS?