support

Picking A Wordpress Theme

One of the things we do is training, and some of that training is related to Wordpress, a popular web design software.

It happens that every time we train people, at least one in the group is going to ask me to help pick out a Wordpress theme.

Now it’s not that I don’t want to help… but there are a couple things to know:

  1. There are literally hundreds of thousands of themes and there is no way I can personally be familiar enough to comment offhand about most of them.
  2. Part of what people pay a web designer to do is wade through these options.

So without getting super detailed (and spending about 30-60 minutes of my paid time researching), I couldn’t necessarily recommend (or disqualify) a specific theme. Besides knowing you can Google ‘best wordpress theme insert-your-profession-or-business-here’, here are a few other things to know about evaluating a theme:



Love Something? Stalk It

I will say if there is a website you like (assuming it runs Wordpress), you can put the URL in this website: http://whatwpthemeisthat.com/ and it’ll tell you the name of the theme!

With one client, she sent me three or four websites she really liked and we found that two of them were running the same theme (with customizations of course). Problem solved!

Think General In Search

Let’s say you’re a yoga teacher, and the yoga themes make you want to say ‘namaste’ to Wordpress in a general way. (Little terrible yoga humor there.)
Instead of only searching ‘wordpress theme yoga teacher’, try ‘wordpress theme health’. Simply broadening your search will allow you to still see businesses that look like yours while also giving you some options.



Basic Themes Will Give You Options… And Options Mean Decisions

Picking something basic, like Genesis or Canvas, will give you more options but more options also equal more decisions. Do you want your H1 font to be Helvetica 35 point? Do you want you blog page to be laid out with a left sidebar and the pages on your site not to have a sidebar? Now take these decisions and multiply them by 500 and you have a ‘basic’ custom premium theme. If you are someone decisive and cares that your hoverlink color is 2 shades lighter than your link color, you’ll love having a basic theme.
Some people love this and some hate it. And if you want to be a control freak without doing a ton of code, these ‘basic’ themes are for you. (By basic, I clearly mean minimalist versus uncomplicated.)

All Things Equal, Pick The Better Company

You also want to look at the name of the company making the theme. Do they have documentation? Do they seem fly by night? How are their reviews?

Support is a good thing to have so all things being equal, pick the company that seems better on the support side. If your theme provider has a support page like this, that not only has general information but also a way to get specific questions answered, you are on the right track:

themesupport
Above all, know there are a lot of great Wordpress themes out there and you probably won’t choose wrong if you do a little homework, keeping our tips in mind! Happy theme hunting!



Tech Thursday: Masterminds, Forums, and One-Man Wolfpacks

Where do you go to find support online? We’ll look at a few online communities and how they’re structured to support those who use them (this video expands on Kassie’s blog post from a couple weeks ago on the topic).

If you have any ideas for future Tech Thursdays, you know what to do!



Masterminds, Forums, and One-Man Wolfpacks

When in doubt, many people turn to Google for answers (most recently because we couldn’t remember the name of the town in The Iron Giant). But what about bigger questions or ongoing issues? These require a discussion that can’t be encapsulated in a Wikipedia/IMDB article. For those who seek improvement, personally and/or professionally, having some sort of support group can make all the difference. I’ve been known to strike out on my own, and as a result, under- or over-shoot my goals, and flounder when I inevitably encounter an obstacle.

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Support comes in all shapes and sizes, so I thought I’d share a couple that I’ve encountered recently, and the elements of each that seem unique (and actually helpful).

Forums & Discussions. I started the Whole30 (finally committing after reading the book 3 years ago and a couple half-hearted attempts this summer) with a group of friends. There is an immense amount of online support that comes with this diet, but, being me, I only consulted the shopping list convinced I could wing the rest. By Day 3, I felt miserable. I hadn’t considered the effect this diet may have in other areas of my life. The next 30 days also happens to be my heaviest training for the MDI Marathon. My protein sources are down to eggs, fish, and a limited amount of nuts. One of my friends suggested I consult the Forum, and it was like a light switch flicked on in my head. I probably wasn’t the first person to have this issue. And, after looking at the forum, my issues are really common. If I hadn’t read through the forum, I’m not sure I would have made it through (even just 30 days).



Mastermind Groups: defined as “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” This type of group has been around for awhile, one popular example being Walt Disney’s early team of animators. Napoleon Hill gave it the formal title of “Mastermind group” in the 60s. Basically, you can make a Mastermind Group for any topic, personal or professional. The goal is what’s important.

These groups don’t have a coach or facilitator and there’s no monetary or networking component. Members of the group are seeking improvement with the help of likeminded individuals. The idea is to discuss current obstacles, set up short term and long term goals, and participate in brainstorming exercises to assist others.

Why do these sorts of support groups work? While everyone is coming from a different background or set of experiences, they have a common purpose, and are looking for a challenge. They also have structure and format (yes, even the more casual ones). It may mean a weekly, hour long meeting, daily check-ins, whatever works for the group. Checkins could even be via Facebook chat, Skype, or Google Hangouts if that’s what the group decides.

Personally, I’m a fan of the open-minded groups that understand a cookie-cutter method doesn’t always cut it. There’s no one fitness regimen or diet or business model that reigns supreme. Some people flourish in a cardio setting, others prefer weight lifting. Whatever works. So, I seek out groups that have a common idea about an issue but are tolerant and inviting of other opinions. Although the Whole30 appears strict in many ways, it encourages people to experiment and find what works for them (i.e. all fruits are Whole30 compliant, but maybe you find that your body is happier sans fruit).

Remember, whatever “it” is, you don’t have to go it alone. There’s power in having a support group, and it’s actually kind of fun to share ideas with other people.