Back to basics

If you’re reading this post on the Siberian Light site, rather than by RSS, you’ll notice things look a little different around here.

The magazine format that I’ve been using for nearly a year now has gone.  In its place is the tried and tested blog layout, powered by the Thesis theme.

Why?  Oddly, although I loved the previous magazine style theme, I found that it actually made me want to write less and less each week.  Because readers had to click through to a whole new page just to read a new post, I felt like each post had to be extra-special.  After all, if I were to take the time to click through to a new page, I know I’d feel just a little bit cheated if I clicked through to find just a two line observation – no matter how insightful!

I felt like I couldn’t post quicker, shorter, more off the cuff posts.  The kind that you hammer out in 10 minutes when you are really pissed of that Putin’s done something stupid, or when you see a cool video that you want to share.  I felt like I’d lost the freedom to do simple day to day blogging.

So, after taking time to think much more carefully about what I really want out of writing Siberian Light, I’ve bitten the bullet, ditched the magazine theme, and gone back to ‘proper’ blogging.  Short posts, long posts, really long posts, you name it.  Whatever I feel like, really.

New Thesis Theme

In case you were wondering, the new theme is called Thesis.  There isn’t much to the design that’s groundbreaking – instead it focuses on elegance, simplicity and just looking good. All the same things are here as you’d find on any other blog, so hopefully you should be able to find you way around Siberian Light’s new look pretty easily.

Thesis WordPress themeUnder the hood is where the Thesis theme really excels.

It’s by far the easiest theme I’ve ever worked with (I had the new design installed, customised, and up and running in less than an hour) because almost everything is powered by an options panel, rather than forcing techno-incompetents like me to spend hours swearing while trying to make CSS and HTML work.

If you’re in the market for a new theme, I’d really recommend you take a look at Thesis.  It’s not free, but it was worth every cent I paid for it.  (And, yes – that’s an affiliate link.  In the interests of disclosure – if you buy the theme after clicking on the link, I get a small commission).

Comments changes

You might want to take a quick look at the comments for each post – there have been a couple of changes there, too.

Next to each person’s name is space for a small avatar picture.  If you’ve already got an avatar, you should see it next to your comments.  If you haven’t, visit the Gravatar website to get yours.  Check the example comment I’ve left below this post, and you’ll get to see what I look like.

I’ve also added a plugin called Comment Luv to automatically display each commenter’s last blog post.  I thought it would be an easy way to let commenters show off what they’ve been working on recently.  You can change the post it links to using the options underneath the comments box or even, if you’re feeling anti-social, ask it not to publish any links back to your blog.  If the plugin doesn’t display a recent post of yours, you might need to register with their site – use the link in the options box.

Finally, I just wanted to remind you that there’s another little tick box under the comments box called subscribe to comments.  Tick this box, and you’ll automatically be emailed whenever anyone else posts a comment to that particular thread.  It’s an easy way to follow a fast moving debate without having to check back in at the site every few hours.

Anyway, enough about design changes.  Watch this space for more posts.

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7 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    Here’s an example comment from me. See how handsome I am?

  2. No, this isn’t really Tim Newman. But if it were, this is the latest post from his blog that would be displayed:

    Not Really Tim Newman´s last blog post..Three Weeks on the Lun-A

  3. Krusenstern says:

    I miss your/our old magazine layout –

    but the CommentLuv is great!

    Greez from Zurich

    Krusenstern

    Krusenstern´s last blog post..Russischer Unteroffizier für RuTube-Musikvideo nach Sibirien strafversetzt?

  4. From one Thesis fan to another, just wanted to say that your new site looks great.

  5. poemless says:

    I like the new format. I kinda stopped checking your site because not only was it rarely updated, but the picture-heavy layout, with new posts below the feature stories was annoying.

    This is nice & clean.

  6. Kolya says:

    Much better and good looking. I prefer the simpler and faster (for the reader) blog lay out.

  7. Owen says:

    I think you’ve made a wise decision, this new layout looks great.

    Owen´s last blog post..UN Observers