I have had a blog on WordPress for many years. There was a time when this site was for real writers, people who could be described as word artists. These were mostly amateurs, like myself, who were just really literate people. There was a time when this site was populated by people who knew how to spell, who were reasonably knowledgeable about punctuation and grammar. There was a time when this site was for WRITERS.
The other day I decided to create a new blog. The old blog had a lot posts in it that were years old and no longer reflected my life. I will be honest, I have never liked creating a blog site. I am just not creative in that way. A perfect blog site would be something like the template they used to have on this site called Crisp Linen (I think that is the right name). It was a simple template that had all the widgets you wanted, but was designed for writers, people who wanted to use words to express themselves.
I do not have an Instagram account, but from what I have been told, it is a place for people who like to express themselves through pictures. We need a place like that for people who want to express themselves through graphic art. When I wanted to choose a template for my new blog, I noticed the overwhelming percentage of templates were for people who merely wanted to post pictures with small captions, often prewritten captions, at the bottom. Isn’t that what Instagram is all about? I mean I scoured the library of templates searching for a template that was specifically designed for WRITERS, and I came up dry.
When I finally did find a template that I liked and tried to customize it, things did not go smoothly. The template was littered with placeholder images and text that I could not remove. The placeholder images were not connected to a live link, so when I clicked on it, thinking that might remove it, I got an error message. When I clicked the back button on my browser, because there was no other option offered, it took me right out of the template altogether and I had to start all over again. Instead of having categories of templates such as: Writers, Business, Hobbyists, etc., the templates are all grouped together. People such as myself, who are not skilled at building a site, see a nicely-colored template, choose it, only to find out after the fact that it is really designed for business and customizing it would be a full time job over days or even weeks — for someone who is not skilled at doing it.
My needs are pretty simple. I am a senior living on a fixed income, and I have a lot of time on my hands. I love to write, although I never did it for money. I really just want a blog so I can kill time during the pandemic, and possibly beyond, where I can express myself in words. This site is reasonably priced, but they do need to be better at communicating with people. I mean, it’s their business after all. For example, if you click on the link to get expert help, they charge you $66.15 to have an expert help you design your site. These days a lot of sites have tech support running 24/7. I clicked on the link to “schedule” help from a tech person, but saw no calendar, no schedule, nothing at all to give me any idea when that “appointment” might happen. I did not receive an email message, nor was there a message, popup box, or any communication whatsoever that offered me any kind of time frame for this tech appointment. I wound up paying twice because I thought the first transaction had not really gone through.
They need to do a better job with the templates as well. You can choose a template, spend time designing that template, but when you go to install that template, you find out that you need to upgrade your account. I have to tell you that after spending an hour or more trying to figure out the design of a template, I was more than just a little bit ticked off that I had to upgrade my plan, which I had no intention of doing, to install the freaking thing. It isn’t quite “bait and switch” but it does have the feel of someone trying to bait you with a really nifty looking template, only to tell you after you spend time designing it that you have to upgrade to another plan. No one likes to feel suckered like that, and that is just how I felt. Right now, I am a Premium level user. Why don’t they “grey out” the templates that are above my plan level so I won’t go to the trouble of selecting them, designing them, only to find out that they aren’t for my level? Maybe they could put a really, really obvious message somewhere in the preview pane of the template that would read: This is a Business level template! That way, if you are a Basic or Premium user, you can just keep looking for another template.
A lot of what I have written here isn’t clever or profound. A lot of it is just common sense, good old fashioned common sense. I have a feeling that, just like writing a common sense email to a government official, it is going to vanish into the morning mist. At least I got some stuff off my chest. I doubt WordPress will take any of it seriously, or even read what I have written.
Categories: The Coffee Shop