slow reads 6.0

I switched to WordPress a year and a half ago because I needed a low-maintenance blog. My final Dreamweaver iteration is now my favorite — clean with an accordion navigation system that showed off my best work. But what work went into showing off that work! Every thing bloggers never give a moment’s thought to I did by hand each time I posted. Now I’m sold on low maintenance.

I went in for high maintenance early into my blogging because I wanted to mix a portfolio with a blog. I found I wanted to highlight what I considered my best writing no matter how old it got. I’ve come up with six major blog designs over my eight years of blogging, and each attempted to balance the old with the new. I finally got comfortable enough with WordPress to create enough menus to let readers see as much of my old stuff in an organized fashion as they could take.

But my first WordPress blog was still too skewed to the new. I became aware of this bias when I began to let weeks and months go by without writing more than a post, maybe two. My visits to my blog were like archeologists’ visits to Pompeii: slow reads had become an artifact that attested to a lot activity suddenly and completely abandoned. I just can’t freight a site like that anymore. I need a blog that is low maintenance from a technological as well as a writerly point of view.

In a few hours’ search, I found this theme. Its creator designed it, he says, as a portfolio for a particular kind of artist or photographer — one who likes to write. I’m no artist, though I like to take pictures. I’ve retrofitted the theme’s chief portfolio functions — the thumbnails and the home page’s slide show — to highlight my best writing. And because the theme is designed to be more balanced between the old and the new, I think I’ll feel better leaving it for weeks and even months on end. (Really, I should take the blog off the home page, just make it a tab on a static home page. But that doesn’t feel like blogging, not really.)

The theme is also responsive, as more and more themes are these days. So it looks good on my iPhone. It should look good also on an Android phone and on any tablet, though I haven’t checked.

ThemeHybrid, which provides the theme’s platform, offers relatively attractive themes. So far I’ve been happy with its support community. (Genesis, my old WordPress platform, is very good, but their themes aren’t nearly as attractive or as dissimilar as ThemeHybrid’s are. I still use Genesis for my classroom blogging.)

I continue to outsource slowreads’ comments to Facebook. Sometimes the comments people leave me on Facebook never make it here, but I like the idea of having a single conversation, of having my comments appear both under the blog post and on the Facebook update linking to the post. It would be unlike Facebook to fix the glitches very soon, but who knows.

On the subject of comments, all my pre-WordPress comments died a month ago. Echo took over Haloscan some time ago, but in the spirit of Bain Capital, it seems, it bought Haloscan’s business only to close it down. I saved comments to only five or six posts before the deadline. I didn’t persevere in my project to save them all. Perhaps it’s for the best. If slow reads were too much like a museum, I’d never write well there.

So I’m slowly deleting all of the old Haloscan links at the bottom of the posts. I also have a lot of work ahead of me turning pages into posts and reassigning new categories to those posts. There’s plenty to do, but I’m happily ensconced in a new home that may hold together even when I’m not so ensconced.