Theme vs. Design

“No one spends more time on your blog than you — make sure you love the way it looks.”

If the object of your website is to have people easily find interesting (or specific) tidbits, then isn’t it better to think about arranging your site content for the way your visitors might use it? Are “looks” all that important? In my experience, they may have been at one time, but not so much these days.

Most online content is read today on portable devices, in RSS readers (like the Reader here) or relegated to AMP pages (making the web look like a feature phone, circa 1999) if your site is arrived at through a search engine result or via a twitter link. Those apps strip away anything that is not content. Thankfully, WordPress.com has made checking what your site looks like on mobile devices really easy.

Open up your Customizer. At the bottom of your browser window on the left, you’ll see this:

Preview your entire site easily in the Customizer

The controls at the bottom of the Customizer sidebar allow you to preview the entire published content of your website. The default view is the web browser (looks like a computer monitor), but you can also choose tablet or mobile device. Granted these views are generalized and not device specific, but you’ll have a better idea of how your content is being displayed on mobile. (To really get a good idea how your post displays, sign up to follow your own site!) Preview your draft posts and pages to see how features like the Cover block, Block Patterns and the other suggested content displays on mobile. You might be surprised.

More importantly, do you arrange or customize your content to encourage site visitors to explore beyond the post or page they landed on? Do you use categories and tags? Do you have a focused menu or other layout items, like a Posts block or Related Posts block? (All those are good SEO practices as well.) Because this is all content, the information will appear when someone visits your site online and on a mobile device (if not always as expected), but not when viewing in an RSS reader.

Working my way through the “Love Your Layout” assignment, I found the quote above mildly discomforting. When I’m on my website, I’m usually in the Editor, not looking at the public side of my site, unless I’m previewing it. Is that unusual? Should I be worried?

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Published by mojourner

One writer's quest to rediscover her writing mojo, with a little help from her friends

3 thoughts on “Theme vs. Design

  1. Thanks for giving me a preview of AMP stands for and why I would want to know about it anyway! Technology just moves along too darn fast and is only picking up speed! I’m sure I’ll never catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried over the years to be zen about advances in technology, but I draw the line at re-buying or recopying my CD’s! I’ve already mourned the loss of my kids’ recordings on cassette tapes.

      Liked by 1 person

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