- Bringing the Get Noticed Theme Back to Life
As I mentioned in my previous post, I talked about building my author brand. Needless to say, I need a website to communicate with any potential fans I might (hopefully) get. And, ideally, it wouldn’t be some cookie cutter WordPress theme used by every other site. I have a few ideas and points of inspiration to draw from. Currently, I’m working on bringing back the Get Noticed Theme, but modernizing it a bit for the modern world and WordPress. In this post, I will explain why I’m using the Get Noticed theme as a base for my new author website. Then, I reveal my inspiration and give you some ideas about what I’m going to change with the theme.
How it’s going with the Get Noticed Theme
Yes, most of the work I’m currently doing is mostly the core elements of the theme. These include parts of the theme like the 404 page, the about page, and how I’m going to implement some of the elements as Gutenberg blocks. I also know there are plenty of custom post types around the Get Noticed Theme. However, I’m not at the point where I am slightly tweaking custom post types and this is a total tear down situation right now.
While I’m definitely going to honour its heritage when I build a FOSS version of the Get Noticed Theme, it’s going to be a stripped down theme with a Get Noticed child theme.
Growing pains I noticed while modifying the theme
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are a few growing pains with my approach. I mean, I am working with an older theme with terrible support at the time it was alive. And now, it’s dead. I’ve been contemplating moving the theme to a FOSS model at some point, but I’m not sure how much I would need to change in the theme to make that happen.
I also noticed a bit of a growing pain with my new handwritten signature logo. Namely, it doesn’t scale down well. And I kinda knew this going in. Handwriting based logos don’t go down well, but scaling it down really shows the problems.
The Book post type could use some work
Also, the book post type can use a lot of work. Here’s the current bit of code I’m working with:
Needless to say, I have a couple of issues with this iteration. First, should I use a different post type for my books and books I’ve read/am reading? It would be helpful if I had a section solely for the books I’ve written and the books I’m reading. Needless to say, I need to think about this a little more.
Further, I need to make a section for affiliate links that contains working international affiliate links. So far, the only iteration of this I can find is on the website of a transphobe. Literally, the only improvement I would make is to automatically detect country details and switch which affiliate links are displayed. Definitely, still allow people to use the selector, but automatically switching just makes things easier.
Adding Gutenberg blocks
Creating a Gutenberg block is an involved process. I’ve also seen how some blocks perform with dark mode enabled designs, so I definitely see the need to design around blocks and not to rely on third party plugins for this issue. Not to mention, these third party plugins clutter up the top bar of my WordPress editor screens.
Additionally, when you consider the aims of other plugins like the Aesop Story Engine and the idea of using a full-width canvas to tell a more immersive story, we must embrace the Gutenberg editor and its blocks.
Plugins and the Get Noticed Theme
The next thing I’m working on is making it work well with plugins. Some of which I use (or may want to use in the future) include Yoast SEO, the Organize Series plugin, GigPress, and WooCommerce. Most of these are designed to play well with most WordPress themes. The notable exception, of course, being the Organize Series plugin. It does NOT integrate well with any WordPress theme out of the box.
However, this doesn’t need to be the case. The Organize Series plugin is customizable by theme. And since it’s one of the plugins I’m already using, I do need to make sure it integrates beautifully. But I also want to work on this theme to do other things in the future. A podcast, a travelogue… I have ideas and I want to explore them all. Therefore, a defined style language is important.
Needless to say, I have plenty of screenshots on my idea board. Not just of author websites but all sorts of other websites that do things well. I’ll explain my rationale in other posts as I talk about the work of making the new author website real.