You may have noticed that the appearance of my webpage has changed substantially from the WordPress hosted version I first floated about three weeks ago. I was never really happy with the narrow format constrained by my choice of the Twenty Ten WordPress theme. If you’ve played around with WordPress.com, it may seem to you that there are a plethora of themes to choose from. On the surface that is correct but most of these are cosmetically different versions of the same basic form, designed for blogging for users on low resolution (1024 X 768) displays. There are some few “flexible width” themes that stretch beyond the 1024 pixel width limit and yet adjust to narrower windows, but I could find none of those that offered some features important to me (custom menu, custom header image). So I decided to convert my site to the fairly new Château theme which you are seeing before your eyes right now. Château is flexible width (narrow the width of the window you are viewing this in and you’ll see the display flex to accommodate the change. Go ahead and try it – I’ll wait.) though its maximum appears to be about the same as the fixed width of my former Twenty Ten theme. The feature offered by Château that sealed the deal for me was a one-column (no sidebar) format that effectively increased the width available for my content. I moved most of the content that formerly populated my sidebar to a new LINKS page. The hit counter widget I moved to the footer area.
I like the result well enough, though I still wish I could find a flexible width theme (with custom menu and custom header image, and a one column option) that offers a wider maximum width. I have been told (on the very helpful WordPress.com support forums) that I could achieve this by modifying themes through the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) with the $30/year Custom Design option. Another way would be to forego the free hosting I’m utilizing on WordPress.com for a third party host and switch to a site developed using the WordPress.org software. Themes that meet my criteria are available there (such as the Atahualpa theme developed by BytesFor All). Either one of these options would require me to crack some books. I’m not opposed to that – when my wife got addicted to Ken-Ken math puzzles, I taught myself enough of the C programming language to generate them. I may eventually jump into CSS, but for now I’m calling the major framework of my site “OK”.
Speaking of WordPress.com v. WordPress.org, a disadvantage of the .com hosted sites is that WordPress supposedly sometimes inserts (unobtrusive?) advertisements targeted at those viewing my site. I’ve never seen these – they don’t insert them for the site owner – so I’d love feedback from any of you who have seen advertisements while viewing my site.