1. I like it. It has the simplicity I like along with a readable font.

    Interesting about letting the categories stand to get more traffic. I just recently got stormed with spam, to the extent that my host had to shut my site down for a bit. I didn’t like that at all.

    I’ve never had much traffic. I can’t imagine what it would be like.


    1. Glad you liked the new look. Sorry to hear about the spam-storm — are you using Akismet to block it? If it’s a problem for your host to have that much traffic, you can grab the IPs from the most common offenders and block them in your .htaccess file. There’s also a method to block them using fancy Apache rules which I don’t understand, but which seems fairly straight-forward to implement. See the Codex.

  2. Elizabeth Westmark

    I like the new design, Dave. It’s easy on the eyes.

    I appreciate the discussion on SEO. As you know, it’s been on my radar screen lately, and you provided a perspective I hadn’t considered.

    Poetry as a contact sport. The mere thought of that is so bleak. I’ve been so lucky. My few regulars are hardy, but gentle folk with whom I would love to break bread someday. I would hate to get into some one’s spammy crosshairs.

    I’ll push the Podcast button. I love associating voices with their written words.

    1. Hi Beth – thanks for commenting. It is a bleak thing, this intense vitriol around what does and does not constitute good poetry. I guess we can at least be cheered that a few people still feel passionate about it, though. I’ve gotten a few hate tweets in response to my Morning Porchisms, too, and each time I feel sort of flattered that anyone would bother — and bothered that anyone would hate nature writing so much.

  3. Love the new design, Dave – all the great features of the old one and a much more spacious feeling. Maybe I liked the header photo better in the old colour, but the new one is good too and the more I look at it the more it has its own evocativeness, of both sunny days and stormy or misty, and also of dawn or twilight.

    I guess there are technical teething problems – yesterday I couldn’t see this post at all (though it was in my feedreader) and the previous one started way down the page (18 inch screen at work). Now I can see both today’s post and this one, but this one has ‘posted by Dave etc.’ in one-word lines that trickle down and down like a long-tail concrete poem and the two-line header is showing as one line going right across the page, obscuring the sidebar info.

    WordPress is clearly very complex, too complex for me – which is a shame, because the formats and possibilities get better and better, and all for free!

    1. Jean, are you using Internet Explorer? I was having troubles getting it to look right in IE8 (and presumably older versions) initially, but thought I solved the problem. The trouble is the browser caches much more agressively than aother browsers. Try clearing the cache (under Tools, the first option — Delete Browsing History), wait five minutes, and try again.

      Glad you like the design otherwise. I changed the header to match the link color, obviously, but it’s actually almost exactly the way the early-morning picture came out of the camera.

      1. Hi Dave. Cleared cache – still same problem. I have IE8 at work. Haven’t looked yet at home, where I have Firefox.

        1. Well, the reason why I think the problem might still be caching is that I did make these same display problems go away both on my own computer (I’m using IE8 right now to type this comment) and on my mom’s computer, after a bit of struggle.

        2. Do you have the same display issues with Morning Porch? It has the exact same stylesheet and just slight differences in the home page template.

          1. Hi Dave. Morning Porch is fine both on my home computer with Firefox and work computer with IE8. The only thing I do notice from time to time is variations in the number of line-spaces between heading and body of each post – this seems to happen randomly and can affect the view in either browser.

            Anyway, the issue on IE8 with this new design is still only affecting this post, so clearly not an ongoing problem.

            I was just looking at SquareSpace, having read your comment to Clive. Is the cost the only reason you have WordPress rather than SquareSpace? Or do the main advantages of SquareSpace over WordPress concern the integration of a full-feature blog into a multi-section website with portfolio etc – not necessarily something you want yourself?

  4. and, hooray, more podcasts – I’m a huge fan, as you know!

  5. “. . . somehow I managed to finesse the spacing so that I have both a wider main column and more white space on the sides (from 960 pixels wide it’s back down to 940), without — I hope — making things feel too crowded.”

    On my site, I could never reproduce one or two of the more serendipitous things that happened when I was tooling around with it. My fear of losing those things is one of the reasons why I don’t tool around much, though . . .

    I like the wider spacing. Your site seems cleaner and more attractive than ever, a nice balance among simplicity, utility, and content.

    1. Thanks. It’s interesting how many of us who view blogging as a platform for self-publishing favor more minimalist designs. So much of the emphasis in web design these days is on newspaper-like front pages with lots of colorful images and “read more” links. John Miedema is the only blogger I read who has deployed one of those types of themes to really good effect. Then again, his coding skills are also well in advance of yours and mine.

  6. Sorry I haven’t yet commented on the seismic changes. I think the new look is extremely pleasing Dave. Un cluttered and airy! But it’s the weirdest thing to get used to, like talking to an old friend who you expect to look the way he/she always has, but then finding that there’s been a bit of work done that’s made the face look oddly unfamiliar!

    A few artist friends are having new websites designed by my sister-in-law Sally, and the current simplicity around that informs their look is a bit disconcerting, not because there’s anything wrong with it, but because it makes me look at my own website and wonder uneasily whether it should be ‘refreshed’. A daunting prospect as it’s the second design for the site, and it seems it was done only yesterday. But your Via Negativa design has also sent me looking critically at my blog, and now I’m worrying about that too. Ho hum. Wrong to get wedded to something like that, but then I try a change out… easy enough on WordPress… and think that I’ll stick with what I’ve got. For the moment.

    You’re a generous soul to post such comprehensive design tutorials. Thank you.

    1. Clive, thanks for the review! Your opinion on matters aesthetic is obviously not one I’d take lightly, so I’m glad you like this despite your shock at the change. I assure you, there are many bloggers who change themes more often than I do — I tend to avoid it precisely because I think it is off-putting to readers to change too often. And in a medium like blogging whose defining feature is the constant addition of new material, a consistent look is very important, I think.

      I like your website in general, though ideally it would integrate your blog a bit more closely. A lot of artist portfolio sites these days rely rather heavily on javascript, which can be annoying. I think if you were ever to redo your site, you should take a serious look at Squarespace.

      1. I guess the blog and website don’t integrate as well as they might largely because I don’t maintain the website myself, and therefore the matter usually escapes my attention. I’ll go to look at Squarespace and put my thinking cap on. Thanks Dave. Much obliged to you for the advice.

        1. Well, but there is value in not having to do everything yourself, too. I gather that Squarespace is really easy to use, but maintaining both blog and site yourself might prove too much of a distraction from your real work. It’s an option to be aware of is all.

  7. Oh, it looks swell. I like the white space, the post size, the text style and all. My only critique is that it puts me in the mood to do a little remodeling, and I am behind on so many other projects I just can’t do it!

    You always inspire with your art and your craft. (Fussing is craft IMO.)

    1. Thanks, Deb! I’m sorry to have sparked some anxiety, though. Your blog is perfectly fine, but you’ve had the present theme for quite a while and I can understand growing restless with that.

  8. Hey, this looks good. There’s a lot I really like about twenty-ten—so much so that I used pieces of it when I redid my theme last month (though I couldn’t quite get rid of my silly sky background just yet).

    Looking forward to the return of the podcast.

    1. Thanks. I meant to tell you I really liked your blog makeoverh — and the background actually seems a better fit now than it did before.

  9. Elizabeth Westmark

    Re your earlier reply to my comment — “hate” and “nature blogging” seem so unlikely to be in the same sentence! The poor person who wrote you “hate tweets” in response to any of your Morning Porchisms must be a sad sack indeed. Makes me wonder what happened to him/her.

    1. There have been three of four of them. I always block them right away, but that means I can’t find them again by searching through my @-replies, so maybe I should just ignore them instead. Their comments are definitely instructive.

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