Changing Blog Theme: Lessons Learned

Changing Blog Theme: Lessons Learned

It’s been a month since I switched to the new theme here at YugaTech. Aside from the wonderful comments and suggestion fro improvements, there are several things at the back-end which I later had to deal with and should have given more focus during the design conception.

Here are some lessons I learned during the upgrade to the new theme:


  • There aren’t really many ways to change a layout of a blog. The end result will always look like a blog. However, some elements you’ve given more focus before might not fit with the new layout. Consider listing down these elements and assigning them a priority number. That way, it will be easier to determine which elements you want to put up first. This is particularly important in the navigation and the items you display in the sidebar. If you’re coming from a double column to a triple column, it could be easier. However, shrinking from 3 columns to two columns could prove to be a bit trickier.
  • PPC ads could be adversely affected, depending on the balance of the content and ads you display as well as the color combinations you will implement. One the biggest drawback with the new theme is that it affected the AdSense CTR. It’s a gamble really and one that you must be willing to take on. Of course, tweaking the ads after the fact might help you get back to the original ad performance or even better. Mine hasn’t but has gone back from negative 50% to just 20% below previous levels.
  • Image sizes. Don’t forget the old content width of your theme and check what sizes the previous images and pictures were displayed. My old can accommodate up to 520 pixels and most of the photos I had maximizes that width. The problem now is that the current theme has only 460 pixels available in the content column. It was a necessary trade-off to get another sidebar column up. My solution — download the old pictures, batch resize in PhotoShop and re-upload them back.
  • Don’t forget the direct advertisers. If you have direct advertisers with existing ads, consider their positioning in the new theme layout. Most direct advertisers would want an above-the-fold position for maximum exposure so mark their spot before the other elements. Another side effect would be post-level link ads — I lost a lot of new ads in that front because of the changes in the permalink structure that wiped off all the PageRank of individual pages.

Another one is, though I did not encounter this, changing backgrounds. I wanted a little darker BG this time around but since the old one was using white, I had to stick with it or else all of the previous images which uses the same background would make the pages look really ugly.

Hope some this these lessons you’d bear in mind when you change blog themes in the future. :)

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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20 Responses

  1. joseph says:

    Just saw the Mel and Joey episode. $ 5,000 a month? Wow.

  2. sasieboy says:

    Yeah that’s a lot of money here in Pinas, after I saw the success of Yuga in Mel and Joey episode my spirit to blog is burning :), Thanks Yuga for sharing your wisdom in the world of blogging.

  3. jerom says:

    yup, i did watched it too. actually, i announced about it in my blog yesterday and hopefully many did. thanks yuga for the enlightenment.

  4. A few thoughts on the new theme, especially regarding backgrounds in general: Lose them.

    The diagonal lines are a pain. First of all they take up screen space that could be put to better use. Second, for anyone with a slow connection, they sometimes take forever to go away as the server seems to only “paint” the final screen long after all the text is already in place. So people are continually trying to red the blog thrpugh distracting diagonal lines. This is not aimed solely at this theme, there are many other popuar ones out there that emphasize graphics “cuteness” at the expense of reader’s ability to read the blog. I’m no CSS guru but I seem to remember reading somewhere that graphics design was supposed to move forward, long ago, from the antiquated idea of paint a screen over and over. Aparently, the puncit’s lied.

    Think of the millions of bits per day that your server sends out consisting of nothing but diagonal lines filling the user’s screen to be instantly (or less than instantly) “erased” by the final screen.

    I wonder what percentage of the overall ‘Net traffic consists of bits that are never meant to be seen by the human eye?

  5. BrianB says:

    Abe, Darker background definitely. Font sucks.I like the ad auction ads. Maybe they should be bigger.

    Yuga is making $5,000 a month? That’s just Adsense?

  6. yuga says:

    Thanks for the input guys. Will be rolling out an updated version soon.

    @Brian, not sure where that figure came from. Definitely not just Adsense. They also failed to mention I co-own one of the largest forums in the Philippines, among other forums.

  7. roland says:

    i have watched the ‘mel & joey’ episode last sunday,aug.19—and i was so excited and still very interested to be a ‘blogger’,many thanks if you will be the one could help me in the near future,so hoping for the best! indeed,i am very interested.thank you so much!

    [email protected]

  8. Jaypee says:

    Changing or upgrading your blog theme can be both time consuming and fun. Since I’m not that good in creating WordPress themes, I have fun customizing and tweaking public themes. :)

    I agree about the darker background. I think it would make the overall layout look better. :D

  9. jhay says:

    I’m on the same boat as Jaypee, I use to take a whole day when changing and customizing themes, now it can take me between 2 to 4 hours. hehe

    I edit the theme files on a WP install on my computer and play with it there. Once I’m happy with the results, I just fire up the FTP and upload the themes. Seamless and easy, 70-90% of the time though. ;)

  10. thanks for the tips..

  11. jco says:

    had just registered a domain..i’m transferring my blog right now.thanks for this

  12. lyra says:

    ooh great, thanks for the tips, though i used , but this is great:)

  13. I don’t even know,fellow!) continued to write in the same vein, it is interesting people!

  14. izuka01 says:

    blog optimizing and changing themes is very crucial — you must do the right format and styles to do it more presentable and eligant. well the most tip on it is to act as a user. :)

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  16. Justin says:

    Whoa… this site is pretty awesome :) your layout is really well designed, and your blogs are (judging from what i’ve read) very interesting. heehee… consider yourself favorited. :-P

  17. jerome says:

    eow fho pra san fho yung pinoy friendster. day fho

  18. StrayArrow says:

    Same problem with me… cant really decide on what theme… hmmmm tried tweakng free themes but still not satisfied….

  19. adam says:

    If yuga would create a school for bloggers I would be the first to enrolled.
    Epson T10 printer runs out of ink easily

  20. Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site.
    I stumbledupon it ;) I will revisit once again
    since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change,
    may you be rich and continue to guide others.

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