Update: I’m happy to say that KeriLynn and I finally sorted out the mess of that other designer’s theme! She was able to create a new template file and I set it as a home.php file to override the designer’s functions which were already overriding WordPress settings for what should display on the homepage. Whew! It takes a lot of patience to sort out and fix bad coding in some cases, and most designers won’t help you do this for a third party’s theme (and I can’t blame them!). I couldn’t recommend KeriLynn highly enough, whether you need help sorting out an existing theme or creating a brand new one. She has the patience of a saint and the stubbornness of a mule (that’s a compliment!) — exactly what I needed to help me through this most recent WordPress nightmare. So a huge thanks to KeriLynn!
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen some recent rants about WordPress theme designers. You see, I’m launching or redesigning around a half dozen sites at once. I figured the quickest option in this case was to purchase premium base themes and then customize them to get exactly what I wanted (which is what I did with this site recently — it kicked off this series of launches and re-launches).
Two theme designers I purchased base themes for were ridiculous. They made the themes unnecessarily complicated — overriding basic WP functions with custom versions that simply didn’t work as they claimed. The support for these problem themes was terrible. While I did get this one fixed up after some drastic optimization (extra weeks of time lost), the other theme for my new fiction author site (AriaKlein.com) hasn’t been so lucky. I had to make design concessions I’m not happy with because the theme designer’s back-end options didn’t work as labeled, he took a long time to respond to support tickets, ignored questions and complaints on the sales site comments, and when he finally gave a solution it wasn’t even what I asked for.
I’ve wanted to pull my hair out for weeks over this. But I had a chat with KeriLynn Engel of Dreaming Iris Design over on my pen name Twitter account, and then she was referred to me again by Evelyn Lafont. Now I rarely turn to WP designers for help with customization. I can generally get any theme to do what I want. But this one stumped me. She was the only person who had ideas that could potentially work around this designer’s problems. (Many designers I know won’t even look at another designer’s code for you because of the sheer mess they might be asked to clean up.) Even though I haven’t implemented all of the possibilities yet (as I’m considering just scrapping the theme altogether for fear of more problems with every update), I wanted to bring KeriLynn to your attention.
While I can always go back to designing and coding my own WordPress themes from scratch, I know that isn’t possible for every reader here. I recommend WordPress highly as an ideal platform for both a professional site and blog to promote your freelance writing services. But sometimes you’ll need help troubleshooting or customizing something small, and you won’t be able to find an answer easily online. And sometimes you’ll want a fully custom design developed for a new website or blog. If those things happen, you should have someone in mind to go to. And for that, I wanted to recommend Kerilynn. She has been one of the most responsive and insightful WordPress designers I’ve had the pleasure to deal with.
So the next time you need WordPress help, make sure you have Dreaming Iris Design bookmarked.