Frustrated By Seemingly Insurmountable Problems in My Blog Redesign

As I mentioned in my last post (and as visible to anyone seeing my blog), my blog has been under construction for the last week. It was hard enough for me to bite the bullet and actually do it, but I've had issues from day one, and I think I may need to start over entirely.

When looking for a blog theme, I was finding some ones that cost money and some free, and was only looking at the free ones... Then I reminded myself that I was not in the same position I was in when I started my blog, unable to really afford the 10 dollars a year for the domain name, but deciding to take that risk and invest it, hoping I'd be able to earn that money back. I could afford to pay 15 dollars for a blog theme. And so I found one that I liked and installed it.

The first problem I had with it was that it didn't come with a header image, and after I worked a while making a new header for my blog to represent what my blog is about now that I really loved, I wanted to use that, but didn't know how to add it. Google Gemini (Google's version of chat GPT) was really helpful in showing me where and how to insert the image as a header, but it wasn't sizing correctly on mobile devices. I tried troubleshooting with Gemini, but got nowhere.

A Facebook friend helped me out and helped me edit the code to get the header image to fit the screen on mobiles.

One of the things I liked best about this blog layout was how user friendly it felt, and how I could encourage readers to read posts about topics that I want to promote. The top has a widget for showing the 4 latest posts with thumbnails, then there were widgets that I could make a section where I could show the latest post for a specific category.

Then there was the section where it showed the latest 15 posts on my blog...

And after that, more widgets that I could highlight recent posts by categories. 

I organized the widgets in a way that I liked, with topics at the top that I especially wanted to promote for readers to see and in which order, then there was a list of recent posts, and then more widgets with the topics I wanted to promote but not as much as the ones at the top. This entailed going through 14 years of posts to tag them in some new categories so I could have them show up properly.

I especially liked the drop down menu at the top, and had decided what items I wanted showing up where in the dropdown menu...

And all was good. Other than 2 things.

The images weren't showing up in the thumbnails for most of the widgets. They were showing up as thumbnails for the 15 most recent posts.

And the widget was grabbing the first tag alphabetically to show with the post, not the first one written.

I posted on Facebook, both on my wall and in a local group with web designers, asking for help with that, offering to pay to fix those 2 things, but no one responded positively, because most people aren't experienced with Blogger that hosts my blog but only the more popular WordPress. The person who helped me with the resizing the header tried copying the theme I used onto a sample blog and it did show up thumbnails properly, but it didn't do that on my blog. So I know it wasn't an issue with the theme, just how it was interacting with my blog.

Since I wasn't able to find someone locally who could help, I decided to turn to Fiverr, because it was what should have been a small job, and on Fiverr you can search by skills people have available.

I ended up hiring a guy on Fiverr for $55 for those 2 things, which was annoying and felt like a lot for something that should have been very small, but I said that when it works it would have been worth it. Before they quoted me a price they asked me specifically what I wanted them to do.

(I also contacted the writers of the theme I used who sold it to me, since they advertised that they can tweak themes for clients, but I never heard back.)

Unfortunately, I got nowhere with the Fiverr people, who were a team. Maybe it was a language barrier-- they said they were fluent in English and sounded so-- but they didn't seem to understand what I was saying and asking of them. They kept on asking me what images I wanted to upload into the widget, and I kept telling them that it was supposed to pull the images directly from the post. They then were telling me that my images were corrupted and weren't available, which I knew they were not, especially since they did appear as thumbnails lower down the page. Then they were telling me that the theme was corrupted, which, again, I know it isn't, because it works, exactly as is, when copied onto another sample blog.

In the end they told me that they couldn't do what I hired them to do because it "had a backend code error" and their "work was complete, and they submitted as such to Fiverr. Even though nothing had been fixed.

On top of that, the person I hired made sexually inappropriate comments to me in between talking to me about the work...

I reported him to Fiverr for that (but I assume they won't do anything because it was off the Fiverr website, which I didn't know was against the rules, especially since he initially started the whole thing on Google Meet, which is also against the Fiverr rules. 

But when he submitted to Fiverr that the work was done, I challenged that and said that it wasn't, that he didn't do what I hired him to do. I doubt Fiverr will actually give me my money back, but it frustrates me that the $70 dollars and all the hours I invested in this new layout was for nothing, because it doesn't work...

I tried finding other widgets that could grab latest posts from a blog by category, and installing them on my blog, but they didn't work, which I assume was an issue with the theme...

Now I have 3 choices, all of them sucky.

  1. I can keep the blog is, errors and all. Yes, there aren't thumbnails showing up, but other than that, its pretty decent?

  2. I can try to find and pay for another theme that has similar features, and hope it works better.

  3. I can move my site over to Wordpress...
Moving my site over to Wordpress is what professionals are suggesting I do, since Wordpress is more popular and modular and considered more professional. But (in addition to needing to pay yearly for hosting which I don't need to do on Blogger) switching over to Wordpress is a huge headache and will take a lot of work, and will involve needing to learn a whole new system, which sounds really, really, really intimidating, especially after I've been with this for 14 years and learned it pretty well...

Finding another theme is what I'm going to do, most likely, but I worry it won't work, since the theme I have now works on sample blogs just not my own blog, so maybe its a problem with my blog itself and a new theme will just have the same problem... But it would be a lot of work to move to a new theme, and all the work I put in over the last week may have been all for naught. However, at least I know now what I want and in what arrangement, what categories I want to promote, and in what order.

If this doesn't work, then I probably will switch to Wordpress... eventually. And stick with this good but not good enough theme until I find the mental strength to switch it all over...

This is really, really frustrating, that once I decided to bite the bullet and actually do what I needed to do for a while, it doesn't even work and now I need to start over at what feels like zero.

I just wanted to update you.

Thank you so much.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I'm sorry this is such a frustrating process.

  2. I would suggest to move to WordPress, keeping your URL. Less of a headache.

    1. Moving to wordpress might be my only option, but it by far would not be "less of a headache". It would be the most lengthly and headachey process of all, but at the end, i'll end up with something better. Which is why it isnt my first choice...

  3. Hi, I'm the Anonymous poster who suggested Wordpress (name's Dani btw). Sure, depends on each person how "headachey" the move is (if you could get someone to help with that it'd be awesome, but that's up to you!). Let's take it one step at a time. As long as the blog's readable (and postable) in the meantime, take your time with the behind the scenes stuff. Don't sweat it.

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