Sunday, February 17, 2013

Building or Buying a Web Platform?

Do it Yourself?

I’ve spent much of the last few days working with many free WordPress themes for my new website. I was up all night tinkering with Gimp (this poor man’s version of Photoshop) attempting to add another image into a header banner photo. After hours of trying to figure it out I actually was able to add the second image.
My time has also been spent searching for plug-ins to add the capability necessary to have the site look like I’d prefer. Plug-ins are frustrating. After a simple install of the plug-in I’ve discovered several possible problems.

1.   The appearance isn’t what I hoped for.

2.   Many of the free plug-ins did not meet my expectations.

3.   The setup requires keys or details without an easy explanation of where to find the information to continue the setup.

4.   The setup is easy, but to get the full features I prefer, an upgraded plan is available. ($$$)

I received quite a bit of information through Google queries, but the best plug-ins require a subscription (AWeber, ChimpMail).

Another Option or 2

For an actual theme I have been considering using Genesis Framework with one of the StudioPress themes. Of course both products are available as a separate fee.
After realizing the yearly fees add up and my website isn’t profitable yet, I am thinking it’s smarter to purchase a theme that offers as many good plug-in features up-front as possible. Why pay for or have the stress of trying to setup a plug-in if it could be included in the theme. Many of the StudioPress themes have some built-in features.
But which one do I use?
Then it hit me. Why not look at someone else’s website I admire and try to imitate it myself with free features. Jeff Goins website is one I’ve enjoyed with its clean look. That’s how I’ve spent the last couple of days.

The Results

Given free tools to work with and seeing how I don’t build websites from scratch, I was somewhat able to imitate the look of Realistically, what I created has nowhere near the professional look of Jeff’s “Tribes” theme created by Martyn Chamberlin.  While I gained some knowledge of working with plug-ins and Gimp (for a header image) it would be easier to purchase the Tribes theme. Of course it requires using Genesis Framework just like the custom StudioPress themes, so there is an additional fee.

One More Choice

I love the look of Michael Hyatt’s website. I recalled Michael was working on developing a new theme, so why not look into it. Michael is scheduled to release the new theme- “Get Noticed” near the end of the first quarter of 2013. Michael has the new theme decked out on his page, it looks busier than Jeff’s page, but; it also has a clean look.
I like the widgets offered on the sidebar and footer. Once again, why pay for a plug-in if you can purchase a theme with the “extras” possibly included. Get Noticed appears to offer the most widgets up-front that I need without paying for yearly add-on subscriptions. Pricing for the new theme has not been mentioned yet.


So my grand experiment has ended and I am still torn between purchasing Tribes or Get Noticed. I am hoping Michael Hyatt’s- Get Noticed theme gets released soon. I may even seek someone to create a custom header. Gimp is still a disaster to work with for me. Photoshop CS6 is available for a trial period, so I could possibly tinker with Photoshop to tweak my own header.
On the other hand, purchasing the products you require minimizes time wasted on building a website in order to to obtain a professional look. Building a platform properly is what will be needed to be successful, so I’ll leave the foundation to the professionals; which allows me the time to build-up the platform.
In the end, it’s the platform and content that matters.
Until We Meet Again,
 Jim Carver
Author: The Legacy of David A. Wells- The Lexington High School “Band of Gold”
Something Meaningful that Matters!

Disclaimer- Books and links on this website contain affiliate marketing sources between Jim Carver and third party companies. I only recommend products, brands and businesses that I strongly support. Photos used on this site are used courtesy of the original authors and in no way endorse The Rust Belt Chronicles or my work. Thank you.


  1. Well Jim, I hope you *do* realize that the options you're considering only work on WordPress, not Blogger, right?

    As the author of Tribe, I strongly recommend it, though I might be biased. It's built on a proven framework that's been around for a long time and isn't going anywhere.

    1. Martyn, Thanks for responding. Yes, I realize the options only work on WP, since I have looking into upgrading from Blogger.
      You have a "killer" theme, please don't misunderstand me. My only holdback is whether I prefer the extra frills (newsletter banner is more noticeable,bigger add sizes and footer stuff)built into the other theme.I'd prefer to not add a lot of plugins if I can avoid it.
      I still may choose your theme.
      Thanks for your comment and time. Keep up the good work.