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Switching Blog Themes: Is it Worth It?

Here’s the scoop. It’s quite obvious that NJFM is undergoing a transformation. The reason for the change is several fold:

  1. The old theme stopped working behind the scenes. There were too many errors and the load was too slow.
  2. I wanted something lighter and airier and easier for me to handle.
  3. NJFM, although I love writing here, is not a money maker. I make a few bucks here and there, but it is not my bread and butter. My goal, when I finally grow up and become a real writer, is to make 100% residual income from my own endeavors. I want to write about what I enjoy and enjoy what I write about.

In order for me to accomplish the above there are two things I felt I needed to do:

  1. Bring NJFM along so it can live up to its money making potential
  2. Write a series of ebooks (My first one is almost complete).

Placing the Horse before the Cart

NJFM is becoming a platform for me to share my writing knowledge and learn from my readers. It also helps me to stay in touch with those who are new to freelance writing. Often times, when I ‘outgrow’ a particular writing phase, I forget what it’s like to be a brand new writer. Some of the questions and emails I receive remind me and force me to keep my finger on the pulse of what new writers need to hear, learn and read in order to become successful.

Now that I have the horse in place (and I’m still in the process of grooming him), I’m also setting up the cart. The cart in NJFM’s world is placing the hooks so that my regular readers aren’t bombarded with Google AdSense ads, but those who reach my site through the search engines (and are not regular readers), will see the ads on older posts.

It’s Working

In the day or two since I changed the format, I’ve had more Google AdSense clicks in one day than I’ve had in any day over the period of the past 2 years. Granted, 5 clicks isn’t anything to write home to mom about, but those 5 clicks were generated from readers new to NJFM (at least I believe so). I found a plugin called Smart Ads that works seamlessly with the Thesis WordPress theme.

What Smart Ads does is it displays Google Ads (or any other type of ad you want displayed) in preset areas of the post after the post reaches a certain age. Currently, since I’m still making the changes, my AdSense ads won’t display until the post has reached about 500 days old. That will eventually be reduced to about 30 days when I’m done fiddling around.

Method to My Madness

As with any change, there will be pros and cons, lovers and haters. I expect and hope there are more pros and lovers than cons and haters. There are a few features the old theme had that I miss and am having a difficult time duplicating in Thesis (but give me time, I’m not giving up). However, because I have a goal in mind, I embrace the pros and lovers and let the cons and haters be.

A year or so down the line, when the old theme is just a memory, the cons will become “new features” and the haters…well, who knows. The one thing I do know is that I’ll be a few steps closer to my dream and my goals. I look at it as an adventure and as Grandma says, I’ll enjoy my journey going “Where no Felicia has gone before.” 🙂

You gotta love this internet stuff! Where else can you plot and play on a computer while still in your jammies and make money.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Diane March 23, 2010, 10:14 am

    The thesis theme is a nice clean theme as is the frugal and headway themes. Thesis is very popular with internet marketers and some would say overused. Nevertheless, the new design looks good.

  • Allison March 23, 2010, 10:25 am

    I like the theme a lot. It is light and airy and really draws the focus to the content. I think you made a great choice!
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..Discouraged in Youth Ministry =-.

  • Krista March 23, 2010, 9:52 am

    Hi Felicia

    The content on your site is so valuable to me that I would read it regardless of the layout. The stuff you write is exactly what I look for when I am researching and trying to learn more about making money from writing. You share the important details and in an honest and refreshing way – it keeps me coming back (almost daily LOL) and it motivates me even more when I see all of the other readers and read their comments and ideas.

  • Writergirl March 23, 2010, 11:02 am

    The new theme was definitely a pleasant surprise. It definitely looks “lighter and airier.” Two thumbs up!
    .-= Writergirl´s last blog ..Hubpages – My ‘Make Money with Hubpages’ experiment =-.

  • Crystal March 23, 2010, 2:39 pm

    I’ve got to agree with Krista – I get so much out of the content that you could totally disregard layout and I’d still be a regular. But I like the new look just fine.
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..Hypertension Basics – Who, Why and What? =-.

  • Eve March 23, 2010, 7:15 pm

    Looks good to me! I can’t say I pay too much attention to the layout, since I just aim straight for your newest post. But I’m a long-timer by today’s standards. 🙂 Cheers to your new theme.
    .-= Eve´s last blog ..He Was a Poet =-.

  • Julie - Inspired to Write March 24, 2010, 9:13 pm

    Like the new theme! Strangely, i have been considering a new theme as well. But, it will take some time since I want to design some of it myself. I go back on forth on it being worth it, too. I think I will do it eventually as well. I agree with Krista, I subscribe anyhow, but it is always nice to get new readers!! Good luck with the tweaking!
    .-= Julie – Inspired to Write´s last blog ..Finding Inspiration When All Hope is Gone =-.

  • Felicia March 25, 2010, 9:54 am

    Thanks for the input on the new theme. I just hope as I play around on the back end that I don’t totally obliterate the front end. I’d hate to think I finally got it right only to see that my site is totally gone. 🙂

  • prerna March 26, 2010, 8:20 am

    Love the new theme.. You’re right.. It is lighter, airy and so cool.. Am one of those who loves change and this is definitely a welcome one. Am sure the kinks will get ironed out and soon, NJFM will be a moneymaker:-)

    Blessings and best wishes
    .-= prerna´s last blog ..Book Review: Of Wooing, Woes and Wanderings by Amitabha Chatterjee =-.

  • Crystal March 27, 2010, 11:41 am

    OMG! I just tried to submit the longest rambling detailed comment and got a 404 and now it’s gone! So short version – On posts with lots of comments, there appears to be no way to navigate forward on comments once you opt to read previous comments. Any solution?
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..Care to Make Homemade Bread? =-.

    • Felicia March 27, 2010, 11:50 am

      Crystal, I’m not so sure I understand what happened. Send me an email and maybe I’ll be able to figure it out.


      UPDATE: I see what you’re talking about Crystal. I’ll go back under the hood to see if I can rectify the problem. Hmmm, looks like you’re going to have to use your browser’s “Back” button until I can figure it out.

  • Crystal March 27, 2010, 11:26 pm

    Ok Felicia – The funny thing is, the back button never even crossed my mind! Duh. You’d think I was a web newbie:)
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..Care to Make Homemade Bread? =-.

  • Julie-Inspired to Write June 24, 2010, 10:46 pm

    Hey, I decided to make the “Thesis / WP Switch” It is still in the early design stages. It was a LOT Of work because I was on blogger. So I had to the whole host thing, etc. But, it should be good to go in a few days! I will have to look at your Smart Ads plugin… I love the way your ads are…

    • Felicia June 25, 2010, 7:13 am

      Julie, it’s a lot of work up front, but its worth it in the long run. There’s so much more flexibility.

      The other plugin I’d recommend is Thesis OpenHook. It’ helps when you want to make design changes without having to go into the editor each time to modify the code.

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