Blog Beautification Program Using Thesis 2.0

This blog kind of sucks right now.  No pictures, the colors aren’t really what I want, but what matters is the content, right?  Yeah, that could use some work too.

But, I’m excited because I’m learning something new!  Thesis 2.0 and I am in love.

I’m in love because anything new and challenging is fun for me (that might also explain why I start things and then later stop when the initial wave of newness is over).  When people start reading it, my excitement might wane and turn to anxiety, but right now I’m still young and naive.

Anyway, back to Thesis 2.0.  I have been known to browse WordPress Themes for hours trying to find just the right one.  My first ever encounter with WordPress and Themes was the Mr. Money Mustache blog and while I’ve grown to love the look and feel of the site, it has been criticized by some as being amateurish in design and even ugly (gasp!).  Well, we’re still new at this blogging thing and still learning.  What I’ve learned is that I want to have control over everything in a theme without having to get bogged down in all that PHP code.  While I’ve learned how to tweak things in the code, it’s still not a great way to customize a theme.  That’s when I found Thesis.

Many bloggers use Thesis and rave about it, but with my aversion for buying things that cost more than $40, I found it difficult to pay the hefty $87 price tag.  As the MMM blog started making a bit more money, it made sense to at least try it out.  After all, they have a 30-day money back guarantee.

By the time I got around to actually buying Thesis, it had become Thesis 2.0.  Many people whined that it was extremely difficult to upgrade their existing Thesis site to Thesis 2.0.  They also complained that it was totally different, but so was the iPhone, right?  Maybe Thesis 2.0 is simply revolutionary.  I think the Thesis folks are on to something pretty awesome here, so I plunged right in and started playing around with the Thesis controls.  After about an hour, I realized I didn’t know what the heck I was doing.  So, I naturally turned to the Internet and found 2 great (free!) tutorials for Thesis 2.0 that I’d like to share with all you budding bloggers out there.

Tutorial 1 – Build Your Own Business

The first set of Tutorials I found were on the Build Your Own Business Website.  There are 10 parts to this free tutorial starting here:

http://www.byobwebsite.com/10/video-tutorials/how-to-build-a-website/using-thesis-theme/thesis-2-0-launch-party-video-replay/

These videos give a great introduction to Thesis 2.0 and how to customize the Thesis Classic Skin.  I went through every single video and was able to get my test site looking pretty good.   But, somehow I still didn’t really understand what was going on.  The reason is that when using the Classic Skin, much of the framework is already built in, so you don’t get to see how those parts are built.

Tutorial 2 – Thesis Video Tutorials

That’s when I turned to this second great set of Tutorials by Amelia at Thesis Video Tutorials.  After going through nearly the entire Tutorial, I started to think of Amelia as an old friend.  She has a very extensive set of free videos that starts from a Blank Thesis theme.  As she mentions, she thinks this is the best way to learn about Thesis 2.0 and she’s right.  Her videos are here:

http://thesisvideotutorials.com

Both sets of Tutorials take a blank site and convert it into a nice looking site.  Each step is explained carefully (particularly in Amelia’s tutorials) and you always know what the end product that you’re striving for looks like.

Now I’m armed with all this knowledge, but I’m still a bit paralyzed with this blog.  Part of my issue is that I’m not a graphic designer, so anything needing images will have to be made by me and will likely be mediocre.  I have a do-it-yourself and learn-it-yourself mentality, which serves me well in the long run, but causes me to be a bit slow going at the beginning.

For now, I just wanted to pass on these great resources.  My blogging future with Thesis is starting to look a little brighter.

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