At the risk of stating the obvious, I’m been blogging on WordPress for well over a year. This means that over the 12 months or so, I’ve played around with different WordPress themes. Themes in WP help you change the look and feel of your website and can add personality to your website. Each of the themes I’ve “tried” are free within WordPress. When you experiment with different themes, you see the usual reminder to help support the author or developer by donating money (if you use their theme).
I certainly understand this request. They have put much time, creativity and knowledge into this product, they are providing a platform by which bloggers or website owners can give back to the developer — hoping a certain percentage of theme users will oblige.
Having “tried on” several different themes this year, I’ve experienced different issues with each of these themes. Some themes give me a lot of flexibility with the entire website except I can’t customize the top portion of the screen or I can’t get rid of an unwanted titlebar. Other themes are easy to use but have limited functionality – you can’t add tags or photos to your post. The last time I switched themes, I lost functionality between a draft post and pending one – not good. Early on, I fell in love with this one theme except I was unable to add a my picture to the header area – it wasn’t until I hired a developer who updated my CSS file and others (and charged me $75) before my picture was where I wanted.
What’s my point? I would like to use a theme where all basic functionality works well. Make it easy to add pictures to my post. Allow me to shuffle around different sections without much HTML or CSS knowledge. Design the theme in such a way where I can add tags to the post and schedule the post to be published at a future date so I can move on to other tasks. If you include basic functionality regardless of the theme, I’m much more in a giving mood.
Having said that, overall, I consider myself a fair and giving person. I often give away food or bottled water to panhandlers on the Chicago streets who really appear to need added substance to their diet. Regarding street musicians or public performers, I’m very cognizant of giving them my spare change or a dollar or two even if I don’t stay around long enough to enjoy it. When a waiter or waitress excels at their craft, I’ll provide two generous tips: one in cash and the other a public compliment. So in my mind, it’s not an issue that I’m resisting giving some money voluntarily. It’s all about the value proposition. If there’s real value without too much work, voluntary contributions (with a little nudge) are much more likely.