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Blogging Life

Blog Meltdown

For the first time in 7 years, I was looking for a new theme.

I must’ve done something to anger the computer gremlins, because this week was IT havoc at my place.

First,I spilled half a glass of water on my work laptop while it was plugged in to recharge. At the speed of lightning, I rushed to lift the laptop up, rip the plug out and turn the computer upside down. Then I shut it down. After speaking with our helpdesk, they told me that was all that could be done. I waited two days for it to dry, and then cautiously tried turning it on again. It worked, disaster averted!

Meanwhile, the same evening, all of the widgets disappeared from my blog. Panic ensued. I worked on it for hours and nothing good happened. The admin was impossible to use: everything was just white with no preview, and the move and update buttons didn’t work.

Sceenshot from the old theme. Even follow widgets have become legacy items!

Luckily, Amanda and Graham came to the rescue by suggesting I change themes (thank you). It turned out, they were right. My theme was so old it had quietly and unceremoniously retired.

For the first time in 7 years, I was looking for a new theme. Perhaps it was time I updated the site anyway. As criteria, I selected compatibility with block editing because surprise: widgets are now blocks, too (yay)! As a result, the blog no longer looks how I want it to look, but at least it’s there. I just want it to work – I don’t have time to keep fixing it.

But that wasn’t the end of my tech problems: the new theme’s widgets started disappearing, too! Just when I had finished setting up everything, in the blink of an eye they were all gone again! No amount of updating and saving could keep them in place. Again, hours and hours of my precious time was wasted fixing the same things repeatedly, and – another first in my 7 years of blogging – my frustration had grown to the level that I was ready to completely delete my blog, once and for all.

Ushuaia, 2014

What finally helped was coming, by trial and error, to the educated guess that my widget admin must be bug-ridden and I needed to avoid going there at all costs. Once I simply stuck to the customizer, the widgets seemed to stay where I’d put them.

I’m sure the gremlins were having a blast this week but for me, it was a tad exhausting.

Summary: if you have widget problems: 1) Check your theme, and 2) Use the customizer!

86 replies on “Blog Meltdown”

Good idea to avoid widgets if you can! …but then things like follow button options are widgets, too… I used widgets quite a lot on my old theme to highlight my best posts, since my blog moonlights as my work portfolio with writing samples. Without widgets, the free blog doesn’t offer that many options for navigation. I’ve noticed people rarely explore the menus up top. But hey, thanks for reading and commenting! 😋

Liked by 2 people

Nice big photo, yeah! But only one! I’m in love with your new layout. But yes, blogging should be fun, and you don’t have time to fiddle with new themes and disappearing widgets. I’m glad you didn’t delete it all. And I wonder how long my five previous blogs will hold together. I suppose their themes will eventually be retired too… Good luck and more photos, please! 🙂

Liked by 5 people

Thanks, Manja! With these big photos comes a bit of stress because now I really have to choose carefully which pic to select as the featured one. And it cannot be the same photo that is first used in thw blog post, because then it displays it twice in row, in a silly way… 🤪📷

Liked by 2 people

Ahh good to know! I have been having a bit of difficulty dragging photos to the imaging block. It goes every other place it shouldn’t or non place at all. Keep having to upload over and over until it finally works. Not sure if WordPress changed or my Mac. But I feel your pain!

Liked by 4 people

You have just terrified me – the theme I use for my blog is no longer available, probably because it doesn’t work with the block editor. I changed themes on my two smaller blogs but was unwilling to change the theme on my travel blog, especially with over 1400 published posts. So far it works but who knows when it will stop.

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My goodness, you have a lot of posts! How long have you been blogging? I just checked: I have 611 posts and that’s 7 years! Half of your amount!
But yeah, I know what you mean. It’s nerve-racking! I already noticed some of my older posts’ layout got mixed up but not all of them. Oh well, finding old posts is quite hard and they don’t get much traffic so maybe it doesn’t matter. Changing themes is a good way to get rid of perfectionism!

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That must be why I don’t have any issues with the widgets I am a bit addicted to the customiser! I am currently playing around with background wallpaper. Fun.
Hope the problems are sorted now. Good on you for being so persistent. WordPress keep pulling that rug out from under us and I don’t think it is only just the free plans.

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Happy to hear the customizer is working for you so well that you’re addicted! That gives me hope! 😅 And yeah, one thing holding me back from upgrading to a premium plan is uncertainty. Will it be better? Worth paying for? I’m still not conviced. Overall, I waa very happy with the free blogging experience until the block editor was forced on us… my photo work flow got slower as they removed in-app editing, too, etc etc… Anyway, still hanging in there! Here’s to smooth blogging!!

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I still debate about paying for a blog and there has been posts and discussions on my blog about it. Removing ads and more storage is the only real advantages for me but the ads aren’t always there and I have solved the storage issue. Plus you then have to do your own backups and manage plugins with paid plans. I don’t want to have to do that.

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Thanks, I’m happy to hear my blog is okay! At least the font is quite large now and it’s much simpler! I read somewhere, while researching all this, that widgets are ”so last season” and they are going to be a part of the block post editor. I wonder how that’ll work. Or maybe this is it already?

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Glad things have settled down for you. I think your blog looks fine and, by the way, I want that car and I want to get it running without changing a thing about its appearance. It would be a perfect Hawaii car!

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Thanks, dear friend! I have to agree in the theme choosing: I was expecting to find one I loved, but they were all very similar and ”blah”. They didn’t even display their year, to let us guess how long they will be functioning well, so I went with the Twenty Twenty theme because at least the name tells that it’s pretty recent! 😆

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The danger of looking for a new theme is that I’ll fall down THAT rabbit hole, and that’s even before we get to customisation. I do sometimes consider giving my site a makeover, but the amount of work involved just stops me right in my tracks, lol.

Liked by 1 person

I so struggle with all the updates in WordPress that I keep it as simple as possible, never tinkering with it. Even when writing a post, I use good old Microsoft Word and then copy it here for the blocks have me at a state of permanent mental-block and everything seems chock-a-block.

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Block editor = mental block, hahah! I get you! Although sometimes copypasted text gets formatted weirdly: does copying from Word work for you? It sure does aound like a nicer writing experience. Sometimes, when I’m just in the middle of a nice writing flow, all of those block problems interrupt me and I lose train of thought…

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It has been working fine so far. The paragraphs do get converted to blocks again but I find it easier to edit them then adding one block at a time.
Oh I get it. I started with much gusto writing directly on WordPress and realised, No Sir, it ain’t happening.

Liked by 1 person

I’ve been super stressed about the war. People on WP are posting away like nothing is happening. In Finland, we feel we are under direct threat and have heard it from Russians, Americans etc. A nuclear third world war is really on our doorstep. It’s quite incredible.
Take care! 🇺🇦

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…The Russians are now shooting and killing children. Who does that?! I have no words. Also just watched footage of the attack on the nuclear plant where workers warned the shooters, “Stop shooting, you are endangering the entire world, stop shooting”. How people can continue life in “business as usual” style is beyond me.

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Part of it is a concept Io once invented for Coca-Cola, in a study I did for them on consumer behaviour after a major economic crisis we had had here. After a while, consumers “went back to normal”. Client (Coke) asked why… I was standing in front of senior management. Had no idea why. Then it hit me. And I told them: “It’s the Beyruth effect”
“What?”
“Yeah. After a while, during the Civil War in Lebanon, people got used to it, and still had to go out and buy groceries…”
What we have here is a combination of the Beyruth effect and “Me? I doesn’t affect me.”
(Until the bombs start falling right?)

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