gen-x chronicles

this is why people quit wordpress

4/4/22

I tried using a default WordPress theme; that was a mistake.

The most insanely aggravating thing about WordPress is unquestionably trying to customize it.

"But WordPress is customizable!", you may say.

Heh. Yeah, right.

Here are a few things you can try. You'll fail, but you can try anyway.

Using any theme, try removing the author link. No, no.. don't go cheating by using a plugin that's certain to break in a year. Try to simply remove the author link from articles. You know, like as if you were running a business where showing author links isn't required. Ah, so you tried "widget customization". Aaaaand you spent about a half-hour only to find out it's not possible to do there. You can't do it.

Now try removing the categories link. No, not tags. Categories. Yeah, that antequated worthless mid-2000s thing WordPress still likes to put in every installation. You might have been successful removing the author link with some code editing, but categories? HAHAHAHA... no. Good luck finding out how WP shoves that link everywhere in a theme that you don't even want. You won't.

Here's something really crazy you can try: Turn off all the ugly font styling in a theme. You've seen how some fonts are HUGE and some are tiny and look terrible. You did some editing, and just when you think you got it right - UH-OH - you tried an H3 tag and it's HUGE again... where is that setting to change that? Okay, okay... after a lot of digging, found that. But UH-OH, what the hell is with all that "curly quote" crap? How do you turn THAT off? You can't...

...unless you code your own theme 100% from scratch.

At the time I write this, I have a very "ugly" theme, but at least I have 100% control over its look.

In reality, a WP theme only needs 7 files. Stylesheet, functions, header, footer, index, page, post. That's it. Maybe 8 if you want a search results page.

Each one of these files, all editable with any text editor, are really small and really easy to understand when you remove all the garbage. It's also much easier to add things in like Google AdSense or Google Analytics when you can just copy/paste in some code and place it accordingly.

Years ago, I tried downloading a theme in which the author said it was "raw", meaning there was absolutely nothing in it and you could style it yourself. That guy was a liar, because I found styled crap in there. He just couldn't resist. After that, I started making barebones themes myself.

I did try the latest 2022 theme with this WP install. It did look promising at first, but then the "you can't do that" crap started rearing its ugly head once again. And believe me, the crap that goes on in WP is not just limited to theme modification. In the Classic Editor, the stupid thing forces you to use Consolas as the font in the plain text editor unless you know how to get it back, which I do.

I would use another content management system, but I know enough about WP to where I can at least disable all the crap to make it tolerable to use. There's a file I keep on my computer called "wordpress crap.txt" where I list all the stuff I need to do for either a new install of WP or for when an upgade comes down the pike.

My advice to anybody that wants to quit WordPress

Try the Generic theme before you throw in the towel. It's not raw but styled in a way that is minimal on needless junk.

If you're willing to code, go get Notepad++ (very good free text editor for Windows) and read over Beginner’s Guide: How to Create a WordPress Theme. That how-to does cover the basics of how to construct a very simple theme that you can mod yourself.

Consider alternatives to WordPress.

Consider social media. Some people are fine just having their main web presence as a YouTube channel, Facebook group, Instagram profile, Twitter profile or whatever, and having their e-commerce hosted elsewhere like Etsy or eBay and just link to it.

If WP is too much of a bear, try something else. You have options.

gen-x chronicles