Transformation to a News Portal

Two days ago, I stumbled upon Just Free Themes which had a few news themes that looked not only pleasing to the eye but functional. For a while, I had been thinking of replacing the Guideline Pro theme that I bought from Zylo Themes. It was a beautiful theme but did not give the functionality that I wanted. I wanted a theme that would do the following:

  • make my website look like a news portal
  • allow me to highlight and/or feature old and popular posts on the homepage, as well as the latest posts
  • allow me to have sections on the homepage, displaying the latest posts from each category

In other words, I wanted a theme that places the focus on the content, which will help first time visitors in particular see what’s on offer immediately without having to navigate the site for a few minutes first. None of the themes that I already owned (from Visualmodo and was suitable and so I had to look elsewhere. I considered buying the Twenty Minutes news theme from Zylo Themes (designer of the Guideline Pro theme). It was the cheapest premium news theme that I could find – the others cost up to $99.

I finally settled on a free alternative: the aptly named News Portal theme by Mystery Themes which was on the Just Free Themes website. The theme allowed me to do everything I wanted … and more. Not only that, it made my website look beautiful and professional. I had many happy hours customising the theme and making the site look exactly how I wanted it to look. I congratulated myself for having the restraint of not buying the Twenty Minutes theme.

Disaster One

But then, disaster struck. To fine tune my beautiful new site, I tried installing the Easy Google Fonts plug-in … only to corrupt certain files of the News Portal theme. As a result, I could no longer access my site. I did not know then that it was the plug-in that caused the problem. I instinctively blamed Dragify and once again rued the day I was foolish enough to sign up to their lifetime hosting. As usual, the support reps I contacted were not very helpful. They only told me what I already knew (that my website was offline because of files getting corrupted) – they fully expected me to fix the problem myself. I’m sure it would have been quite easy and quick to fix it from their end but it felt like they wanted to stretch out the situation for as long as they could.

This morning, I decided that I had enough and to call a spade a spade. It was time to just treat Dragify as a fable with the moral “you get what you pay for” and move on. And so I migrated my website to Namecheap. I went for their  Stellar Plus hosting package with unlimited webspace, bandwidth, databases, websites, etc. And all for £3.50 per month.

Disaster Two

I know what you’re thinking: you get what you pay for. The Stellar Plus package does sound too good to be true but I did thorough research before signing up for it. In any case, there was a 30-day money back guarantee which was reassuring. In less than 30 minutes, I had relaunched You BET! and I was thrilled … but then the same disaster struck. Once again, I tried installing Easy Google Fonts and once again, my website crashed.

I felt guilty as well as frustrated. I felt guilty because I realised then that Dragify were not to blame for the first disaster. Neither was the plug-in to blame. It turned out that it was the free News Portal theme that was the problem. Somehow, it was “allergic” to Easy Google Fonts. Happily, the tech support guy from Namecheap was very efficient. Once he knew what had happened, he managed to get my site up and running again within minutes. What a difference from the Dragify experience! My guilt evaporated. I may have wrongly blamed Dragify, but it was still worth ditching them for the superior service that Namecheap was giving me.

A Happy Ending

Not desiring a third disaster, I decided to ditch the News Portal theme too, much as I had liked it. I will think twice about using a free theme not officially endorsed by WordPress from now on. Reminding myself that you get what you pay for, I decided that the safest course of action was to buy the Twenty Minutes theme after all. I did, installed it, customised it, and my website was beautiful again.

So, welcome to the new You BET!

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  1. Happy to be with Namecheap – You BET!

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