I take a bunch of pictures – I mean a ton!  In the last 32 years of marriage and family life, I have logged over 25,000 pictures either in film format (now digitally scanned) or straight digital.  I am no photographer.  I just like to document my family and the adventures we have taken.  Every holiday, birthday, vacation and even many boring day-to-day events are often documented in some way. Rarely a day goes by without me taking out my phone to document our life.  I often get teased about taking so many pictures until someone needs a copy of one of my pictures.  The pictures used to contain just my wife and me, then the kids came along and then we got a dog…goodness, my dog has a voluminous album all her own!  Then, we had grandkids and the floodgates opened.  Thank goodness one can purchase storage when the free allotment runs out (which it did 4 years ago!).  One of my favorite pictures is our annual Christmas Eve Staircase picture.  Over the years the picture has grown as our family has grown.  I choose a theme every year and surprise my people with new matching themed jammie shirts on Christmas Eve. This year the theme was our favorite condiments.  But in the past, it has ranged from matching colors to favorite sports teams, to even favorite convenience stores :). Then we snap a picture on the staircase.  It is always hectic to get this picture taken. With everyone trying not to blink, hold still, stay in the picture, etc. it is quite the production.  Now with remote snapping, it is a little easier.  Every year it has become a joke that I take this tradition too seriously…until last year when I threatened not to do the picture.  Everyone suddenly became concerned and it was almost mutiny at my house with the thought of not taking “the staircase picture.”  I was only kidding and much to the relief of my family, we took the picture.  Last year my daughter could not be in the picture and she was missed.  The picture was good, but not the same with our girl missing.  But now we have grandkids to fill our stairs!  The final take came out nice, but I am posting one with a little more chaos as this one shows the true picture behind the picture.

Why tell you about my picture obsession and what does this have to do with my blogging journey?  Well, everything.  You see, when one chooses a blog format, one chooses a picture of how it will look.  I use WordPress as my blog host.  Within WordPress, there are many “themes.”  That’s a fancy way of saying there are many choices as to how your blog will look.  Some are elaborate, some are plain and most are in the middle.  A theme is an application created by an individual and/or company to support how the blog looks and feels to your reader.  Each of these themes have a lot of options on how it will eventually be presented.  Choosing a theme is like choosing a good “take” of a picture.  You must look at many to get the one that represents your brand well. Also, you must pick one that will grow as you have a lot to say.  Just like a family may grow over the years, a blog may grow with information.  Sometimes, your blog will be missing a component that is necessary (like my daughter not in the picture this year), but one must persist and post the blog to be consistent and successful.  I chose one that is rather simple in nature.  I like it and I hope it resonates with my readers.

Below are some thoughts in picking a theme within your blog host:

Identify Your Blog’s Purpose: Determine what your blog will be about and who your target audience is. This will help you narrow down themes that align with your content and audience preferences.
Browse Themes: Explore the Blog Host Theme Directory or third-party theme marketplaces to find themes that match your blog’s niche and style preferences. You can filter themes based on features, layout, color scheme, etc.
Consider Features: Think about the features you need for your blog, such as responsive design, customization options, support for multimedia content, etc. Choose a theme that offers the features you require.
Check Reviews and Ratings: Read reviews and ratings from other users to get an idea of the theme’s quality, reliability, and level of support from the developer.
Preview and Test: Before making a final decision, preview the themes you’re interested in to see how they look and function. Some themes may offer live demos or screenshots to help you visualize your blog with that theme.
Budget: Consider your budget when choosing a theme. While there are many free themes available, premium themes often offer more advanced features and support.
Mobile Responsiveness: With the increasing use of smartphones and tablets, it’s essential to choose a theme that is mobile responsive. This ensures that your blog will look and function well on various devices and screen sizes.
Flexibility and Scalability: Consider the flexibility and scalability of the theme. Choose a theme that allows you to grow your blog over time by adding new features, customizing layouts, and integrating with third-party tools and plugins.
Security: Prioritize security when choosing a theme. Opt for themes in blog hosts from reputable developers who follow security coding standards and regularly update their themes to patch security vulnerabilities.
Future Updates and Development: Check the theme developer’s track record for providing regular updates and ongoing development. Themes that receive frequent updates are more likely to stay compatible with the latest blog host (such as WordPress) version and security standards.

Once you’ve considered these factors, you can choose a theme that best suits your blog’s needs and goals.  If you ever blog, and I encourage you to do so, choosing a theme is a great way to connect with your audience and a great way to get your story out.

“Writing is the painting of the voice.” – Voltaire

 “Don’t be a writer; be writing.” – William Faulkner

And, as usual, a few BAD dad jokes:

Why did the picture go to jail? Because it was framed!

Why did the smartphone go to therapy? Because it had too many selfie-esteem issues!

Until next time, STAY FRESH, friends!


28 thoughts on “Staircases”

  1. Funny how what you thought went unnoticed was held in high esteem by your family! Now you’ve branched out to show on your blog and by extension, the world, your skills! Do you use a camera other than your phone?

    1. hi Kate – Your comments are so nice and kind! For right now I only use my phone camera but may upgrade to a better version of equipment soon as I get deeper and deeper in this “obsession” of mine. Thanks for your visit and hope your week is productive!

  2. Warning…. never move to a bungalow!

    Great synergy between photos and a blog, I love it. I too take loads of photos, some good and some bad, but the great thing is that with digital you can just ditch the bad.

    Like wise with setting up a theme, with the free version you can experiment, keep the good and ditch the bad.

    1. I agree, I opted for the free version and may be converting to the paid soon as I discover more and more benefits from my theme. For now, I am content to master this version and move forward. Thanks for your comments and visit!

  3. Ernie, I love your picture behind the picture. What a great idea to give some guidance as to picking a theme for one’s blog.

    As for me and my pictures…I don’t know how I do it – but the effect is consistent. Back in the day before we had our phone to use as a camera – my pictures typically came out blurry. And ya know what? I can still consistently do that – even with all the auto-focussing that goes on lol.

    The best thing for your readers to keep in mind…A picture is worth a thousand words!

    Keep up the great work, Ernie.

    1. Yes! Great perspective. A picture is really worth a thousand words and often priceless! Even blurry, it still documents the moment. Thanks for your visit and hope all is well!

  4. Your family is beautiful! I really enjoyed how you broke down the steps of building out a blog; mobile responsiveness is really important to keep in mind, and I appreciate the tip. I am also an excessive photo taker (lol). I feel like I need to document everything or I will forget it. I often look back on the memories and really enjoy it when my phone makes random albums and sends them to me. Life is all about these amazing moments!

    1. It sounds like we are a lot alike! I appreciate your comments and visit to my blog. I am just starting out and have a lot to learn. I have visited your blog and TT and have a lot to gain from your expertise. I appreciate all you do to bring value to this community.

  5. Hi Ernie,
    I love the picture of your family.. That is priceless! I like how you related your family picture to your picking out a theme. It’s so true though. I had such a problem picking out my theme when I did my website. Great job with laying out the steps of setting up a website, and picking your theme. You gave a lot of good information on what to look for. I look forward to your next post.

  6. Hi Ernie,

    I can only imagine how much storage space you have on your phone, or how many times you need to move it to your computer. hahaha… Beautiful family, and I can relate to what you are saying. Funny how everyone complains, yet they all still love the tradition too.

    Put more pictures in your blogs.. Would love to see them.


    1. Storage – that is what I need! I keep filling up my hard drive on my computer and the space on my phone! 🙂 Yes, I am glad to get and pay for more as I treasure every memory. Thanks for your visit and here’s to a productive week for the both of us!

  7. Hi Ernie,
    I to like photography and maybe it would be good if we used more of our own images on our websites. I think it was such a good idea of yours to do an annual family photo on your stairs. If your family grows considerably you might need a bigger staircase!
    Everyone has a unique writing style and there were some good thoughts on choosing a theme for a website. It is nice to see a few jokes at the end of your blog to make you smile.
    Cheers Regina

  8. Hi, Ernie!
    Your growing family is lovely!
    I like your list of things to consider before choosing a theme.
    I’d love to see a family pic alongside your dad jokes each week.

    1. Hi Nakina – That’s an interesting idea to include a picture of the family with my blog. My people know me as the jokester and I embrace that title! Thanks for your visit and hope you are well!

  9. Ernie,
    I absolutely love your tradition of taking the same picture every year! It’s so endearing. Like you, I’m also the designated family photographer. Whenever there’s a gathering, I’m snapping away for any and every reason. I’m all about printing and gifting photos, whether it’s in an album, calendar, or collage. Thanks a bunch for sharing your insights on choosing a blog theme—they’re super helpful! And those Dad jokes? Always appreciated!

    1. Hi Sherri – Traditions are so very important to me. Creating memories from those traditions in taking pictures is one way to preserve those traditions. And, glad you like my weird sense of humor! 🙂 Thanks for your visit!

  10. Ernie,
    I really enjoyed your blog post! Picking out a theme is an enormously important part of representing your blog. It’s great how you incorporated it with your photos and family traditions. Always good to read another one’s perspective!

  11. Awesome stuff Ernie! I love your story about the family and the the amazing staircase pictures. I love all your great points on the correct choosing of a theme, and the reasons behind it. And seeing the chaos as you try and get your picture done is alot like all of us trying to get our businesses up and going! I really enjoyed this Ernie.Keep up the great work.And some day soon, we need to grab some lunch or a beer since we are neighbors!

    1. Thanks, Jim! YES! Let’s grab a bite soon to share our learnings in person! I am still new, but eager and have a lot of anticipation of success! Thanks for your visit and I look forward to chatting with you soon.

  12. Ernie,

    Building a blog can be a bit of a challenge. As you’ve pointed out there are a lot of moving parts to it. The good thing is there are tons of YouTube videos on how to use WordPress to create a blog. If that still intimidates a person, one can go on Fiver and hire someone to do it for very inexpensive.

    This is information is of great value to your readers.

    Enjoyed the couple laughs.

    1. Hi CJ! Great to see you on the blog! I really do overthink things but yes, it was a challenge. I wish I would have utilized YouTube more as a resource. Hope you are well!

  13. Your passion for capturing life’s moments through photography, documenting everything from the daily mundane to significant milestones, is genuinely inspiring.

    Choosing the right theme for your blog, much like selecting the perfect backdrop for your family’s annual Christmas Eve Staircase picture, is crucial in telling your story effectively.

    Your journey from a dedicated capturer of family memories to a blogger shows the importance of presentation, whether in a photo album or a blog layout.

  14. Ernie, my BFF, you know I grow to love your stories each and every week. This one is no different. Your family sounds fun… and your love for taking pictures sounds a lot like myself. I haven’t quite taken as many as you but I am definitely the one in my family who will have a picture taken at our family gatherings. Like you said.. they all can “him and haw” and roll their eyes when it comes times, but then you become oddly popular when they all of a sudden need a picture! Funny how that happens…
    I love how you relate this to picking out your blog theme. I can see the similarity in the two stories and I love the comparison you make. I wish I had read something like this when I was in the blog-picking stage of my business, it would have been super helpful!

    1. Yes, we are a lot of fun and I can see you share the same idea of fun as me. 🙂 I took a long time to pick my theme, but as I continue to mention and identify, I really overthink things. Thanks for your continued visits to my blog and I am happy to maintain our friendship over this blog and our shared mentor in Dean. Hope you week is productive and fulfilling!

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