Time for a blogging rant. On my blog. Or whatever it is these days.
First off, WordPress began pushing this Gutenberg Editor thing a couple of years ago, which means all your posts are in “blocks” and you don’t quite have the same design freedom as before. It’s clunky to use and not very forgiving, and a lot of WP users hate it. But WP has made it clear that this is the future, so we should just shut up and get used to it. OK, fine. At least they still let you use the Classic Editor if you really have to (until they disable it).
So today I’m looking at my site and thinking it needs a new theme. It’s just too…dated. And boxy. And flat. Naturally the first thing I do is go check out the WP themes and see if there are any decent-looking ones that don’t cost a fortune, only to find out that the number of themes is way smaller than it used to be. WTF? So I hop over to Google and search on “what happened to all the wordpress themes”, and I find a post on some web design company’s site that explains what’s going on.
In a nutshell, WP is trying to wean people away from themes so they’ll use Gutenberg exclusively for everything that goes on their sites. Ummm…whut? The post explains that many users are now using “page-building” tools (Elementor, Seedprod, Beaver Builder, etc.) to make everything drag-and-drop simple, which actually appeals to me.
So I explored a few of these and got excited about the possibilities. Then I discovered that nearly all of them won’t just let you buy the plug-ins outright, ohhh no. They want you to pay yearly. Because of course they do.
Look, I already pay $99/year for a WP account that I don’t use nearly enough. On top of that, I’m expected to pay $40-100 yearly just for a plugin that makes WP more user-friendly? Something I’ll use only for a short time and then rarely touch again once I get things looking the way I want? Nope.
Luckily I did find one that has a free option. It gives you access to 20 templates and some other stuff through a free plugin. I thought, “Maybe this would be enough for me. Let’s do it!” So I created an account, tried to connect it to my WP site, and…nothing. WTF?
That’s when it hit me: my $99 WP account doesn’t allow plugins…unless I upgrade to a Business account. For $300/year.
Are you shitting me, WP? Seriously?
I’ve been on WordPress for 11 years. At first I hosted the site myself, which allowed me to use spam-catching plugins (and whatever other plugins I wanted), but it eventually became such a spam nightmare that after 6 years I migrated it to wordpress.com where things have been running extremely smoothly. I didn’t need those spam-killing plugins because wordpress.com did such a great job of it. I did have to start paying the yearly fee for the privilege of having a custom theme, because I usually like things looking a certain way, but it’s been worth it.
But now I feel like reverting back to a free account with a shitty, basic theme, because if themes are to be phased out completely at some point (which seems to be WP’s goal), why pay $99/year? It also makes me question if I should even worry about a theme these days, with so many people being exclusively on social media and rarely venturing out into the dusty old world of blogs.
Another thing that just occurred to me: should I even care what my site looks like, if it has nothing to sell and is just a bunch of text and pictures? 25 years ago I’d spend hours designing my own graphics and tweaking the HTML to make the site look exactly how I wanted, but these days I don’t have the time or energy for all that. Maybe I’m just getting old and need to relax about all that stuff!
Bleh. I’ll figure something out. 🙂