Suggestions Welcomed

Among the various challenges Ate Up With Motor faces in the new year is that I need to find a different WordPress theme, as the one I’ve been using since 2020 is apparently no longer being updated. If anyone has any suggestions of non-premium WordPress themes that (a) would allow me to retain something close to the current layout, (b) are reasonably suitable for current mobile devices, and — crucially — (c) don’t rely on external resources like Google Hosted Libraries, I would be eager to hear them.

(I won’t voluntarily use Google Fonts, but I’m particularly nervous about themes that rely on CDN-hosted scripts, which are harder to remove. Google Fonts can be replaced through a child theme style sheet if the theme’s structure isn’t too cumbersome — it’s notably easier in some themes than others — but switching scripts and icon sets from embedded to local resources can require recreating half of the damned theme, which is troublesome.)

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  1. Aaron, the freebie WordPress template that I’ve had the most success with is Twenty Fourteen. It has a magazine-style front page that can highlight older content in addition to the latest postings.

    The problem with the non-premium templates is that they lack some really useful features. If up-front cost is the big barrier, I’d be happy to make a donation to help you get there. I imagine others would as well.

    You deserve to have a website template that matches the caliber of your writing and makes production easier.

    1. I’m wary of the annual WordPress default themes because they have quite a laissez-faire attitude toward the use of externally served third-party content, in particularly Google Fonts. As I noted, I’m particularly nervous about themes that use external hosted libraries for scripts or icons, which are hard to get rid of.

      I’m reluctant to buy a premium theme for a couple of reasons, although the cost of doing so would probably be a justifiable business expense. The first is that I have to be able to maintain and tinker with the theme myself to suit my requirements. Free themes from WordPress.org are GPL-licensed, so that’s not an issue as long as one abides by the license requirements, but it may not be the case with proprietary theme code. The second is that, given the privacy regulation issues, open source tools are, by definition, transparent. Some developers are notably more helpful than others about explaining or identifying specific features, but the option always exists to inspect the code to make sure it’s not doing anything I’m not comfortable with and remove or disable those functions if I so choose. Closed-source premium software doesn’t necessarily permit that, and given the invasiveness of software companies like Microsoft, that’s risky, especially since laws like California’s put individual site operators or business owners on the hook for their service providers’ practices.

      One I’m considering is Miniva, specifically because it advertises limited resource use. I’d have to set up a sandbox site to see whether the basic features would be adequate for me or not. (I don’t use WooCommerce and am not enamored of sliders, but if the basic version doesn’t allow modifying footer text or setting footer widgets, that would probably be a dealbreaker.)

      I’m actually quite fond of Frontier, the current theme, which provides lots of out-of-the-box flexibility. Unfortunately, it’s apparently no longer supported. I’m not sure why, although with open source software in general, it’s not uncommon for developers to abandon a project if they no longer have time for it.

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