Pro vs. Free WordPress

I promised to share my experience switching from the WP Premium to the Pro plan. As I shared earlier last week, WP has done away with the majority of plans, leaving only the free plan and WP Pro plan to choose from.

Check out this page for the comparison details. The free plan gives you limited storage and limited selections for themes. There are FSE themes and you can learn more about FSE themes HERE.

The Pro plan keeps you on wordpress.com. You have a domain name and the functionality of plugins and a plethora of themes to choose from.

If you decide to upgrade from free to WP Pro, select a theme that is easy to work with. The first theme I chose was too busy, and I didn’t have enough commenting capabilities. I switched to the Astra theme, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve used Astra before, on the old business plan, but this plan is so much better. For $180 a year, it’s totally worth the upgrade.

I had so many issues on WP the last few years with the themes. Things would quit working and I had to switch several times. I don’t have evidence to back this up, but I believe the old themes are going away. Everything I’ve read points to the FSE themes as the future of WP blogging. The theme creators are working diligently to keep their themes up to date with the latest changes. By the way, Astra works like the themes we’re all used to on WP.com.

That’s why many of the theme makers have embraced Gutenberg and the block system. The Astra theme has integrated so many outstanding features in the free version of the theme. I can change colors and the fonts, which are not available in most of the free wp.org themes. I also could use CSS codes to add some additional colors to the theme. My only issue is the centering of images. I’ll have to contact WP for help with the CSS code for that issue.

You can buy a lifetime license for the Astra theme for $249.00. Otherwise, pay a yearly fee to upgrade to Astra Professional version. Right now, I’ll stay with the free version of Astra. Do your research before selecting a theme. Check out the themes on WP.org HERE.

I also took advantage of the plugin called MailPoet which integrates with WP and my blog. I’ve got a new sign up form on the blog and will continue to email each week after the challenge post has posted so you won’t have to look any further than your inbox to jump into writing syllabic poetry with me. My email from MailerLite has been discontinued.

Research the plugins you use before you install them and keep your plugins to a minimum.

My blog functionality has improved 100% since I switched to the Pro plan. I don’t have any lag time for loading images like I used to. Also, I’m able to use the Firefox browser again. I don’t enjoy using Chrome, as I was forced to do with the old premium plan. I don’t know why this is. I can only share my experiences with you.

I have a lot of exciting news happening on the blog this week. I hope you will all stay tuned for the magic!

More Updates

So, this theme is quite different from what we’re used to on old WP. The comments are found by clicking the Read More link or the itty bitty tiny comments icon show below:

I’m still getting used to the theme, so if you see something strange let me know. You’re stuck with the fonts… but there might be a plugin for that too! The comments will be an issue, and I might have to get a plugin for that, too. I’ll see you all tomorrow. I need a break!

WordPress Pro

The Aries in me made me do it!! I’ve upgraded to WordPress Pro at $180 a year.

Immediately, I can tell you that the free themes on WordPress.com and WordPress.org differ from how they used to be. Many themes only offer one color, with the option to purchase the theme for more upgrades. This is at a yearly cost for the premium version of the theme, and on top of the $180 a year, it can get costly. However, I totally understand the issues the theme makers had keeping up with the FSE and block editor changes.

Now, there are free themes that offer color choices, so don’t despair. Just be prepared for the changes. CSS codes do not work to change colors, by the way.

There are so many themes that it’s mind boggling! I’ll be playing with a new magazine style theme for Word Craft Poetry. I believe WP takes me off line while I set up the theme.

See you soon!

Word Craft Poetry & Colleen Chesebro back in one blog

The last couple of days I’ve been moving posts to Word Craft Poetry from colleenchesebro.com. I will delete that blog in the next few days. I have quite a few places to update in the meantime. If you come across a link that doesn’t work, please let me know. Thanks.

Ever since I deleted all those posts done in the old editor, everything seems to run smoother. How cool is that?

There were so many broken links on posts between 2014 and 2016 that I deleted most of the posts. Many of the people I knew then have long since left the blogging world.

I was brutal. I did not know how many posts I’d re-blogged back in the day. (But they’re gone). That’s what we did, then. We shared each other’s posts all over the place. That’s not the case anymore. Most people don’t even have their blogs linked to social media. For social sharing and community, the blogs are enough. I get that.

Since 2012, I’ve had a Twitter account under @ColleenChesebro. I’ll just add WordCraftPoetry to the description. The WordCraftPoetry Twitter account will go away. Please follow me @ColleenChesebro.

Things might be rough this week with the blog cleanup. This is a heads up! Hang in there with me. I’ll get it fixed.

~Colleen~

Technical Difficulties

I’m in the process of moving my poetry and book reviews back to wordcraftpoetry.com. Managing two blogs is just too much. I have other news I’ll share soon, but for right now if you follow colleenchesebro.com, please follow me at wordcraftpoetry.com, which will also be my author blog. Thank you. 🙏🏻 ❤️

I’ve had plenty of trouble with the blogs lately. I have purged many old posts. It’s time to make way for the new.

Most of my book reviews were unpublished, so I’ll save the 2022 reviews, which will have to be republished so I can move them. I’ve been blogging since early 2014, so all the posts were bogging down both blogs. I was pretty brutal.

It will take a while to get everything switched back to just the one blog. Hang in there. There’s more to come.

~Colleen~

Blog Cleaning

I’ve been doing some much needed blog cleaning. I’ve added the 🧹posts and pages🧹 from “A Witch’s Brew” blog to my author blog here at colleenchesebro.com. I’ll shut down that blog today, as well. It’s much easier to navigate. So, don’t panic if you see me post things that have to do with my pagan path. It’s part of who I am as a poet and an author. It’s taken me many years to find my way, and I’m thrilled to be here.

I’ve done the same thing with the Word Weaving journal, adding a section to wordcraftpoetry.com so I can manage the journal from one site. I’ve made the Word Weaving journal biennial, which gives me time to prepare for the poetry contest in the in-between years. The Word Weaving blog will shut down in April. Watch Word Craft: Prose & Poetry for information about the Word Weaving Poetry Contest.

Thanks for joining me in my writing and spiritual journey. I’ve been blogging since April 2014. I’m met people who have become good friends and colleagues. I look forward to sharing many more years with you all!

~Colleen~

Book Review Observations

I read most books on my Kindle Fire. Lately, I’ve been surprised at the quality of ebooks. As an author myself, I discovered that when I use Word, or Scrivener for a manuscript, there are a few things to check before uploading to the Kindle Creator, or whatever you use to upload your ebook to Amazon. Let me share a few of my observations.

I read my Kindle set with a black background. In numerous books, I’ve discovered sections of text that were copied and pasted into the manuscript with a white background around the text. There is nothing wrong with adding and changing text, except in Word, you must do a cut and paste special, and select unformatted text. That gets rid of the background settings you brought forward from your other document.

I double-check my manuscript by going into Word settings to set the entire document with a black background. This is a quick and easy way to find all of the ghosted text. I learned this one the hard way! If you leave the background on your manuscript white, you will never notice the cut and paste issues until someone like me points it out.

Another issue I see are text changes. For no reason, I can discern, the text will suddenly change to another font, often much smaller in size than the original text. It actually overrides the text settings on the Kindle. The only thing I could think of was that the text was copied from another document and pasted correctly, but the font and size were never aligned to the rest of the document. If you do a cut and paste, always check your font as compared to the rest of your document.

Before I upload my manuscript, I always do a command A (I’m on a MAC) to select all the text. Then, I select the correct font for the entire manuscript. I don’t change the size of the text because that will affect your titles and headings. It’s my last effort to make sure all of the text is uniform.

These issues affect your book’s quality and make it seem like you were in such a hurry to publish your book that you didn’t make it the best presentation of your writing. It breaks up the rhythm of your writing, which makes it harder to read. Plus, these formatting issues make it harder to review.

I hope these tips help other authors. Have you discovered something similar when reading a book on your Kindle? Share it here so we can figure out how to correct the issue.

When Good Fortune Smiles

Sometimes I truly connect with the universe. These last couple of weeks was one of those times. I’d been searching for a part-time job for some time. I’d basically given up hope of finding something that I could do for a few hours a week. I still wanted time for my poetry and writing. And then it happened when I least expected it! An opportunity just for me… and I recognized the good fortune.

On the Friday before last, I arrived at my local hair salon for my appointment, and there on the door was the advertisement. They needed a part-time receptionist for a few evenings during the week, including five hours on Saturday. My heart fluttered! This was what I’d been searching for. Nothing high stress, no accounting, only a few hours a week.

Needless to say, my stylist and the receptionist were overjoyed that I was interested. I left the salon with my hair—cut and styled, along with the application in my hand, which I returned a few hours later. By Saturday afternoon, the receptionist called and scheduled my interview at 10:00 Monday morning.

The interview went well. I connected with the owner immediately. There were so many coincidences. The salon used a MAC computer for scheduling. I also use a MAC computer. The scheduling program was like one I’d used years before when I worked in the billing department at a medical facility. There were a few other synchronicities that really surprised me. It was a surreal experience.

I worried that I’d lost my mojo. Was I too old? It took a week for the news, but they offered me the job! Every position I’ve ever interviewed for, I’ve gotten. I don’t know how many people can say that, but I can. It’s a gift… a gift from the universe.

when special gifts appear
it's a universal 
time-shifting reversal
of good fortune

© Colleen M. Chesebro

So, if you notice I’m not around as much, I’m still here—just juggling poetry, writing, my home life, kitty time, and answering phones. <3

Chloe & Sophie

Chloe made herself right at home! She’s a six-month-old gray and white shorthair.

Sophie is more skittery. She’s a four-month-old tortoiseshell. The two are always together, never far apart. <3

I’m thrilled with how socialized both girls are. Many thanks to the Constellation Cat Cafe, in East Lansing, Michigan.

Check out their Facebook Page