Using the Clutterless WordPress Theme

UPDATE: Obviously I am no longer using the Clutterless WordPress theme, I have gone back to the simple TwentyTwelve. I agree that this theme is not as cool or beautiful as Clutterless, but I think it better serves my purpose as a technical coding blog.

Clutterless Blog Theme
Having been using a plain WordPress theme so far this year, I had been encouraged by my friend who runs the beautiful blog Fresh Squeaks to look at a more visually pleasing design.

I liked my friends blog design, but my blog is mostly comprised of longer text posts, so I wasn’t sure the same design was suitable for me. I needed a blog design which wouldn’t rely on lots of images.

Unfortunately, most of the more modern and original blog designs do rely on you to have beautiful photos or illustrations to post, but there was one theme I came across which seemed just right. I downloaded the free version of the clean, modern, Clutterless design, a beautiful blog theme that focusses on text content. The paid version is only $9 so I thought that if it works out for me, it would be very affordable to upgrade (hmm, Question: if you upgrade, do you lose any hacks you made on it so far?).

Although I didn’t want a ‘traditional’ blog look, I did want a lot of normal blog functionality, and navigation is very important to me. So in my sidebar I have used the normal ‘categories’ menu (which I think I need to clean up) as well as links to my static pages (About and Resources), and also Twitter and LinkedIn.

I had a few initial problems with the theme which had me reconsidering it, but after trying again to find a beautiful text-suitable design,  I couldn’t find anything nicer than Clutterless, and decided to stick with it and try and hack away my concerns.

Firstly, I was surprised that the theme I downloaded would not allow me to click on the blog post headings (maybe I did something wrong when uploading?). Completely strange – but I just went into the theme templates to find where the headings were, and changed the php to make them clickable.

The second problem I found was that the URLs were a bit crazy – for example if you tried to navigate to a blog post, instead of going to

http://www.tracecode.com.au/blog/forking-and-cloning-on-github/

It would go to

http://www.tracecode.com.au/blog/#/blog/forking-and-cloning-on-github/

This is probably because Clutterless was designed as a one page theme. There were a couple of problems with having the URLs doing this.

1. That the URLs would be harder for people to copy and paste. Well, not really harder, but weird looking, and I didn’t like it.

2. That it might not be as good for search engines (I mean, it probably would be ok, but just not ideal)

3. In my Analytics it wouldn’t show the actual posts people were looking at, since the root URL would stay the same no matter where a visitor navigated.

To fix this problem we looked at the source of the page to see what JavaScript files were being executed. There were 5, and without a whole lot of JavaScript knowledge, it seemed a good idea to just go and change the name of those files one by one, (rather than remove them, just in case), and see when the problem was fixed. Luckily for us it was the first one – Ajax.js! We just went in and changed the name of it, and the problem stopped straight away.

Yes, this is just a hack – but that’s all I need at the moment. So if you have this problem – you can try that solution too!

Other issues I have with the theme right now, but which I am sure I can change when I have time;

  • Will people be savvy enough to click on that little blue tab on the left? I can’t easily change it to say something like ‘Pull Me’ because currently it just takes the name of the blog – but I’m sure this can be changed in the templates
  • This is a H1

    This is a H2

    This isn’t exactly how H tags usually go

  • I would quite like for the body of this text to be a bit wider
  • I have seen in some of my older posts that some of the text is randomly given a slightly different style
  • Although I have chosen in my reading settings to show only a summary, it seems to be showing the whole post in the home page feed. I prefer to make it easier for people to browse by having only summaries – so I will need to investigate this.
  • It doesn’t by default allow comments (it is a ‘clean’ design after all), so I am going to have to go and do something with Disqus or something.

Having said all that, I still love, love, love this blog theme, and will keep playing around with it.

4 Replies
  • KS

    Hi, I’m having the exact same problems. Can you tell me exactly how you fixed them (I’m not a coder). Thanks

    • admin

      Hello! Yes, I could put up a new post with screen shots or something – just let me know, do you want to fix the clickable headings, URL structure, or both?

      However, it will require going and changing code in the templates AND changing the names of files in your installation. Mine are just hacks and work for me, but it is probably not the best way ever to do it.

      It’s only $9 one off to buy a subscription to this theme, and if you did that, then the professional people could probably help you properly.

      Think about it. :)

  • http://twitter.com/rob_hope Rob Hope

    Hi Tracey – thank you for the kind words on the theme and also the feature/review. The Premium version has an option to disable the AJAX # in URLs in the theme options and a bunch other neat features the free doesn’t have. Upgrading is very easy and keeps your old settings but will not keep any hard code edits – if you made any. Mail me on support[at]onepagelove[dot]com if you want to ask me any questions directly. Rob

  • TracyMu

    Hey KS – I’m having trouble with Disqus, I wrote this comment around 10th July, but I’m not sure why it isn’t showing up

    “Hello! Yes, I could put up a new post with screen shots or something – just let me know, do you want to fix the clickable headings, URL structure, or both?

    However, it will require going and changing code in the templates AND changing the names of files in your installation. Mine are just hacks and work for me, but it is probably not the best way ever to do it.

    It’s only $9 one off to buy a subscription to this theme, and if you did that, then the professional people could probably help you properly.

    Think about it.”

    And you can ask Rob Hope below, I’m sure!

    Thanks for your comment Rob :)