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New Travelogue Theme – Feedback Request

ZIPOLITE, Mexico- As you have probably noticed, the Vagabond Journey travelogue has a new look to it. No bullshit was the mantra I was chanting as I put this together. I dropped nearly a hundred dollars for a premium Wordpress theme, sucked it up, swallowed my pride, and let this new system put itself together.  I tinkered [...]

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ZIPOLITE, Mexico- As you have probably noticed, the Vagabond Journey travelogue has a new look to it. No bullshit was the mantra I was chanting as I put this together.

I dropped nearly a hundred dollars for a premium WordPress theme, sucked it up, swallowed my pride, and let this new system put itself together.  I tinkered too much with my previous themes, I tried to exert myself over the frameworks that I was previously working with, and I made my site look muddled on most all fronts.

It took honest words from my friend Dave at TheLongestWayHome.com to knock this old junker into gear.

Now I am going clean, straight forward, no bullshit: I want to put my time into publishing content, not tinkering with code; I want to write, not design webpages.

This new design is the result. Over the upcoming weeks I am going to extend this look to the rest of VagabondJourney.com except for WIKI Vagabond — this site needs to look like a wiki site so visitors know what they are dealing with.

What do you think? Is the design clean enough? Is it easy to use, easy to navigate, easy to read?

Any feedback is appreciated.


Walk Slow,


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Filed under: Vagabond Journey Updates

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

12 comments… add one

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  • craig | travelvice.com December 24, 2010, 1:47 pm

    So clean!!!

    You know, I’m totally going to steal the Guardian‘s colored top navigation when I overhaul Travelvice… It would probably work well for you, too.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 24, 2010, 2:11 pm

      Thanks Craig,

      Yeah, crisp, clean, and easy was what I was trying to hit at — now I just need to prevent myself from cluttering it all up again haha.

      Colored navigation would really put more emphasis on the site links at the top. Will surely consider that, as they are a little under obvious now.



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  • Bob L December 24, 2010, 3:58 pm

    I like the new no bullshit theme. For posts it works great. The only exception is that some of the things on your home page are impossible to see unless I zoom out. That is on FireFox.

    The only themes I have seen that I like more, are too minimalistic for a site that is designed to also make money. But I suppose that is the Luddite in me speaking.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 25, 2010, 12:37 pm

      I will soon put the new theme on the homepage and get rid of all the old garbage. Just building up the gumption to get down and dirty into it haha.

      Thanks for the feedback.

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  • mike crosby December 24, 2010, 5:10 pm

    Wade, I like it. If I may be honest–Not sure how much you get on “Ads by Google”, but it’d be nice if that wasn’t the first thing one sees looking at your blog. Other than that, yes, it looks clean to me. What someone wants to see when going to a blog like yours is exactly what you have–your most recent post, previous posts, comments, etc. One thing that I like a lot that I’ve seen on a few blogs, is where the commenter is allowed to edit his comment after posting. For an example, go to getrichslowly.org and see how he does it. Over time, I’ve come to realize the post is only the jumping off point. Once a number of good comments materialize, it really then becomes a lot of fun. For instance, some of your posts have brought tears to my eyes, and while I know you have several readers, for some reason, they’re just not motivated to comment.

    I’ve changed my blog from blogspot to wordpress, but have not gotten the premium package. My goal for my wordpress blog is primarily to drive traffic to my blog. I’m not trying to make money in the beginning, and if it works out, fine.

    Being that my goal is to drive traffic to my blog, here are a few ideas I have. First, the name of my blog is LongBeachBlogger. (BTW, LB is a town with a pop of 500,000.) If I can bring pictures, stories, free advertising to my blog, it will bring traffic. Also, if I can figure out how to actually do to my blog with what I’d actually like to do, I think it would be a big success. I just get overwhelmed dealing with this stuff. Number 1, I’d like to open it up for businesses in Long Beach to do free advertising. It’s so expensive to advertise in LB and it’s generally a rip-off. Also offer something like a Group on coupon daily from some restaurant in LB. I’m actually prepared to advertise my blog (once it’s half way acceptable) telling others that they can come to this blog and advertise for free. KInd of like Craigslist but Long Beach only.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 25, 2010, 12:27 pm


      Nearly all my earnings come from those ads — it is essential to have them placed well, otherwise they are not worth having. Though I did not put them on the main index of the travelogue for the reasons that you stated.

      Your idea of doing a Long Beach centered blog sounds great. Go around and write reviews of the local restaurants, find hidden places to go, interview people around town. Blogs of this nature have real potential, they are specific enough to attract a solid target audience while being general enough to allow for being interesting. Go for it, worry about making money and advertising later.

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  • the candy trail ... | Michael Robert Powell December 26, 2010, 6:43 am

    Easier, yes. It looks like Thesis – one I used a few years ago (I could have tossed you my life-time rights to the theme). Agree that the ads are distracting but if that is good income, then they must stay. Yeah, better to create content than muck around with code … I presently do neither; too busy with image editing, and enjoying China.

    Regards – MRP

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 26, 2010, 2:27 pm

      Good call about enjoying China. I miss that country everyday. There was a time when I thought I was just going to keep traveling in a loop from China to SE Asia back to China to Mongolia and on and on for as long as they let me keep entering China.

      The theme is Thesis — it seemed easy from looking at the package, then I began using it and realized that there are a lot of new tricks to learn to make it work. I feel a little restricted with it, but based on what I’ve done with my last themes this is probably a good thing haha.

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  • Dave from The Longest Way Home December 27, 2010, 12:05 am

    Am I the cause of all this 🙂

    Wade, you are looking much smarter these days ha ha.

    A couple quick points. Home page is nearly empty? No logo no nothing as of this comment, maybe you are working on it?

    The site is not rendering well on mobile. Lots of white space.

    Some strange RSS messages came in today. And am not readying old rss feeds etc. Also you have smash gallery feeds showing through etc.

    Other than than, everything is a lot cleaner etc . Like you with a tie ha ha

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 27, 2010, 1:38 pm

      Haha that is funny.

      I am having some problems with Windows on my computer, and I can no longer really upload photos without it crashing my browser. Don’t know what is going on, but I will change the header on the homepage soon — and a lot of other things, it is pretty much just a frame at this point.

      What weird RSS messages are coming through? This is interesting, as I just put in redirect scripts to feedburner, and I hope it worked fine. Shit, those smash gallery pages are showing up in the feeds? Will have to change this somehow.

      Problems, problems haha. Will get them cleaned out.

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  • Scott December 29, 2010, 6:02 pm

    I think you picked an excellent theme! Looks great and easier to navigate. Keep up the good work. Hello to the family!!!


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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 29, 2010, 6:26 pm

      Thanks, Scott,

      Appreciate this feedback, will give the family your regards — going to the beach to watch the sunset right now.

      Happy new year.

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