Referral Friday: Shatterboxx Media

cupcakes, one of which has edible code fondant

If you're reading this via email or RSS, you probably won't notice, but maybe, just maybe, you'll want to click on through to the other side today.

Because finally, as of today (or a little bit of yesterday that barely counts), I've managed to wrest this poor little blog from the ganky clutches of Frankenstein code I've cobbled together from various WordPress themes over the years, and into nice, clean Thesis.

Or rather, Jamie Varon and her team at Shatterboxx Media have.

Are you here yet, on the site? (Go on, do it! I'll wait!) Okay, even if you won't right now, at some point, you're going to need to visit the site for something, back issues of the newsletter archives** or to find that recipe for Strawberry-Chicken-Walnut Salad* you've been dreaming about for years but finally are going to make this spring, for reals. And when you do, that site's pages will load and reload and load again like a, well, I was going to make a luge joke, but it's really too soon, even if it is a dreadful sport I never saw the point of.***

That's because Thesis has been optimized within an inch of its life, or at least, a helluva lot better than Colleen's Third Grade Stabs at Fixing CSS Code (which is an insult to nine-year-olds everywhere, I know). I laughed, laughed, I tell you!, at the idea that cleaning things up could positively affect page load; I figured the biggest benefit would be that I could now go in and fiddle under the hood and actually change things, instead of that code just staring back at me in that mysterious, impenetrable way. But no, ZIPPITY-DOO-DAH, the pages, they are loading! Which means all sorts of other nerdy bits of goodness, like Google's bots having an easier time of indexing my pages and (we can only hope)  much lower "bounce rates" born of frustration.

What is most important to you, the reader (and I hope, potential blogger/website owner) is knowing about Jamie. She is fast, she is good, she provides excellent value and, glory hallelujah!, she is patient. We talked back in June of last year, after which conversation I immediately plunked down a 50% deposit (when you know, you know), after which...nothing. Because of me and my busy, busy schedule, and my massive disorganization and plate-spinning and such. Jamie just calmly emailed me now and again to touch base, to see what was what, to see if I needed any help/nudging.

When I finally gave the go-ahead, we had an easy-breezy 1/2-hour conversation about what I wanted vs. what had to happen; 24 hours later (if that), I had a schedule and a plan. Bada-bing, bada-boom! All of life should work this easily.

One more note: I'm not an affiliate for many items, even multiple items for the same person. I became an affiliate for Thesis because after installing it on The Virgo Guide to Marketing, I fell in love with its ease of use. There's massive support for Thesis, and a big user community. If you're really terrified of doing anything yourself, there's a community of nice Thesis devs like Jamie and her partner and team who can help you with what you need for a reasonable fee. But really, it's a great way to get your feet wet with webby stuff, because it's so danged simple.

Brava, Shatterboxx! Bravo, Thesis!

Now, let's get back to work...


UPDATE 7/16/10: While for now, this site is still using the Thesis theme, I can no longer recommend Thesis due to concerns I have about the ethics surrounding its release.

I may write a longer post about this, but for now, I'll simply say that I'm very concerned about the hard line Chris Pearson is taking on the WordPress license issue, and very upset with myself for not doing due diligence when researching replacement themes for Grid Focus. I'd been meaning to take down my affiliate links anyway (more on that, soon, too, in the form of a policy) so I've gone ahead and done that, but I'm really hoping that Chris will do the right thing and release Thesis under the GPL, the license that WordPress itself is released under, and which all iterations are supposed to carry.

I still recommend Jamie Varon if you have your heart set on a Thesis customization.

*Yeah, sorry, I know I didn't link to the actual post, but ain't it great how FAST the site loads!?

**Uh...what I said above.

***Unless Dreamhost is down, AGAIN, and nothing is loading, in which case all you'll get is a stupid "502 Error" page. Ugh.

Image by clevercupcakes via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.