Help me fix my new blog.
December 1, 2008 11:14 PM   Subscribe

I just started a new blog on wordpress, which I've never used before. I want to make a totally minimalist blog, but I can't seem to get some things off the page.

Wordpress seems counter-intuitive to me. The methods for changing the appearance of the blog are scattered amongst multiple menus and I can't seem to find a way to get some links off the page. At the bottom of my blog, there are three huge link areas, archives, categories and meta. I'd like these links removed. I don't want categories and would like to remove these links if possible.

Although I'm terrible at HTML, I found a few things which seemed to help with the issue, but I'm using a publically hosted blog and can't seem to find a place where I can even work with the html script.

Is there anything I can do?
posted by Ironmouth to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Those things are handled by your blog's theme, which is made of .php files. If I recall correctly, blogs do not allow you to edit the theme files unless you upgrade their premium service. You may want to set up a fully-featured WordPress installation with a web host like BlueHost. Or, it looks like free host Blogsome may allow you to customize themes.
posted by fermi at 11:44 PM on December 1, 2008

Or, use Blogger, which allows you to totally customize your blog for free. It doesn't have near as many features or plugins as WordPress does, but you're going for minimalism anyway...
posted by fermi at 11:52 PM on December 1, 2008

Those things will be handled by on the sidebar of the theme. You can usually (don't use so unsure) create a sidebar with widgets, which should allow you to include just the things you want.

See here

I know it's possible with self-hosted, so imagine it would be similar with .com
posted by tanc at 12:23 AM on December 2, 2008

how about trying a blog? I've found tumblr to be pretty simple to use b/c it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of WP...
posted by mhh5 at 12:40 AM on December 2, 2008

oh yah.. tumblr lacks comments, but you can add a comment feature (if you want to) by using Disqus -- but then you have to rely on 2 services (and hope they exist for as long as you need them to).
posted by mhh5 at 12:42 AM on December 2, 2008

If you're trying to remove the widgets, the options are under Design > Widgets on your Wordpress dashboard. They vary according to the theme you are using. If you're using a hosted blog, there's not a lot of customization you can do besides picking a theme and choosing the sidebar widgets, but you can buy custom CSS which allows you to make some changes to the theme's stylesheet.
posted by penguinliz at 3:46 AM on December 2, 2008

You can remove widgets from the WP dashboard, and you can also install a theme that doesn't even have them in the stylesheet. I use the Vostok theme on my blog. Clean and simple.
posted by booticon at 6:14 AM on December 2, 2008

Seconding switching to Blogger. You're just starting out, and you want a minimal blog that you don't have to worry about much. Blogger's free, Wordpress is expensive (potentially over $100 a year depending on what server you buy).

Back when I was starting a blog I looked at the pros and cons of Wordpress vs. Blogger, and I couldn't see any reason for someone who just wants a blog (with no extra add-on websites) to use Wordpress, unless they want to go all out and have a professional-looking design, which doesn't seem to be what you need.

Does a Wordpress blog stay around when you stop paying for the service? I don't know (no one ever talks about this point for some reason), but I know a Blogger blog stays around since I can still read long-defunct Blogger blogs. For me, that trumps all other factors.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:56 AM on December 2, 2008

Huh? I have a WordPress blog and I'm very much not paying for it.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:10 AM on December 2, 2008

Huh? I have a WordPress blog and I'm very much not paying for it.

You don't have to pay for a plain WordPress blog (hosted by WordPress on You do have to pay for any "extras" that you want which includes changing the design layout. I have a Tumblr blog. It's pretty minimalist, and it's free. There are some really simple themes/templates you can use for free as well. Removing archives links from a theme only requires tiny tweaking of the template (css/html) for which there is a built in editor (it's not great, but it works, and you can always use your favorite desktop editor). Blogger is also free and hosted and it has built in comments. I find it not as fast/easy to use, but I think it offers more control over your blog than Tumblr (you can host your own and export entries).
posted by bluefly at 10:15 AM on December 2, 2008

jacquilynne said: "Huh? I have a WordPress blog and I'm very much not paying for it."

Yeah, as bluefly said above if you'd prefer to have a plain, no-frills (except for the unwanted widgets, natch) blog, a hosted WordPress blog is free. Stuff like more storage space for pictures or no ads costs money, as outlined here.

However, if you have server space of your own, WordPress is opensource, and you can upload it right to your website. That means no ads, and obviously as much hosting space as you uh, already have. You can download it from, however many hosts (such as GoDaddy, which I use) have their own little application suites and will automagically install it for you.

Of course there's always Blogger. I've used it in the past, far before they were picked up by Google. So I'm sure the stability's there, but I was never a fan of the interface.
posted by booticon at 11:38 AM on December 2, 2008

Everything I've read about it said you need to pay a monthly fee for an external server. If that's wrong, I take it back, but that was certainly the impression I got.

But you know what? It was hard to even get an answer to that question from reading their supposedly basic guide to getting started, so I had to look around for AskMetafilter questions on the topic. The very fact that Wordpress is so hard to figure out (to the point where there are people who charge a fee to install the software for you) is another reason to use Blogger if you want a straightforward blog. Google (Blogger) is simply better at communicating with users who don't have a lot of technical knowledge.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:55 AM on December 3, 2008

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