Is there any way to do anything without upgrading?

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    I have yet to do anything at all with my blog because apparently the features listed as being part of the theme are in fact extra cost upgrades. For example Chateau’s description states it has two columns and a sidebar. It doesn’t. But apparently it <i>could</i> if I pay for the right to learn CSS and do that myself. Very frustrating.
    I consider the move to WordPress to be a move up and I understand my my skills learned on Livejournal and Blogger do not transfer because WordPress is a different system entirely. I’m really looking forward to being a part of the community. But I would like to find a way to create a blog that has a header across the top, a central column and two sidebars, a layout that has proved very visitor-friendly at
    Novel Spaces (which is an off-the-shelf Blogger template). If I could approximate that with two columns and a sidebar, good enough. But so far I haven’t found a way to do that without paying $60-$90 for the theme and $30 a year for the right to position and define the columns.
    Is there something I’m missing?
    Or do I just have to bite the bullet and pay to have a blog?
    Because I’ve been trying to make this work and so far I’ve got nothing.

    The blog I need help with is


    Many themes have theme options. If you go to Appearance > Theme Options and select the concise format, you’ll see your two columns.

    More on the theme here:



    Quick note to add: Yes, I have seen three-column themes and really like Dark Wood’s layout. And yes, I’ve seen Andreas 04 and Andreas 09 looks a lot like what I described. Can’t do header images. And while I’ll admit it’s very likely I’m overlooking obvious things — that’s why I’m asking for help — as far as I can tell, most features are extra-cost upgrades.
    If that’s what I need to do, so be it.
    I’d just like to be sure what I want isn’t available for free before I pay for it.
    And, yes, I’ve gone through zero-to-hero.



    Why don’t you just BLOG?

    As an independent social media pro, I’d advise you is a bad choice if you want to futz with the look of your blog. It’s a great place to post content.



    panaghiotisadam — thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to look for me.
    I did see that. However clicking the little radio button does nothing. The columns do not appear. I tried clicking the button then trying to post, to see if the columns appeared if I put in content, and discovered I can not put anything — like text or links — in them because they don’t appear.
    Concise appears to be an archive display that will automatically show old posts as snapshots rather than as a column of full-length posts.



    I have chosen the concise Archive style format on Chateau for my blog.

    Appearance > Theme Options
    Chateau Theme Options
    Archive style
    click “Save Options”


    Concise means excerpts instead of full posts, as well as two columns of posts instead of one, on all index pages (archive pages plus main posts page).



    Columns for the concise Archive Style format cannot of course appear to present excerpts of previously published posts if you don’t have any.

    Also if your delete the Hello World placeholder post there will be a front page 404 page not found until you publish your first post. Then it will disappear.

    Lots of questions about Chateau have been asked and answered in forum threads.
    This link is an excellent resource to learn about the theme.

    There’s a search box with feature filters in the Themes Showcase and you can look for three column themes there. It’s a live demo site.



    Raincoaster, you may have hit on something there.
    My thought has been that in order for my blog to be or meaningful, there should be things like links to what I’m writing about. Resources for writers, books we’ve published, other sites and columns of interest, things like that. What you’re perceiving as futzing with the look of my blog is an attempt to organize all of these in a way that would be useful to writers and readers alike.
    It could be that I’m asking a blog to do a site’s job.



    Thanks, timethief, very helpful.
    And panaghiotisadam, thanks for following up



    A Blog IS a Web Site – many people and companies use WordPress software for their entire web site – a blog just uses a bit special software and is much easier than a html site.

    People come to any site for CONTENT not the fancy Theme – yes the right Theme will help you showcase your content and such.. The WordPress.COM software is easy to change as your site develops. The sooner you start writing the sooner people will show up and search engines will start to index your content.

    You can add links to resources on the fly as you write. If you have a resources Page there is nothing wrong with not having all the resources on day one.

    If you are really worried about things not being “exactly right” put a two line note that says Welcome to my new blog / site – pardon the construction”



    Ah, auxclass, now you’re addressing my personality. OCD makes me very good at editing and very bad at doing things that are “good enough.” Trick is, 99.997% of life has to be “good enough” because, really, that’s all there is. I keep having to relearn that.

    raincoaster mentioned being a social media pro. One of the reasons I’m here is having spent six hours with this guy explaining social media to business people of my generation (i.e.: able to change ribbons on manual typewriters blindfolded). Two things about blogs: get rid of any personal blogs (shut my Livejournal down) and be 100% polished and professional in anything related to your work. Mind you, the seminar assumed a corporate website and covered topics like composing 140-character messages for your IT department to tweet in your name.

    Maybe I could start out less than perfect and work my way up.



    People that like your content will overlook things you might think are major look and feel issues.

    Yes some people will tell you they like the way your site looks – they would say that for at lest 50% of the Themes here (some just don’t work for some types of sites – my site for instance would not look real real well with the Theme that has a stylized woman on the top, or the one that has a ton of color (banana shake or something like that ) )



    Wow, you wasted your money with that guy. You really did.

    The absolute number one mistake I see is people hesitating to put anything heartfelt on their websites. There are millions of bland, corporate websites. If you are not passionate about your business, social media will not help you: as CC Chapman says, if you suck, social media will only amplify your suckage. If you are passionate about what you do, put it in your blog.

    People have a choice of hundreds of millions of blogs: what will draw them to you? If you’re not on fire for what you do, how can you hope to inspire any of your customers?

    Authenticity is the currency of the web, and that’s because of millions of poor dupes following the kind of advice you’ve been given.

    My blog is in the top 2000 blogs in the world according to Technorati, and I’ve made my living from blogging and social media training since 2002. Can your instructor say the same?



    Oh, AND I was Shane Gibson’s assistant on the book Guerrilla Social Media Marketing. If you want a great guidebook, get that (and no, I don’t get a penny for saying that).

    Find out who you are and what you really have to say, and then say it PASSIONATELY. And ignore anyone who tells you to be bland. Bland has never sold well.


    And I just noticed that you’re complaining about Chateau while you’re looking for a theme with two sidebars, not two post columns. Themes with two sidebars listed here – under “Two or three sidebars” and “Sidebar(s) plus bottom and/or header”:



    I think the OCD in you will be very happy once you start futzing with the sidebar widgets. I know I can get lost in there. Find a theme you feel comfortable with and start writing and posting photos. You can make all the changes you want later on.

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