Hello all! The Gods are Bastards is nearing three months old, I've got a workable rhythm going in terms of writing and updates, and I'm starting to get more viewers now that it's listed here on WFG. So, I'm looking to start improving my site design, and seeking a little advice!
As you can see from the link above, the current site is what I'd consider bare bones. Not fugly, not outstanding, and doesn't really do much to compliment the story. I've got a custom-made header, but that's about all; it took me all of an hour to throw together, and most of that was searching around for a copyright-free image I could use. Of course, there are very successful serials out there with sites that are similarly utilitarian, but on the other hand there's the likes of Twisted Cogs, which I personally consider the gold standard in terms of site design among the webserials I follow. If I recall my bioblurbs correctly, though, Maddirose is actually a web designer, so that should surprise no one. I'm not looking for anything that ambitious, but I am an artist with some experience in graphic design, and my current site does not satisfy me.
So! Eventually I intend to work up my own art for buttons and such, but for the time being I'm sort of handicapped in terms of the Wordpress theme I'm using. Looking at their themes list is a truly daunting prospect; there are so many, and I don't know exactly what I'd be looking for, much less how to find it. Thus, I'm asking for recommendations for a new theme, from those of you who have Wordpress experience.
Basically, I'm looking for something with maximum versatility and moddability that (ideally) doesn't impose costs for taking advantage of its features. At present I'm using the Twenty Thirteen theme, which is clean and fairly versatile, but I do not like its color settings. You can only pick from a limited number of preset color schemes--and only two of those before you have to pay $30 a pop for another preset, unalterable color palette, which I'd consider the very definition of a bad deal.
Here's the basics of what I'm after:
1. Complete color control. I'd like to be able to set specific colors for everything, separately, and not be tied down to one preset color scheme.
2. Widespread image use. Header and background, yes, but ideally the capacity to add images to just about anything. As I said, I'd like to make my own buttons for everything, and I see a pretty simple way to do that with widgets, but not the navigation bar at the top of the page. This is less important; I may decide not to go that route anyway, if the design starts to look too busy. But it's something I'd like to explore.
3. Low (ideally no) cost. I'm all for supporting web developers, but I am a starving artist in all but the most literal sense. Even buying a Wordpress domain name to make my site ad-free is currently above my means; I'm in no position to pay for site design buffs.
And if any more experienced authors or artists can think of important considerations I've missed, I'd be glad to hear it! I've not made a website of any kind in so many years (and it was in such a different venue) that what little rusty knowledge I have isn't even applicable anymore.