Why I Used a Free Theme Instead of Building My Own

This post comes with a TLDR; feature. Click here to get the gist.


In order for this to make any sense, introductions are in order. I am Mike Dion. You’ve probably figured that out, but I’m also a professional web developer. That means that by day my (3) monitors are usually loaded with code and debugging screens. I spend hours making sure that designs and functions are to spec, so how could I just install a theme and start writing?

Blogging Serves a Different Purpose

Blogging, at least in this experiment, has a different purpose. It’s not about the cool things I can do with CSS, or the functionality I can add. It’s about the writing. To be fair, I’ve already found style tweaks I want to make, and am really struggling not to spend an hour hunting through google fonts… but what I really need to do is spend some time writing in human readable markup.

Clear Communication

I serve as the primary contact with several of our clients at Indelible, and we’ve just hired a full time employee. Would you believe that I’m keenly aware of the gaps in my ability to communicate clearly and succinctly now more than ever? Yeah… I didn’t think you’d be surprised. This blog is practice!

Yes, I’m practicing on you… think of it as a privilege! You get to be the reason that my employee knows what needs to be done. You get to be the reason that my business excels because my clients know what to expect and when to expect it. So thanks!


I have four kids. I co-lead a small (but growing!) business that takes a ton of time and commitment. Did I mention I have four kids? At this point in my life I don’t even shower every day, so when is there time to reflect if I don’t commit myself to some sort of regular writing?

Save the World!

Ok, that might be a bit pompous… But I have learned a ton that can help other people out. From guidelines for conflict to the pros and cons of building a progressive web app based on the WordPress REST api. Heck, I may even tell the story of the miserable failure that was the start of my company if I can do it in a way that encourages some other failure out there.


That’s it. My goal is simply to get better at communication while I reflect on life and try to help share what I’ve learned the hard way so someone else won’t have to. To that end I’ve chosen a super minimalist blog format, and (at least for the time being) intend to keep it that way.

To keep my focus on the writing alone, I’m setting a few rules:

  1. No custom coding.
  2. No images unless the writing directly calls for them.
  3. Each post should be able to be condensed to a TLDR, which I’ll include at the end of the post

Big lesson #1 – alone I fail. So will you help me make this thing happen? Read it. Subscribe. Comment. Challenge me.

TLDR; I need to focus on writing and clarity of thought, so I’m writing a blog with a minimalist design and not ‘wasting’ time on images or other design/functionality elements.