My Failed Attempt: I Should Have Known Better

Have you ever done something that you knew you shouldn’t have? Of course you have. We all have. I recently tried and failed at something. The thing is this: I knew better in the first place. I failed to think things through.

Failed attempt: Photo of disappointed athlete.

I Failed At Creating Categories

It all started when I hit the update button for my blog theme. I’ve used the Graphy theme at Hip Diggs since I started in 2014. I chose the free theme for it’s simplicity. But when I updated to 2.0, I noticed something. The developers had made changes that changed the look of my blog.

The biggest of these changes was that they moved the categories from the bottom of the post to the top. To make things worse, they made the categories an ugly shade of orange. They did offer a solution though. I could update to the paid Graphy Pro theme.

Hip Diggs has always been about keeping things as simple as possible.

As a blogger, I’ve made a point to do as much as I can without spending money. So I decided upon an easy solution. I’d live with the ugly color and add categories to Hip Diggs. This is where I failed to think things through. I spent several hours creating and adding categories to all the posts. But when I got done I still hated the ugly color. So I broke down and bought the paid theme.

Sometimes You Have To Spend Money To Get It Right

Buying the pro theme was the right choice. I quickly changed the color of the categories to match Hip Diggs’ simple look.

Ah, everything was better, right? Wrong!

You see, in order to make categories make any sense, I had to post more than one post on the home page. So I updated my readers’ view to five posts on the home page. I hated it.

Here’s where I went wrong. I failed to consider my original vision of Hip Diggs before making changes. I failed when I did the work before I bought the pro theme to see all the options.

I never wanted categories at Hip Diggs. I don’t care if they’re suppose to be good for SEO. I like the simplicity of no categories and an All Posts page. Adding categories changed the whole navigational system that I’d thoroughly thought out at the onset of the blog. And of course, the pro theme offered the ability to completely remove categories. But I’d done all that work. Now what?

Chalk It Up To Experience

I kept my newfound categories up for a few days. But something kept gnawing at me. I showed my 11-year-old daughter, Annie, different options for post formats: full text, summaries, lists, masonry. I was trying to find a new look that would work with categories. In the end she said, “Dad, I like it the way it was before, without categories.” I knew she was right. I spent ten minutes deleting what had taken me hours to complete.

So what did I learn? I learned that I really didn’t fail. I made a mistake, but I learned from my mistake. Even though I attempted to add categories and deleted them in the end, I made the right choice. I kept Hip Diggs true to its original vision.

A Failed Attempt Is An Excellent Learning Tool

Failure is not always what you think. If we use our mistakes to learn and grow, our failures have not been in vain. I might have failed to think things through, but I succeeded in doing the best thing in the end.

Next time you make a stupid mistake, give yourself a break. As long as you’re learning from your mistakes, you’re heading in the right direction.

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2 Comments

  1. This has happened to me too, Dan! I built a new site to go with a new brand direction and getting into design snags when I forgot what the vision was all about. It’s funny how we need these reminders from time to time.

    1. The funny thing is that I knew I was going against my original design idea. But I was trying to save money. I’ve always tried to keep expenses minimal because my goal isn’t to monetize at this time. If I were making money from Hip Diggs, I’d also spend more on it. That’s a future goal, but right now I have a good career and I’m raising my daughter. But I still have some new stuff planned for 2017 at the site.

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