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Archive for the ‘WordPress Themes’ Category

Blogging Pitfalls: Why You Need to Know HTML & CSS

Keyboard ImageIt wasn’t that long ago that starting up a website required a great deal of expertise, time and commitment. There was a reason that those who created sites in the early days of the Web were stereotyped as “dorks” and “nerds”, it was because you had to know HTML, the ins and outs of site construction and at least a decent amount about how the Web worked just to get a basic site off the ground.

However, for Web development, the march of technology has been toward simplicity and ease of use. Blogging and Web publishing in general are both more approachable than ever. Not only can one set up a Facebook account in minutes but they can do the same with a WordPress.com account or a Tumblr blog as well.

In short, anyone who wants to publish a blog can easily do so and almost no experience is required, just the ability to fill in a short form and write some new content.

But this doesn’t mean we’ve gotten away from HTML and CSS being a requirement for creating a successful site. Not knowing these languages can be very detrimental to your site and not only keeps great content from finding the audience it deserves, but can actually cripple your site in ways you can’t predict.

Simply put, if you don’t know HTML and CSS, at least to a minimal extent, you are holding your blog back and gambling with its future.

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Categories: Blog Design, Blogging Resources, Blogging Tips, WordPress Themes
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Why WordPress Bloggers Need To Choose Premium Themes Over Free

In an age where everyone is trying to save some cash, many WordPress bloggers will for go the expense of paying for a premium theme and instead opt for the cheapest price available (hint: free).

While there are plenty of free themes available for WordPress users (thanks in part to generous designers), unless one is running a personal blog WordPress fans should always choose a premium theme over a free one (provided you have the funds of course).

Since some users will balk at the idea of paying for a theme in an age where quality software is available for free, here are 3 reasons why you need to choose premium themes over free handouts. Read More

Categories: WordPress Themes

How To Add Support For Menus In Your WordPress Theme

Are you running WordPress 3.0 yet? If so, you might have come across a nifty little addition called Menus. You’ll find it on your admin Dashboard in the Appearances section, and here’s a little screenshot of how it looks:

As you can see, I’ve set up a new menu named “Lorraine Menu” here, and added various things to it by selecting from the elements on the left side of the page: a link to Devlounge, links to some pages, and so forth.

Also of note is the message beneath Theme Locations that states:

The current theme does not natively support menus, but you can use the “Custom Menu” widget to add any menus you create here to the theme’s sidebar. Read More

Categories: WordPress Themes, WordPress Tips, WordPress Tutorials
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The Good And The Bad About Working With Theme Frameworks

I’ve been working a lot with WordPress Theme Frameworks lately, most notably Genesis, Thematic and Hybrid, when developing themes. Well, child themes really. There are many reasons why working with child themes is a good way to start developing, but there are also some drawbacks. For me the good weighs out the bad in general, but there are situations where the old straight forward theme development method is just plain faster.

The Good

Building with child themes has a lot of powerful advantages. My favorite are:

  • Development Speed: Having an already working theme as a parent theme, a theme that already has been looked at from a lot of different angels as to what it should be able to do, and already some basic styling in place makes it a lot easier to quickly make some changes via the child theme style sheet.
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Categories: WordPress Themes
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Twenty Ten: The New and Improved Default WordPress Theme

Twenty TenWordPress is gearing up to release a new version, WordPress 3.0, which will house a lot of new cool features and the merging of WordPress MU with WordPress stand alone version. Alongside with this release WordPress will also be shipped with a brand new interpretation of what a default theme should be. For years the default theme has been Kubrick, but that’s all going to change.

I’ve never been a fan of either Kubrick’s look or code, but I must say Twenty Ten is genuinely a great base theme to use for all your WordPress projects, especially when working with Child Themes. Sure it’s not as advanced as say Thematic, but it does produce powerful semantic html and is in general very well SEO optimized. No surprise there because Ian Stewart, the creator of Thematic, was also the one who inspired Twenty Ten with his theme called Kirby, and recently joined Automattic as a Theme Wrangler. Read More

Categories: WordPress Themes
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WordPress Theme Review: Pico by Hafiz Rahman

It does not happen often, but occasionally you find a free theme for WordPress that is completely *droolworthy*. I have to disclose upfront that I am a big fan of both grid-based designs, especially when they follow a strict and mathematically correct grid, whitespace and Khoi Vinh.

One of the things I expect from a theme is that it doesn’t get in the way and highlights content and especially with grid based design this is something which can easily be screwed up. But the grid-masters know how to display both content and a strict grid correctly. One of the most popular grid designs for WordPress is without any doubt Grid Focus by Derek Punsalan.

There’s a new contender in WP-town for grid-based design lovers!

Introducing Pico by Hafiz ‘WPLover’ Rahman

Pico screenshot

WPLover is a well-known WordPress news-site edited by Hafiz Rahman, who is also a great WordPress news link curator, and the design of WPLover doesn’t hide it: Hafiz loves the grid.
Previously he already treated the WordPress community with several Thematic child themes, all showcasing mainly the content, while using whitespace as a perfect tool, weapon almost, in his designs.

Pico is Hafiz’ first ‘non-child theme’ released for WordPress and how better to introduce a grid-based theme than with a gorgeous grid-based Pico introduction page? Read More

Categories: WordPress Themes
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First Look at Kirby, WordPress 2010 Default Theme Concept by Ian Stewart

When the WordPress Core Team met after WordCamp Orlando, canonical plugins weren’t the only big announcement for 2010. The other announcement was that WordPress would receive a new default theme in 2010, thus retiring Kubrick by Michael Heilemann.

Jane Wells announced the concept and immediately hinted at what the Core Team was thinking off:

The default theme doesn’t need to be a full-featured framework, it just needs to work well, look awesome, have good code and be a good starting point for beginning themers. We were thinking of a fairly minimalist design that would make it easy to customize.

Basically a ‘2010 Kubrick’, a slim and slick theme with modern look and ‘cutting edge code’. Enter Ian Stewart of Themeshaper and Thematic fame. Immediately after the announcement Ian had tweeted that he would make a concept and release what he thinks could be a candidate for the WordPress 2010 Default Theme. Some weeks later his theme, Kirby, was released in the theme directory.

In an introduction post to Kirby, Ian explains the thinking behind his Kirby theme and why it should not be a framework: Read More

Categories: WordPress Themes
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Short Inside View of StudioPress

Jeff appears to have a great article up regarding StudioPress, and it helps answer some common questions about the company, its goals, and direction. If you are interested in knowing what Brian Gardner thinks of his critics, outsiders views on his goals, and his design style, you need to check out this post entitled An Inside Glance At StudioPress.

Who creates the graphical side of StudioPress designs?

95% of the graphic/design elements of StudioPress themes were created by me – while I’m not a trained graphic designer, I’ve been able to learn Photoshop and put together most of our work. We are now beginning to branch out and contract out upcoming theme designs for a few reasons. One, I’m so busy doing other things (like running StudioPress and overseeing all that goes on) and just don’t have the time to design, code, support, and provide tutorials for all of our themes. The other reason, and more significantly important reason, is that we want to offer a variety of designs to our users.

I think that more WordPress theme companies should open up their schedules to talk about what they are doing, who is involved and what they think of the WordPress community. There has long been flack given to Premium theme companies, and I think while that flack has lessened in recent months, a fair number of people still don’t totally understand what makes these companies worthwhile.

Categories: WordPress Themes

ModThemes.com Launches

Looking for a new Premium Theme company to buy your products off of, then you’ll be happy to know Nathan Rice has created a new company called ModThemes.

As you know, I live and breathe WordPress code (pretty much). I’ve written countless tutorials, built themes, written plugins, even submitted a patch or two to the WordPress core. Let’s just say that when it comes to WordPress, I know my stuff, some of which has recently been added as new functionality to the themes at StudioPress.

So it should go without saying that if I’m going to be helping run my own WordPress business, it’s going to be top-notch quality with some solid code. You can count on it.

Looks like it could be a smart move for Nathan and team, if he can crack the ever increasing competition in the market these days.

Categories: WordPress Themes

PSDtoWP – A Review on Blogging Pro

psdtowpRecently, I was given the ability to go crazy and get Blogging Pro redesigned. It was a task that I didn’t take lightly, but I knew which designer I wanted to use, as he had worked on my site, Branding David. James McDonald is an amazing designer, but he doesn’t do slicing and coding and he definitely doesn’t do WordPress theme coding, and so I had a choice to make: let him use one of the people he knows, or find one of my own.

I chose to find my own, and after asking around, I went with PSDtoWP, a company that recently went through a name change to comply with the WordPress trademark. They had done work on a few sites, and I knew the business owner, and so I handed over the PSD created by James, and let them get to work.

I have had notoriously bad experiences with having others change my PSD’s into WordPress themes before, as not all coders are good coders, and the design had some more “advanced” features than the typical theme. I wasn’t sure they’d be able to hangle my request, and do so with decent code.

3. What is involved in getting my design transformed into a WordPress Theme?

You upload the files, fill out the form and let us know what you would like to have done. After receiving 50% upfront, we can get started. Once we have coded your theme, we upload it to a demo server and allow you to have a look at what the finished product will be like. We make any necessary changes and send you the theme ready to upload to the destination server.

Much to my surprise, the code produced was clean and easy to use. The theme was ready to drop into the WordPress themes folder, and activate. There wasn’t much that needed to be done. They did miss two little design elements, but after mentioning this, they were quick to not only fix the error, but give me a list of changed files, so that I could upload only the changed files, thus keeping the changes I had already made after the fact (I never leave things the way people give them to me). They wrote the code for the features box, and implemented the box in the content area with the listing of the most commented posts.

I didn’t have the ability to use their recently coded Task Administration panel, but I hear that will help keep the person requesting the job more in the loop regarding the status. I just had to e-mail them, and I quickly received a response on how much longer it would be.

I was impressed with the professionalism, the speed, and while the cost is more than you’d pay on Digital Point Forums, the quality matches the price. I was very happy with my purchase, and would probably purchase from them again.

If you are looking to get a premium quality theme coded for a reasonable price, I’d suggest checking out PSDtoWP. If you would like $20 off your purchase, feel free to mention BLOGGINGPRO20 during the check-out. Prices start at $330 USD.

Note: I could have sliced and coded the theme myself, but the time it would have taken me to do it was more valuable to me spent elsewhere than the price I paid to have it coded. Also the code is much more organized than it would have been, had I done it all myself.

Categories: WordPress Themes