Recently, 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.
A great friend of mine, Elena of DesignDisease has released another free WordPress theme called Evidens. It comes in both a white version and a striking black version.
Evidens is a new 3 column, full width theme from Design Disease. Featuring both White and Dark variations, this modern/industrial theme is both elegant and edgy at the same time. The three column layout is perfect for adsense and text link integration. The design features ample space for your blog content, making sure you have room for the latest widescreen web video, as well as bright, beautiful images. Advanced options like Flickr Photostream and Twitter integration allow you to keep up with the latest social networking trends, and update your siteâ€™s content anywhere, anytime.
The modern/industrial look of the theme gives it almost infinite versatility, making it a perfect fit for blog topics ranging from technology, menâ€™s interests, and even fashion design. Also be sure to check out PremiumThemes.com, a new project from Design Disease.
Released in the middle of last month, the Evidens theme already has many fans using it, and it is easy to see why. As the designer of many amazing blogs, including this one, Elena has a style that is very recognizable, and modern. Check out the Evidens theme today.
You’ve probably seen at least a couple of their themes around, like Dilectio, or Smashing.
Personally I’d love to see them do a theme focused on Podcasting, which thankfully is one of the options in the poll, but all the choices sound pretty cool really. So if you haven’t yet voted, there is still time…but not much…so head over to the poll and have your say.
As WordPress themes become more complex, they continue to add back-end features to their themes, but have to be judged on their front-end, as there is no easy way, that I know of, to lock down WordPress installations so that a back-end demo can be set up that won’t be “taken advantage of” by the darker people on the Internet.
This is a problem I’ve been having in marketing WPUnlimited, as I recently posted on the blog. I am trying to video all of the important features, but surely, there has to be some way of locking down WordPress, or showing a theme back end, without opening the door for all kinds of abuse. Anyone have any tips? Please let me know.
Recently, there has been a re-opening of the discussion on if Kubrick should be replaced as the default WordPress theme. While I am not a fan of the Kubrick theme itself, I find the creator, Michael Heilemann an interesting guy, and his work in Kubrick deserves continued support from the WordPress users of the world.
I think it is the original, classic theme that should be replaced, and Kubrick should become the new “classic” theme being replaced, but not displaced by a new default theme for WordPress.
I think WordPress users could still learn a lot from Kubrick, and be inspired by it. Also, it has the right amount of design for someone starting blogging.
Here are some thoughts from Jeff Chandler about the whole issue:
The way I see it, if you attack the root of the problem and replace Kubrick with a base theme that contains everything DD32 mentioned, this could do nothing but positive things for the WordPress community. First time theme developers would have an excellent base to start from and learn a thing or two in the process with documentation included within the theme.
I disagree with Jeff, and think that too many WordPress “gurus” expect early WordPress users to understand how to change a theme, but if that were the case, I think far more people would use the built-in header change tool that comes with Kubrick by default, rather than sticking with the stock settings.
For the Lose has a great post up about WordPress Theme trends and how you can implement some of those features in your blog today.
What are blog posts? Blog posts, when you really look at them, are nothing but walls of text. So what separates them from a page from a high school textbook? Blog posts have personality. You gain readers by being able to implement your personality into your posts. You have to make them feel comfortable, reassure them that they’re reading your posts for pleasure, not because they have to.
Things like tabs, post thumbnails, and theme options pages are mentioned, and instructions are given regarding each one. If you have ever wanted to “pimp your WordPress theme”, this post might help you do that in a way you might not have thought possible, if you aren’t a programmer by nature.
I have been trying out various WordPress themes for a long time now. I have commissioned some custom ones for myself, used both free and paid WordPress themes, and even released a few of my own. Today, I am releasing a new theme that solves many of my personal issues with WordPress themes, and plugins.
So yesterday, I finally officially launched WPUnlimited, a WordPress theme system that does many interesting things.
It takes things that people find normally complex, and tries to find a way to simplify them.
First off, I made sure uploading and displaying headers, and backgrounds was easy. Also WPUnlimited comes with various SEO options built-in.
Another important thing with this theme was to make sure that the main features that people normally require plugins for were no longer plugins.
Why would I do this? Well, because I wanted to put the onus on me to make sure features on your blog always worked. Plugins are usually delayed a while as WordPress versions come out, and I have always been frustrated by this. WPUnlimited includes many features, usually delegated to plugins like showing social media promotion buttons for Digg, StumbleUpon and more.
How much is WPUnlimited? Being that this is a theme that will constantly be developed, upgraded, modified, and supported, WPUnlimited is a paid WordPress theme. For a personal license you will be looking at only $59, which will allow you to install the theme on one blog, not including anything hosted locally on your computer for testing, get access to upgrades forever, and support. A developer license, which gives you access to using the theme on any number of blogs, including projects you develop is only $150, or less than three personal licenses.
Why should you care? If you are looking for a strong, easy to customize theme, that doesn’t leave you with WordPress theme files that don’t make any sense, then you’ll want to buy WPUnlimited.
If you want to make some money, I have set up an affiliate program that should entice some of you to help. I only want you to sign up if you think WPUnlimited is a good product because you shouldn’t sell what you don’t believe in. You can earn 40% on any and all sales you make, and 10% on all sales done by people you get to join the affiliate program under you.
If you want to learn more about WPUnlimited, please check out the site relating to the theme, and let me know what you think.
If you would like to see someone that has already started to use the WPUnlimited theme, check out Jim Kukral’s blog as he has begun to customize his own installation of WPUnlimited.
I have been giving tons of time to thinking about WordPress themes lately, as I gear up to release my own. Much of what I have done regarding my theme was more about what I want in a theme, but I am not sure if that is what the general WordPress using masses need.
What makes a good WordPress theme? What makes people choose one theme over another? Is the front end (the part that visitors see) more or less important than the features in the back end (the configuration and control panel for the theme)?
Why are simple theme frameworks so successful? Is that something that the average user is really interested in, or do they want the front end design to be beautiful right out of the box?
There must be, like all products, a way of influencing people through psychology. Is it the colours used in the theme, the theme’s name, or some special marketing text that really changes a theme from being ignored into being popular? With all of the competition in WordPress themes today, it seems like understanding the various factors that go into creating a popular theme is only getting harder, not easier, despite the growing amount of data. Are we such a mish-mash group of users that there will never be one theme that will be good enough for 99% of us?
In the end, I am sure someone with both a marketing and psychology degree could break this down for me and tell me how simple words, colours and systems provide a path of popularity, and how businesses have been using these techniques for hundreds of years. If you have been thinking about getting an accredited online psychology degree, you’ll want to check out the work I am doing on College Crunch.
Elena, the designer of this and many great blogs in the Splashpress Media blog network has released another free WordPress theme called Compositio.
Compositio is a two column theme, made to for those who want to put their content at the front with a unique light blue design. Random square shapes are the defining graphics of this theme. They are used throughout the background, bringing a special rhythm to the theme.
A special feature of this theme is the logo changer. ( Thanks to Munzir Rosdi ). You can use the default WordPress setting (â€œblog nameâ€) or you can use your own logo. Upload your logo in the root folder of Compositio theme and name it logo.png. You can also use the PSD Logo Template in the source folder of Compositio Theme.
I am very excited to see how people use the theme, and its new logo feature. Kudos to Elena and the Design Disease team.