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Archive for the ‘WordPress Themes’ Category

Psychology of a WordPress Theme

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.

Categories: WordPress Themes

WordPress Theme: Compositio

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 (“blog name”) 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.

Categories: WordPress Themes

Speed Up Your WordPress Theme

NetTUTS have put up a great post on speeding up a website, but you could easily translate that into speeding up your WordPress blog. While these might not increase your speed like caching or anything else like that, it is still a very useful guide for compressing images, CSS, and finding errors.

If perfomance is paramount for your website, I strongly suggest that you consider compressing your CSS and Javascript files just before deployment. Don’t bother doing it at the beginning of your development. It’ll only cause more frustration than help. However, once the bow has been tied, compress those babies up.

We’ve talked about compressing CSS before on Blogging Pro in a post entitled, CSS Optimization: Make Your Sites Load Faster for Free.

I am really interested in the the section on using libraries and frameworks as I’ve been hearing more and more about people using them to speed up their development time, or require less code, through use of libraries written by other people.

If you are interested in speeding up your blog, or the theme you are going to release, I’d recommend checking out the post on NetTuts.

Categories: Blog Design, WordPress Themes

Plugin and Theme Licensing Wars

Since the inception of WordPress there have been fights over licensing plugins and themes. Some people believe that WordPress themes and plugins automatically inherit the GPL license, and others contest this, but does the licensing really matter?

I believe two things matter: what is in it for the developer, and is the community served?

I don’t believe that the GPL is providing for the developers nor truly living up to what the community needs.

Consider this:

You’ve just created an amazing plugin, it took you over a dozen hours, and you’ve given it out to the community for free.

Now they come to you for support, and you try your best to provide them with the answers they need, adding another two hours per week to your “work”. WordPress then changes in some major way, and you have to recode your plugin to work under the new “rules” of WordPress, adding another two hours of development time to your plugin.

All of this time spent is from the goodness of your heart, but it becomes tiring. One day, you decide to start charging for support. Each request is only two dollars, and you go from needing to spend two hours a week to only spending two hours a month on support related inquiries.

The problems didn’t disappear though, instead the WordPress community forums are littered with people asking for help with your plugin, and they are getting answers, thus bypassing your new business enterprise completely.

You feel frustrated that the hours you originally and continue to put have been rewarded in such a way, and in the end you never make back in community currency, links or actual money the investment that you had put into the project.

Where is the benefit to continue? You either end up discontinuing your work or finding ways to try to drive business to yourself, only to have your plugin removed from the WordPress Plugins repository for not being “GPL enough”. Someone else forks your work and continues on, paying no homage to the original idea creator, you.

Sound like fiction? I have no doubt that this has been the case for at least a few WordPress theme and plugin developers as the GPL creates a number of limitations with no business model set up to reward those that spend the time adding to the community.

Flip that around and remove the GPL, and the plugin author could have built a business around the plugin, while still remaining in the forefront of the community. The monetary benefit would have hopefully changed the market in two ways.

The first way would be that the plugin developer would have been more likely to spend time developing their plugin continually. The second change would be that popular plugins would have to compete in the market in both price and features.

I don’t believe that GPL is the great equalizer and protector, and I also believe that within five years, WordPress will see much of their current plugin and theme development rock stars move onto other platforms that don’t have such restrictive licensing.

iThemes now has a Movable Type store. How long will it be until more theme developers follow suit? Habari’s license allows the creators to manage and sell their work under any license they like, allowing for true business to be built around their platform.

Categories: Opinion, WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes

WordPress Theme: What Would Make You Pay for a Theme?

I am currently working on a paid WordPress theme system, and I was wondering what it would take for people to spend money on a WordPress theme? Does it come down to constant development and updates, support, or some killer feature?

In about a week or so, I’ll be releasing a theme that I think will surprise people, but I am already looking at future versions, and want to offer the best product possible to the WordPress community.

Why is it going to be a paid theme?
The simple fact is that if I want to provide support, continuously develop the theme, and develop a real marketing plan, the theme had to be a paid theme rather than a free one.

That doesn’t mean that I take this lightly though, as the theme will blur the line between themes and plugins. I think you’ll all be very excited.

If there is a feature your favourite theme is missing, now is the time to speak up. If it doesn’t get integrated into the one I am working on, I am sure the Blogging Pro audience is listening and some of them are amazing WordPress theme developers as well.

Categories: WordPress Themes

WP Review Site Theme/Plugin Set

WP Review Site turns WordPress into a powerful review site engine. It allows you to easily create niche review sites about anything and everything you want, be it products, computers, gadgets, music, movies, services, websites, restaurants, hotels, credit cards or even beer.

WP Review Site combines has these features:

Add a star rating system to your comment forms – This enables visitors to your WP blog do more than just leave comments: they can write a review and rate it via mousing over star icons. You define the categories, and your visitors can rate between 1 to 5 stars. And WP Review Site is completely customizable to fit your blog’s design; you can display rankings as you see fit, whether you use tables or CSS.

And WP Review Site lets you sort reviews by weighted average rating: you can set it to display reviews by the highest/lowest-rated, and not in chronological order. You can even choose to not show the rating system in some parts of your site. WP Review Site even has various sidebar widgets for you to add a list of top rated items to your site’s sidebar, or a list of recent reviews with the average rating that user left.

And what makes WP Review Site even better for me is that it already comes with seven themes preconfigured to work with the plugin:

  • WP Review Site
  • WPRS: Aqua Featured
  • WPRS: Award Winning Hosts
  • WPRS: Bonus Black
  • WPRS: Double Silver
  • WPRS: Green Featured
  • WPRS: Ocean

And even better, WP Review Site has already got its own affiliate link management system that will let you configure your links easier. Instead of inserting the URL for the same anchor text over and over, you can set your review blog to automatically insert affiliate links.

What I don’t care for, however, is the fact that the customization features of WP Review Site is spread over two options pages. I’d like to have everything in one configuration page.

For $97 dollars, you’d get free upgrades for life along with all the features mentioned above.


  • WP Review Site does the work of many different plugins to make WordPress work as a powerful affiliate review site.
  • It comes with seven preconfigured themes
  • Affiliate link management system is powerful


  • Too many separate options pages
  • Switching themes would clear the sidebar of widgets

Categories: WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes

Comments features for WordPress 2.7 from Otto

If you’re a WordPress theme developer you may want to keep your themes technically aligned to new commenting features that will most probably make it to WordPress version 2.7. Otto, who is a well-known and respected WordPress community member has published this article regarding his commenting features. Check it out! There is a preview to the new 2.7 commenting system at that page too.

Here are some of the enhancements that Otto covers:
â–ª Creating a 2.7 compatible comments.php file
â–ª Password protection check
â–ª The comments loop
â–ª The power of Ajax
â–ª Styling

We all know that commenting is one of the great features that WordPress is known for. Apparently the development team is taking this feature a step further by offering important feature upgrades like threading, paging and javascript enhancements.

I bet ‘ya this will result in better blogs as people can now interact intuitively from one comment to another.

Categories: Interesting, WordPress Themes

WordPress Theme: Fervens A, B & C

This is my first theme recommendation, and a WordPress theme just recently released by Smashing Magazine and Design Disease.  I sure hope the author submits it to the WordPress Theme Directory soon because I think this is a great find.  I found it really cool that the author has also included the PhotoShop Document (PSD) design files for modification.  An extra point as well for giving us an online demo of each theme version.

Fervens Theme – Available in 3 versions, each with a different sidebar position.  They all can be downloaded right here.

“Fervens is a 3 column theme that has a base idea of “freshness”. Summer is my favorite time of year as it always amazes us with a rainbow of sensation and colors, making this time of year the best of all.  The green of the plants and trees, the blue of the water….I love this time of year :)”

What I feel is so lovely about this theme is the Flickr plugin.  While pros can do this thru code-level, newbies would appreciate that it’s coming out-of-box.  Something that makes it more useful turn-key.

Main Features of the Theme

  • 3 columns of fixed width
  • widget-ready — two widget supporting sidebars 
  • the theme is using 3 plugins; 2 of them are integrated into functions.php, so there is no need to install them. These plugins are Gravatar, Recent Comments and FlickrRSS. You can use the last one to present your Flickr images in a Flickr Photostream (see the demo).

***a bit of trivia: The author of Fervens designs also developed the theme. :)


Categories: WordPress Themes

Prologue update: A WordPress theme for the iPhone

Ah, I’m not really sure why I missed this news regarding theme updates for the iPhone.   While I’m not an iPhone 3G user just yet (fearing all the wierd wierd user reports, thank God I’ve held off getting an iPhone 3G!), I follow developments closely… for my friend’s sake. :)

Here are the updates:

  1. A WordPress/iPhone friendlier log-in page, check it out at (using your iPhone, of course).  Tried opening it using my current laptop browser, and wadayaknow… i could!  Ah, simplicity is really good if you’re on 3G and have limited display area.
  2. An update on the Prologue theme to be much friendlier to posting and browsing.

Look at the pretty iPhone screen below…  beauty, ain’t it.



Well, as soon as I see a much happier iPhone 3G user I’d be holding-off on getting one myself.  I feel it would be a step-up to personal productivity once Apple irons out these kinks.  Ohhhh Stevie… could you hurry up, man the product hype is no match for the frowns I’m seeing.

At least for the sake of Veronica Belmont who had an aweful experience! :)  You gotta love her!






Categories: WordPress Themes

A revival : Theme Directory

I remember visiting one central resource for WordPress themes, the ThemeViewer. Since December 11, 2007 things literally stopped.  No new theme uploads… with the latest count being 1,618 themes and 4,190,494 themes downloaded.  Very impressive numbers and I guess it would have multiplied many hundreds of thousands over if it continued.  According to the latest post, that site was up for an upgrade… for its code backoffice, indexing, theme upload, theme integrity, seach and download processes.  Well, I’ve waited and waited… until finally this news from .

It’s been a long time since stopped accepting new themes. Since then most theme authors have been distributing their themes from their own sites, without a good centralized place for people to browse, search, comment on, and rate themes. With the success of the plugins directory, we’ve wanted to have those same benefits in a theme directory. Today is the day we start making that happen, with the introduction of

Yeehaaa!  Now something for me to check where I know the code would be clean and right.  Love the new skin the site dresses up now,  actually it’s dressed like the WordPress plugins site.  Which I thought was cool and generally useful.  I visited the new page and saw that currently there are 3 themes uploaded… and check this out… 772 downloads so far.  I tried to see how downloads move, hey it jumped from 667 to 772 in 15 minutes.  Not bad at all.

So anyway, is this goodbye to my usual WordPress theme spots?  Maybe not as quickly as I’d like.  I’ll continue the old routes until I see a substantial amount of themes at  Hoping that it will be sooner than I think.


Categories: Blogging Resources, WordPress News, WordPress Themes

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