Tag Archives | widgets

WordPress Themes – Should You Use Premium Or Free Themes

WordPress Themes – Should You Use Premium Or Free Themes?

You have probably heard the saying: Nothing good in life is free! WordPress offers many free themes, plugins, and widgets, but you will want to pay attention to the possible downfalls of using a free WordPress theme.

The first concern is what may be hidden or embedded in the code built within your theme. No matter how you are using your WordPress blog, the last thing you want to do is attach potential spam to your visitors. Unfortunately, some of the WordPress themes do have some sort of spam built into the theme. Also, the more elaborate theme creators may have embedded the spam so deep that if you try to remove it your entire site will fail.

You can expect that premium themes – or those you pay for – will usually be free of spam. After all, a designer likely would not embed spam because they have a reputation to uphold.

A second reason for using a premium theme is that you will have support from its creator. Since anyone can create and make available free themes, designers will not usually help with your problems regarding that free theme. WordPress has attempted to improve this issue by creating forums to seek help, but fixing or changing the site will be up to you.

Since designers of premium themes are paid for their design, they want to be sure it works and will usually be available through a dedicated forum or have another method that they can be contacted.

A third potential problem of using a free WordPress theme is that it often will not support the widgets or plugins you would like to use.

Designers of premium WordPress themes generally stay in contact with their users. They listen to the issues and make fixes available through upgrades. Since the designers know who has purchased their themes, they are able to send out notification of upgrades through e-mails.

Please understand that I am not stating that every free WordPress theme is full of spam. I am only suggesting that you should be aware of these possibilities and do some research before you jump on the first theme you come across. Also, using the themes offered from the WordPress Dashboard are generally safer than something you might find from surfing the internet.

If you are just beginning as a new business or blog writer, using a free theme available from WordPress may be your best solution to get your site up and tested. But as your blog or business grows, consider upgrading to a premium theme. This will give you a site that is more user and owner friendly without worrying about spam or support.


How to Install WordPress Widgets

How to Install WordPress Widgets

One of the things that makes WordPress so easy to use is widgets. What is a widget? I will try and explain them the easiest way possible. Basically, a widget is an area of a website or blog where you can control the location by dragging and dropping it. In WordPress, widgets are usually found in the sidebar section. As far as what can be places in them, there are really no limits. There are literally hundreds of different ways to utilize widgets within WordPress.

However, before you get started you should probably learn how to install WordPress widgets. The good news is that a lot of widgets come preinstalled with the WordPress package. The common ones include things like recent posts, categories, tags, and a search function.

However, if you want to add any functionality to your blog or website then you will want to know how to install WordPress widgets from plugins. Many WordPress plugins come with widgets built in so all you have to do is install the plugin and then browse to the widgets section in WordPress.

If the plugin comes with a widget, you should automatically see it listed under the available widgets. If for some reason you do not see any new widgets, then you should make sure the plugin is activated. If for some reason it is not, it will not show up under widgets. The other possibility is that the plugin does not come with a built in widget. If this is the case, you may have to find the short code that works with the plugin and add it to a text widget.

So there you have it, a quick lesson in how to install WordPress widgets.


A Very Slick Photo Gallery WordPress Theme

A Very Slick Photo Gallery WordPress Theme

Without a doubt, the Manhattan theme by StudioPress is a very slick photo gallery WordPress theme.

Why is the Manhattan theme such a slick photo Gallery WordPress theme?

Keep in mind, this is my opinion. I’m not basing this proclamation on any official WordPress theme rating organization. My reasons for liking this gallery WordPress theme so much are twofold:

It has my preferred photo gallery layout on the home page, and
It’s a theme that operates on the Genesis Framework.

My Reasons Explained

1. Photo gallery layout and Design of this theme

The home page is what makes the design so fantastic. I like the large above-the-fold image slide show for featuring your best photographs.

Under the large photo space on the home page you have space to create a gallery. The Manhattan gallery demo features only 4 photos, but you can add many more if you like. You can create a large scrolling gallery of photographs on the home page. This is easily done in the WordPress Widgets panel.

What you do is drag the Featured Posts feature built into the theme on the Genesis Framework and drag it to the home page widget section. The Featured Posts widget pulls your images from the specific posts you place your images. You can also manually insert source image code in the Widgets to display any number of photos.

The point is you can create a huge or small photo gallery on the home page. Those photos can link to a post or not. It’s up to you.

Moreover, because the Manhattan home page is configured with widgets, you can add article titles and/or excerpts as well or in place of photos.

Essentially, you have many options for designing your home page with the Manhattan theme.

2. I like the Genesis Framework

There is much to say about the Genesis Framework.

If you go with the Manhattan theme, you gain the benefits and features of Genesis. That is a fundamental advantage of the Manhattan photo gallery WordPress theme. In other words, Manhattan is not a stand-alone WordPress photo theme. Instead, it’s driven by Genesis which gives you the tools for building a fantastic photo gallery website.

Just so you know, I use the Genesis Framework for many websites, including my offline business website. When Genesis was released, I fairly quickly migrated most of my websites onto Genesis. I’ve been very happy with that decision ever since.

Why pay for a photo gallery theme when there are many free gallery themes available?

Good question. In fact, before I used paid themes, I used free themes as well. I became frustrated with free themes. Then I read something about some free themes being encoded with links and perhaps even poor code. I became a concerned and dug a little deeper.

I wish to emphasize not all free themes are compromised. The trouble for me then was I couldn’t tell whether a free theme was okay or not.

A few words about StudioPress

When you buy a theme from StudioPress (such as Manhattan), you can use it on as many domains as you like. This is important. Some premium themes restrict the number of uses. Not so with StudioPress.

You also have access to a good support forum with senior moderators who know A LOT about WordPress themes and StudioPress themes specifically. They answer questions generally within 24 hours.


The Thesis WordPress Theme – Perfect For Beginners and Experts Alike

The Thesis WordPress Theme – Perfect For Beginners and Experts Alike

Almost anyone who has ever set up a blog or tried to design a website will probably have used WordPress at some time or other. It’s one of the most powerful, and popular, pieces of software to be found on the internet today.

Most people think that it’s just useful for blogs and they do little more than install a copy and add some content. However, if you search around the internet you will soon discover that WordPress can do much more than just act as a blogging platform. Its great popularity comes from its customizability thanks to the huge number of plug-ins and widgets that you can download for free. These add-ons enable you to configure WordPress for almost any kind of website from simple sales pages to complete e-commerce stores complete with payment gateways and so on.

Its other great feature is the ability to change the look of your website at the touch of a button using templates, or as they are referred to in WordPress circles, themes. Some themes offer little more than a change of colour or some extra graphics, but the better ones enable complete customisation of your website, right down to individual page level. Using such a template can really make your website seem individual and make it stick out from the crowd.

One of the best themes in terms of the level of customisation it offers is the Thesis WordPress Theme by DIYThemes.com. This amazing template enables people with little or no web coding skills to completely customise the look and feel of their WordPress installation. Non-techies can adjust a whole range of parameters from right inside the WordPress control panel itself without ever changing a line of code.

There are 3 different ways to alter the look and feel of the Thesis them. These are listed under 3 menu options named Thesis Options, Design options and Custom File Editor from inside the control panel. The Thesis Options menu allow you to change things such as the layout of your navigation menus, add analytics and stats tracking code and gives you a fine degree of control over the display by tuning the headers, the posts, comments, sidebars and even tags that are used. The next menu option covers the design aspects of the Thesis theme. Here you have a bewildering range of choices that allow you to change the colours and fonts of every part of the site individually. You can have a feature box, a multimedia box for displaying video and even drop in a custom stylesheet if you have one.

Finally, you have the custom file editor. This utility allows even the most hardcore technical wizard full control over every aspect of the themes design. There is literally nothing that you cannot customise as long as you are familiar with WordPress and PHP.

The Thesis Theme is amazingly versatile, as can be seen by some of the showcase blogs that are demonstrated on its homepage. If you are en expert you can play about with it to your hearts desire but if, like most of us, you never want to see a line of code, then you can still change almost every aspect of the design. You can really allow your creative juices to flow without your getting your hands dirty, making the Thesis WordPress Theme one of the best available on the market.


How to Choose an Effective WordPress Theme

How to Choose an Effective WordPress Theme

If you’re blogging on the WordPress platform,the first thing you’ll probably do is to install a new WordPress theme. Even if you’ve been blogging for years you may still be a theme “”addict””, wasting a lot of time doing minor modifications that when summed up merely distracts you from blogging itself.

It’s actually easy to see why this single aspect of running a blog demands so much attention. With the correct theme, you can accommodate all the nifty little widgets and codes, and may also mean better search engine rankings and tons of fresh traffic every day.

So what are the factors you need to consider to make theme-hunting easier? Here are five important ingredients:

1) Theme Width and Columns

Typically, WordPress themes come in 2-column or 3-column formats, with widths ranging from 500 pixels to 960 pixels wide. If you’re blogging for non-profit purposes, a 2-column theme can look more compact and reader-friendly. Since you have less images of products or links to other sites to display, you can focus exclusively on the content without leading readers away from your site.

On the other hand, if you’re blogging for profit, you may want to consider a 3-column WordPress theme that will be able to accommodate your Google Adsense, Chitika and Text Link Ads codes comfortably without squeezing everything in the content area. 3-column themes allow room for expansion, but in the event that you’ve filled up all available space with ads, then it’s time you removed the non-performers and use only the advertising services that work for that particular blog.

2) Use of Images and Icons

A theme with images and icons can look good, but it rarely increases your web traffic or subscriber base. In fact, most “”A-list”” bloggers have plain vanilla themes with a simple logo on top. Reducing the amount of images also means faster loading time and less stress on your servers. This vital aspect of server load become apparent only if you have tens of thousands of visitors a day, but it’s worth designing for the future.

A image-laden theme also distracts readers from the content itself. This is the reason why blogs like Engadget and Tech Crunch use images intensively in the content areas to add value to a post, but the theme itself is simple and rather minimalist.

Ideally, a theme should allow you to use your own header image for stronger branding purposes, yet replace images and icons with links and text, or just not use them at all unless absolutely necessary.

3) Compatibility with Plugins

Another time-sucking activity is installing plugins that improve the functionality of your site. There’s a plugin out there for almost everything you want to do with your blog, but while most of them are free and easily obtainable, it’s not always easy to install the plugins and insert the codes into your WordPress theme.

If your theme is too complicated, it may be a headache to even insert that one line of code you need to make a plugin work. This is often the case with advanced AJAX-based WordPress themes that have too many files and heavy coding. I’ve always preferred a simpler themes that stick to the default WordPress theme as much as possible, so I can cut back on the learning curve and just get on with my life.

Remember that the purpose of your blog is to deliver timely, relevant content to your readers, Any theme that preserves or improves the reader experience is good, any theme that subtracts from the experience is bad.

4) Search Engine Optimization

A lot can be said about search engine optimization, but at the end of the day if you have content worth reading eventually you’ll get the rankings you deserve. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need SEO; all it means is that what you really need to do is to make sure:

(a) Your

(b) All your blog content titles use the H1 tag, with the main keywords used instead of non-descriptive text for better SEO relevance

(b) Your theme has clean source codes, and if possible all formatting is linked to an external CSS file which you can edit independently

5) Plug-And-Play Ease of Use

Can the theme be installed easily on an existing blog without having to move things around? Can the same theme be used and customized easily on your other blogs? These are some additional things you may want to consider when theme-shopping, especially if every minute of downtime on your blog may mean lost revenue.

While it’s hard to make comparisons due to the sheer amount of free and paid themes out there, it’s still a good idea to have a test blog site. Test any theme you plan on using, and make sure your test blog is also fitted with all the plugins and miscellaneous widgets used on your real blog. The last thing you want is for your readers start seeing weird error messages on your blog.

At the end of the day, a theme is just a theme. Instead of spending your time installing them, it may be wiser to outsource the task and focus more on your readers. Alternatively, you may also want to consider buying “”plug-and-play”” themes for a reasonable price. Dennis De’ Bernardy of ProWordPress.com has probably one of the best themes around, but if you’re short on cash there are certainly cheaper alternatives.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gobala Krishnan


Testing page layout WordPress plugin

wordpress.org This plugin allows to dynamically activate the widgets system on a WordPress page, creating complex layouts. You can define new layout via the function register_layout() in the function.php file of your theme. The plugin define two sample defaults layouts that you can see in Screenshots section. WARNING: USE ONLY WITH JAVASCRIPT! The backend of this plugin works only with browser with javascript enabled


Twitter Try it

Twitter: Try it

Twitter, a new way that you can talk to millions plus people. A sleek looking alternative to the other social networking sites out there. You may not have as many theme choices as some other sites, but you can change up the background colors that will fit your wishes better.

As a Twitterer you can do just about anything. Have fun looking up different subjects from Wicca to Shoes. Meet people from all over the world. Write a blog to vent those daily issues you can’t stand. Others will follow you, which means they are interested in what you do, and want to be a friend. You of course can choose who you follow, and believe it or not, there are a lot of famous people here too. Shaq is on Twitter and to a big basketball fan they can click and follow what he posts and talks about. It’s just a really neat thing for people to be able to learn things about others.

Maybe you have a project that you need to write about another country. Go and see if you can find some Twitter people who live there. What a way to make that report even better than normal. You will wow your teacher or professor and have information that others will not find in books. Why not take advantage of something that will only help you score a higher grade.

You are able to add widgets or design your own. Some people can come up with some really excellent ideas for widgets; it’s always nice to check out the new ones that have been made. Add them to your page and have something that will make your page a bit different.

Perhaps you have a product or a website that you would like to promote put that up on Twitter and your followers will see it and check it out. Plus those people who are doing a search and hit on a keyword you may have. Well you can see the possibility of having a bunch of people come and check out what you have on your site.

There are many reasons to use Twitter, a fun way to connect with others in the world. Your own unique look on your profile by changes the colors if you want too. Plus just meeting some nice people, or a mate, you never know where you might meet your Mr. or Mrs. Right! Twitter could be the place that it may happen at.

Be sure to check out the Twitter page and see what all the hype is about. Don’t worry if you don’t post a lot, looking at what others has posted is fun too. There are so many advantages to meeting people online. Heck it’s a great way for a person who hates going out to have friends too. You may even meet one day or just talk through years and become really close with someone. All this can happen by just going to Twitter and getting signed up. Check it out now and make some new social connections.