I recently came across a rather cracking WordPress theme on a user’s site – concentrating on the blog aspect of the site and with lots of parallax scrolling and effects it was really effective. It was a commercial theme, though, but got me thinking about this site. The theme I was using, Hueman, apart from being extremely popular, just wasn’t very exciting. So, I set off to find a new one.
First, I needed to decide what I wanted. Key was an emphasis on blogging and not being a magazine format. A single sidebar would be nice, but an option to hide it would make the site look neater. However, I still wanted an emphasis on promotion, so a featured post slider would be beneficial, but not critical 1. The site had to be responsive too, and an easy way to add advertising.
Additional things that would be “nice to have” was aside post types, sticky posts, infinite scroll, breadcrumbs, selectable fonts and social sharing integration.
I looked. Boy, did I look 2. But nothing came close. The problem? Blog themes do not have promotional features – they’re expected of magazine themes. So, although there are plenty of professional bloggers, no-one seems to think that they want to show off their top articles or integrate advertising in the end result.
Then I had a realisation. There was one theme that came pretty close – Hueman, the one I was already using. Shame it was a magazine theme, but it was also configurable, so I set about seeing what I could do. I reduced it to one sidebar, lopped off some colourful headers for the sidebar and generally tweaked it. A new icon was added and I re-thought the colours – I’m using both colours and font from Google’s Material Design. I also realised the theme was out-of-date, which I sorted and this added new features too. The end result is rather good – it’s very different to how it was and I suspect many would struggle to realise it was the Hueman theme.
But, all this made me think about the themes that are out there. If I ever get into my own theme design I now know what I’d create – a creative blogging theme which also includes featured posts and advertising. Until then, I’ll continue looking.
- I did play with various plugins that add this feature but implementing one on an existing site, particularly a responsive site, proved to be problematic
- although I mainly stayed with free themes. Tip – I often ruled out those that had premium versions of their theme, as I found the decent features were kept for this. Truly free themes were usually the only ones with a decent number of quality features