WordPress Themes for Different People – Developers and Users

Why is WordPress a great blogging platform? There are many reasons, out of which ease of use is probably the primary one. WordPress blog can be set up in a jiffy and someone with miniscule technical knowledge can get going.

In addition, the variety of themes and plug-ins makes this platform attractive. However, while selecting themes you must first decide whether you are developer or mere a user. What do I mean by this?

DIYThemes for WordPress - Thesis

Difference Between Theme and Theme Framework

To begin with, you must understand that all WordPress themes are built using php which means that you are allowed to modify, change and adapt a specific theme to your requirements.

Since php is easy to learn, many bloggers eventually learn to use it. I have been following the trend closely and find that blog owners usually have multiple blogs. In such circumstances, they either use the same theme or a variation. Buying a theme framework and then personalizing it makes sense.

Do you have to be a developer to use Theme framework?

By developer I mean having knowledge of the software. In the case of WordPress theme framework you must know php and MySql. A bit of Linux can do no harm.  At first, you may wonder if it’s possible to learn all this stuff. Let me assure you that you need to spend a bit of time and you can master the stuff. If you have some knowledge of these software you can easily opt for a Theme framework.

Genesis Theme Framework

Examples of WordPress Theme framework

Two WordPress theme frameworks immediately spring to my mind – Thesis and Genesis. Both are quite popular with the blogging community. I suppose the simplicity of frameworks combined with extensive documentation are main reasons for their popularity. If you plan to maintain many blogs, you will do well to choose any one of these Frameworks.

Another reason why these may be popular is because once you buy the framework, you can pay a nominal price to buy themes based on them. The overall cost of ownership goes down with this strategy. Moreover you can yourself tweak the code to create your own themes.

Who is a user?

You must remember that bloggers are expected to blog and not become software ninjas.  I know many blog owners who don’t want to go near any software, even by mistake. Why spend your time learning this stuff when you can easily buy themes? I agree with them. After all, your time is better spent writing content and promoting your blog rather than get bogged down by lines of code. You are better off blogging and leaving the messy bit to those who love to wade into the mechanics of code.

Conclusion

Ultimately it all depends on you. If you own a single blog, there is not much you need to think about. You can just pick up a theme, free or paid and get on with it. For bloggers who own multiple blogs, I would advise them to spend a little time thinking about purchasing a theme framework. This would save a considerable amount of time later when coming out with a new blog.

Disclaimer: The author has no commercial interest  in  either Genesis or Thesis framework .

This is a guest post by Victor Solovey.

[How To] include an additional Navigation menu in Thesis

Yesterday only I upgraded Technolism to Thesis WordPress Theme – one of the best premium wordpress themes in terms of SEO and the ease to customize it. I have been playing around with the look and design since then and this is another thesis tutorial that I wanted to share with you which has the information on how to add an additional navigation menu in Thesis for all of you who want to have two nav menus in Thesis – one above the Header and the other one right below it.

Also Read: How to install Thesis WordPress Theme on your Blog?

For every website, navigation menu is the very first thing which a visitor would look as that gives the overview of what your site / blog is all about. So, I wanted to have all my blog pages to be shown above the header and some prominent categories to be displayed below the header which depict the niche of my blog.

Below is a quick tutorial on how to customize the Nav menu to fulfil the purpose and add a second navigation menu below the Thesis Header.

Steps to include an additional Nav Menu in Thesis

#1. First of all, go to custom file editor and select custom_function.php. Or, you can access the same file through a FTP client like FileZilla, which I prefer.

Thesis WP - Custom File Editor

#2.  What I have done for my blog is – I have moved the default Thesis Navigation menu below the header and added the new Nav menu above the header, which will have the pages for my blog (like Contact Us and About Us). The default Nav menu can be then easily customised from the Thesis Options Panel which will have the categories per the requirements.

For this, simply copy and paste the below code to your custom_function.php file and save it:

/* Navigation Menu Customization - START */
/* paste in custom_function.php file */
/* Move default nav menu below header*/
remove_action('thesis_hook_before_header', 'thesis_nav_menu');
add_action('thesis_hook_after_header', 'thesis_nav_menu');
/* Add the second navigation menu */
/* Links for top menu will need to be manually added here, since this menu isn't supported by Thesis */
function secondnav_menu() {
?>
<ul class="menu">
<li><a href="http://www.technolism.com">Home</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.technolism.com/about">About</a></li>
<li><a href="http://www.technolism.com/contact-technolism">Contact Us</a></li>
</ul>
<?php
}
add_action('thesis_hook_before_header', 'secondnav_menu');
/* Navigation Menu Customization - END */

#3. Now go to custom file editor and select custom.css. Copy and paste the below code to custom.css file and save it:

/* Navigation Menu Customization - START */
/* paste in custom.css file */
.custom ul#menu {
border-style: 0.5px solid #000000;
background:#2C79B5 none repeat scroll 0 0;
width: 100%;
float: left;
}
.custom ul#menu li { float:left; padding: 3px 5px 3px 5px; border:1px solid #FFFFFF;}
.custom ul#menu li a { font-size: 1.3em; line-height:1.2em; color: #FFFFFF;background:#2C79B5; }
.custom ul#menu li a:hover { color: #FFFFFF;baground:#299E41; }
/* Navigation Menu Customization - END */

This is the css code that I am using on Technolism. You can customize the above style sheet code to style your navigation menu to suit your theme.

#4. Now, go to your blog and refresh it. You will see two navigation menus now in your header area which will look something like below, if all goes well.

Two Navigation Menus in Thesis WordPress Theme

Note: Before you make any of the above changes, please take a backup of your custom_function.php and custom.css files.

Are you using Thesis on your blog? If not, you should try it as it is very easy to customize and looks simple and clean. Do try adding an additional nav menu on your Thesis Powered blog and let me know in case of any issues.

[How To] Install Thesis WordPress Theme on your Blog?

As I mentioned in one of my Thesis Tutorials, I purchased Thesis WordPress Theme quite long back, which I also applied for some of other blogs powered by the Technolism network (check here and here).

At last, I have installed it here, on Technolism as well. Thesis is not only a wordpress theme but a framework and here at Technolism I never endorse anything before I try it myself. Thesis is a great wordpress theme and I have applied to almost all my blogs as it is already SEO friendly and is very easy to customize. 🙂

I have put down as small tutorial if you are going to install it for your blog. It is a very easy process to install Thesis Theme.

Below is a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to install Thesis theme to your new blog:

#1. Download the latest Thesis Theme from DIYThemes.

#2. Go to your WordPress Blog Dashboard and navigate to the path Dashboard > Appearance > Themes and click on Install Themes tab. In this tab, click on Upload option.

#3. Click on Choose File and select the latest Thesis theme file which you downloaded above. Click on Install Now.

image

#4. Clicking on Install Now will install the Thesis theme onto your wordpress blog which would not take more than 2 minutes. All you have to now, is Activate the Theme and have a look at your Thesis powered blog.

image

#5. There is no Step 5 as such ;). Now, put your creative hats on and start customizing your new rocking theme to make it look the way you like it. Remember, Thesis has a great potential in that case and is very easy to customize.

Now, having installed the Thesis theme on Technolism, I will start customizing it to give it more awesome and attractive look. I will also be sharing a lot of Thesis Customization Tutorials here now. So, stay tuned for quick and useful tutorials coming your way. Bye for now, I am eager to start customizing Technolism. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

DIYThemes released the latest version of Thesis 1.8.2 recently and there are talks of its price getting hiked with the release of Thesis 2.0. So, if you have not purchased Thesis till now, below is the link to Grab Your Copy Now!

Download Thesis Now

Mashlife Premium WordPress Theme worth $40 – [Technolism Anniversary Giveaway #1]

As I mentioned in the previous post that Technolism is heading towards its 1st anniversary in June 2011 and to celebrate the occasion we are organising some attractive giveaways in which you get the chance to win a lot of premium stuff.

We are starting off with MashLife Premium WordPress Theme giveaway single license worth $39.90.

Mashable Clone WordPress Theme - Mashlife

Last week, I already told you about this Mashable clone called MashLife which comes with great features. Below are some of the key features of this theme:

  • Clean and elegant look
  • Advanced theme control panel to customize various aspects of the theme
  • SEO Optimised and Adsense Ready
  • Widgetized footer area and sidebar
  • Author bio box for single posts
  • Branded Login

You can also check out the detailed features of MashLife premium wordpress theme here. Check out the theme demo here.

Steps To Enter the Technolism Mashlife Giveaway

We have kept this contest very simple for you. All you need to do is just follow the below steps and you could be the lucky winner.

  • Retweet the below text

RT @unikaman Mashlife Premium #Wordpress Theme Free Giveaway Contest http://su.pr/2ltUvx via @qlogixsolutions #mashlife

  • Or, post about this contest on your Facebook wall
  • Comment below with your tweeted link or Facebook status (or both, if you want to increase your chances to win)
  • Join Technolism on Facebook [Optional]

Increase your chances!

You can either retweet the post on twitter or share it on Facebook to become eligible for the contest. If you share it both on Twitter and Facebook, you increase your chances of winning the theme as I will be entering your name twice in the randomiser list.

Winner will be selected via using random.org or some other online randomiser. The contest will close on 11th June (23:59:59) and we will announce the winner on 12th of June. Best of luck!

P.S. We need to have a minimum of 20 participants in the contest. Hit the facebook like button to ensure maximum participation. Entries after 11th June will not be considered.

As we are celebrating Technolism’s first birthday, there are a lot more give-ways lined up to be won. So, stay tuned or subscribe to our Email newsletter to stay updated.

Update (12/06/2011) – The contest closed on 11 June, 2011 midnight and the winner has been announced. Check out the results declared here.

Mashlife – An awesome Mashable-like Premium WordPress Theme

If you are starting a new blog, one of the most important decisions (and the most time consuming) is to decide the theme of your blog. When you are making that decision and going through a bundle of wordpress themes, there are some famous blogs which you always wish, you could have such a design which would grab the visitors’ attention.

Mashable, the most renowned and famous source for social media news and web tips has been known for having one of the most advanced and powerful WordPress blogs in the blogosphere. The Mashable blog theme is very clean, yet fully loaded with informative content, user friendly and attractive, yet fast loading.

It has got an impeccable design which is user-friendly enough to lure every other blogger or designer to create a site like that. There have been some theme designers who have tried to make a Mashable clone but most of them have not been able to present a theme which has a design and its features, till I came across Mashlife.

Mashlife is a premium WordPress theme which is inspired by Mashable and offers almost all design features as seen in the Mashable site. It is a a clean and SEO optimized WordPress theme. With Mashlife, you can now run a website that not only looks professional but also offers lot of flexibility to customize it from the theme control panel.

Click on the image to enlarge

Mashlife WordPress Theme Demo

Mashlife has been designed by Ajay Meher from Qlogix Solutions, who has done justice to the original Mashable design. Mashlife theme is compatible with the latest version of WordPress and has some of the advance features available in WordPress 3.X.

MashLife Theme Features

Mashlife not only offers the look of Mashable but also offers many of the features available in it.

  • Compatible to latest version of WordPress
  • Clean and elegant look
  • Adsense Ready
  • Advanced theme control panel to customize various aspects of the theme
  • SEO Optimised
  • Logo switcher between image/text and custom logo
  • Home page style selection between blog and magazine
  • Widgetized footer area and sidebar
  • Author bio box for single posts
  • Custom post type for Job board
  • Automatic thumbnail creation and caching for better loadtime
  • Flexibility of thumbnail selection through custom filled for featured post
  • Branded Login
  • Integrated google analytics
  • Integrated Gravatar support
  • Social Integration
  • Excellent Support and Documentation

You can check out Theme Demo and more detailed features at Mashlife Website.

Theme Control Panel

The Mashlife theme comes with a dedicated Theme control panel to customize various aspects of the theme. So a novice user can also customize the theme like a pro. Have a look at the screen grab from the control panel.

Click on the image to enlarge

mashlife theme options

Theme Demo and More Details

Theme Demo and Pricing

With all these fully loaded features and a professional appearance, this theme is available in 3 different licensing options; Single license, Multiple license, and Developer license. The pricing starts at $39.90 for a single licence, which according to me, is very less as compared to the rich features this theme comes with.

Technolism readers can use the Coupon Code TECHNOLISM at checkout to get flat 5% discount on your purchase.

Buy Mashlife | Coupon Code: TECHNOLISM

How do you find Mashlife WordPress Premium Theme? Does it have the features to be your next blog theme? Do share your views in the comments section below.

[How To] generate post thumbnails on Thesis homepage automatically; Thumbnail for Excerpts WordPress plugin

We have already discussed a way to delete the custom fields from all your posts in a single go. This solved the problem of the thumbnails with the custom field label “image” shown in the right side bar of the Thesis theme. Read the post here.

All of you who have recently purchased the great Thesis Theme, the most cumbersome task seems to be adding the thumbnails to the posts on the Homepage in Thesis. But, believe me, it is not so tough. I just did so on my other Personal Finance related blog and now, in this article we are going to discuss how you can accomplish the thumbnail display on your blogs’ homepage.

Adding a thumbnail along your posts makes your blog page more attractive and helps in increasing the CTR (Click Through Rate). This is applicable to all the wordpress themes and not only Thesis.

We are going to use the Thumbnail for Excerpts WordPress plugin to auto generate thumbnails for all posts and the same will be displayed along with the post teaser. What this plugin does is, it pulls the very first image from your posts and resizes the image without any extra work. Below are the steps how to auto generate post thumbnails in Thesis Theme.

Step 1: Login to WordPress Dashboard of the Blog on which the thumbnails are to be generated and navigate to Plugins > Add New.

Install the Thumbnail for Excerpts Plugin in WordPress Dashboard

Enter the name of the plugin as “Thumbnail Excerpts”. Click on Search Plugins and on the next screen, click on “Install Now” and activate the plugin.

Step 2: Once the plugin is installed and activated, navigate to the Dashboard > Settings > Thumbs Excerpts.

Thumbs Excerpts Plugin options

Step 3: As shown in the image below, you can make the changes to configure the basic options for the thumbnail, like size, placement (alignment), Default image, link settings etc.

Thumbnail for Excerpts WordPress Plugin Configuration settings

Step 4: Once you are done with the settings above, click on the “Save changes” button to save all the configuration settings.

That’s it. You are done with Thumbnail on your blogs’ homepage. If you want to customize the design how the thumbnail image is displayed on the homepage, you can do so by adding an effect in the Custom.css file which we will be discussing in another post.

I hope that this tutorial helped you in easily generating the thumbnails on your thesis theme homepage. Do let me know if you face any issues in doing so.