WPMU DEV's Blog - Everything WordPressWordPress Themes - WPMU.org http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog The WPMU DEV WordPress blog provides tutorials, tips, resources and reviews to help out any WP user Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:30:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 7 Free Masonry WordPress Themes – No Bricks Here! http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/7-free-masonry-wordpress-themes-no-bricks-here/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/7-free-masonry-wordpress-themes-no-bricks-here/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:00:58 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=130671 Despite being popularized by Pinterest, the laying out posts using a “masonry grid” can be effective for numerous types of sites, not just photographic.

There’s only a handful of masonry-specific themes in the free WordPress theme repository, so I took them for a spin to see if any are worth considering.

And found an absolute gem.

Composite image of the screenshots of the 7 shortlisted themes
The free masonry WordPress themes are pretty good but one stands head and shoulders above the rest

The masonry grid approach has plenty of appeal especially for sites that post frequently, want to expose as many posts as possible, often use featured images and don’t want to worry about always having featured images of the same dimensions.

I recently wrote a tutorial on how to lay out your post listings in a masonry grid with just CSS but this, of course, relies heavily on the underlying theme and will only work on modern browsers. So I was interested to see what the purpose-built masonry themes in the WordPress theme repository were like.

Having tested the themes on both desktop, tablet and mobile, the range in quality of what are free themes was quite wide. One theme, though, stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Before we get to the overall verdict, here’s 7 themes from the free WordPress theme repository that made the shortlist.

The Free Masonry WordPress Themes Shortlist

Celebrate

celebrate

Last Updated: 2013-12-04
Downloads: 34,144
Ratings: 4.8/5.0
Unresolved Support: None

Celebrate is a responsive theme built on top of Hybrid Core, featuring a full range of post formats, masonry layout, custom header and background.

Verdict: Celebrate won’t get your heart racing but it’s a solid theme albeit with limited customization options.

All post listings are displayed in a masonry style but the only layout customizations are whether to have a sidebar (two-column) or not (one-column).

You cannot control how many columns the masonry uses.

Further customizations allow setting the header text color, the background color, the header image and custom footer content (HTML allowed).

The theme does respond pretty well – the sidebar, if active, becomes a footer – and looks good across tablets and mobiles.

Jkreativ Lite

jkcreativ

Last Updated: 2014-06-15
Downloads: 4,601
Ratings: 4.8/5.0
Unresolved Support: 9 of 10

Jkreativ Lite is 100% Responsive also featured masonry blog layout. This themes is retina ready so your themes will seems perfect on every modern device and cross browser compatibility.

Verdict: Jkreative Lite is a great looking theme that makes a few odd choices.

This theme makes a great first impression: the layout is clean, the number of columns responds to the screen size and the type is crisp.

But there are a few oddities such as the title only being displayed on tablets and mobiles; the single post content width not being full-width even with no widgets in the sidebar (you wouldn’t want a sidebar anyway); the permanent sidebar (the left margin) not being widget-ready; and, tablets only have 2 columns even in landscape orientation when 3 would fit quite easily.

The page loading animation is a gimmick that becomes annoying pretty quickly.

It does have some nice touches though such as a mobile-specific menu and a slide-out menu for non-desktops (although the styling would need some tweaking).

It also looks great on a tablet.

Worth a look if you don’t mind doing a little post-installation tweaking.

Gridz

gridz

Last Updated: 2014-03-27
Downloads: 4,038
Ratings: 4/5
Unresolved Support: 4 of 5

Pinterest like personal blogging theme powered by jQuery Masonry. Beautiful retina-ready and responsive theme with flexible layout. Tons of options to customize the theme according to your needs.

Verdict: An attractive and well thought-out theme that does almost exactly what it says on the tin without any fuss or fanfare.

Gridz’s effectiveness is due to its simplicity. Whilst the “tons of options to customize” is a slight exaggeration there are enough to make this theme your own.

You can choose the the number of content columns, colors, fonts (type and size) and the location and appearance of the sidebar.

The scroll-to-top is a nice touch as is the addition of 3 footer widget areas is a nice touch and is preferable to using a sidebar when thinking about the implications of smaller devices.

Responsiveness is not bad, the selected number of grid columns is respected on a landscape-orientated tablet but the design becomes single column for all devices in portrait and mobiles in landscape mode.

If I was to be picky then I would prefer 2 columns on a tablet (portrait) and I’d also want to lose the RSS icon on a mobile to reduce the amount of space being taken up by the header.

Pinpress

pinpress

Last Updated: 2013-12-11
Downloads: 38,122
Ratings: 4.4/5
Unresolved Support: 7 of 7

A responsive theme with neat masonry layout similar to pinterest with infinite scroll. If you need a perfect mobile theme, then pinpress might be the right option.

Verdict: If the thought of masonry and infinite scroll gets you all in a lather then this is the theme for you.

Pinpress is a no-frills themes that implements a truly responsive masonry grid across all platforms. The customization options are limited to the standard list (there’s 1 menu location) so there’s little chance to get creative.

The infinite scroll works although the rearranging of the bricks can be distracting as they jump around.

Definitely one for the purists or to use as the basis for a more sophisticated solution.

Alpha Trinity

alphatrinity

Last Updated: 2014-01-04
Downloads: 7,659
Ratings: 5/5
Unresolved Support: None

Alpha Trinity is a responsive theme with a clean multi column layout. Homepage uses the masonry javascript library so all posts tile nicely. Theme features left and right column widget areas and a custom primary menu. Link rollover color can be customized via the theme options.

Verdict: Minimalist theme that lets itself down on mobile devices.

Alpha Trinity, the barebones theme with the ironically long-winded name, is another responsive masonry theme where the number of columns, rather than the column width, changes with the screen size.

The scheme is monochrome (except for an unexpected mouseover effect on the featured images) and with little scope to change this through the basic customizations, this theme is best viewed as a foundation to a more elaborate theme.

One area that definitely requires attention is how it responds to being viewed on a mobile phone: putting the content after the left sidebar can mean plenty of scrolling before hitting anything that a visitor will be interested in.

Baskerville

baskerville

Last Updated: 2014-06-25
Downloads: 770
Ratings: Not Rated
Unresolved Support: 1 of 5

Baskerville is a beautiful, responsive and retina-ready masonry theme for hoarders. It’s the perfect way to showcase your posts, videos, images and galleries, and share your favorite quotes and links. Features responsive design, retina-ready assets, full-width header image, support for all post formats, custom logo upload, custom widgets (video, Flickr and Dribbble), four page templates (including a contributors template), editor styling, like functionality via the ZillaLikes plugin and translation-ready code.

Verdict: A high-impact theme with impressive attention to detail.

I’m not sure what the “hoarders” reference is about but Baskerville is a theme that could and should be of interest to any WordPress site that publishes frequently.

A polished theme with some great attention to detail such as the sticky icons, the pointers on the headings, the mouseover bounce effect on the featured images, even the somewhat revealing of the search form doesn’t detract from the overall impression that this is a very solid theme indeed.

Working well across all the platforms, the use of footer widgets rather than a sidebar allows for an easy and consistent transition from desktop to tablet and mobile; my only gripe would be a preference for 3, rather than 2, columns on a landscape-orientated tablet.

Carton

carton

Last Updated: 2014-02-02
Downloads: 22,708
Ratings: 4.8/5
Unresolved Support: 4 of 5

Create a truly unique design with Carton, a lightweight and fully responsive HTML5 theme built using jQuery Masonry.

Verdict: A theme that holds plenty of promise but has too many issues, in the free version at least, for serious consideration.

Carton looks like a great theme and I was particularly interested in its handling of the featured post (either sticky or the most recent post) which is unique amongst the masonry themes.

However, the theme has some problems, particularly with the handling of featured images which on the home page don’t fill the brick’s width (because of a max height?) which results in text from the excerpt trying to fill the gap, and on the post pages don’t seem to be displayed at all. The theme also has a distinctly plain single-column look when displaying on a portrait-orientated tablet when 2 columns would have been better.

Of course, these could be fixed by changing the column width in the customization options or diving into the CSS (it allows custom CSS to be added) but none of the other themes have these issues so it’s a little frustrating to say the least..

There is a premium version of the theme ($69) which add more features (such as infinite scroll) and customization options.

The Final Verdict

So, which theme stands head and shoulders above the rest?

Baskerville, from Anders Norén, truly lives up to its description as a “beautiful, responsive and retina-ready masonry theme” which is perhaps not surprising when you realize that Anders is also responsible for other notable themes such as Hemingway and Wilson.

Apart from looking fantastic across all the platforms, what really sets this theme apart from the others in the category is the attention to detail: the pointers on the headings, the mouseover bounce effect on the feature images, the great looking post metadata, the unusual way the search form is revealed.

Being free does not guarantee that a product is a bargain. For Baskerville, though, it’s an absolute steal.

What do you think of Baskerville or any of the other themes listed here? Do you have a favorite masonry theme that’s not listed?

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15 Free Parallax WordPress Themes http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-parallax-wordpress-themes/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/free-parallax-wordpress-themes/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=130326 While there are plenty of parallax themes out there in the WordPress theme world, there aren’t that many free ones.

Below we have collected 15 of the best free parallax themes we could find.

If you know of any other good free ones, let us know in the comments.

1. Hemingway

hemingway-theme-300

The Hemingway theme is a clean and attractive theme with a full-width parallax header.

In addition to the parallax header, the Hemingway theme is responsive with retina-ready assets. It comes with custom accent colors and custom widgets for video, Flickr, and Dribble.

2. Pilot Fish

pilot-fish-theme-300

The Pilot Fish theme puts a large (but not full width) parallax image area on the homepage of the site. As you scroll, you’ll see you title and other text overlaid on the image take on the parallax effect.

Under the parallax image are three sections set up in a business theme fashion.

This theme is responsive and also comes with a portfolio section.

3. Inkzine

inkzine-theme-300

Inkzine is a clean and colorful theme with a full-width parallax area at the top.

The theme overall takes a magazine style look with multiple post lists sections on the front page for things such as “What’s Hot,” “Latest Trends,” and “Coming Soon,” as demonstrated on the demo site. (Of course you can make your own.)

4. Sixteen

sixteen-theme

The Sixteen theme gives you a large parallax image header area.

At the top of the page is a large slider sitting below the top navigation area. And below that is a grid style area with images from recent posts.

Brown and beige in color, the theme is clean, but has a somewhat heavier look due to its colors.

5. Invert Lite

invert-lite-theme

Invert Lite is a clean, business style theme.

It comes with a large, full-width parallax area at the top. Under that is a standard three-section area seen in many business themes.

Actual blog pages are clean with plenty of white space.

6. Aldehyde

aldehyde-theme

The Aldehyde theme gives you a large parallax header and a responsive frame.

In addition, Aldehyde provides you with a responsive slider, four page layouts, and custom widgets.

7. Radiate

radiate-theme

The Radiate theme comes with a full-width parallax header and a transparent top menu.

Below the header you get three content boxes with a featured image and an excerpt, giving the theme the overall look of being somewhat magazine like.

Below the three content boxes you get a stream of the latest posts, each within their own box. This gives the theme a clean and ordered look.

8. Tashan

tashan-theme

The Tashan theme gives you a large, full-width parallax header area.

While the overall design looks relatively simple, the theme does give you a recent posts widget, a custom recent comments widget, and a flexible showcase widget the front page.

9. Dellow

dellow-theme

Dellow is a responsive theme with a large parallax header.

In addition to the parallax area, this theme is different in that even on a desktop, the top transparent bar at the top of the page has what looks like a mobile menu icon. Clicking on that opens a menu on the side of the page like a fixed sidebar.

10. Itek

itek-theme

Itek gives you a full-width parallax header area with an overlapping content area. This theme bills itself as an business and ecommerce theme, and you can see products being displayed in the demo.

The overlapping content area, which seems to rise up over the parallax area as you scroll, gives you three content areas at the top with unique effect when you hover over the images: they slowly morph from circles into rectangles.

11. Bootstrap Parallax

bootstrap-parallax-theme

Based on Twitter Bootstrap, the Bootstrap Parallax theme gives the effect of all three main areas (header, content, and footer) being parallax in nature.

In addition, the theme gives you a colorbox lightbox, a sitemap page template, all Twitter Bootstrap features, and more.

12. Parallax

cyberchimps-parallax

The Parallax theme from Cyberchimps gives you three parallax areas that sit on top of what would look like an otherwise regular blog.

While its demo doesn’t exactly put its best foot forward in terms of design, the theme comes with a number of nice features, including touch responsiveness, drag and drop elements, sliders and boxes and portfolios.

13. Foodeez Lite

foodeez-theme

Created for restaurants and hotels, the Foodeez Lite theme gives you a parallax section that’s especially good for featuring special dishes or dishes of the day.

This theme is clean and elegant (if adorned with the right images, of course). It is responsive and comes with a slider.

(Note: the demo link goes to a premium version of the theme that may have features not available in the free version. You can follow the demo link on wordpress.org for the free version, but as those demos are often unattended to, they often don’t give you an accurate picture of the theme.)

14. Advertica Lite

advertica-theme

The Advertica theme gives you a top parallax area, a responsive framework, featured boxes, and a number of admin options that let you control things such as general settings, featured areas, logos, and footers.

(Note: As with the previous theme by Sketchthemes, the link for the demo here goes to a premium version of this theme, and some of the functions you see there may not be available in the free version.)

15. Evolve

evolve-theme

The Evolve theme comes with a parallax slider that will allow you layer in different objects in the slider area and then pull them back out as well.

This theme comes packed with the FontAwesome icon pack, the Animate.css plugin, over 500 Google webfonts, several layout options, 12 widget areas, tabs, a slider, and more.

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20 Best Free WordPress Themes for Blogs http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-best-free-wordpress-themes-for-blogs/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/20-best-free-wordpress-themes-for-blogs/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 15:30:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=129554 Despite the fact there are hundreds upon thousands of themes available for WordPress, it’s still hard to find “the one.” You know, the perfect theme that will fulfil all of your hopes and dreams for your blog and put you in the mood to write.

Finding a great free theme can be difficult. Searching through the WordPress Theme Repository can be time consuming and often free themes lack beautiful design.

Below is a collection of free blogging themes that are all ideal for personal sites when you want the focus on your words.

What theme do you use on your blog? What is the ideal layout for a blog? Tell us in the comments below.

Wilson

wilson

Wilson is a clean and minimalist theme designed for blogs. It features a responsive design, custom accent color, custom widgets for video, Flickr and Dribble, and page templates.

It comes retina and translation-ready, with Swedish included in the theme’s files.

Syntax

syntax

Syntax has been designed with a distraction-free reading experience in mind. It features large, easy-to-read type and a fixed navigation menu.

This theme also comes with a beautiful responsive design that’s perfect for writers who wants to put the focus on their words.

Flato

flato

Flato is a simple blogging theme without bells and whistles. It features a large fullwidth header and navigation bar and a two-colomn layout.

This theme comes with a responsive design.

Opus

opus

Opus offers a clean, flat design ideal for blogs. It features a large, fullwidth header images and navigation at the top of the page is the form of a hamburger button. When pressed, it displays a fullscreen menu.

This is a great simple theme for a basic blog as it doesn’t come with sidebars or other features.

typefocus

typefocus

typefocus is a beautiful minimalist theme with a fixed sidebar and a focus on typography.

This is a great blogging theme, especially if you’re starting out and don’t require greater functionality.

Stanley

stanley

Stanley is a cute, colorful and responsive bootstrap theme perfect for bloggers and anyone wanting to showcase their portfolio of work.

It comes with some great features – a theme options panel, drag and drop homepage builder, portfolio post types, three page templates, and Font Awesome.

Bushwick

bushwick

Bushwick is Medium-esque (the old Medium design) and features a fixed vertical header.

This is a lovely theme for blogging, with a focus on your writing and beautiful imagery.

Kirumo

kirumo

Kirumo is a simple and responsive blogging theme. It support custom background colors and images, as well as a custom accent color.

It comes with a fullwidth page templates with a horizontal row of three widgets underneath.

Blogly

blogly

Blogly is a minimalist and responsive blogging theme with a striking design.

You can use the WordPress theme customizer to change the colors, and upload a logo and background image.

Writr

writr

Writr is a minimalist tumblog theme ideal for blogging. It features a striking left sidebar and crisp typography.

It comes with six different color schemes: turquoise (default), blue, green, grey, purple, and red.

Ignite

ignite

Ignite is an elegant blogging theme with a responsive design. You can easily customize it using a built-in social media icons and a logo uploader.

tdPersona

tdpersona

tdPersona features a clean and responsive design offering a distraction-free reading experience for your readers.

This theme is pretty basic, so look elsewhere if you’re seeking greater functionality.

Drop

drop

Drop is a bold and responsive blogging theme with a minimalist design and a focus on your posts.

This is a pretty simple theme with few features. The sidebar offers a clear place for navigation and other information, like social media.

Graphy

graphy

Graphy is a blogging theme that focuses on beautiful typography (if you didn’t already figure out from the feature image!).

It features a responsive design so your words look great on difference devices. It comes with five widgetized areas, including a sidebar and four footers. The sidebar allows you to create a two-column design.

Fastr

fastr

Fastr is a simple and minimalist single-column theme ideal for blogging.

This theme uses absolutely no Javascript and has very minimal CSS for its layout and responsiveness, making it extremely fast and lightweight.

Thoughts

thoughts

This simple and clean theme has been designed with writers in mind. Thoughts doesn’t have any widgetized areas (no sidebar or footer), but it does support various post formats. It’s also responsive and looks great on any device.

Balloons

balloons

Balloons is a cute and whimsical responsive theme with a parallax design. This theme is perfect for bloggers and offers a fun reading experience.

Glider

glider

Glider is a bare bones text-focused theme ideal for occasional bloggers. All posts are listed in the archive section and it’s easy to add a category restriction to the archive query.

BonPress

bonpress

BonPress features various post formats (including audio and video), making it ideal for bloggers. This theme also features custom widgets for social media.

This premium theme also comes with WPZOOM’s options panel, and options for a custom menu.

Hexa

hexa

Hexa is a colorful blogging theme that support post formats. This theme offers a clean, minimalist and responsive design, but comes with few features.

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Top 10 Fastest WordPress Themes for Incredible Page Speed http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/top-10-fastest-wordpress-themes/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/top-10-fastest-wordpress-themes/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=128995 A fast and lightweight theme can do wonders for improving your page speed – and ensuring your visitors will hang around long enough to read your content.

Last week we looked at ways to improve your Google PageSpeed Insights score. One of the recommended measures was choosing a quick theme that makes few HTTP requests.

Finding a fast theme, however, is no mean feat. Most themes available today are packed with features, such as parallax, social media and ginormous images, ensuring your site will struggle to get a score above 50 out of 100 on PageSpeed Insights.

But fast themes do exist. Below, I’ve ranked the 10 fastest themes I could find in order from slowest to fastest.

Is your theme fast? Tell us your theme’s PageSpeed Insights score in the comments below.

Sparks

sparks

PageSpeed Insights score: 86
Cost: $59

Sparks is a flat and minimalist theme designed for agencies, business and portfolios.

It has a responsive design and, according to its developer, ThemeZilla, is “a nimble little theme which focuses on the task at hand” thanks to its bloat-free codebase.

Blox

blox

PageSpeed Insights score: 86
Cost: $59

Another ThemeZilla theme. This colorful, flat and responsive theme is aimed at designers who want to showcase their talent. Each of your projects sits in its own “block.”

Blox is also advertised as a “nimble theme” with a bloat-free codebase.

Trail

trail

PageSpeed Insights score: 87
Cost: $49

Trail is a multipurpose port olio theme that focuses on big images and lovely typography. It features a stunning parallax scrolling effect.

Despite the demo’s big images, Trail loads quickly and looks great on any device thanks to its responsive layout.

Skadi

skadi

PageSpeed Insights score: 89
Cost: $45

Skadi is a beautiful and responsive multipurpose parallax theme. It’s been built on the Twitter Bootstrap framework and includes a page builder.

Other features include eight different portfolio layouts and 11 blog layouts.

Spark

spark

PageSpeed Insights score: 90
Cost: $35

Spark isn’t a new theme (it was released in May 2012) but it is much quicker than most newer themes available.

This theme comes with a PHP-based delivery system which, the developer promises, will get you a 97 out 100 score on PageSpeed Insights. Maybe so, but the demo site can only reach 90 out of 100.

Feijoa

feijoa

PageSpeed Insights score: 90
Cost: Free

Did you know a Feijoa is a type of fruit, also known as a pineapple guava?

This unusual theme is super minimalist with an emphasis on text and typography, allowing it to load quickly.

Fable

fable

PageSpeed Insights score: 90
Cost: $69

Fable is a full-width blogging theme with a clean, beautiful design built for easy reading.

According to Elegant Themes, they use coding best practices to ensure their themes are fast and secure. Plus, their themes frequently undergo security audits.

Lucid

lucid

PageSpeed Insights score: 90
Cost: $69

Another Elegant Themes design in the top 10. Lucid is a responsive magazine theme with a clean and organized layout.

As mentioned above, Elegant Themes adheres to coding best practices to ensure their themes are fast and secure.

Swift

swift

PageSpeed Insights score: 95
Cost: From $57

It’s not the most eye-catching theme out there, but Swift is certainly one of the quickest.

Swift is fast, lightweight with speed its ultimate goal. The developers have created this theme with PageSpeed Insights in mind and it does perform well, also scoring highly on GTmetrix with 96 per cent.

Frank

frank

PageSpeed Insights score: 96
Cost: Free

Frank is an open source theme designed specifically for speed. This theme is certainly quick, and offers a light, responsive and unobtrusive reading experience.

The parent theme’s default homepage makes nine database queries and consists of two requests weighing ~29Kb (9.6Kb Gzipped).

Frank is bare bones – no Javascript frameworks or unnecessary images, just a simple, fast blogging theme.

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25 Most Beautiful and Responsive WordPress Themes of 2014 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/25-most-beautiful-wordpress-themes-2014/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/25-most-beautiful-wordpress-themes-2014/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 15:30:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=128748 There have been some truly gorgeous themes released this year.

Parallax continues as a trend, as does clean, flat and minimalist design. Though designers are becoming bolder and more experimental. Many themes this year have a great focus on typography and beautiful storytelling.

Below, I’ve compiled a collection of beautiful themes, all released this year. This list includes a range of themes suiting business, agencies, portfolios and photographers, as well as themes suiting multiple uses.

Have you come across any stunning themes designed, developed and released this year? Tell us in the comments below.


One

one

One is a gorgeous and responsive parallax theme with a clean and modern design.

It comes with a page builder, allowing you to create any number of layout combinations.

Other features include WooCommerce support, blog and portfolio layouts, support for post formats and video support.

Nibiru

nibiru

Nibiru features a clean, flat and responsive design. This theme comes with a slick slider and unlimited colors, as well as 369 icons.

There are seven built-in custom post types, including galleries, slider title, portfolio, carousel, clients and team. More than 20 shortcodes are available to further customize the this theme.

Velcro

velcro

Velcro is a grid-based theme great for photography, portfolio and blogging sites. It comes with 10 custom widgets, five widgetized areas, five post formats (image, audio, video, gallery, standard) and various home page layouts.

cvCard WP

ccvcardwp

cvCard WP is a responsive ajax enabled vcard theme with Sliding Horizontal Layout.

It features four predefined skins (minimal, flat, overlay and overlay bold). With is masonry grid and Ajax portfolio layouts, it’s great for showcasing your work.

Greenwich Village

greenwich-village

Slick and simple, Greenwich Village is ideal for agencies and freelances.

It features a drag and drop page builder, unlimited color schemes with a one-click theme editor, an extensive options panel where you can customize the logo, favicons and colors, and video and post format support.

Icelock

icelock

Icelock is a Medium-inspired (the old Medium design) theme with light and dark color schemes.

It features a responsive design and an unobtrusive sidebar menu. It comes with portfolio and team post types.

Lilith

lilith

Lilith is a responsive, flat and flexible theme ideal for image-centric sites. It features shortcodes, a page builder, extensive theme options and a Revolution slider.

This theme offers powerful portfolio support, allowing you to choose between masonry, grid, striped or wall effect layouts.

Swipe

swipe

Swipe is a fun business theme with a gorgeous responsive design.

It includes a Revolution slider, parallax sections, filtered portfolio and hover effects.

Orb

orb

Orb is a tidy grid-style portfolio and blog theme for creative types. It comes with three easy to configure portfolio templates and a custom post type plugin for easy management of your content.

It also has a subtle parallax scrolling background and and intuitive mobile menu.

Krating

krating

Krating is a beautiful blogging theme with a focus on mixed media and typography. More than 600 Google fonts are included.

It support post formats as well as custom CSS and Javascript, and comes with demo content.

Uppermost

uppermost

Uppermost is a bold and multipurpose theme ideal for agencies, photographers and portfolios.

It comes with a Revolution slider and a magazine blog post interface. Visual Composer for WordPress is included.

There are three header styles – flying, wrap and fullwidth.

HEAP

HEAP

Heap is a cute and flexible theme with clean layouts. It comes with a powerful options panel and you can view many changes live using the Theme Customizer.

This theme has been optimized for speed and score 96 per cent on Pingdom Website Speed Test.

Sense

sense

Sense is a responsive and multipurpose parallax theme perfect for businesses.

It comes with Visual Composer for drag and drop page building. It’s also translation ready, includes demo content and had advanced typography settings.

Quantum

quantum

Quantum is a simple, minimalist theme with clean typography. It comes in a variety of layouts, including portfolio, agency, photography, full slider and dark skin. It also has three project post types – classic, case study and fullscreen photo gallery.

Other features include sliders, CSS3 animations, and dummy data.

Gridify

gridify

This grid-based theme is perfect for bloggers and creatives. Gridify features four different layouts, built-in sharing, built-in ads, various shortcodes, and four custom widgets.

Unusually, it includes a built-in review system and you can add an infinite number of criteria and ratings using an easy and intuitive interface.

Athletica

athletica

Athletica is a parallax one-page theme with a flat design. It features six stunning homepage layouts, including options for blogs, videos and images.

Other features include gorgeous jQuery and CSS3 animations, and integrated Instagram and Twitter feeds.

Ink

ink

Ink is one of the most beautiful blogging themes I’ve come across in a long time. It focuses on beautiful storytelling with an emphasis on stunning images and typography.

It comes with multiple homepage layouts, background cover settings and CSS3 filters for post covers.

Crafty Hands

crafty-hands

Crafty Hands has been designed for arts, crafts, music, courses and workshops.

It includes page templates (home, contact, shop, forum, courses, events, teachers, calendar) and four custom post types (teachers, courses, shop, events). It also comes with multiple custom widgets and metaboxes.

Photogenic

photogenic

Photogenic is a photography theme with a strong focus on beautiful images. It includes Instagram integration, allowing you to display your latest photos.

Other features includes multiple layouts options.

OldPaper

old-paper

OldPaper is a gorgeous magazine theme with a responsive design and a vintage twist. Built using the Twitter Bootstrap framework, this theme includes CSS animations, seven pre-defined skins, post format support (images, music, videos and quotes) and a robust options panel.

Brmsl

brmsl

Brmsl is a bold and elegant photography theme with a grid-based design.

This theme looks great on large screens, and still looks fantastic on smaller devices. It comes with nine custom templates and options for typography, colors, labels, CSS and analytics code.

Memento

memento

Light-weight and clean, Memento offers a one-page design ideal for online stores.

In includes Revolution Slider, Content Timeline and Front-end Builder. It’s also responsive, retina ready and features drag and drop page building.

Mr Tailor

mr-tailor

Mr Tailor is a truly stunning eCommerce theme with a clean and minimalist design. It’s responsive, translation-ready and includes 650+ Google fonts, advanced theme options and easy setup with video tutorials.

This theme features parallax header images, a beautiful product categories grid and an optional wishlist.

Akin

akin

Akin offers a minimalist design with a subtle parallax header.

It features a page builder, Ajax portfolio functionality, blog layouts and one-click demo content import.

Bridge

bridge

Bridge is an eye-catching multipurpose theme with a responsive and retina-ready design. It features Visual Composer page builder, Font Awesome icons, unlimited colors and headers and parallax sections.

It comes eCommerce-ready and is ideal for agencies and online stores.

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25 Newly Released Parallax Themes That Will Knock Your Socks Off http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/25-newly-released-parallax-themes-that-will-knock-your-socks-off/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/25-newly-released-parallax-themes-that-will-knock-your-socks-off/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=128503 Parallax scrolling may have lost some of its street cred in the past 12 months, but it’s still hot stuff.

It’s a cool effect that can turn an otherwise dull and boring looking site into a sexy scrolling wonderland. Combined with animated featured, parallax can be used on any type of site, from corporate and business pages to creative and portfolio sites.

This post offers a round-up of parallax themes released in the past couple of months – all 2014 themes – so there may be some you’ve never seen before.

Happy scrolling!

What’s your favorite parallax theme? Share it in the comments below.

Horizillax

horizillax

There aren’t many horizontal parallax themes around and this one is damn gorgeous.

Horizillax is a single-page, responsive theme perfect for businesses, products and marketing, though it’s really a multi-use theme and could be used as a portfolio theme.

Set up takes just four steps. This theme features three custom page templates (parallax, about and portfolio), unlimited parallax images and options to set the speed, position and stack order, and also comes with various color and font options.

Mowo

mowo

Mowo isn’t your typical one-page scrolling site. It’s clean, minimalist and responsive, with flexible, fullscreen sections. You really have to check out the demo to see how it works.

This theme features custom sections, fullscreen slider/video, a visual page builder and custom shortcodes.

Mowo is a great eCommerce theme and is ideal for online stores.

Voolium

voolium

Voolium is a beautiful responsive theme with a fantastic video header for showing off your business, product or service.

It’s supports both WooCommerce and WPML and is retina-ready.

Other features include a masonry blog and infinite scroll, video gallery, 27 social icons, Instagram gallery, Revolution slider and the ability to build your homepage with custom sections.

Seller

seller

Seller is an eCommerce theme with a beautiful modern and responsive design.

It comes with a drag and drop page builder, custom colors, extensive theme options and is translation-ready.

Seller also offers a stunning layout for showcasing product items.

Attractor

attractor

Attractor’s clean and minimalistic one-page responsive design is ideal for corporate, agency and business sites.

Based on the Bootstrap framework, it features multiple header options, Revolution slider, visual composer, extensive theme options and is retina-ready.

Attractor also comes with light and dark skins, unlimited color variations and Google fonts.

SouthCentral

southcentral

Clean, modern and responsive, SouthCentral is a one-page theme perfect for corporate and business sites, but could be also tailored for creative agencies, photographers and videographers.

It features a drag and drop content builder, in-page options, counters and progress bards and a 3D animated portfolio.

SouthCentral also comes with extensive options and the ability to backup your settings.

Family Church

family-church

Family Church offers a lot of functionality packaged in a clean and modern design.

Aimed at churches (obviously!), this theme features nine custom post formats, two header options and a customizable gallery.

It’s also translation-ready and includes documentation, support and updates.

Bubbles

bubbles

Bubbles is a cute multi-color responsive one-page theme with a clean and minimalistic design. It’s ideal for agencies, portfolios, companies and products.

It comes with various homepage styles, such as a video background, slider background and slider revolution.

Based on Bootstrap 3, it includes an Ajax project page and comes retina-ready.

Kadabra

kadabra

Kadabra offers an impressive feature list, complete with BuddyPress, bbPress and WooCommerce support.

This single-page theme also includes a powerful page builder and five pre-built layouts, as well as unlimited header variants. It’s also responsive and retina-ready and translation-ready.

The full feature list is pretty long so it’s best to check out the Kadabra site for all the details.

SimpleFlex

simpleflex

This colorful one-page theme offers a gorgeous flat design with smooth animations.

Built on the ThemeLuxe framework, SimpleFlex includes two layout options (one-page and multi-page) and an advanced theme options panel. It also comes with lifetime project support and video documentation to help you set it up.

It’s also loaded with shortcodes, as well as 50 animations and transitions and 50+ social media icons.

The Ken

the-ken

The Ken is a stunning multipurpose theme with a “trailblazing” fast backend and “graphics that are nothing short of spectacular,” according to the developers.

The Ken follows the principles mentioned in Envato’s official Web Design Predictions In 2014, which include a responsive design and retina support.

It also comes with 28 homepage templates, including seven corporate page, seven landing page, seven creative pages and seven classic pages.

There are too many features to list here. Check out The Ken site for more details.

Focus

focus

Focus promises to be 100 per cent fully responsive and “200 per cent awesome on every device.”

This theme features a fullscreen background slider, intuitive options pages, two distinct blog layouts, a details portfolio page, as well as custom sections for “About Me and Resume” and “About Us and Employees.”

Saga

saga

Saga has been designed as a portfolio theme and features a clean and flat design with fullscreen background images, background images slider and Ken Burn effect, unlimited parallax layers, responsive touch carousels, animated elements and more.

It comes with 15 homepage variants, a stunning Ajax expanding media portfolio, shortcodes builder and advanced theme options.

Meth

meth

This minimal one-pager is ideal for agencies and portfolios. It comes with a responsive and retina-ready design and features a widgetized homepage so you can re-order every section. There are 10 custom widgets for building the homepage.

Meth includes custom page templates (archives, contact page, portfolio etc) and has been built on the StagFramework.

Cabana

cabana

Cabana is a lovely one-page or multi-page theme with beautiful typography. It looks great on retina devices and features subtle CSS3 effects.

While this theme would be perfect for a portfolio or creative agency, it also comes eCommerce ready.

It also comes with documentation and support.

Rise

rise

Rise is a stunning theme, especially when paired with fullscreen video. This theme is versatile and ideal for agencies.

It features custom animated GIFs, icons and fonts. it also comes with a slide in Ajax portfolio and Ajax expander on mobile devices.

Other features include animated intro text, beautiful portfolio transition, smooth scroll, isotype filter and light and dark versions.

Mountain

mountain

Mountain is an elegant one-pager with a “flat-metro” design. It’s fully customizable so you can change each section to suit your taste, including background images and colors.

This theme features options for a fullscreen image, slider or video header and comes with a responsive design. There is also post type support for images, video, galleries and quotes.

Super5

super5

Super5 is a beautiful and flexible multipurpose with a stack of features.

One of its biggest features is it live builder, which allows you to preview changes before you push them live.

It also comes with portfolio case studies, custom blog styles, HTML5 and CSS3 animations, video slideshows, 600+ Google web fonts with live preview and extensive documentation.

Alpine

alpine

Alpine is a versatile multi-purpose theme designed for creatives, businesses, corporates, portfolios, products – any kind of site, really.

It features advanced layout settings and extensive style options, allowing you to customize the theme to suit your branding.

Four customizable home page options include intro video background, fullscreen slider, fullscreen text slider and fullscreen image slider. There is alter a great filterable portfolio project expander and a handy shortcode generator.

Brizz

brizz

Brizz is a colourful and flat multipurpose theme with beautiful animations and attention to detail.

The header can be changed to play a video preview or showcase images.

This theme comes fully supported.

Nivan

nivan

Clean, flat and fully responsive, Nivan offers a modern design with retina support.

It includes a whopping 28 portfolio and blog layouts and more than 40 unique pages. Other features include horizontal and vertical gallery options, pre-built homepage options, one-page and multi-page options, flexible animations and an off-canvas navigation menu.

Cayse

cayse

Cayse is a basic responsive minimalist theme with demo content included so you can get started right away.

It’s features include different navigation for the homepage and other pages, custom homepage items with scroll fade-in effect, and 12+ layout options for the homepage.

Max

max

Max offers one-page and multi-page layouts with a minimalistic, modern and multipurpose design.

Built on the ThemeLux framework, it includes three different homepage designs and is responsive and retina-ready.

Fencer

fencer

Fencer is another multipurpose theme with a flat and minimalist design.

It features smooth scrolling and stunning animations as your scroll down the page. There are seven portfolio layouts, unlimited page types and colors and 10 predefined skins.

Samsara

samsara

This multipurpose theme is fully customizable and can be used for everything from online stores to portfolios.

Some of its features include a personalized page header, visual composer page builder, admin panel, customize and live preview, Google fonts and extensive documentation.

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10 Impressive WordPress Admin Themes for 2014 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/10-impressive-wordpress-admin-themes-for-2014/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/10-impressive-wordpress-admin-themes-for-2014/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=128388 The WordPress admin area got somewhat of a makeover in version 3.8, but – at least for me and maybe others who were using MP6 long before it was merged into core – the novelty has already worn off.

It’s easy enough to add new themes and plugins to customize the front-end of our sites, but what about the backend?

Customizing the backend of WordPress with an admin theme is a simple way to give your install a fresh look and is also handy for developers who are creating WordPress sites for clients and want to simplify the backend.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the free and premium WordPress admin themes available. If you haven’t used an admin theme before, you’ll be interested to know they actually come as plugins.

Do you use an admin theme? If so, which one? Tell us in the comments below.

Forest - Premium

forest-admin-theme

Forest, released earlier this year, offers a relaxing forest-inspired admin design complete with a flat retina layout.

If you’re not too keen on the existing background, you can upload your own custom background. You can also adjust the darkness level and play with unlimited colours.

Forest also allows you to change the login background and logo and use custom Google fonts.

Micropanel 2 - Premium

micropanel-2

Micropanel 2 is a clean, minimalistic and classy admin theme. This is the second version of this theme and includes optimization improvements.

This theme is responsive and Multisite compatible. There are basic theme customization settings that allow you to change the theme’s main logo and also update the login page logo.

Flaty - Premium

flaty

Flatty is a colorful, flat and minimalistic admin theme. It comes with nine predefined colors for the navigation bar, sidebar and boxes.

This basic theme also allows you to customize the logo on the login page.

Retina Press - Premium

retina-press

This Multisite-compatible theme allows you to offer your users a customized dashboard look.

Retina Press features a clean design and a jQuery animated accordion menu, along with retina support. You can also replace the login logo with your own for re-brand your site.

Blue Press - Premium

blue-press

Blue Press is a “social style” admin theme with a Facebook-inspired look and responsive design.

It features six color schemes – blue, turquoise, yellow/green, dark/orange, violet and firebrick.

Cream6 - Free

cream6

Cream6 is a basic admin theme with a responsive design (as far as CSS can manage on the core).

It comes with a flat design and a simple, dark color scheme.

WP Quick - Premium

wp-quick

The WP Quick admin theme is feature-packed and promises everything you need to make the admin area “fresh.” Essentially, this plugin allows you to rebrand the WordPress backend.

The theme includes many options, such as the ability to customize colors and fonts, and remove update notifications and other backend distractions. You can also upload your own admin log and default avatar.

Like other admin themes, you can also customize the login page with your own logo. Plus, this theme is Multisite compatible.

EZ WordPress Dashboard Skin - Premium

ez-wordpress

This simple plugin allows you to style the admin area with your own customized look. EZ WordPress comes with two color options – light and dark – and you can also add an accent color.

Bootstrap Admin - Free

bootstrap-admin

Bootstrap Admin is a clean, minimalistic admin theme based on Twitter’s Bootstrap, and created by our very own support crew member Aristeides Stathopoulos.

This theme was built for the magazi.org network of stores and is Multisite compatible.

It features general styling of the admin area, admin menu sub-menus as bootstrap popovers, bootstrap icons, and buttons thumbing.

It also includes optimizations for WPMU DEV’s Pro Sites and MarketPress plugins.

Easy Blogging - Premium

easy-blogging

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning WPMU DEV’s Easy Blogging plugin.

Easy Blogging allows you to completely customize the look and feel of the admin area. This plugin is ideal for developers who are creating client sites and want to simplify the WordPress backend.

Once installed, activate “Easy Mode” for a more user-friendly experience with new icons and tooltips. The plugin also has a fantastic wizard for walking the user through common actions. You can even customize you own wizard mode walkthrough and add help links via drag and drop.

This plugin is Multisite compatible and great for networks hosting WordPress newbies.

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Responsive WordPress Magazine Themes That Really Work On Tablets http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/responsive-wordpress-magazine-themes-that-really-work-on-tablets/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/responsive-wordpress-magazine-themes-that-really-work-on-tablets/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=127745 There are countless posts that will list 20, 50, 60 or even 250 responsive magazine themes just waiting for you to possibly purchase, download and install.

The bad news is that of the hundreds of WordPress magazine themes available, only a handful actually work well across all platforms and particularly tablets.

The good news is we’ve got the list of those you should be considering.

Screenshot of the Bushwick theme on a tablet in landscape and portrait mode
Full-page featured images is just the beginning

Just Being Responsive Isn’t Good Enough

Screenshot of the entire home page of a magazine theme
Good for iPads, apparently.

A theme being responsive is a hollow claim: what does that really mean?

In most cases it just seems to be that it will “fit” on a tablet and as we have seen with themes like Twenty Fourteen, the choices made are often to the detriment of the user experience.

Responsive has both a technical and a UX perspective and it is rare to find themes that take both into account. As you can see from the example opposite, just because a theme is responsive does not mean that it’s going to work well across all platforms.

Indeed, most scenarios for tablet use differ wildly from desktop use and even with retina screens, the real estate differences are vast. Removing the keyboard appears to have the biggest impact though. Tablets are not perceived as mini-desktops but as media devices. We hold them as we would a book or magazine; we are perhaps more relaxed when using them; we navigate by touch; it is a slower and deeper interaction.

The designers of the themes listed here either get that. They’ve all set out to build themes that are about delivering content in the most pleasing form possible. They are not about pushing as much content in front of you in the hope that might click on a couple of posts. It’s about meaningful content; quality instead of quantity.

What Makes A Good Tablet Magazine Theme?

There is a certain magazine theme “look and style” that permeates through the theme repositories. The problem is that it just doesn’t work for tablets.

Look at the image opposite. This was pulled from a typical responsive WordPress magazine theme list post where each theme is supposedly going to “display nicely….on iPads”.

Really? Because I can’t imagine scrolling through this humungous page looking for something to click on (even if my fat fingers could get the right link the first time).

Magazines are not newspapers, they are not news sites. They’ve always been about curation, perhaps for a specific niche.

They’ve always been about what you really need to know or might find interesting.

The good tablet themes recognize this. They encourage curation, they excel in the “less is more” approach.

In fact, what they are doing is designing for the end-users. It’s about optimizing their experience, rather than optimizing the SEO and commercial elements of a site.

You get the impression with most that tablets were always at the forefront of the designers mind. Many look different on the desktop, suggesting that the designers have thought long and hard about how best to present the content on the different platforms.

There are other nods to traditional magazines as well:

  • Extensive use of large images
  • Focus on great typography
  • Encouragement for issue-based publishing

The search for tablet-friendly themes was harder than I thought and the resulting list shorter than I expected. But in keeping with the spirit of the best magazine themes, it’s quality over quantity.

Bushwick, The Best WordPress Magazine Theme And It’s Free!

Screenshot of a post in the Bushwick theme
Simple navigation (arrows), great typography and a real magazine feel

Let’s not beat around the bush-wick: the best WordPress magazine theme is Bushwick from Automattic.

Built by James Dinsdale the theme is available for download from the WordPress.org theme repository as well as being available for WordPress.com users.

Fire up your tablet or iOS Simulator and take the demo for a spin.

Why do I like it so much? Because it looks and feels like a proper magazine. It instantly feels familiar (especially to those of us old enough to have grown up in a pre-internet age) and promotes content in a way that none of the other hundreds of themes I looked at could match.

From the fantastic treatment of the featured images (although there is a bug that prevents full-screen images for posts on a tablet, but I’ll show you how to fix that shortly) to the clear, easy to read typography and the simple no-need-enlarge-the-text-to-click navigation, this is a perfect example of less being more.

But what really lifts this theme above the competition is that clearly plenty of consideration has gone into each platform and what the optimal layout should be. And most importantly from this post’s perspective, plenty of time and effort has gone into making the tablet and mobile experience as good as possible.

A Fix And A Tweak

Of course, nothing is ever perfect and the Bushwick download (but not the WordPress.com version) has a small bug in it which prevents the featured images from being displayed in full-screen when viewing a post on tablets and mobiles.

This is due to a missing CSS clause in the download. Add the following to the theme’s style.css and images will be displayed displayed full-screen:

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<pre><code>.screen-reader-text {
	position: absolute;
	left: -1000em;
}</code></pre>

That’s the fix. Now a small tweak.

As the navigation menu is located at the top of the page, if a piece of content is of any reasonable length then there is a lot of scrolling to be done to get back to the menu “hamburger” icon.

This simple tweak just fixes the position of navigation. In style.css, look for the following clause:

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@media (max-width: 1023px) {

.navigation-main {
-webkit-box-sizing: border-box;
-moz-box-sizing: border-box;
box-sizing: border-box;
left: 0;
padding: 1.75em 3.5em;
position: fixed;
top: 0;
width: 100%;
}

And, as above, set the position to fixed.

With the menu being invisible until the menu icon is tapped, the only visible sign that the navigation is fixed is the permanent display of the menu icon in the top right-hand corner.

As you’ve probably gathered, I’m a big fan of Bushwick and the fact that it is free just increases its appeal.

A Small But Impressive Crowd

It’s a little disheartening that of the literally hundreds of themes I looked at, only 7 made it to this post. On the upside, those 7 range from highly competent to stunning.

Whilst Bushwick’s simplicity won me over, there are some high achievers in the list:

  • I was really impressed with The Writer which at $40 is an absolute snip for anyone looking for a high-quality, high-impact theme. If the images “fit” better on a tablet then it may even have pipped Bushwick as my top theme.
  • Editr is also a great theme despite some minor quibbles. Based heavily on Quartz, it would make a great choice for a magazine that published more frequently and wasn’t looking to go issue-based.
  • And then there’s the Independent Publisher. It’s hard not to like this free theme and the project given its stated intentions. The theme is not bad either, in fact it excels in the delivering of post content but is just a little less inspiring with navigation and the homepage.

In the end though, it really does depend on what type of magazine you are trying to deliver as to which theme is going to work best.

So, as well as Bushwick, here’s another 6 to consider.

Editr

editr

Editr is a highly capable tablet friendly theme that is clearly heavily influenced by the online publication Quartz.

Possibly better when viewed in portrait rather than in landscape where it tries to fit in too much content, the simple layout manages to expose plenty of content thanks to the story links in the left sidebar as well as the post summaries in the main content pane.

The header is not fixed and whilst the left-hand post listing will initially scroll it does fall back into place and will remain fixed.

The home page post summaries use infinite scroll to load more posts although curiously there’s no infinite scroll on the category pages, the listings are paged instead, which seems a little odd as well as inconsistent.

There’s no Quartz-style automatic loading of the next post on the individual post pages but the current post is highlighted in the left-hand navigation pane.

The theme has two menu locations, a header, which is full-width and the footer that just spans the content pane.

With clear typography, Editr looks practically identical on a deskto.

A good choice for a magazine site that publishes on a frequent basis and has no need for issues.

Cost: $40 (standard), $2000 (extended)

Ambiance Pro (Genesis Framework)

ambaince_pro

Clean theme that would suit an issues-based magazine due to the simple menuing.

Grid layout on the homepage provides a highly visual pathway to posts that again are highly visual with strong treatment of the featured image, unmissable promotion of the author, clean metadata and an emphasized first paragraph (or possibly excerpt).

Typography is good and the design really puts the content front and center both literally and figuratively.

A nice clean-looking theme with a heavy emphasis on content that due to the Genesis framework will be highly customizable.

Cost: $99.95 (includes Genesis framework)

Wilson

wilson

A blogging theme that lends itself well to a magazine.

Sidebar is visible in landscape mode houses main menu, search bar, recent posts and about but becomes an extended Footer in Portrait mode with the recent posts and search disappearing completely which may be an issue, depending on your need for search.

Otherwise the homepage highlights the content well with decent treatment of feature images.

Again, a lot of effort has gone into content design: typography is excellent and content elements such as blockquotes are nicely styled although a minor quibble would be that navigation is only available at the top and bottom of the post, so perhaps a little work required either to fix the navigation or have a slide out sidebar in portrait mode.

All-in-all though, a polished good-looking theme and you can’t argue with the price.

Cost: Free

The Writer

thewriter

The Writer is a really impressive theme and certainly worthy of consideration.

The use of imagery is striking and the design is simple but highly effective. It also comes with one of my favourite features: the slideout menu.

The homepage would be fantastic if not for the fact that the images don’t actually fit nice on a tablet, a seemingly small oversight that makes quite a difference.

It also struck me that scrolling horizontally to view the grid would make more sense that scrolling vertical.

No such quibbles with the post pages, though, which get Bushwick-style full-screen feature images overlaid with the title and the author. The text is clear and easy to read, comments are well-styled and the related posts also make great use of the featured images.

One of the only themes to feature a fixed header, an almost essential feature for a theme on a tablet, I would have thought.

A great theme that just requires some tweaking of the homepage image sizes to turn it into a brilliant theme for tablet magazines.

Cost: $40 (Regular)

Publisher

publisher

It is, perhaps, fitting that a theme named Publisher makes it onto the list.

A capable theme that just lacks the visual punch of competitors such as Bushwick and The Writer.

The homepage does a good job of surfacing plenty of content, with an unordered grid approach that includes infinite scroll functionality.

The posts page are clean and well-laid, the featured image responds to device rotation, but the typography is a little bland and perhaps on the small side.

The menu is available from a header that isn’t fixed.

Publisher is theme where perhaps function is more of a focus.

Cost: $69 (1yr support and updates)

Independent Publisher

independentpublisher

I’ve included this theme as much for its design as its purpose:

If you believe that everyone has a right to independent publishing and that a beautiful, well-maintained home for your published work should be beautifully designed, well-maintained, and available to everyone free of charge, then this project is for you.

As the project freely admits, the theme is heavily influenced by Ghost and Medium.

Typography is excellent making content easy to read; featured images scale full-width with a click on a checkbox. The design is uncluttered and clearly is designed to focus on the content.

To really like this theme, you have to be keen to embrace a simple approach.

The homepage is a very basic listing although you could perhaps get around that, if you wanted to, with a static page (especially if you intend to publish in issues).

Navigation is scarce, especially on the post pages themselves where there’s really just an image link back to the home page. There’s no post navigation but instead tag-based navigation.

Despite these apparent drawbacks, there’s something about this theme: it looks stunning on a tablet.

Perhaps a good choice for starting out and letting your content do the wowing.

Cost: Free

Delivering A True Magazine Experience

Despite claims of a myriad of responsive WordPress magazine themes, only a handful will actually provide a decent user experience away from the desktop, recognizing that tablets are often used completely differently and not simply mini-computers that need to have themes that simply fit.

These 7 themes are about quality over quantity. They are about curation, about delivering content that is worth reading with a depth that does the subject matter justice.

Unlike their desktop cousins and their focus on 24×7 bombardment, these are themes for delivering a true online magazine experience.

What do you think of these themes? Which ones would make your list?  

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How To Learn WordPress in a Week (For Free!) http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/learn-wordpress-in-a-week/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/learn-wordpress-in-a-week/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:30:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=127594 Thanks to the low barrier to using and working with WordPress, anyone with an idea and time to spare can develop a product or service on top of WordPress and start a business. In fact, many of our members are already doing that.

Whether you’re working full-time and juggling family, social and volunteer commitments, mastering WordPress is within your reach – and there are so many resources available for free that if you do have time you have absolutely no excuse!

If you’re willing to put in the time you do have free, it’s easy and quicker to master WordPress than you may imagine.

This post offers a step-by-step guide for intermediate users who want to become competent with WordPress over seven days.

Abacus
Seven days of WordPress learning!

First Thing’s First

This guide makes a few assumptions:

  • You have used WordPress and have the software installed (obviously!).
  • You have at least two-three hours per day to learn WordPress.
  • You are familiar with HTML, CSS and some PHP.

So let’s get stuck in…

Monday

WordPress Codex

WordPress Codex, WordPress TV and Make WordPress Core

If you think the Codex is only for beginners, think again. The Codex is, essentially, the WordPress bible and contains pretty much everything you need to know about WordPress.

Every time I head to the Codex to quickly look something up, I always end up finding more than I had anticipated and learn something new. Every time.

Yes, many of the articles are dry and encyclopaedic, but there is information on everything from working with themes and writing plugins to contributing to core development.

If you’re a visual learner, WordPress TV contains hours and hours of presentation recorded at WordCamps around the world.

It’s easy to search for videos on any topic and learn from well-known developers such as Andrew Nacin (core developer) and Mark Jaquith (also a core developer).

If you’re interested in where WordPress is headed and want to contribute to core, it’s a good idea to bookmark Make WordPress Core. This is the official blog of the core development team for WordPress.

The site features regular updates on new features for upcoming version of WordPress. If you want to stay on top of what’s happening in WordPress, this is the place to be.

Tuesday

Themes

Getting the Most Out of Themes

Understanding how themes work is crucial to learning WordPress. Choosing a theme for your site is usually the first customization you will make to your site, so it’s important to know what you’re doing.

The first port of call is the Theme Development section in the Codex. This section offers a solid grounding in how themes are built. Even if you think you know a lot about themes, it’s still worth reading.

Check out the Child Themes section of the Codex before reading A Guide To The Options For WordPress Theme Development, a great read by Smashing Magazine that looks at different approaches to development, such as building a theme from scratch or hacking an existing theme.

Next up, theme frameworks. The WordPress Theme Frameworks Starter Guide at WPTuts+ is a great introduction to frameworks if you’re just getting started. WPTuts+ has also published a thorough guide to Developing Your First WordPress Theme.

Wednesday

WPMU DEV Plugins

Getting the Most Out of Plugins

What is WordPress without plugins? Am I right?

Developing plugins is easier than you may think and offers up a world of possibilities when you can tweak WordPress to suit your needs.

The first post of call is Writing a Plugin in the Codex. Smashing Magazine’s WordPress Essentials: How To Create A WordPress Plugin, is a great introduction to plugin development.

Our own post How to Write a WordPress Plugin: 12 Essential Guides and Resources offers a great list of plugin resources.

Thursday

Web Hosting

Hosting and Backup Solutions

Choosing a good web host is important if you want your site to run smoothly with no downtime. And with hundreds of thousands of web hosts out there, choosing just one is no easy task.

In Web Hosting Review: So Just Who is the Best? we’ve reviewed five of the most popular hosting options available.

Managed WordPress hosting is becoming more and more popular as new competitors enter the space. WP Kube offers an up-to-date guide to hosting in 9 Best Options for Managed WordPress Hosting.

Some hosts also provide back up solutions, but if you want to manage it yourself, Snapshot by WPMU DEV is a great solution for scheduling backups to Dropbox or Amazon S3.

Our post 5 Backup Solutions for WordPress Multisite Networks provides some great alternatives Multisite alternatives (though Snapshot is also Multisite compatible). We also recently published Creating A Disaster Recovery Plan For Your WordPress Site, a fantastic guide to preparing for the worst.

Friday

SEO

SEO and Optimization

Moz offers a comprehensive Beginners Guide to SEO that walks you through everything you need to know about SEO, including search engine marketing, keyword search and measuring and tracking success.

If you want to make the most of SEO, it’s a good idea to optimize your site. The Codex offers a basic guide to optimization, while our recent post 5 Quick Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Site provides some basic fixes. WPTuts+ takes this a step further in 10 Quick Tips: Optimizing & Speeding Up Your WordPress Site.

Saturday

Super heroes

Customization

After a busy five days getting your head around WordPress, today we’re going to delve into customizations.

PressCoders offer a great step-by-step guide, How to Customize a WordPress Theme: A Comprehensive Guide.

We post articles on customizations every week here at WPMU DEV Blog so browse through some of our latest posts. Some of our most popular customization posts include Check out How To Make Twenty Fourteen (Or Any Other WP Theme!) Super and How To Create A Totally Custom WordPress Login Page.

Sunday

ManageWP.org

WordPress News

After all your hard work this week, why not kick back with a tasty beverage and read the news?

The WordPress Community has a thriving network of news sites, such as ManageWP.org, WP Tavern, Post Status, wpMail.me and Torque.

These sites offer a window into the products and services built on top of WordPress and the people behind them. Regularly checking these news sites will help you keep on top of how WordPress is evolving.

Just because it’s Sunday doesn’t mean your week of learning about WordPress is over (though well done for getting through the week!). Check out 35+ Resources to Become a Kick Ass WordPress Developer and for ideas for where to go to get the most out of WordPress.

Image credits: PicJumbo

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15 Free Coming Soon Themes & Plugins for WordPress http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/15-free-coming-soon-themes-plugins-wordpress/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/15-free-coming-soon-themes-plugins-wordpress/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 15:30:34 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=127221 When you aren’t quite ready roll out with your site, but you want to get something up anyway, then the best option is usually an attractive coming soon page.

There are two basic ways of getting a coming soon page. You can either go with a theme or a plugin.

We have both ways covered below. First we list the ten best free coming soon themes we could find. And then we move onto five free coming soon plugins.

One thing to note: some of these may be billed as “maintenance” themes/plugins, but you could easily use them as “coming soon” themes. In fact, some are billed as both.

featured-coming-soon

1. Launcher Theme

launcher

This theme actually as a small, subtle bit of animation to it. The rocket on the right shakes a little on mouse-over.

This clean and colorful theme lets the user subscribe by email to be notified of your launch. It also has a countdown clock and social media buttons.

2. My Blue Construction

my-blue-contruction

If you like blue, well, then here you go. Although officially an “under construction” theme, this could be used for launches too. It has buttons for social media and an email capture box. It also allows for links to other pages as well, so that may be something that some require.

3. WPLauncher

wp-launcher

This simple but attractive theme offers a countdown clock, an email sign-up form, and a Twitter link. It also lets you show a progress report (20%, 30%, etc.).

4. Coming Soon

coming-soon

The Coming Soon theme gives you a space for a featured image and a detailed description area off to the right. You can customize the background as you like.

It also comes with an email sign-up option through Feedburner.

5. Landis Theme

landis

The Landis theme comes with a counter and a clean look that can be customized in the backend by changing the color and/or using shortcodes. In addition, it comes with the ability to capture email addresses.

6. LaunchTime

launchtime

This two-tone theme comes with a number of preset themes, and you can also do some customizing via the normal WordPress customizer. In addition, you can change the font and font colors, including details such as link colors and link hover colors.

It comes with a countdown clock and social media buttons. It also has spaces for header and footer codes. It also comes with a convenient CSS area for custom code.

7. Felice

felice

The Felice theme has an attractive, light feel to it. It allows you to show images and text, along with a progress bar (which you can switch to any color), an email sign up form, and social media buttons.

It offers a visual editor (as you get with regular posts). In addition, it has areas for header scripts, footer scripts, and custom CSS.

One other thing it offers that many coming soon themes don’t is the ability to input content into a 404 page.

8. Lexiity

lexiity

Lexiity is a clean-looking coming soon theme that comes with a countdown timer, social media buttons, and an email capture form (MailChimp integration).

It comes with a choice of different skins and a shortcode generator for things such as columns, buttons, quotes, etc.

9. Placeholder

placeholder

The Placeholder theme gives you an attractive, ordered look with the ability to place intro text, social media buttons, a countdown clock, and an email signup form all into a tight space. Originally from WooThemes, it also comes with a tracking code area and footer customization.

10. WPChimp Countdown

wpchimp-countdown

The WPChimp Countdown theme works by setting up a page on your site and then applying the template to that page.

It comes with a header, a content area, a simple but large countdown clock, and an email capture form.

You can see instructions for setting up the launch page here.

PLUGINS

And here we’ll continue with the plugin solutions.

11. Launchpad by Obox

launchpad-by-obox

Launchpad by Obox comes with settings that let you set the date for the launch of your site. You can also set the plugin to deactivate at that time as well.

It comes with three themes and also lets you include a logo, a background image, and social media buttons. It lets you easily change the order of the elements and it offers a convenient box for custom CSS.

12. Coming Soon

coming-soon-plugin

First of all, this plugin gives you a visual editor to work with that is just like the visual editor for a normal post or page. And so that gives you a lot of flexibility to create the type of page you want.

In addition to that, you can upload a logo, use a background image, change the color of the background and text, and also use custom CSS.

There are also spots for header and footer scripts.

13. Easy Coming Soon

easy-coming-soon

This plugin lets you control the background (color or image) and the font styles. It has spots for social media, Google Analytics Code, and email form submissions. It comes with one template in the free version and then other templates in a pro version that show a countdown clock.

14. Ultimate Coming Soon Page

ultimate-coming-soon-page

This plugin gives you a visual editor to work with (just as in a post), and it lets you insert a background image or control the background color.

It lets you choose between a number of different fonts; however, you only have three choices for font color – black, gray, or white.

You can also display an email sign-up form with this plugin.

15. Themefuse Maintenance Mode

themefuse

This plugin lets you upload a logo and background image. It comes with a countdown clock and a progress bar that lets you show how close you are to being ready – 30% complete, 50% complete, etc.

While there is a visual editor that lets you enter whatever you like, the space that content goes into is somewhat restricted, and so you’ll need to watch for that.

Photo credit: coming soon

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