Thank you for your questions regarding my blog design. I recently changed from the Busy Bee theme to the Headlines theme that are paid themes from Woothemes (but Woothemes also has some really great free themes available too so keep reading!) And Woothemes has so many out of the box, configurable features necessary to create a professional, business blog that you probably won’t have to make any expensive customizations to your theme.
I was already using the Headlines theme at another site and I really like some of the updates they made to the theme. I love the look, functionality, and flexibility the Headlines theme offers but I also liked the Woothemes company equally well. They have a great framework that is stable, intuitive, their support is quick (same day the one time I used it) and they are frequently updating and improving their existing themes. You receive lifetime updates to any themes you purchase!
The Woothemes Framework has numerous must-have features built into every theme including:
- There are built-in Woo SEO options. Their themes are also designed and optimized to work with the two most popular third party SEO plugins: All-In-One-SEO & Headspace 2.
- They are tested and guaranteed compatible with all major browsers: Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.
- Every Woothemes Admin Panel has all these standard features built in that usually have to be coded in other themes:
- Instead of a universal sidebar, you can create custom sidebars for any page or post in minutes.
- Custom CSS panel-There is no need to go into the editor and have to test where to put in code changes. This also makes updating your theme a snap as you can upgrade and then paste in the changes in the custom css panel.
- Auto-sizing thumbnails are standard.
- Backend theme options for drop down color styling, Google analytics code box, one click addition of your own logo and favicon.
- Text to Logo Conversion for the Header. This feature can save $100-300 you would otherwise have to spend to for a custom logo.
- In the top right hand side of the header you can drop in a Banner, Twitter feed, or Adsense in the admin panel.
- Favicon upload box.
- Custom Logo upload box.
- They have a great built-in advertising widget that allows you to configure up to 6 125×125 ads in the sidebar of your site in just minutes. This widget enables you to lay out side by side ads in three rows.
Headlines newly updated features not available in Busy Bee:
- Easy to use featured panel.
- Built in social bookmarking bar at the bottom of each post that can be turned on or off by checking a box.
- Custom Color, navigation bar and sidebar location options, and image in RSS, among the many options.
Free WordPress Themes by Woothemes!
- Woothemes has a great selection of free themes which you can download, test, and use if you already have webhosting. I have tested some of these free themes and they are particularly suited to a personal blog. And they have all of the standard features I list above!
- If you don’t have webhosting yet and want to know what to look for and who I recommend, you can read my article How to Choose a Webhost for WordPress.
- If you don’t find exactly what you want in the free themes, Woothemes has some great paid, general news or business oriented themes. My theme and their most popular theme Fresh News or a brand new theme called Continuum (I tested out recently and am considering buying) are actually categorized as a magazine/news themes.
And while Woothemes provides excellent descriptions and demos for every theme, it is difficult to tell whether a theme will really work for your business without custom coding unless you can test it out. Woothemes solves this problem by allowing you to try before you buy. Once you find a theme you like, scroll down the theme description and find “Try Before You Buy” which is located on the right hand side every theme page. There you will find a link to their playground where you can use, configure, and test fully functional themes for free. You do not need your own webhosting to do this. I have used their playground and the test themes have the exact same functionality as if they were loaded into your own webhosting account.
If you like the look and feel of my blog, it is obtainable with Woothemes for free or inexpensively. My blog only has a couple tweaks to that are either in the custom CSS field or easy to place in the editor with excellent instructions from their member only forum. All the other functionality on my site is either built directly into Woothemes or is a free plugin.
If you have questions with configuring your theme or need help, comment or just send me an email with your question.