Rich Photo (or Recipe, Sweet Shop, Clothing Site)

rich-photo-thumbRich WP have released the aptly named ‘Rich Photo‘ photo gallery wordpress theme. As you can see from the demo above this is a minimal and hassle free photo template which allows your visitors to navigate visually straight from the home page.

This Rich Photo is obviously aimed at photographers however we feel that it maybe missing its true calling, and thats a wordpress recipe theme. Consciously or not, the theme designers seem to agree with us, using mostly food related imagery for their demo (or they were just really hungry!) However it is not this which makes us believe that this site would be better adapted to the culinary arts! Those of you who have navigated through the demo already will have noticed the final details page (or post) which is very reminiscent of the recipe pages on many of the more modern cookery and chiefs websites.

Simple navigation rules the day on this Recipe (sorry Photo) Theme from Rich WP
Simple navigation rules the day on this Recipe (sorry Photo) Theme from Rich WP

Creating content for this site could not be easier, simply decide what categories you want to display on the home page, create them and then publish articles (posts) in that category. Thats it, easy? Well its been made even easier than that, upload a photo or image and it is automatically assigned and resized to fit the home, category and details page in one go, no more resizing in photoshop.

For those of you who were wondering you can also easily install Paypal or any other payment option to turn Rich Photo into a shop / ecommerce website.

When your visitors click on an article, you can see from the image above they are presented with easy previous and next photo options (button wording easily changed) so that they can simply flick through the rest of the posts in that category or section.

Visual navigation makes us hungry
Visual navigation makes us hungry

How many different applications are there for a theme / website like this? Well quite a few, put it this way, your imagination is the limit with this one, whether it be a sweet shop, clothing label, art, photography  or one of a million other uses, this site will never cause you a headache to run, or leave your visitors hunting aimlessly for what they need. It is clear, concise and with the right content, stunning.

Features:

  • Two color schemes – Bright and Dark
  • Automatic Image Size Generation. All photo sizes needed across the theme will be assigned and generated automatically.
  • Easy installation and setup with included documentation.
  • Threaded comments support
  • Gravatar support for comments
  • Free updates!
  • Fully SEO compliant

Rich WP offer free updates and support for this theme and according to their customers are very friendly and quick to respond. How many companies do you know that offer up their personal Msn and Skype addresses for ease of contact? The theme / website comes with full and very detailed instructions, and unless you are completely new to wordpress you will not need them, its that simple to use.

Obviously this website is not going to be suitable for everyone, for instance we carn’t imagine this as a corporate or informational site. But if you need a minimal, beautiful and easy way of displaying your work, products or ideas to the world then Rich Photo is it.

If you are not familiar with wordpress and want to get this website up and running, do not worry here’s the ‘The Famous 5-Minute Installation‘ guide for wordpress. Or simply click the install button above or below this review.

Classifieds Theme

classifieds-mainClassifieds Theme is a complete classified ads system for WordPress. Meaning you do not need to adapt your current site using a wordpress classifieds plugin.

According to the publishers of the theme it ‘allows anyone to easily turn a standard wordpress blog into a powerful community driven classified ads serving platform’ its basically a piece of classifieds website software.

The look of the theme is very basic and if you are running a classified ads site or want to take your classifieds online then this is a very good thing indeed. You need the focus of your site to be your customers ads not the surrounding graphics and banners, this theme achieves this very well. The ads are nicely separated with alternating background colours, and can easily catagorised and tagged by the customer, making them easy to find by visitors.

The demo site which is viewable here
charges its users $3 per 99 days for each advert. You can easily change this to any amount you want, we would recommend using a $1 / £1 per 14 days ratio for maximum profit and affordability. All payments are collected via paypal and there is no need for your customers to go through the annoying join / sign up process before they can place an ad. However if you are an avid mailing list collector then there is plenty of opportunity for your customers to sign up.

Classifieds Theme. Simple layout. Maximum Profit
Classifieds Theme. Simple layout. Maximum Profit

The scope for this theme is huge. For example coupon code and promo code sites are becoming big business in the current economic climate and this theme is perfect for that use, it already looks very similar to a lot of the major players sites.

Free classified websites like Gumtree, Freecycle and Craigslist are some of the biggest in the classifieds market and although they offer many of their postings for free they make up the rest of their income from on site advertising. Why not use this theme for a similar use? It has built in adsense and plenty of banner space.

The developers of Classifieds Theme have paid a lot of attention to how other similar sites work. More importantly they have picked out the most important ‘pros’ of these sites while avoiding their ‘cons’ like the plague! This theme has far too many features to go into detail here but here is a list of just some of them:

Features

  • Paypal integration
  • Lightbox style gallery for product images
  • Ad Tagging
  • Auto pruning
  • Featured classifieds
  • Adsense integration
  • Ad rotation (avoid banner blindness)
  • Category specific advertising ready
  • Advanced ads management
  • Auto payments
  • Email notifications for newly submitted ads
  • Email notifications for payments received
  • Contact seller form
  • Email a friend button
  • Print view button
  • Custom login bo
  • Theme options panel
  • Theme support
  • Unlimited theme customization (open source)
  • RSS feed displays latest classifieds
  • All necessary plugins are included with the theme

See what we mean? This is a serious tool and it is very intuitive, for instance take a look at the individual ad page for an iPhone below.

Individual ad page. Note the Adsense banners and contact seller form
Individual ad page. Note the Adsense banners and contact seller form

See how the banners and Adsense have changed to be relevant to the product the seller is advertising without disturbing the look of the theme or becoming dominant over the sellers ad. The one thing we would change here is the positioning of the product images. They are too far down the page and need to be close to the top to become more of a feature. This is a big shame because when clicked the product images open full screen in a lightbox style gallery overlay with easy navigation to browse all the different angles and views the seller has uploaded. Note that this page also has an ‘ask the seller a question’ form as well as a comments form. Both very important when building a classifieds community.

If you do run a classifieds based business (or similar) then you really need to consider this theme if you want to maximise your profits and make usage easy for your customers. If you already have a website then this should be a big wake up call to upgrade if your existing site does not meet the full spec of this one.

Buying this theme reveals an interesting option. As well as the usual single license and multi user license (if you wish to install on more than one site). The developers also offer a reseller option. If you are a web developer, sell themes or simply have many clients who would be interested in this theme then you can pay a one off fee and then resell the classifieds theme for as much as you want and as many times as you want. You can also redevelop it and sell it with no comeback. Click here to see all the different options available.

If you are not a developer and simply need this theme installed for you then please click the ‘install’ link below.

WordPress.org Nearly Beats Google.com

wordpressorgAfter a playing around with $timator the cool new ‘whats my website worth’ tool we noticed that Google.com was topping the charts at an unbelievable (but not surprising) $938,550,265!

Which site did we automatically enter for a valuation? You guessed it WordPress.org

We hit the calculate button and sat back in amazement the numbers kept rolling, and rolling, and rolling… in fact they did not stop for a very long time, and as the estimator started to roll above $700,000,000 everyone suddenly got very excited. According to $timator the second highest site worth is Yahoo.com with $695,051,384 but WordPress.org was passing that with no sign of slowing down. Everyone crowded round the monitor shouting encouragement. Could WordPress do it and beat Google? The numbers just kept spinning like a crazy Vegas slot machine, and it somehow felt like a personal triumph for those of us that have worked with WordPress for so long. Finally the numbers started to slow, and WordPress’s total was:

$908,693,787 – WordPress

$938,550,265 – Google

That puts WordPress second in the running and closing in fast on Google. Not just on physical value, thats not what $timator is about, but web recognition and popularity. All we can say is ‘well done WordPress’ and ‘thank you’.

Here are the final results from $timator:

wordpress

google

Tribal

tribal1New kids on the block Gorilla Themes have released the monster wordpress theme Tribal. Mixing the dirty grunge theme feel with urban graff overtones this theme delivers in both looks and functionality.

Tribal has been developed to be used by anyone wanting to promote heavily within the music industry. It is intended to be used by artists, bands, record labels, radio stations, reviewers and industry news. With a little imagination though it could be used and developed for so much more.

Using the latest technology available the home page of this site presents your visitors with a nice and dynamic featured content section (jQuery) with full slide show of all your latest news / posts. This would look at home on any flash site but harnesses the power of wordpress and jQuery to be nice and SEO friendly, more importantly though it is simple to use with just a few options in the admin.

Click to see slideshow of Gorilla Themes monster creation 'Tribal'

The first thing your visitors will notice however is the beautiful jukebox style music player, here you can really show off with album art, as many tracks as you want played and minimal controls making for very easy use. This is one of the best music players on the web at the moment and its built into your theme!

Features

  • Jukebox music player with album art.
  • Flash titles system
  • Flickr Integration
  • Add your own Logo and Styles Easily
  • Featured Content Slideshow
  • Feedburner Integration
  • No Custom Fields
  • Gravatar ready
  • Widget ready
  • Adsense ready
  • Turn all-or-individual banners on/off
  • Full support and tutorials
  • Suitable for: artists, bands, press, promoters, labels, reviewers, magazines, industry and many more

This music wp theme also has a built in flash titles system which renders all your article headers in the themes grunge font keeping everything in style and looking one step ahead of your competitors (and still SEO friendly!).

Tribal also has a built in system for auto sizing your images and avoids the use of custom fields for ease of use.

With adsense built in (if you want it), feedburner, subscribe options (so you can quickly build a mailing list ), and search engine friendly design, this is a strong business orientated website masquerading as an urban graff street theme. Any hip-hop or similar label should be proud to have this as there front of house marketing portal. It can also be developed very easily to suit any branding.

We recommended Tribal very strongly if you are serious about expanding and promoting your business.

BlogKurus WP Theme (Thin Blog)

blog-kurus-thumb1We are so excited about this!! Ladies and gentlemen we proudly present to you BlogKurus! Translated as Thin Blog this is the most innovative and fantastic use of design we have ever seen from a WordPress theme designer. That designer is of course Mohammad Mustamar Natsir.

BlogKurus is not just thin its THiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiN. With very simple functionality and beautiful styling we can see a potential competition ahead between WordPress developers to see who can make the best use of this theme.  But the bigger fight might be to see who can create the best background image to fit either side of the blog,  (have a look at the promo shot below!) please please post links to your developments of BlogKurus in the comments below we are chomping at the bit to see them.

WOW BlogKurus
WOW BlogKurus

We still haven’t mentioned the very best thing about BlogKurus yet, it’s free!! That’s right, one of the best wp theme designs on the net is completely free to download and use straight away (download link at bottom of page).

We cannot believe just how much of what you would expect to find in a blog is right there in this streamlined theme, inline comments, menus, footer content, gravatars and search bars. Can you imagine this developed into a twitter like application or a ultra hi-tech portfolio (changing background images anyone?)

BlogKurus
BlogKurus

Obviously we recommend this theme! There’s a full demo below and a link to Mustamar’s website which is a must see. We love this one so much we are even offering installations of BlogKurus for £150 which is our lowest price so far, so if you are a non-tech WordPress newbie you can have this theme too!

Lastly a big thank you to Mustamar we hope you keep designing and we are looking forward to the next one!

Download BlogKurus Here

Grunge Theme

Grunge ThemeDon’t be fooled by the name, Grunge Theme is not only for grunge bands and the 90’s Seattle scene, according to iThemes it is suitable for designers, musicians and artists. So no need to break out the old baggy checked logging shirts and combats and make a drastic change in musical direction to use this site!

Grunge Theme is a web 2.0 WordPress band theme and has been developed by iThemes.

If you are an artist (visual) or designer we do not recommend this theme! There are  themes available which will be a million times more suited to your needs, unless you are particularly in love with this one we think it is a no-go.

For bands however this theme would be perfect, its sharp and clean with easy navigation. Although its not overloaded with features it is very functional and once branded will make a good impression on your fans / visitors.

Grunge Theme Home Page
Grunge Theme Home Page

So what has it got? Well it has a very well designed ‘latest news’ section, the ability to run as a blog or conventional site, is widget ready and is easy to brand. Above all it is the look of the site which really makes Grunge Theme stands out as a cut above the rest. Its glossy web 2.0 looks set against the dirty industrial background work very well (something to keep in mind while your stylising this site to your own branding) and the composition of the navigation and sidebars / content is very nice indeed. We really like the use of font styles and lines within the content aswell.

The theme could do with a built in mp3 player but there are plenty of free plugins for this functionality. It would also be nice idea to use a shop / sales plugin if you wish to sell merchandise. Both of these features would be very easy to integrate (for the WordPress savvy).

Overall Grunge Music WordPress Theme is very good, with some extra development it could be amazing.

Proximity News Theme

proximity-thumbDeveloped by Nathan Rice Proximity News Theme is one of the major players in the news theme market. But is it actually any good?

Well for a start the entire CMS for this wp theme has been built to prevent you from ever having to alter any code or styles during customization. Everything is configurable through your admin interface. If you are not sure how to use any of these options then  Proximity comes with full support forums, tutorials and training videos. If you have never used a CMS (content management system) site before then this level of support is invaluable, a factor you should take into consideration when choosing which news theme is right for your publication.

Features:

  • Google Adsense built in
  • Social bookmarking
  • Video ready
  • RSS
  • Author archives / Information
  • Gravatar ready
  • “Smart” Home page
  • Advanced side bar
  • Dropdown menus
  • Printer ready
  • Breadcrumb  Navigation

The front end of this website is just as impressive, with broadsheet style and keeping the illusion of being minimal while actually providing your reader with a lot of options. We were very impressed with the author archives which allows readers to see all the articles published by a particular author including a small biography and gravatar. All this information is pulled in from the users (authors) options in the admin! We also really liked the featured video system, but it is not obvious if this can be included with each article.

Click to see full size pages
Click to see full size pages

The theme also has the ability to prevent duplicate content on the front page using what the developer has dubbed “Smart” home page technology. This is a very important feature as normally a number of plugins have to be configured to stop this happening.

Publishing with this theme could not be easier, all image handling is controlled through your admin, including cropping and uploading. No more hours of photoshop and ftp usage before you can get your article out. Writing could not be easier either, if your authors can use microsoft word then they can use this system with no additional training.

When a reader clicks through to a stories page they get social bookmarking options (Digg, Stumble Upon, Facebook etc) and they also get a print button. This has been specially developed so that the story will be printer friendly and print perfectly, printing is usually an overlooked problem with news websites.

Navigation could not be easier with the inclusion of breadcrumb navigation, intelligent links within stories and archive pages, not to mention drop down menus and advanced sidebar features like most popular, most commented and recent posts.

The overall look of the theme could do with some improvements though, it is always difficult to tell when looking at a demo website exactly how it will look until your branding is applied. If the developers boasts are true though any problems with aesthetics should be very easy to ammend. If this is the case then we cannot recommend this theme enough if you are serious about online publishing.

Revolution Album

Revolution Two themes are gaining a lot of popularity and admiration amongst WordPress theme fanatics, they are probably our favourite developers currently on the scene.

Features:

  • Comes with 7 built in colour schemes
  • Widget ready
  • Easy navigation
  • Avatar ready
  • Suitable for photographers, artists and gallerys

Revolution Album is a theme designed purely for photographers and artists who wish to run a photo blog or a portfolio site. Care has been taken in the development of the design to make sure that the emphasis of your site will be your photos or images with everything else toned down, letting your work speak for itself. As you can see from the image below each photo takes up over 50% of the overall design.

Click for full size preview

Navigation has been made very easy with the simple previous and next buttons that you would expect to find in any well constructed photo blog. However below these is a featured photos strip which allows you to show off the crux of your work. This could very easily be modified into a categories selector. Simply make each of the featured photos a link to a different category and add a suitable tool tip (the text that pops up when your mouse is over an image or button). Or put the category titles directly onto the photos here to create a menu!

Directly under the title of each image / photo is a ‘filed under’ and ‘tagged’ area making it very easy for user to navigate quickly to similar works and projects, basically acting as a quick menu system.

Speaking of menus, all the main navigation has the option to use drop-down menus keeping everything at top level nice and minimal.

We think it would be nice to see EXIF data used within this theme and hope that Revolution consider this for future updates / re-designs. There are plenty of plugins available which will do this job and if you are a dedicated photographer then we recommend that you use them with this theme.

It would also be nice to see the featured photos section integrated into a sliding feature where visitors can simply click a forward or back button to have the next set of photos slide smoothly into place. If you are code savvy then you could do this yourself with some javascript.

If you are looking to sell prints or originals of your work then this theme should be a serious consideration, your customers get a clean professional portfolio to easily browse rather than hundreds of thumbnailed images. There are plenty of plugins to add shop functionality, some of them even allow you to directly accept credit cards as well as the usual paypal etc.

Overall this is a very nice wordpress photo theme. Looking at what else is available on the market it would be very hard to find a website design for any system which can beat this one for either its ease of use or its minimal beauty.

The Bel Air Real Estate Theme

the-bell-air-theme-thumbJust to prove how versatile WordPress themes can be along comes ‘The Bel Air Real Estate Theme‘ This is not just a theme but a complete setup for any property based company wanting to reach a wider audience. All the features you could need for sales or property rental are installed with the theme, including an impressive payment or mortgage calculator (easily converted to any currency), photo galleries for each property and even profiles for the ‘agents’ who do the selling.

In essence you will be able to start selling straight away, the backend or ‘CMS’ admin area is very easy to use so entering and publishing each properties details is painless, making it a powerful piece of real estate software. If you or your client are a real estate agency then this theme should be a serious consideration.

Bel Air comes with a choice of five different colour schemes and it is easy to add your own branding. It is also advert ready with a built in ad banner management system so you can monetize your site or if thats not your cup of tea then use these areas to promote featured properties and services. There’s the obvious areas where details of different rooms etc can be entered. But what really caught our eye was the auto thumbnailing of images (when clcked they open in a lightbox style gallery), and the ‘no custom fields’ ease of use when publishing. The authors of this design have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that publishing is a breeze and that you (or your client) never have to deal with code or anything tricky.

Features

  • Five colour schemes built in (sea blue, red, navy blue, gold and black)
  • Easy to brand and change the colours (if you don’t like any of the above)
  • Mortgage / payments calculator
  • Image auto thumbnailer
  • Lightbox style photo galleries for each property
  • Featured properties rotated on home page
  • Easy search drop down menus (price, location and type)
  • Advert ready
  • Ad banner management

Click to see pages and features of this site
Click to see pages and features of this site

Our only frustration with this theme is that it is not yet using google maps, which is not exactly new technology and would be a perfect addition to its features. The sites authors WP-Realtor are currently considering adding google maps into a future update of the site. Our advice would be to use one of the many Google Maps plugins availible for WordPress until this update is ready to avoid frustrated customers. Actually there is another ‘bug-bear’ with this theme, you have to by either buy a ‘single agent’ or ‘multi agent’ version. The latter being more expensive. Ok so we haven’t had that much experience with real estate software, well actally we’ve had none at all!! So maybe this is normal in the world of property (let us know below if it is!!) but it does seem strange. However neither ‘agent’ version will break the bank and if you find that you need to upgrade then you can do so easily.

Although The Bel Air Real Estate Theme is limited to estate agents, realtors and property companies (public and commercial) we couldn’t resist featuring it. We think this theme is a fine example of how to turn WordPress into an individualised e-commerce platform, something which WordPress developers and designers have been getting better and better at over the last few years (thanks to amazing advances in WordPress itself) and it is finally blasting the fated osCommerce out of the water, not only in aesthetics and functionality but most importantly with innovation.