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.

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.

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 Office

Revolution Office comes from the creme de la creme of site designers Jason Schuller (of Revolution Two). Although this design is called ‘Office’ its use is pretty universal and is suitable for almost anyone. With Web 2.0 looks and beautifully crafted composition we cannot stress enough just how nice this site is, please go to the homepage and check out the demo to see for yourself.

Available as a WordPress theme only however Revolution WordPress themes are becoming very well known for supreme quality and an amazing level of after care support. Buts that enough about Revolution (as you can probably tell their a bit of a favorite of ours) lets check out Office theme and see if its any good!

Office is a pretty minimal site which means your visitors arn’t going to have any trouble finding their way around and getting to the information they need quickly. The homepage has an impressive image slider (please try this out in the demo it has such a cool smooth sliding action!!) with a link from the images to the appropriate page or featured article. The slider could be used in so many ways, it could be turned into a very dynamic looking menu or a showcase for photography or any products you are selling or reviewing, your imagination is pretty much the limit with this one. If you do go for this theme please post links and show off your sites below, we would love to see how you have developed this!

Features

  • Beautiful image scroller
  • Breadcrumb enabled
  • Gravatar enabled
  • Widget ready
  • RSS 2.0 enabled
  • Unlimited fast support
  • Suitable for almost any use

office-home
Click for homepage, categories and post page

When you do a search or click on catagories / featured content you are presented with a very nicely layed out page with thumbnails of each item with a text excerpt, rather than just a huge page to scroll down containing all the related articles, or worse a horrible built in google type search results page.

The articles or pages themselves are simple and effective, with a two column look, lots of room for your content and a content details section at the side. This allows visitors to see which sections of your site the article comes from for easy backtracking, and an RSS 2.0 feed. Here’s our only gripe with the design of office, below the content details is a recent content section showing the titles of all the latest storys or pages. This would be so much more effective as a related content section, this way if a visitor has not found exactly what they wanted then its easy for them to quickly get back on track.

So as you have probably guessed we love this design and cannot recommend it enough.

Now here’s the important choice you have to make if you want this site! Themes from Revolution Two are availible as free downloads directly from their site however, the free versions arn’t exactly easy to find and come with no support what so ever!! Not even an instructions.txt in the zip file! Worst of all its not always the most upto date version of the site. Speaking from experience this can be a very frustrating and time wasting way of trying to get their sites up and running quicly even for an expert. Googling dosen’t help either as their support forums are closely guarded and locked to anyone who hasn’t brought their support package. Although slightly pricey their support is unlimited across all their themes and very very quick so even a newbie can get the site up and running in a matter of hours. They even offer customization techniques and tutorials and all questions answered by experts. Their standard membership package only lasts a year however if you want lifetime option then there is a Revolution Pro Plus Membership available for not much more than the standard price! Quite frankly its the option we have gone for and haven’t (yet) regretted it! However if you carn’t afford it, or have a lot (months!) of time on your hands then plug for the free option.

Don’t forget to post and show off your versions of this site below!

The New Yorker

newyorkerThis is a huge, huge site. If you ever wanted to run an online newspaper with retro broadsheet style then here is your chance. This is a WordPress compatible ‘theme’ and comes complete with all the widgets and plugins that you will need to have complete control over your newspaper without ever having to resort to using code. This is basically a ready to go CMS newspaper site.

If reto is not quite your thing then the fonts and styles used are pretty easy to customize aswell as colours etc.

Features

  • Comprehensive theme control panel (136 settings)
  • 37 Widgetised areas
  • Dynamic drop-down navigational menu
  • Advertisement banner management
  • Dynamic video block
  • Compatible on all major browsers
  • Suitable for magazine sites as an entry page or complete site
  • Painstakingly validated code (XHTML and CSS)

If you are going to manage and update this site yourself then we would recommend reading through the homepage and demo (links below) very carefully if you are not familiar with WordPress. This is probably not the best site for newbies, however for the price ($39) it stands head and shoulders over other traditional newspaper solutions available.