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.

WP Full Site

WP Full Site is a free theme which aims to turn WordPress into a free CMS (content management system) for small businesses. According to the makers of this theme, every small business should have at least:

  • An obvious way to be contacted, hence the phone number and email link at the very top of the website
  • A clear, concise call to action accompanied by an attention grabbing graphic
  • The option to have or blog or not have a blog

Ok pretty obvious stuff but their wp cms theme does realise all three of these options and allows you to implement them.

The advantage of having a CMS is that you get a nice backend area of your website that only you or your staff can access. Once there you get some very simple but powerful tools to change the content of your site (no more difficult than using Microsoft Word), allowing you to keep it nice and fresh and always up to date, this is very important to your customers as it projects the feeling of a legitimate business, stale sites with old or out of date information very often have the reverse effect!

Click to see the full size home page
Click to see the full size home page
Although the look of the theme itself is basic it does what it says on the box and once your company logos and colours are in there you should have a very nice looking site.

Your contact information is always kept visible at the top of the site which is also very important for potential customers, the email link can easily be changed into a link to a contact form if you prefer. The theme also offers the chance for your company to run a blog (or latest news / current projects… etc) this also helps prevent the ‘stale site’ syndrome and helps your visibility and rankings in search engines.

If you do go for this theme then make sure you bookmark the demo page and keep checking back (or RSS it) as there is a promise of future tutorials and updates which you wont want to miss out on.

One word of warning to those who have never encountered WordPress before (or simply arn’t techie) or if you feel that this would be too tasking or if it is the only thing putting you off using this site then we do offer an installation service and would be happy to install and set-up this website for you. Please see ‘Install Info‘ for more information or click the ‘Install’ link at the bottom of this page if you would like this service.

WP Full Site offers a free download here

You need to install this theme first

Or use the INSTALL option below