The 7 Most Customizable, Free WordPress Themes

 

I must start with a caveat – I don’t believe any one theme should be all things to all users. A few years ago, a theme used to simply be a pre-made design that you could apply to your site – an overall look and feel, not a “website in a box”. You used a theme because you didn’t have the design and/or coding skill to create your own. But, nowadays users want to be able to control every aspect of their site’s look and feel – basically design their site themselves, without doing any code. If you are not an actual designer, then there are many downfalls to this approach. But that is not the point of this post.

Now, as I write the update, Gutenberg is in full force. It’s still being improved but it’s already a very powerful tool, giving site owners a lot more control in laying out their pages. The theme landscape is evolving, and at this particular moment, it’s still figuring out what it’s going to become. The power of themes seems to be tending toward the set of blocks and pre-made layouts they can provide.

Needless to say, people like free themes and they also like flexibility. So here are 7 themes that fit the bill. I’m not saying they will do anything and everything you want, but for free, they are pretty extensive. I’ve tried to point out the features that are useful and/or unique, but that doesn’t mean I’ve included every possibility. But these themes are free, so you can try them for yourself at no risk!

Read More

How Will Google’s Core Web Vitals Affect Your WordPress Site?

Core Web Vitals are the 3 key metrics that Google believes indicate healthy performance for your web site.

Whether you agree with their selection of metrics or not, soon you will not really have a choice.

Unlike their previous PageSpeed metrics, which did not impact ranking at all, Core Web Vitals will eventually be used as a ranking signal.

Today, we’re building on this work and providing an early look at an upcoming Search ranking change that incorporates these page experience metrics. We will introduce a new signal that combines Core Web Vitals with our existing signals for page experience to provide a holistic picture of the quality of a user’s experience on a web page.

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2020/05/evaluating-page-experience.html
Read More

How To Make a WordPress Test Site In 8 Small Steps

How To Set Up a WordPress Testing Site

Every time a new version of WordPress is released, some people will experience compatibility problems with their sites. These can be minor and easily resolved, or they can  be more tricky to diagnose. Either way, especially for non-developers, such problems are a little scary, particularly if they make your website inaccessible or unusable. One way to ease the stress of an upgrade, or to experiment with any changes you may want to make on your site, is to create a sandbox, or testing site. The video below shows you how you can easily do that using free tools. 

Read More

Should You Use the Jetpack WordPress Plugin?

Jetpack WordPress Plugin

What Is Jetpack?

Jetpack is a plugin created by the team at WordPress.com. It is one super-plugin that contains a whole suite of features – mini-plugins, if you will. It was created to make available to self-hosted WordPress users some of the convenient features that WordPress.com users enjoy. Some of the features that Jetpack includes are:

  • a widget to display your latest Tweets
  • WordPress stats about traffic to your blog
  • Email subscription to blog posts and comments
  • Facebook Like box widget
  • mobile theme
  • “Carousel” to turn image galleries into slideshows
  • image widget – to easily add an image to your sidebar
Read More

Tips For Designers Learning WordPress

Tips For Designers Learning WordPress

If you are a graphic / web designer accustomed to coding websites in static HTML, as opposed to PHP or some other database-driven system, making the move to WordPress can seem difficult and frustrating at first. Having had several clients who fit this description, I have noticed some common issues that prove to be stumbling blocks. Here’s my suggestions for those attempting to make the switch.

1) Beginner’s Mind Is Crucial
Forget almost everything you know. I know, it sounds terrible, but here’s what I mean – if you approach WordPress with the same mentality as you would approach building an HTML site, you will get frustrated very quickly. So act as if you know nothing and start from scratch. Once you gain an understanding of WordPress you can then apply the HTML knowledge you know. But doing it the other way round is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Building a database driven website is a totally different conceptual approach than building a static HTML site, so don’t let your current habits and knowledge get in the way.

Read More