Unless I change my mind to do another revision, I’m finished with the basic layout. Next is adding the details and coloring it. I have an idea of what I want, but it’s not clear. It should look warm and earthy at the same time. However, yellow, green, and brown might not be the best combination for this layout. Check out the revision.
For Gluttony, I threw away the initial concept (which was supposed to get posted this morning) and ended up with something… less predictable. The image below is not complete yet and it’s only a preview.
If you haven’t noticed, this theme is an expandable food menu. I have a long way to go and still don’t really know how to wrap my head around this design. I tackled it without any planning. It was just an idea I had to put down. Also, I doubt that it’ll be useful for anyone because it’s so… awkward looking, but I like it.
Wpdesigner is getting a micro-redesign. Your blog should get one too. Simple tweaks, additions, and subtractions can do wonders for your blog. In Wpdesigner’s case, this micro-redesign is another step toward de-cluttering. Preview the upcoming design here. It’s not much different from the current Wpdesigner. But all together, the small changes make a big difference.
New Logo – If you’re a loyal reader, you know Wpdesigner lacks identity so I’m adding a logo to help this blog become more recognizable and memorable for new visitors. And if you know me, you know I’m not a graphic designer. Based on circles and gradients, that little figure is my best attempt at a logo. But give credit where credit is due, I couldn’t have done it without Nur of Nomad-One.com. He came through with the concept and style for this logo. What I’ll be using for Wpdesigner’s logo is only a fraction and combination of everything he sent me.
Simple Navigation – Instead of trying to pack as many links into the horizontal menu as possible, I decided to bring it down to six links and add more spacing around each menu item. For one thing, your mind typically holds seven items at a time. Therefore, having more than seven items within one group of links will not do much good if you can’t remember them.
The result is a simpler and more balanced horizontal menu.
Wpdesigner.com is entering unfamiliar territory. I’m excited! Project H stands for Project Hosting. I’m not creative when it comes to naming. I know.Shared hosting is a saturated niche. Overselling, false 24/7 phone support, unreliable uptime, it’s a tough market to gain trust, not to mention low return on investment if you don’t pack 800-1000 customers onto each server.So why is Wpdesigner becoming a web host? Simple. You need reliable hosting with WordPress support. I can provide that service and live with the low return on investment ratio.
- I started Wpdesigner because you needed better WordPress themes.
- I released a premium quality theme for free because you were looking for premium themes and I was too lazy to charge for it.
- Now that you need a reliable host and / or better hosting, I’m starting a web hosting company.
Before making the decision to move to dedicated hosting (the whole server to myself), I struggled with the same problem – cheap web hosts overselling what they can’t guarantee. Have you seen those 3000 GB of bandwidth deals for $7 to $10 each month? Yea. That’s what I’m talking about.Those hosts rely on the fact that the average customers will not use all of the resources they pay for. Based on that gamble, cheap web hosts pack hundreds and hundreds of customers onto each server, knowing that their servers cannot live up to the deals.If you’re hosted on one of those servers, once your effort is paying off and you’re actually getting decent traffic to your blog, you have to worry about keeping your blog online because that server simply cannot handle it without affecting hundreds of other customers on the same server.This is where Wpdesigner Hosting comes in. Here are the specs for each Wpdesigner server:
- Xeon Quad-Core
- 4GB RAM
- 20Mbps unmetered
- 120 customers limit
One Hosting Plan:
- 1GB storage
- 40GB bandwidth
Those are the basics and don’t forget that this service will come with WordPress support. I’ll elaborate later on.If you’re new to web hosting or if you have no idea what those lists above mean then Wpdesigner Hosting is not for you. If you understand what I’m writing about and have been waiting for something like this… yea, I’m pretty excited too.(Oh yea, if you already have a web host, but want to move to Wpdesigner. Guess what? Free server migration through cPanel!)
Hi Small Potatoes. I’ll be taking a short weekend break to clear my head and sort out everything I need to do with this blog. I will come back on Monday and Wpdesigner will be back on its regular posting schedule by that time.
Along with more free premium WordPress themes, what’s upcoming for Wpdesigner.com is pretty big. Well, I consider it a big step. I can’t say what it is right now. But I can give you a hint, it has to do with you, WordPress development, and hosting. Call it Project H.
Recently, Nate Whitehilll’s UniqueBlogDesigns.com (UBD) catapulted to the top of the WordPress themes community, thanks to exposure from Nate redesigning John Chow’s and Shoemoney’s blogs. Currently, business is booming for UBD’s custom design service and pre-made pay-per-download themes. With all the money and success, I wonder if Nate still have the time to sit back and realize his services and products… suck?
Before you get me wrong, my view on UBD services and products doesn’t stem from jealousy. No, I’ve already decided not to take the freelance and paid themes route. Therefore, UBD is not my competition nor am I interested in earning that level of money. Freelance and paid-themes are not worth while, for me.
I think it’s sad how UBD and its paid themes have gotten to where they are, in a short period of time, all thanks to exposure and not quality in services and products because they don’t strive to make WordPress more attractive. Furthermore, Unique Blog Designs custom and pre-made products are not unique.
As for the pay-per-download or “exclusive themes” as UBD like to call them, how can you label something exclusive when you’re going to resell it over and over again? Beats me. Second, most of the “exclusive themes” are not unique and not the top notch quality that you’d expect from a $79 price tag (about $30 above Template Monster’s price per theme).
Compare the following themes from UBD and then tell me how unique they are:
The above might be an unfair comparison because I compared UBD themes to themselves and most of their themes are done by one designer, Adriaan Pienaar. However, search any free WordPress themes database or site and you’ll run cross more similar themes to the examples above. Again, what UBD sell is nothing new or unique. At this point, its products are simply “unique” because they’re from one designer with a recognizable style. I could do the same thing and label myself unique, but that isn’t really honest when it comes to offering something truthfully different for WordPress theme customers is it?
Beyond the fact that UBD theme’s are not unique, let’s break down their quality. The structure of the designs are not carefully thought out. You don’t need to be a designer to recognize their apparent spacing and alignment problems. Graphics-wise, they suffer the Template Monster syndrome, which is too many in your face eye-candy – meant for fooling uninformed customers into thinking they’ve gotten their money worth.
But unlike Template Monster, what’s worse is the quality of UBD’s eye-candy. They’re cheaply done gradients, shadows, and reflections. Obviously, UBD’s main designer for the “exclusive themes” is subtlety-intolerant, contrast-intolerant, design-flow-intolerant, and focus-intolerant.
Without the exposure and the fact that UniqueBlogDesigns.com is really the only site or service with an ample amount of paid themes to compete with Template Monster, I would never understand why people would do business with or buy from UBD.
Before you criticize me for this honest and blunt review (I wouldn’t mind if you do), know that I’m contributing to UBD’s success by writing about it. In conclusion, UBD is simply a new cookie cutter service / product that customers are not tired of yet and it remains a joke until it cleans up its act by:
- hiring more designers for variety in styles
- pushing the limit for WordPress theme users like what Brian Gardner did with the Revolution theme
- striving to make WordPress more attractive while still making money
- Don’t abuse tags. They’re meant to complement your main categories. They’re not cool. Tags are clutter. Too much tagging will make your blog lose focus.
- Don’t use big images in your blog posts. When you need to use big images or photos, link to them through thumbnails and text links. Not using their actual sizes will allow to easily re-design your blog later on.
- Put your content first, but also design your blog around ads. Make it easy for banners to look pretty and neat within your blog.
- You should be unique, but also generic. Logos, favicons, and graphic banners are all areas where you can be unique. However, layout and structure-wise, don’t feel like to you need to reinvent the wheel to separate yourself from millions of other blogs. By mimicking typical layouts, you allow your users to make an easy transition from browsing other blogs to browsing your blog.
Thoughts about the video:
It looks like I’m not totally comfortable in front of the camcorder yet, a bit stiff and mispronounced some words here and there. Also, I don’t know my way around the video editing program yet. In the next video, I’ll try to put together something more smooth and organized.
In another effort to de-clutter the sidebar and begin your initiation for The Organization for the Organized, here’s how to create an archives page for archive links listing by categories and months. First of all, check out the Wpdesigner’s archives page to see what you’ll be adding to your blog.
Second, most free WordPress themes already have an extra page template for an archives page. Look in your theme’s folder for an unused PHP template file. Usually, theme authors name this template archives.php, which is different from your default archive template, archive.php (without the “s”).
Third, you need to know that this tutorial is not the end-all tutorial for create a custom archives links listing page. The structure of each theme is not always exactly the same as the next theme’s structure. All I can show you is the basics and how I did it.
1. Create a new file and name it archives.php
2. At the top of that file, type:
Template Name: Archives Page
Without those lines above, you won’t be able to use your new archives template file so be sure that you don’t leave that out.
3. Add the loop, title, category listing, and month listing:
4. Tweak the codes above to make it fit in with your current theme. Here’s where different theme structures come into play. I can’t give you my archives template because it might not work with your theme’s structure.
5. Upload it to your theme’s folder.
6. Create a new page and select your newly upload Archives page template for that page.
Video blogging is much harder than I expected. For starter, it’s awkward to talk to the camcorder, but I’ll get used to it and will roll out the first official video blog soon.
Prior to the test video above, I was waiting for the camera delivery for about a week. If I had hair, I would’ve tried to pull it out. The waiting was just awful. On the arrival date (yesterday), the mail-woman didn’t come around at the usual time so I was freaking out. Luckily, the DHL delivery guy came around 3:00 pm to deliver it.
This morning, I went to Circuit City to buy the tripod so now I’m all set. All together, this new video-blogging feature that I’m adding to Wpdesigner has been frustrating and pretty expensive, but I can’t wait to have some fun with it!
If you have ideas, video blogging suggestions, requests, and etcetera, please post them in the comments. Thank you.
Jello-Wala-Mello is a news / magazine-styled WordPress theme created for multi-media sites. It requires WordPress 2.3 to work properly.
This theme uses the optional excerpt and two custom fields: Thumbnail, and Thumbnail Full (case sensitive).The values of Thumbnail and Thumbnail Full should be the addresses of the images attached to each post. Thumbnail is for the small image and Thumbnail Full is for the bigger one. Learn how to use WordPress image uploader and custom fields.
At least, make sure the first ten entries of your blog use those custom fields and have optional excerpts. Ideally, you want to use this for a new blog as the need for two images and an optional excerpt for each entry is a bit of work for established blogs with hundreds of entries.
However, you can easily tweak it for an established blog with many entries, if you know how that is. (Another version will be created for established blogs to easily adopt this theme.)
Example of excerpt and custom fields:
- News / Magazine-styled front page layout
- A sub-page design for single post view
- Integrated Domtab
- Separated Comments and Trackbacks through Domtab
- Flexible sidebars that change location and styles depending whether you’re viewing the front page
- Widget-ready sidebars (unlike some of the other magazine-styled themes out there)
Installation / Activation
- Upload this folder to your themes folder at: wp-content/themes
- Log into WordPress administration and click on “Presentation”
- Look for the Jello-Wala-Mello image and click on it to install / activate this theme
- Go back to your blog’s front page and refresh / reload it
- By default, the second horizontal menu displays only three category links to prevent over-loading that second menu with too many links. To add more category links: open header.php and find wp_list_categories(‘hierarchical=0&title_li=&include=1,2,3′). 1, 2, and 3 are examples. Add your own category ID numbers to add more category links to that menu.
- Use the ads-300×250.php file for advertisments.
- To replace the ads with a list of your most popular content links: open index.php, look for ads-300×250.php, and change it to domtab.php. Modify the domtab.php file to fill in your own list of links.
This theme has a link back to Wpdesigner to credit me for creating this theme. You may remove it. Leave the link in tact if you’d like to credit me for it.
Licenses and Credits
- Images and the style.css file are released under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Also, some images are modified icons of the FamFamFam Silk Icons set. FamFamFam Silk Icons are released under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5.
- PHP template files are released under GPL.
For answers and support, use the Wpdesigner.com support forums.