Now available through Jetpack, Content Options let users make small visual changes, like showing or hiding the author, date, featured images, and more.
Cozmos Labs has a great tutorial showing how to replace the default Thematic menu with a dropdown list of categories. Included with the tutorial is a free Child Theme, CatDrop, perfect for those of you interested in making Thematic more like a magazine-style theme or wanting to see how to make a dropdown menu work.
I’m looking for co-maintainers for the Thematic project to help make Thematic one of the best WordPress themes available, free or “premium”. Specifically, I’m looking for motivated people to help with the following:
- Localization: going through the template files and translation files, making sure everything is up to snuff. The future of any successful WordPress theme hinges on universal adoption and I’d like Thematic to be one of the easiest to localize.
- Comments: the in-development latest version of Thematic threads comments like PHP-based Singer but I want to make sure it’s doing it the right way. It needs a once over.
- Bugs: there’s still a few bugs in Thematic—one I found this morning is particularly annoying. I’m just a PHP hack. Thematic needs a committed enthusiast who likes squashing things like this.
In this post we take a look at four excellent, and popular, designs, from simple to complex, that can help inform your next blog design. The sites we’re going to look at are Lifehacker, PSD Tuts, Smashing Magazine and Canada’s National Post.
We’ll look at the general layout in great detail, via a wireframe of the main sections, and the details generally, with a bit of a writeup, in the form of notes, on what’s going on. Clicking on the wireframe opens up a full-size version. Feel free to use the wireframes in your own projects to help you get a handle on just where your stuff should be in a successful blog design.
Studying the masterworks and previous success is one of the key ways to breed success in your own designs. Let’s study up.
My favorite thing about the Lifehacker template is the top posts of the day featured for maximum (literal, even) effect at the top of every page. Each featured item gets a thumbnail image, a category, a title and a cool hover effect.
The blog branding is almost a secondary item here but is still highlighted and serves to further highlight the search which is almost exactly in the middle of the above-the-fold screen. And note that the search takes up just as much visual area as the site logo. Can you make search anymore prominent? Anyway, the real Lifehacker brand is the reams and reams of excellent content. A fat logo and pretty header just gets in the way. In fact, all of the sites we’ll look at, mostly eschew cuteness and large headers that only serve to brand their site.
This is the only layout in this little study with a sidebar on the left. But the sidebar on the right is mostly negative space and really helps to focus your eye on what’s happening in the main content area.
Cristian Antohe has released his amazing looking Thematic Child Theme, Byty. It’s free, it’s awesome, go download it now and let Cristian know what you think of it!
Nathan Rice has good advice on how to optimize your WordPress Meta descriptions and take more control over how your blog appears in search results.
Andrew Rickmann demonstrates how to create custom content types in WordPress—and creates a WordPress Twitter clone in the process. Amazing. Anyone using WordPress as a CMS needs to read this post.
Plan your WordPress site design
Figure out what sort of pages we’ll need
Before a visual design can begin, you need to do content design. Determine what exactly you’re going to say. Words, sentences and paragraphs are the building blocks of your site’s foundation. Make sure you’ve put them together correctly. And make sure you know what you need that foundation to do. I mean, think about how those words, sentences and paragraphs are going to effect your bottom line. Remember, we’re making this site for a reason. Whether it’s to get a laugh or make a buck, all those words, sentences and paragraphs need a reason for being there. They mean something.
Anyway, you’ve done all that right? We need to think about how we’re going to present that content. To put things really simply, once you know what you’re going to say with your content and what you want it to do site design comes down to designing series of page templates. That’s it really. As a practical matter, site design becomes a series of templates. Continue reading “WordPress as a CMS: How To Think About Building a Website With WordPress”