All I can say is wow, this took some time, but I finally rebuilt the Blogging Theme Styles website template and made a few very important changes to make things easier and better. Easier and better not just for managing a site like this, but I did this mostly for you! So let's dig right in and talk about what changed, what was removed, and what was added to our new website, but let's start from the most and biggest and work out way to the minimalist of changes.
Theme Details - Information Pages
Probably the biggest change is ditching the old layout we had for the theme information pages -- the pages that describes what the theme is about. Even when I first built this site back in August, 2017, I always had dislike for the layout choices I had and for months it kept bugging me beyond belief. Let's face it, the theme information page is important for first impressions because it's the first thing someone sees before they venture off to the live demo or even click to purchase the theme.
Here is a visual representation of what I had before and then the after:
Hopefully most of you will feel this is a HUGE improvement because I see this and know for myself that it's definitely a big improvement. You can see the new style by visiting a theme page like the JustBlog Pro page. I'm sure there's a few more things I can do, but this is a good start.
You have a nice big screenshot, the call-to-action (buttons) are now in the middle and centered within the page to make it easier to access (and see). I also took some inspiration from another site that lead me to create a section of "Key Features" which contain a series of block features and graphics for the theme. Below that, I added "Standard Features" which are common throughout every WordPress theme we release; free or premium.
New Blog Styling
There's a new trend with blogs where no left or right sidebars are displayed. The argument with many is that the sidebar is too distracting and takes away from what is really important -- reading the article! Makes sense actually because when you send someone to your article, why have them focus on a sidebar -- they didn't arrive there to ignore the article.
I've noticed other big-name theme sites have opted in for this concept, so I figure why not! Let me know your thoughts on this in the comments below.
However, getting back to the blog, a new layout, yes, a new style, yes, and a much cleaner open reader experience for everyone. I've also added comments (more on this in a moment) to the articles so that readers can have engagement on the topic at hand and pass on their (your) thoughts about what you just read.
There has been an ongoing debate over the years on whether or not blogs should enable comments. In fairness, the debate of pro's and con's have valid reasons for both, but ultimately the one big one is that you want your readers to have engagement on the article's subject matter. One of the con's though is that the site owner (me) must dedicate time to monitor/moderate comments because the world of SPAM is rampant and is taxing for any website.
However, I decided to enable the comment system on this blog to hear back your thoughts on what you are reading and perhaps what more you could add to the topic. Of course, comments will be held for moderation, so if you are tempted to post links to unsolicited content and sites, they won't be seen...Basically if your comment is legit and related to the article, I will approve it :)
New Front Page
Well...not quite a new front page, but it was enhanced with a few upgrades in design and style. Perhaps the biggest change is the "Featured Articles" section where I will publish articles to the front page.
Basically anything I write that I decide to feature will be seen here.
Download Different Versions of a Theme
At the time of writing this, I am still working on a theme version system where you can download previous versions of a theme. There maybe times when someone decides to revert back to an older version of their theme, but for whatever reason, the convenience of being able to do that is a added bonus for customers and members. You will also get a better method to see a CHANGELOG of changes made to the theme you are downloading or updating from. This will give you the option to decide if updating is important if you can wait a bit longer, but to see what was actually changed.
I am currently customizing the extension that I am using (I've used this before) for Blogging Theme Styles, so stay tuned when this gets implemented. I should also mention that right now, if you log in to get your theme, your zip file will be named with the current version. For example, before you would have
justblogpro.zip, but now it becomes
justblogpro-100.zip which means version 1.0.0. If you see
justblogpro-101.zip, that means this theme is version 1.0.1.
There were many other changes, but these are behind-the-scenes such as code and structure enhancements. But for the front-end of the site, you will discover that many areas of the site have changed with improvements; hopefully for the better! I will of course be making adjustments as time goes on, so if you have any feedback on the site, feel free to let me know in the comments below.