tl;dr: StudioPress’s amazing WordPress theme bundle is on sale this week only.
I want to tell you a tale about WordPress themes, because I’ve run this blog on quite a few over the last ten (eep!) years.
There are the early days where there weren’t really “themes,” more like CSS stylesheets, and I played with them and changed them every 6-12 months, but I didn’t really love them.
Then the new WordPress theme system came along, and I loved it. You could to truly cool things with themes. You could also muck everything up. So the better got much better—and the worse got much worse.
I lived with a mostly-white site for a long time when I used the free version of Pagelines. All I have good to say about that is that the free version annoyed me with its arbitrary stupidity, and eventually I took my toys and went home.
With some bundle or other, I’d gotten four premium themes from ThemeTrust. I found them a) far, far less pretty than they look on the site; b) amazingly opaque to set up. I’ve never kept any of them deployed.
I also paid for Elegant Themes for a year, but you have to renew annually. While they have a lot of themes, they are once again not as easy to set up nor as pretty out of the box. I found the map theme, which I’d hoped to use, not well thought out in terms of usability. A friend and I had bought bought it with the hope of deploying for our respective travel blogs, then we both gave up.
After all that white and all that unhappiness, I found MySiteMyWay, and was generally happy with their WordPress themes for the next three years. (phew) It was, however, built around an inner core that didn’t zig when WordPress’s repository zagged, so several new features weren’t usable. And I found that frustrating. Still, they have an amazing skinning system, and I like them a bunch.
When looking for really great free WordPress themes for ryanjohnsonactor.info, I found Pinboard, which remains my favorite free WordPress theme. It was like a breath of fresh air after every other theme I’d used, and I truly love it. [(demo here)[http://demo.onedesigns.com/pinboard/] I get quite a few visitors on this blog looking for extra header icons that I made for Ryan Johnson’s site.
But…Pinboard wasn’t what I was looking for for my own site, either.
Then I went through a disastrous deploy of Shutter, which is a beautiful photo portfolio theme that was never designed for a mostly-text site. It’s still pretty awesome. Just: not for me.
Around about now, I feel like someone explaining away eight divorces, but here goes….
Why I Switched to StudioPress’s Genesis-Based WordPress Themes
I joined a group that had a lot of writers, and many of them used Genesis. I’d always avoided it because of the cost. But, you know what? They have good, solid themes.
They are lightweight, and they’re made by CopyBlogger, who designs tools for people who write blog copy for their day jobs—even, maybe especially, those working for themselves running their own domains. These themes are designed to take everything you can throw at them. They’re stable, stay out of your way, and work. Whether or not you recognize their skeletal signs, they power sites you see on a regular basis.
The WordPress theme I use on deirdre.net is StudioPress’s Metro Pro WordPress Theme. (Heavily modded and, yes, even renamed so I don’t blast it away by accident.)
Desamo.graphics uses a lightly modded version of StudioPress’s Agency Pro WordPress Theme.
I avoided buying all the themes because who’d ever need them? Right, you got it. Me.
But, unlike other companies, once you buy in, that’s all you pay for life including any themes StudioPress releases in the future. Want StudioPress’s amazing WordPress theme bundle? Click on that link, then the “Get All Our Themes” banner. Sale ends Friday the 20th of Feb.
These themes have been designed to keep readers on your page by not being annoying. They’re the best WordPress themes for highlighting your content.
If those don’t quite float your boat, but you like the Genesis idea, I’ll write more about other themes later. Or, you can ask in comments or email too.