Author Archive: Michael Pollock
Hi I'm Michael, a business coach and a creative entrepreneur. I inspire and empower people to make a difference in the world while they create an amazing life for themselves and those they love.
Solostream is pleased to announce the release of WP-ClearPhoto 1.0, a new premium WordPress theme designed mainly for photography enthusiasts or anyone who has a portfolio of projects to show the world. With its clean, elegant design, it’s the perfect container to show off your great work, while its built-in versatility and added features also make it suitable for a business blog, website or online magazine.
We recently launched WP-Mystique as the newest addition to our collection of premium WordPress themes. Like all of our recent themes, WP-Mystique is built on the WP-DaVinci platform, so it’s complete with all the cool, little options you’ve come to expect – stuff like:
- two different featured content sliders
- alternate home page template and featured page slider for business sites
- featured videos slider
- featured photo galleries slider
- multiple page layouts
- a slick theme settings page
- and much, much more.
Heck, we even threw in 12 different color options for you. All-in-all, we think you’ll find it a flexible and elegant little package to power your WordPress site. Check out the demo site here.
Video: How to Use WP-Elegance to Make Your WordPress Home Page Look Like a Business Website Rather Than a Blog
We recently upgraded WP-Elegance to make it more useful to folks who want to use WordPress as a business website rather than blog or online magazine. In this short video, I show you the exact steps that will transform your WordPress home page into a business home page rather than a blog home page. You can see the end result on the WP-Elegance theme demo site.
If you’re looking for the perfect theme to power your WordPress business site, we just put the finishing touches on some great new features that make WP-Elegance (demo site) the perfect choice. Here’s a screenshot showing the (new) Widgetized Home Page Template with the (new) Featured Pages slider (see description below screenshot).
New WP-Elegance Features
Featured Pages Slider - this feature allows you to select specific WordPress pages (rather than posts) via the Theme Settings Page, and display them in a slider on your home page, a single post page or a static page.
Featured Page Widget - This is a simple widget that allows you to place a featured page in any of the widgetized areas, such as the sidebars, footer or the new widgetized home page template (see below). The widget gives you controls to add a thumbnail, page title, page content/excerpt and a “read more” link. Thumbnails can be aligned left, right or at the top of the excerpt.
Widgetized Home Page Template – Maybe you want your home page to look more like a business website instead of a blog. If so, this alternate home page template gives you 3 widgetized columns where you’re free to display whatever content you like via widgets. Add the Featured Pages slider to the top, and you’ve got yourself a slick looking business home page.
Image Attachment Template/Photo Gallery – If you like to show photo galleries on your WordPress site, you’ll love this new addition. See here for an example.
WP-Elegance is the latest addition to our collection of Premium WordPress Themes. With this latest offering, our mission was to give you the power and flexibility of our popular WP-DaVinci framework all wrapped up in a sexy design that exudes style, grace and beauty. Time will tell how well we did of course, but we’re very happy with the result, and the initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
As I said, WP-Elegance is more than just a pretty face. You also get a powerful theme settings panel (click thumbnail to the right) that makes it simple to customize the look and feel with the click of your mouse. Not to mention the multiple post and page layouts that can be controlled on a post-by-post or page-by-page basis. That’s not all, of course. Among the many other options, you also get:
- 10 built-in color options (that are easy to modify via the theme setting page).
- Multiple featured content modules.
- Multiple built-in banner ad spaces.
Go ahead, and check out the full list of options here. We think you’ll be impressed.
I Love You WordPress, But We Gotta Talk
WordPress is a phenomenal web-publishing platform, and I love using it. Mostly. There’s one thing I seriously dislike about it though – writing posts within the WordPress dashboard. If I had a dime for every time I’ve walked away from my computer feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by this issue, there’d be an alarming shortage of dimes circulating the U.S.
First off, when I try to write something in the WordPress post editor, I feel thoroughly confined; like trying to breakdance inside a cardboard box. Not that I’ve done much breakdancing, and certainly never inside a box, but I assume it would be a rather unpleasant experience (if you happen to be a cardboard-box-breakdancer, feel free to debunk my assumption).
The other problem for me is distraction. It’s usually a challenge for me to write under the best of circumstances, but when my visual field is bombarded by the dizzying array of links, buttons, checkboxes and empty fields available in the WP dashboard, it’s like … fuhgeddaboudit.
Yes, I’ve tried some of the common tricks to overcome these problems. First, for example, I increased the height of the post box from the default 10 lines to 20 lines. You can do this in your WP dashboard under Settings >> Writing. It was a good start, but still far from optimal; just breakdancing in a slightly bigger box.
Then I tried using fullscreen mode when writing posts. This function is available only when writing in Visual mode (rather than HTML mode). It’s activated via the little, blue button on the toolbar next to the spellcheck button. With fullscreen mode, your enlarge the post editor box to cover the entire area of your screen.
That was a better approach, but it went too far in the other direction. I can’t stand to see text spread across the full width of my screen. The other problem with fullscreen mode is you have to switch back to normal editing mode whenever you want to save your draft, which I do a lot.
Windows Live Writer to the Rescue
In my effort to find a better way, I asked almighty Google to give me a solution, and of course she did (with a memory like that, Google has to be a woman). Of all the reviews and tutorials I found on the subject of “desktop blog editors, Windows Live Writer, again and again, was pronounced the cream of the crop. Here are some of the reasons why:
- It’s free.
- Easy to install and set-up.
- Allows you to manage multiple blogs on multiple platforms (i.e. WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, etc).
- Clean, uncluttered interface.
- Complete WYSIWYG editing functionality.
- Excellent image editing functionality.
- Several cool, little extras like word count and spell check.
That’s a short list, and I also decided to do a brief screencast below to show you a bit more about it. Once you’ve had a chance to watch it, I’d suggest you run right over, download Windows
Love Live Writer, and start using it. I’m sure it’ll give you a new lease on your blogging life. It has for me.
WP-DaVinci is out latest offering to the premium WordPress themes world, and although it may not appear so on the surface, it’s far beyond anything we’ve put out in the past. WP-Davinci is our first attempt at creating a WordPress theme framework.
A theme framework is similar to a standard WordPress theme, except a framework is designed to be a flexible foundation to speed up theme development. It also makes it easier to update your theme whenever the need arises, such as when a core WordPress update impacts theme functionality. With a framework, updates can be done without messing up any custom modifications you may have made to the theme.
As I said, this is our first attempt at a theme framework, and we’re clear we have some work to do before WP-DaVinci can be considered a full-fledged theme framework. In the meantime, we want to get it into the hands of folks like you, and get some feedback on it as we continue to develop it over the coming months.
As it stands right now, what you have is a simple and elegant premium WordPress theme designed with efficiency and flexibility in mind. We’ve built in a few more options beyond what’s been offered in our previous themes, and here are some of the high points:
Multiple Page Layouts
If you take a look at the demo site, you’ll see there are 7 different page layouts, including 2-column, 3-column and full-width layouts. An added twist is that you can select your page layout site-wide via the theme settings page, or you can select it on a per-post or per-page basis from a drop-down box on the Add Post/Add Page console.
Featured Content Options
We’ve given you 3 different featured content options; a Featured Article slider, a Featured Videos slider and a Photo Galleries slider. You can add any or all the featured content to you home page (as shown on demo site), and you can also add it to an individual page or post via the Add Post/Add Page screen.
Banner Ad Integration and Management
There are several built-in banner ad sections that can be managed via the theme settings page. You can also manage the various ads on the Add Post/Add Page screen. That way, if you want a specific advertisement (different than the one set on your theme settings page) to appear on a specific post or page, you can simply add your banner ad code on the Add Post/Add Page screen when you create the post/page.
Yes, the standard Solostream theme settings page was due for a face-lift, and we gave it one. The new theme settings page is created with a jQuery tabbed navigation script to help shorten the height of the page, and it looks a whole lot prettier too (click the thumbnail to the right to get a shot of it).
Four Built-in Styles and Style Modifications via Theme Settings Page
You can see the four different built-in style on the demo site. In addition to that, on the theme settings page, you’re able to modify the look of the theme yourself. In particular, you can change the following items:
- Body background (color or image)
- Body font and link color
- Custom logo
- Navigation bars background color and link color
- Post title font and link color
That’s a brief rundown. Now head on over to the demo site and take a look for yourself. We hope you like it.
Lately, more and more people are asking us how to translate a WordPress theme into a language other than English. And with an estimated 2 billion people now online, it’s no wonder. Fortunately, it’s a fairly straightforward process, and I’ve boiled it down into 3 simple steps.
This tutorial assumes the WordPress theme to be translated has been localized using the the GNU gettext framework. In other words, the theme is ready to be translated. If your theme has not been localized, you’ll need to go through each theme file and convert all English language text into a gettext function. See here for a short description on how to do that.
WP-Inspired is the latest premium WordPress theme to roll off the production lines here at Solostream. If you take a gander at the screenshot (and demo site) you’ll notice WP-Inspired offers a few more splashes of color than some of our other recent themes like WP-Prosper and WP-Glide. In fact, we’ve given you ten different color options with this theme, and they’re all easily accessible via the theme settings page.
Like most of our recent themes, WP-Inspired is loaded with options. Multiple home page layouts, two featured content gliders, social networking account integration, recent photos galleries and a YouTube videos widget are just a few of the little nuggets you’ll have to play with. Be sure to take a peek at demo video on the WP-Inspired sales page to get the full run-down. Go ahead. Get Inspired.
All Solostream premium WordPress themes now use the Custom Menu Management function that shipped with WordPress 3.0. If you don’t have the latest version of your theme, you can download the necessary files from the Members Area (you’ll have to log in to access the files for download).
I also did a short screencast (below) to show you how the menu management system works. It’s fairly intuitive, but I’ve already had a few questions on it, so here ya go.
Why you should upgrade to WordPress 3.0 – In a word, security. The added functionality in WP 3.0 is great, but some people are happy with their current version of WP and prefer not to upgrade. It’s fine if you don’t upgrade, but it leaves you at greater risk of having your site get hacked. And I can tell you from experience, it’s no fun when your WordPress site gets hacked. So, for that reason, you should always run the most recent version of WordPress on your sites.
Now, here’s the tutorial I promised …