New WordPress Theme: WP-Prosper

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WP-Prosper is the latest and greatest offering to join our growing stable of WordPress themes. Like all of our recent themes, WP-Prosper is a flexible theme that’s loaded with options and multiple home page layouts, as well as a clean, professional design to make your WordPress site really pop.

Here are just a few of the options. First, we’ve given you not one but two different featured content gliders; a narrow one and a wide one. We also added a nice little YouTube videos widget that you can simply drag and drop into your sidebar or footer. The the other addition is a simple Sales Page template that you can use to create a sales page or squeeze page. You can see all these options displayed on the demo site.

And of course, with the recent release of WordPress 3.0, we have integrated support for the slick, new WordPress menu system. I just posted a demo video on YouTube, so pop on over to the WP-Prosper sales page and check it out if you want to get a closer look.

Customer Spotlight Interview: Automoblog by Chris Burdick

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Site Name: Automoblog
Site Owner: Chris Burdick
WordPress Theme Used: A Custom Mix of Solostream Themes With WP-Genius Base

1. How do you describe the site?

Automoblog.net is a blog for car enthusiasts and consumers. We like to focus on what isn’t typically talked about in your “corporate” type car websites, pointing out benefits and problems with particular cars that add to or detract from the driving experience, instead of only talking about efficiency and numbers. The feel of Automoblog.net isn’t as much about journalism, but more like you’re sitting around the garage chatting with friends over a beer.

2. How old is the site?

We’re coming up on four years this month.

3. What made you decide to launch this particular site?

Originally it was a hobby. I’ve always been a car nut, and I couldn’t find a place online that talked about what I care to hear about, so I started my own site to vent my opinions on great cars as well as the crappy ones. Your big-name car magazines and websites tend to focus on mainstream, well-known cars, and while we definitely cover those, some of the more off-the-wall and one-off cars can be the most interesting. I wanted a place where people could read about those cars too, and become part of our community.

4. What’s you business model (i.e. how do you generate revenue) for the site?

It’s always changing, of course, but most of my income comes from direct ad sales. I don’t do any searching for partners, they all seem to come to me. Maybe I should raise my price. CPC has been a good steady income as well; I use Adsense and Yieldbuild throughout the site, and I’m currently testing Netseer, which is doing fairly well. I’ve tried some affiliate networks, and the only one I’ve found success with so far is Commission Junction.

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New WordPress Theme WP-Glide

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We just launched WP-Glide, the latest premium WordPress theme from Solostream HQ. In WP-Glide, we wanted to provide a clean, professional platform for the business website publisher as well as bloggers and online magazine publishers. So, we incorporated several different home page options, including a couple of options with some widgets positioned just under the top navigation bar. And like most of our previous themes, WP-Glide offers a built-in theme settings page that makes it snap to use.

Piano Keyboard Reviews: A Well-Executed Niche WordPress Site

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The following is an email interview I did with one of our fine customers, Dan Maynard, who uses WP-Chatter on his WordPress site. When I saw Dan’s site, I thought it was a great example of a perfectly executed niche-content website.

Are you using one of our Premium WordPress themes to publish a really cool site of your own? If so, we’d like to shine the spotlight you too, so give us a shout, and we’ll conduct an email interview like this one.

Site Name: Piano Keyboard Reviews
Link to Site: piano keyboard
Site Owner: Dan Maynard
WordPress Theme Used: WP-Chatter

1. How would you describe your site?

My site is really a resource to help the [piano keyboard] buyer to make the right purchase decision. It is strictly focused on digital pianos, synthesizers, and workstations rather than acoustic pianos. Given the myriad of electronic keyboards on the market today, it can be difficult to make the right selection. I am a classically trained pianist and have played in many bands in the past (remember the good old days of Santana, Grand Funk Railroad, Doobie Brothers etc.)

Back in those days you only really had two choices to select from, Hammond organ such as the B3, analog synthesizer, or Wurlitzer/Fender electric pianos. Today there are so many keyboards out there that it makes it difficult to choose. My site helps the bewildered musician make a choice. I am also a full time marketer plying my trade to my piano site.

My site differs in some respects because I focus on people’s playing styles and help them to select a keyboard that matches their style. Hence I segment the keyboardist market based on playing styles and match the keyboard accordingly. I discovered no one is doing that. So I’ve carved out a fairly neat niche in the piano market. Have a look at “Power Player” which defines the player styles.

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New WordPress Theme WP-Aire Demo Video

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I just added our latest theme – WP-Aire – to the WordPress Themes Store. WP-Aire is a collaborative effort between Solostream and a savvy designer named James Koster.

As with all our recent themes, WP-Aire is loaded with options, including 9 different color options and multiple home page layouts. If you take a look at the demo site, you’ll see we also incorporated video into the featured content area at the top of the home page. Also, we’ve had several requests for a theme similar to the Solostream site, so I managed to create a color scheme for WP-Aire that’s pretty close (although not exact)

I did a short demo video on WP-Aire, and you can watch it below.

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How to Create WordPress Custom Nav Menus with Menu Manager Plugin

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Update 08/05/2010: The custom navigation function is now built into WordPress 3.0++, so you can ignore the tutorial below.

Instead, see this tutorial:

How to Create WordPress Custom Navigation Menus.

With most WordPress themes, your site navigation menu is based on your pages. For each page, a link is created in the navigation menu, and the link text is based on the title you choose for the page. This method of creating a site navigation menu is inferior for many reasons, some of which are these:

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New WordPress Theme WP-Ellie (Demo Video)

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Our new WordPress theme, WP-Ellie, is now available, and I just uploaded a short demo video. YouTube is still processing the video, so it may be a bit blurry for the next hour or so.

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Top WordPress Plugins for 2010 (Part Two)

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In Top WordPress Plugins for 2010 (Part One), I offered five of the best WordPress plugins I think are must-haves for your site. Lets move on to part two for five more of my favorite WordPress plugins.

6. Improve Search Engine Rankings with All-in-One SEO

By default, WordPress is a very search-engine-friendly publishing platform. Likewise, so are most WordPress themes. Whenever we develop a new theme here at Solostream, SEO is a key factor in deciding how it’s put together. Still, you can never have enough SEO for your site, and the All-in-One SEO plugin offers a set of features that can take your SEO to the next level.

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Top WordPress Plugins for 2010 (Part One)

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One of the best things about WordPress is the community of savvy developers who create all those wonderful plugins. If you visit the WordPress Plugin Directory, however, you’ll find over 8000 available plugins to give your WordPress site a little extra bling.

Phew. That’s a lot to pick from. Unless you like to experiment ALOT, how can you possibly know which ones you should be using? So, with that in mind, here are 5 of my top WordPress plugins for 2010.

Top WordPress Plugins

1. Stop Comment and Trackback SPAM With Akismet

If you get any traffic at all to your site, you will get some SPAM comments and trackbacks. The more traffic you get, the more SPAM you get. And you certainly don’t want Viagra ads popping up (no pun intended) all over the comments section of your site. So, you need some protection.

Akismet, created by the same folks who develop WordPress, is an awesome first line of defense. In fact, it’s the only SPAM plugin we use on all Solostream sites. The only minor drawback is you need to set up an account at WordPress.com, and get an API key to make Akisment work. And if you’re using it for a commercial site, you’ll need to shell out $5 per month.

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New WordPress Theme WP-Ellie: Sneak Peek

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This is the real Ellie.

Coming soon to a WordPress Theme Store near you … it’s a brand new WordPress theme we’re calling WP-Ellie, named after my lovable, but slightly overweight beagle (her name is Ellie). We’re still putting the finishing touches on her, but WP-Ellie should be out before Valentine’s Day. Perfect timing to buy your sweetheart a new WordPress theme.

Like many of our previous WordPress themes, WP-Ellie will have multiple home page layouts (see screenshots below). That includes a basic blog layout as well as several different magazine style layouts, one of which you can see on the WP-Ellie demo site. It also includes social networking site integration, including the latest tweet from your Twitter profile.

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