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2008
24
Sep

Custom WP Themes

quite a few months back I had someone from RentaCoder.com (thanks again Andre!) make a couple of bespoke wordpress blog themes for me.

the plan was to get a theme that was clean and simple in appearance, with SEO stuff built in, along with some nice touches for visitors, as well as some banner management and a way of adding header graphics easily.

then I was going to let you have a copy to use for your own blogs…

but I never got around to finishing off all the videos to show how to use them and make the most of the built in features.

before I give you some example sites to see what you think of them, here’s a few of the “features” built in: –

  1. different style bullet graphics
  2. feature for adding header graphic straight from your computer and cropping it to the correct size
  3. automatic banner adding feature for top and bottom of each page
  4. option to hide static “pages” from the top menu bar
  5. search box
  6. font resizing
  7. moveable sidebar menu items (try dragging and dropping one of the sidebar menus to somewhere else in the sidebar)
  8. expandable/hideable sidebar menus (e.g. click on the small triangle next to the title of the “Recent Posts” sidebar menu and the items dissappear)
  9. show post counts in the categories sidebar

those are the main ones that I can remember off hand. :neutral:

so here’s a few example sites where you can check out the themes and let me know what you think…

The BlogTactics Vintage Theme: –

[This Blog]

http://imtesting.com
http://iamuncovered.com

Note: the header graphics on these sites is one that I banged out with the free graphics package from Gimp.org

you can also search on youtube for “gimp web 2 style” to see tutorial videos on how to do the same.

and: –

http://1ab.com
http://www.healthsecrets.ws

the header graphics on these sites are just from PLR graphics I picked up somewhere.

The BlogTactics BlueSimple Theme: –

http://mattgarrett.com
http://pop5.net

note: the header graphic on Pop5.net is from a photo of mine from a holiday I had in Turkey a couple of years ago, the built in feature of the theme allowed me to simply browse to it on my computer and then choose the section that I wanted as the header and then automatically crop it to the right size.

There was also one other theme I had made, although it doesn’t have quite so many features built in, it does include the header graphic editor and the banner management, and comes in three colors: –

http://okaf.com – orange/black theme
http://adz.org – blue/yellow theme
http://internet-marketing-business-at-home.com – blue/white theme

So here’s the thing, I need to know if you’re interested in having a copy of these themes to use on your own blogs…

If you are then please post a comment below with some feedback to let me know and I’ll make sure I put aside some time in the next few weeks to get the videos finished and let you get a copy of the themes.

[Oct 9th – Update – the themes are now available for downloading on the themes page]

Blog Tutorial Videos

RSS feed

58 Comments

Comment by Viv Deighton
2008-09-24 19:47:31

😉 Hey Matt
You have some great template there in the making. My personal favorite is the http://mattgarrett.com – would love to get my hands on a template like that.

Perhaps it’s the marketer in me but I would like to have seen the Categories and Deal Of The Day higher up (above the fold).

I follow you closely and am always interested in what you are offering. Thanks for the help and advice you give so freely.

Cheers
Viv Deighton

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 20:53:24

Hi Viv,
thanks!
The theme on MattGarrett.com is the BlueSimple theme and the idea was to try and make it look and feel similar to a certain very well known social networking site.
The sidebar menu’s are all widget based so can be set up in whatever order you prefer.
In fact the theme should allow you to drag and drop those elements of the sidebar to where you prefer to see them if you want to give it a try…
🙂
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Kevin
2008-09-25 08:10:12

Hi Matt

The themes are clean and simple which I like. It seems that the links are all nofollow which discourages comments. Subscribe box fits in real well and font is clear – a little small for me but readable.Last three are least favorite with the header extending past the blog body. The peelaway ad in the header is cool.

Cheers
Kevin

 
Comment by Luke Hawthorne
2008-09-25 08:15:06

Hi Matt,
Here are my opinions:
IM Testing: FAR too white!
IM Uncovered: same as above
1AB: Nice header graphic, but the search-box is over the small car image
Health Secrets: very nice
Matt Garret.com: Is that YOU in that monster mask??? (Scary) 😯
Pop5 Travel: GREAT header graphic and excellent layout. Easily the best of the bunch.
Hope this is of some help.
Luke

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 20:59:29

Hi Luke,
do you meant the BlogTactics Vintage theme (this one) itself is too wide, or the sidebar part?
the theme itself is quite a bit narrower than is becoming the standard for many newer themes.
yup, that’s me on the header, it’s actually a ski hat, goggles and scarf, it was cold and snowing that day.
🙂
Cheers,
MattG

Comment by Luke Hawthorne
2008-10-01 14:31:19

Hey Matt,

No, I mean it’s too WHITE, not enough color to be appealing in my opinion.
I prefer to read blogs that have great content (yours always does) that are also easy on the eyes. I don’t mean you have to have images of good-looking girls (not that I would object) just a little more color. White backgrounds may be appealing to some people of course.

Regarding the width, I think you’ve got it about right. However, if you had wider themes, you could use that extra space for some ads or maybe some more frightening photo’s of you in a ski-mask! 😆

Luke

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Comment by Alex Newell
2008-09-25 08:16:52

WOW Matt – I don’t know which one of the features of these themes I like best! Probably the ability to use a picture straight from my computer although the font resizing is great and the movable items in the sidebar are really cool.
I love tweaking blogs. 😛

Something good to look forward to!

Thanks mate
Alex

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:01:22

Hi Alex,
yup, the ability to add a header stright from a pic on your PC speeds things up quite a bit.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Ron
2008-09-25 08:18:15

Hello Matt
I really like the internet-marketing-business-at-home.com – blue/white theme but I would prefer if the 3 column goes all the way up. 🙂
I also really like The BlogTactics BlueSimple Theme and would love to get my hands on that one.
The others are nice but I am partial to 3 column
Keep up the great work…your e-mails always get opened

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:10:32

Hi Ron,
I hope to be able to release the themes in the next couple of weeks, so it shouldn’t be too long before you can get your hands on all of them.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Larry
2008-09-25 08:22:57

Hey Matt,

Those themes are really great (especially the “Vintage” and “BlueSimple” themes. The ability to add header graphics of your own is a big plus for me. I would be very much interested in having a copy of these themes.

Thanks much.

Larry

 
Comment by Tony
2008-09-25 08:25:15

Matt,
These themes are really cool. They are simple and easy to read and navigate. The added features are definitely a plus. I would love to use the BlueSimple Theme on some of my blogs! Nicely done.

 
Comment by Larry
2008-09-25 08:26:18

Hey Matt,

Those are some awesome themes, especially the “Vintage” and the “BlueSimple” themes. The ability to add your own header is great. I’m very much interested in having a copy of these themes.

Thanks much,

Larry

 
Comment by stuart
2008-09-25 08:26:43

HI Matt
Yes I’d like a copy of the themes please. some of the text on the widget heading could do with a better font as they dont look that cool. A bit jaggy in places.
Accompanying videos would be super as Im starting a blog and want to edit my own header graphics and have the blog SEO friendly and be able to add sponsors etc.

stuart

 
Comment by Louise
2008-09-25 08:29:37

Interested? Does the Pope wear a silly hat? :mrgreen: Always looking for good WP themes and these ones are nice and clean looking … just show us where to bite your hand off!! 😈

Louise

 
Comment by Dave
2008-09-25 08:33:23

Matt,
Your themes look great and easy to customize to anybodys personal taste. Is it possible to make the themes into a 3 column with the 2 small columns on the right?

Great stuff keep up the good work!
Dave

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:15:11

Hi Dave,
I might look at getting some more variations and options added to them at some point, but probably not for a while as I’ve got too many unfinished projects already..
🙂
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Frank
2008-09-25 08:39:38

I like the look of your theme. There are so many to chose from I can not decide what to chose. Your theme looks like one I would try. Nice job.

 
Comment by Paul
2008-09-25 08:41:08

Hi Matt,
Some great work you’ve accomplished with those themes. I’ve visited a couple of the blogs previously, and chuckled silently about your foot in the one photo…

Sure, I’d like to have these themes to use on my blogs, if I may (when you have them ready…)

Cheers!
Paul

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:17:52

Hi Paul,
lol!
yup, that would be the header on http://mat7.com
it’s a photo I tool while paragliding in Turkey a couple of years ago.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Dr. John
2008-09-25 08:43:40

Looks interesting. The templates with more color to them look a little less “busy” than the standard white: The thing I notice first-hand with this variation on the template is that on first glance, my eye isn’t really sure where to “rest” so I’m spending precious seconds figuring out what to look at.

The variants with more color to them (particularly the example with the link clouds, lists of recent readers w/avatars, etc) was much easier to read, naturally.

+Dr. J.

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:21:04

Hi Dr John,
I kinda like the simple white style, but I can understand what you mean, although it does make it ideal for using a small pic/image at the start of each post as that should then draw a visitors eye straight to the post.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by John Gotidoc
2008-09-25 08:45:27

Hi Matt,
Excellent themes! I like the Vintage themes and the orange/black theme. Now, ain’t this a coincidence! I am actually looking for a few WordPress themes that I could use for my new blogs that I’m planning to set up. I sure could use these themes 😀
I’d say I like the IMTesting.com theme best of all.

-John Gotidoc-

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:23:11

Hi John,
hopefully you won’t have to wait long!
🙂
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Paul
2008-09-25 08:47:10

Hi Matt,

Nice work you’ve done in putting these themes together. I’ve visited a couple of your blogs previously, and even chuckled silently at the one with your toes showing…

Sure, I’d like these themes to use on my blogs (when you have them ready).

Cheers,
Paul

 
2008-09-25 08:51:04

Hey Matt,
I’m fairly new to WordPress and have been learning a lot in the past few months. I’ve always been afraid to play with the code to change banners, font size and banners so the templates you’re showing us are great. The features would sure help me.
Thanks for your posts and emails.

Luca Di Nicola

 
Comment by Lord
2008-09-25 09:02:32

Like them. Be sure to let me know how to get a copy.

 
Comment by Tracey
2008-09-25 09:12:39

Hi Matt,
Some great themes … and header graphics!
On http://adz.org/ … were you skydiving?! There is a foot in the photo … very high up!

I would be very interested in you giving us access to these themes. My business is helping people set up blogs – I don’t sell themes or anything, just the service of setting things up; would the themes be able to be used by my clients if you were to give them to us?
thanks for all your great hints & tips!
Tracey

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:27:09

Hi Tracey,
I was actually paragliding in Turkey, near Olu Deniz.
there’s a slightly larger version of the pic on http://mat7.com
the other paraglider that is just to the right and above my toes is my ex wife.
The themes will all be free, so you are welcome to use them for your clients.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Daniel
2008-09-25 09:26:57

Very nice templates, I will have to get some time and add a blog. I use blooger right now.

 
Comment by betty
2008-09-25 09:28:00

Some good graphics. Let us know if you make the videos!

 
Comment by John
2008-09-25 10:00:52

Hi Matt
These themes look clean, fresh and filled with many useful time saving features. I am looking forward to adding these to my blog tool chest.
Stay well… John

 
Comment by Roy Bartell
2008-09-25 10:09:06

Hi Matt.

Just wanted to say the themes are awsome and i think you did
a fantastic job on putting them together. I’m still learning about
Blogging and have been reviewing other blogs to get ideas and make
sure i’m doing it right. If i can get anyone of those themes you sent
in the email with how to set them up i think i can do a great job keeping
it up to date.

PS. Keep on Keeping on

 
Comment by lyn
2008-09-25 10:33:48

Yes please! (of course). I particularly like the bullets for resources (blogroll I presume?), and the header going all the way across in the blue/white theme.

Technically, it would just be nice to know how to add some things, like a modern RSS button (not as easy as it might seem…), the plugins to make only a portion of posts show, stuff like that.

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:31:57

Hi Lyn,
I’ll be including a choice of different size and style RSS buttons as well, along with a video to show how to change them.
the plugin to display just part of the post is listed on the Plugins page above (http://blogtactics.com/plugins/), it’s called “Post Teaser”
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Jane
2008-09-25 11:25:18

I’m partial to the mattgarrett.com and the simple blue theme. I’ve wanted to change my own theme for quite a while now but want to make sure that whichever theme I chose is going to work. I agree with whoever said your “categories” on the mattgarrett theme need to be above the fold, but I’m assuming you can rearrange the widgets to move it up?

Get the videos ready…I like them and want them.

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:33:00

Hi Jane,
yup, it’s a widget enabled theme, so you can decide where each bit goes.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Bob Marconi
2008-09-25 11:55:57

I like things as ‘clean’ as possible, not ‘busied up’ so you can’t tell where to read/click first or what the purpose of the site is.

I guess that’s why I liked your themes, especially these: http://imtesting.com
http://iamuncovered.com

 
Comment by Chuck Pousson
2008-09-25 12:05:29

Hi Matt,
I am very interested in using your one or two of your themes below as soon as possible, great job!
Will you send me an email letting me know appoximately when “date” you will have the themes ready for use?
I like that the themes are clean and well laid out. I have been searching high and low for a clean Word Press theme like your themes.
The BlogTactics BlueSimple Theme: –
http://mattgarrett.com
I s one of my favorites.
But I would have to say a tie would be considered with the theme
http://internet-marketing-business-at-home.com – blue/white theme
I like the use of the graphics in the areas of recent posts, categories etc. as well as the calendar day graphic. I have a suggestion that the search button in the header be positioned below the header possibly in the tab area right below the header, this would make for a cleaner look in the header for customization..
Your two theme designs below are the same as the internet-business theme. The lines on either side of the header, seems distracting. The peel-away add does not bother me.
Once again my opinion, but the themes below are awesome.
http://okaf.com – orange/black theme
http://adz.org – blue/yellow theme
A modern Web 2.0 RSS Button would be a great addition so it would stand out.
Chuck Pousson

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:35:32

Hi Chuck,
I replied to your support desk ticket about the themes earlier.
You can use a text widget to add any style of RSS button you like to a widget enabled theme, as these are, but I will be including a few different RSS buttons to chose from with the themes.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by Rene
2008-09-25 12:14:09

Hi Matt
Definitely interested. I have been trying to find a theme that was easy to change without being a PHP scholar.
thanks
Rene

 
Comment by Chuck Pousson
2008-09-25 12:20:54

Hello Matt,
Great job on the themes. I have been searching for themes just like these. I am very interested in using your themes as soon as you launch them. Do you have a time set for when the themes will be ready for use?
I really like the internet-marketing-business-at-home.com – blue/white theme. If the 3 column could go all the way up that would be useful. You may want to consider a differen RSS feed button more modern Web 2.0 look. Your use of graphics in th sidebars are excellent.
I also really like The http://mattgarrett.com theme as well.
The others are nice but I am partial to 3 column

Matt Keep up the great work, very appreciated teaching others your skills… Email me when you can and let me know the approximate date of your theme launch.

All the best,
Chuck Pousson

 
Comment by Pierce
2008-09-25 12:27:50

Nice looking themes. I have been struggling to find decent themes for my own site. Your offer sounds good. I like the ad placements and also that you do not have to many of them. a little classier.
Good luck

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:37:37

Hi Pierce,
yup, I like to keep the banner ads to just one at the top of the page and one at the bottom, altough I am testing out a 125X125 add plugin for the sidebar on some of my niche market blogs at the moment and I’ll post the results on http://imtesting.com when I have them.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by John
2008-09-25 12:37:19

Hi Matt,
I specially like the internet-marketing-business-at-home theme, but all of them are good.

 
Comment by David
2008-09-25 15:01:28

I am always in the market for a few good themes! I would rate the mattgarrett & pop5 as the best looking (they are really the same after all). Let me know when you make them available.

 
Comment by Michelle Jayes
2008-09-25 15:08:01

Hi Matt
Your themes look great. My favourite is the internet marketing business at home (blue and white). But that was a difficult decision.

Michelle Jayes

 
Comment by Scott
2008-09-25 15:51:55

Hi Matt,

Man…They are ALL GOOD, I have killing myself trying to get my Aweber optin form to fit in the sidebar, looks like you have the problem solved. 😎

I am building a blog for my relationship niche, I just want something that is simple and friendly looking, because the people coming to my blog are going to be in all likely hood, upset. 😥

I am still out there searching, but I wouldn’t mind using one of your great templates. 😉

As always, thanks for all the free content! 😀

Take Care,

Scott

Comment by admin
2008-09-25 21:39:30

HI Scott,
I believe there’s a video on how to get the aweber optin form in to the sidebar on the videos page, let me know if you can’t find it, or if it doesn’t answer all your questions on how to.
Cheers,
MattG

 
 
Comment by wariya
2008-09-25 20:52:02

Hi Matt,

Great templates, clean and simple. I love them.

Thanks,

 
Comment by Dennis
2008-09-25 22:19:36

Matt hook me up the blog themes are great….!

 
Comment by Anne
2008-09-26 10:24:04

Hey Matt, these themes are great. I’m a seasoned WP user. Any chance of grabbing them before you get the vids finished. Kind of know how to theme a site and use most of the features you’ve got included.
Noticed you said “Thanks Andre” somewhere in one of your posts. Is that the esteemed Andre Viklund by chance? He’s another great WP themer.
Look forward to getting my hot little hands on these so I can dress my blogs up.
Keep up the great work Matt!!!

 
Comment by admin
2008-09-26 16:12:57

Hi Anne,
I’ve actually just discovered that I did make a few of the videos several months ago, I just hadn’t put them online in my Revver account yet. I’ll see if I can get them online over the weekend and get the themes up on sunday or monday.
The Andre I mentioned isn’t Andre Viklund, I probably couldn’t afford him for designing the themes, his work is wicked…
cheers,
MattG

Comment by Anne
2008-09-27 03:05:00

Wicked, Matt. I can’t wait !!!

 
 
Comment by Getzlionel
2008-09-28 11:44:37

Hey Matt!

Wowsers – great themes! You must complete yr videos – i’ll wait for em!
:mrgreen:
LIke e rest – any chance to grab some of em?
Been following you closely as well!
Thks for all e invaluable content!
😛

 
Comment by Fraser Neilson
2008-10-02 10:40:24

Hi Matt

Yes these themes are really good – clean, readable, well laid out and with the important bits – such as space for your products and that vital opt in – right up the top.

Cheers

Fraser

 
Comment by admin
2008-10-09 20:27:36

The themes are now ready for downloading on the BlogTactics themes page: –
http://blogtactics.com/themes/
videos coming shortly.
cheers,
Matt

 

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