Themes that do more

The WordPress.org website includes an online directory of thousands of completely free themes. WordPress insists on GPL licensing which also means these themes are free to modify to your own custom design if you wish.

There are also many many sites offering paid for themes. The quality is generally high and if you are after something that gives your site instant wow appeal, it can be worth spending a few pounds on a theme. Expect to pay USD $35- USD $95 (GBP £20 – GBP £60) for a theme.

This post is about WordPress themes that do more than just change the appearance of your site. We’re looking at themes that include specific functionality. This often means the theme comes with extra plugins to perform these roles.

Business Directory

The DirectoryPress WordPress theme is a complete theme and plugin. Cost  is USD $79. The theme includes maps, payment gateways for paid directory listings and around 20 different template designs.

Business Directory for WordPress is a plugin only. It allows simple text based listing, submitted by the unregistered users. There’s no editing facility. Cost is free although a suggested donation of USD $5 is requested by the author to help fund further development.

WP Business Directory Manager is a plugin only. It supports user registration, paid placements (at extra cost to the plugin creator). It allows images in the listings. The plugin is free and you can see a live example at www.hairdressing.co.uk

Jobs

9-to-5 theme. This theme from a paid theme provider costs USD $35 and includes both a  job board theme and the listing plugins. Features include ajax filtering, google maps, and the ability to take payments via paypal for paid listings.

Jobroller is another paid theme. It includes separate portals & tools for both job seekers and employers, has built-in payment gateway support and a has a CV section. Cost is USD $99.

Job Manager is a plugin only. It’s designed for a single company’s job listing and includes functions to take online applications and manage the interview process. It’s free and has been downloaded over 30,000 times from WordPress.

Classifieds

Sofa OpnPress is a paid theme that styles itself “WP Yellow Pages”. It offers front-end editing for users, paid or free listings mode, a voting system, and supports localisation. Cost is USD $35.

Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin is a well established free plugin (2 years old) and boasts upwards of 70,000 downloads from WordPress. It allows for paid or free ads, moderation, notifications and social integration. A number of premium (paid-for) modules are available which add things like featured listings, fee per category and google checkout integration.

wp-classified is a simpler option that adds a simple information & advertising blackboard or classified page in to your wordpress site. The plugin is free. A few comments in the forum indicate that some users find the documentation lacking.

Charity

Agency Theme is a paid theme that includes a nice “donation bar” on the home page. Ideal for fund raising towards a target, the donation bar shows progress towards the specified amount features a prominent donation link. Cost of this theme is USD $95. A number of plugins that offer a similar feature can be found on WordPress.

10 themes for non-profits. Not a theme or plugin itself, this post reviews 10 beautiful themes designed with charity websites in mind.

Donate Plus is  a free WordPress plugin with PayPal integration. The plugin contains lots of options for creating a donation form on your site, and includes a recognition function for displaying donations and comments. In function it’s similar to Just Giving, though does not include any Gift Aid functionality.

Conclusion

We’ve chosen just 4 categories here but there are dozens if not hundreds of customised themes and plugins for just about any specific function you might care to imagine (let us know in the comments). Costings shown above were correct at the time of writing but are likely to change in the medium-long term. Sometimes you may need to pay for the feature you want, but compared to the cost of bespoke development it’s likely to a be fraction of the cost. Many of the developers actively encourage customisation work so even if the plugin or theme doesn’t do quite what you want, it’s very well worth contacting the provider to ask if they will make a change for you.

About Us

2020Media is an established UK hosting provider. We offer WordPress hosting with expert technical assistance. Our service includes free migration from other hosts or WordPress.com and plenty of free help getting your site up and running. Hosting plans start at £45+vat/year.

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Control your own Blog

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With the news that popular blogging service Blogger has had continual problems for the past 3 days, isn’t it time to think about self-hosting your blog?

Rather than rely on a massive service like Blogger or WordPress.com, if you host your blog independently you gain control over your site, tech support you can actually speak to you and access to a huge amount of extra features that’ll make your blog stand out from the crowd.

Blog hosting from 2020Media can be added to any existing hosting plan (sometimes at absolutely no cost), or setup as a standalone service. With hosting plans starting at just £45+vat/year (that’s £3.75/month – less than a pint!) it’s very easy to start getting the benefits of an indepedent blog. We offer free installation and setup too.

Ease of Upgrade – Joomla, WordPress, Drupal

Comparison of the upgrade methods used in Joomla, WordPress and Drupal

the logo's of Joomla, WordPress and DrupalPopular content management systems require updating from time to time. Sometimes this is for new features, often because a security loophole needs patching. In this article we’re not going to look at which CMS most often requires updates, but at the upgrade procedure itself. How easy is it, are the instructions clear and easy to follow, what the potential problems, and what can you do if something goes wrong? At the time of writing new major versions of Drupal (7.0) and Joomla (1.6) have been released and no updates have yet been produced for these releases. We therefore concentrate on the older versions, which run the vast majority of existing sites. Continue reading Ease of Upgrade – Joomla, WordPress, Drupal

WordPress Plugins

Free content management system WordPress can be extended very quickly and easily by installing plugins. These can do just about anything thanks to the way WordPress’s framework is designed, but here’s a list of the top 10 most popular free plugins and what they do.

  1. Akismet: Keep your comments free of spam.
  2. All in One SEO Pack: Transforms your WordPress site into a search engine magnet.
  3. Google XML Sitemaps: You want Google to index your site right? You need this plugin.
  4. Contact Form 7: Adds a very configurable contact form to your site.
  5. NextGEN Gallery: A image gallery option with optional Flash slideshow
  6. WordPress.com Stats: Get an insight into your visitors
  7. AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button: The web is now social. Is your website?
  8. Google Analyticator: Get an insight into your visitors using Google’s free service.
  9. WP-PageNavi: A more advanced paging navigation for sites with lots of pages.
  10. WPtouch iPhone Theme: automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme
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Plugins

This list was compiled by Vladimir Prelovac, and one of the criteria was that the plugin must have been updated in the last year to be included – so you know these are being supported. Any of the above plugins can be installed from within your WordPress site, just search for it’s name in the Plugins section.

2020Media offers free installation of WordPress on any of its hosting plans, and our team is delighted to talk to users of WordPress about any aspect of its use.

Extending WordPress

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2020Media has long recommended WordPress as a lot more than a blogging tool. But what else can you do with it? E-commerce is one function many retailers would like to add to their site. A good e-commerce package can also be used as a gallery to generate leads.

One such extension to WordPress is the free and open source Prestashop. Now Prestashop is available as a standalone e-commerce website but if you have a busy website that is already using WordPress, and perhaps leveraging social networking plugins, or a custom template, it makes sense to integrate rather than start afresh.

Prestashop can be loaded as a plugin to WordPress using the plugin here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-prestashop/. There’s also a e-commerce plugin written just for WordPress (WP e-Commerce) which offers complete integration with the existing site, although many find this harder to use.

WordPress hosting from 2020Media (www.2020media.com/wordpress) will provide all you need to build  a successful e-commerce website