I’m excited to check out the new themes from Yoast. They’re built on the Genesis framework, and that’s just where the goodies start. There’s a new theme customizer, new built-in widgets, and more.
The first batch includes Vintage, which is a rather pretty theme that’s great for arts and crafts.
And then Versatile and Tailor Made, which are both more business themes.
All themes come with multiple color options. And, all themes are fully responsive and have sticky menus.
What I can’t find anywhere on the site is something that says whether the themes are HTML5 compliant. That’s a big deal these days. I had to peek into the code to find out. They are HTML5 compliant, and do output Schema.org markup. I hope Yoast’s marketing team will start promoting that fact.
The Yoast design team has fully integrated the Genesis frameworks core features and their own theme specific features with WordPress’ cores theme customizer to produce a better User Interface panel for customization. It includes options for:
- Site Title and Tagline
- Header Image
- Layout options (page templates)
- Color Scheme
- Content Archives
- Static Front Page
There’s nothing new here. It just keeps you from jumping all over the various places where settings are stored and puts them in one place.
The good news is, you can customize more of the options than with other Genesis themes here so you can preview it before you activate it.
Eight widgets come with each theme. They are:
- Banner Widget: You can choose to place one or more banners in any widget area, nofollow the links, choose to link to an internal page or an external URL.
- Big Button Widget: You can make a big button (for instance a Call to Action Button) and choose whether or not you want to show text above it.
- Newsletter Widget: You can easily make a subscription box in which people can fill out their email address (and optionally their name) to subscribe to your newsletter.
- Social Widget: Allows people to navigate to your Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn-pages.
- Facebook Widget: A big Facebook Like box, which people can click on to like your Facebook-page.
- SubPages Widget: Allows you to easily display the subpages of the present page, and if you’re on one of the subpages, to display the sibling pages.
- Tagline Widget: You can choose to display your tagline on any of the widget area’s if you don’t like where we’ve placed it in the theme.
- User Profile Widget: Allows for the display of User Profiles in a sidebar.
Now, similar ones of some of these widgets are also available from Genesis and other developers, so it will be interesting to see what sets them apart.
Function Over Fashion
The main thing I like about these themes is that they are designed with business in mind.
The new themes from StudioPress are all lovely or have a real wow factor. But, calls to action and content are hard to find on the home page.
+Darren Dematas recently published a post with a way to test how much those big fancy sliders affect conversion rate. They went down by 75%. And I imagine sites with the new Genesis parallax feature are going to be even worse. Who is going to scroll forever past big images just to see one or two sentences of content at a time? Maybe they’ll do it on a post that’s laden with images destined for Pinterest, but we’re talking about your home page here.
You need to tell folks what you’re about and get them into your funnel.
That’s the way business works.
And these new themes from Yoast help you do that.
The new themes aren’t cheap. A single site license is $59.
There are multiple site licenses available – with 5 sites for $99 and 20 sites for $119.
And there’s a link from the themes page to the Bulk Pricing page. It says that bulk pricing starts at $249, but as of the time of this post, there is no listing of the themes. (Hey, he’s got a big site, it’s hard to keep up with all those connections.)
That’s more than the StudioPress themes, and just a little higher than themes from other Genesis design houses. But, when you consider that they also come with a better UI and custom widgets, that pretty much justifies the extra cost.
Of course, you still have to purchase the Genesis framework separately.
More Themes on the Way
Yoast said that these are just the first three themes and more are on the way. They hope to release about one a month, but won’t release the next one until around the end of March to give them time to quickly address any bugs that may pop up with this first set. That’s smart. Perhaps when they roll out enough of them, a developer’s license will become available.