Where Did the Blog Themes Go?

I’m a big fan of premium WordPress themes and think they go a long way towards displaying the flexibility of WordPress. They also give many theme designers an outlet to display their creativity and show the quality of their work.

With that said, when the first few premium themes were released, they were designed to fill a void and make an affordable way for a small business to create a content management system (CMS) using WordPress. These first few designers found a lot of success very early, which prompted many other talented theme designers to release their own premium CMS themes.

Now, when I look over my premium WordPress theme gallery, it is disappointing to notice that these designers seem to have forgotten about blog themes. Most people that use WordPress are bloggers and are wanting to separate themselves from the competition, but don’t have any use for a CMS. Who is going to step up now and fill this void? There are a couple great premium blog themes available, but I’d like to see a larger variety to help blog authors separate themselves from the slew of blogs using free themes.

My hope is that the future holds more premium themes in 2008 that are specifically targeting bloggers. Build into it advertising blocks, 125×125 banners, and I have a feeling people will flock to it. Most of my sites don’t have a use for a CMS, but I could certainly use a well designed and optimized premium blog theme if it is significantly better than a free template.

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  • Compilation of WordPress Greasemonkey Scripts

    Comments Off on Compilation of WordPress Greasemonkey Scripts

    There is no doubt that their combination of WordPress themes and WordPress plugins gives WordPress.org users a variety of options, but WordPress.com does not give its users nearly as much functionality. That is where Greasemonkey steps in, allowing users to control WordPress’ behavior locally within your web browser.Below you will find a list of what I consider to be the best and most useful WordPress Greasemonkey scripts. Most are for WordPress.com users, but some work for both. In order to use them, you will first need to install the Greasemonkey Extension in your Firefox Web Browser.

    WordPress Greasemonkey Scripts

    • Akismet Auntie Spam – This script re-skins the Akismet spambox page for WordPress admins. Download all spam at once, compress spam to make it more scanable and completely compresses obvious spam. Turns checking spam into a 10 minute per week activity.
    • Find Images That Are Wide – This script scans your blog for images that are to big in Firefox, IE6, and IE7. Great for checking IE6 image compatibility and for blogs using fixed width templates.
    • WordPress.com: Add Technorati Tags – This is not for the self-hosted version of WordPress, but it is to good not to list! This script adds a Tag button to allow users to easily add Technorati Tags to their posts.
    • WordPress.com Stats Pages – Adds the missing stats links to the WordPress.com edit pages admin panel.
    • WordPress Category Resizer – Ideal for people with 25+ categories on their blog. This script moves the category checkbox list from the right sidebar to underneath the edit post windows and makes it three columns wide instead of one column wide. Works with any version of WordPress or WordPress Multi-User (including WordPress.com).
    • WordPress Comment Ninja – Respond to comments directly by post and/or email from inside your WordPress dashboard.
    • Yahoo Pipe Cleaner – Removes most of the HTML markup from Yahoo Pipe run output so that it can be cut-and-pasted into WordPress blogs.

    Unfortunately, this list is a little shorter than most of my Greasemonkey lists due to the lack of scripts available. If you know of some really useful ones I missed, please let me know in the comments below!

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  • How To: Blocking Your WordPress Categories and Archives From Google

    We all know that duplicate content can be a problem. People copy your work, re-post it on their website, then you both are penalized for duplicate content! Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done about that, but did you know that often blogs have duplicate content within their own blog? The biggest culprit for duplicate internal content is your archives page, which is usually used for categories and monthly archives. Unless you only display partial posts in your archives, you’ll want to make sure Google doesn’t index it. If you aren’t handy with Robots.txt, you can instead use this code to easily tell Google not to index your archive.php page.

    <?php if(is_archive()){ ?><meta name="robots" content="noindex"><?php } ?>

    You’ll want to grab that code and paste it anywhere in the header of your theme above the closing of the head tag. That way, Google will not index these, and search engines won’t refer traffic to your archive pages instead of your single post pages.

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  • Support WordPress by Displaying Gravatars On Your Blog

    Do you have a Gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar)? As a loyal fan of the WordPress software that runs each of my weblogs, I feel that it is important to support WordPress in any way that I can. Because this blog focuses on WordPress, that is especially true here.

    You may remember that last October Automattic, the company behind WordPress, purchased Gravatar. In the time since then, they have revamped the infrastructure of Gravatar to drastically speed things up, integrated it into the WordPress.com platform, and then updated the Gravatar WordPress plugin to function better with self-hosted WordPress blogs.

    If you don’t already have a Gravatar, I recommend you first sign up with Gravatar for a free account using whatever e-mail address you normally use to leave comments. Once confirmed, it will then prompt you to upload the avatar you want to use. You’ll need to use the e-mail address used for your Gravatar in the e-mail address field of the comment form (all in lower case) when leaving a comment for the Gravatar to display properly next to each comment.

    Now that Automattic is backing it, and WordPress.com blogs have integrated them, I think that over time Gravatar will continue to grow and the service will continue to get better. It is with that belief that I decided to add individual Gravatars to the comments on this blog (I also revamped the comments section to better support it).

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  • How To: Adding An Author Page To Your WordPress Blog

    Due to the small number of WordPress blogs that have multiple authors, very few WordPress themes seem to come with a custom author page. This means whenever someone goes to the author page, WordPress will by default use your archives.php file, or if that isn’t available, then use your index.php file. This generally doesn’t make for a very nice author page because it just displays that authors posts in the same format as your archives.

    In order to create an author page, you will want to make a copy of your archives.php file and name it author.php, then upload it to your site via FTP. Now go into your theme and edit the author.php page you just created. From here, it will vary a little bit depending on your theme, but we basically have to redo the post loop for this page. A typical archive page will call the header, then finish with calling the sidebar and footer. We will be changing the code in between. Here is the code that a standard theme would use between the header and sidebar/footer calls:

    <div id="content" class="narrowcolumn">
    <!-- This sets the $curauth variable -->
    <?php
    if(isset($_GET['author_name'])) :
    $curauth = get_userdatabylogin($author_name);
    else :
    $curauth = get_userdata(intval($author));
    endif;
    ?>
    <h3>About: <?php echo $curauth->display_name; ?></h3>
    <p><strong>Website:</strong> <a href="<?php echo $curauth->user_url; ?>"><?php echo $curauth->user_url; ?></a></p>
    <p><strong>Profile:</strong> <?php echo $curauth->user_description; ?></p>
    <h3>Posts by <?php echo $curauth->display_name; ?>:</h3>
    <ul>
    <!-- The Loop -->
    <?php if ( have_posts() ) : while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
    <li>
    <a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link: <?php the_title(); ?>">
    <?php the_title(); ?></a>
    </li>
    <?php endwhile; else: ?>
    <p><?php _e('No posts by this author.'); ?></p>
    <?php endif; ?>
    <!-- End Loop -->
    </ul>
    </div>

    This will display the author’s nickname, their website, and whatever is in the description field, as well as a bulleted list of all their posts. Once set up, you can control everything from within your Users panel of your WordPress dashboard. To see a list of other arguments you can get, I recommend checking out the official WordPress Author template.

    As an added bonus, if you want your authors name link to point towards the authors page, you can do so with the following code:
    <?php the_author_posts_link(); ?>

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