Over the past year the premium themes market has continued to grow and expand, causing designers to search for ways to separate themselves from the competition.   Because many buyers choose to customize the design to meet their personal needs, it only makes sense for the focus of designers to instead turn to building custom settings pages that allow for a ton of flexibility.

These settings pages have become very complex in many cases and can offer a variety of features, including selecting where you want your sidebars placed, how many sidebars, which color/design style sheet should be used, or it can also offer simple things like places to enter your custom RSS feed, twitter feed, and Google Analytics code.    As I’ve watched these control panels evolve over this past year, it has been truly amazing just how much can be changed without changing a single line of code!

Nick Roach, the founder of the popular Elegant Themes theme club, has been offering complex settings panels on his themes for as long as I can remember, but earlier this week I was given a peak at the new revamped settings panel named ePanel.  This new settings panel is extremely complex and will eventually be added to all of the themes included with an Elegant Themes club membership.   As of today’s date, ePanel is already integrated into the following themes and available for download: eBusiness, eNews, ePhoto, PureType, Bold, and CherryTruffle.  Nick promises that the remaining themes will receive the same treatment over the coming month(s) and all themes will include this new ePanel.

So, what exactly is ePanel?   Here is a screen shot of the updated design:

ePanel

As you can see from the screen shot above, there are a few bonus tabs under the General Settings tab alone, and there are a total of 8 tabs down the left sidebar.   The General Settings has the following 3 tabs:  General, Homepage, and Featured Slider.

epanel-settingsAfter loading up the theme to see how the settings panel works, I have to say I am very impressed!   It looks like the General tab (under General Settings) allows you to select the style sheet color you want to use, enable/disable blog formatting on the homepage, Feedburner integration including all your Feedburner settings, and selecting the date format (dates are displayed differently depending on what part of the world you live in).   In the Homepage tab you’ll get access to category display, as well as the ability to exclude certain categories of your choice.  Of course the Featured Slider tab allows you to control how the featured slider works.

That is just the beginning though, as on the left there is also a series of tabs which include a large number of other settings.   You’ll find Navigation options, Layout Settings, Ad Management settings, Colorization, and you’ll even be able to control certain SEO settings on the SEO tab (mostly meta information similar to how All-in-One SEO Pack works).

The best part is that all this new functionality is available for all Elegant Themes club members!   Currently a membership to Elegant Themes is only $19.99 for an entire year, and stays at that price in order to renew your yearly membership.  You can learn more about the Elegant Themes club here.

Kyle Eslick is WordPress enthusiast who took his passion for WordPress to the next level in 2007 by launching WPHacks.com as a place to share hacks, tutorials, etc. Connect with Kyle on Twitter or Google+!

  1. sinoinvest says:

    I would like to personally thank you for your outstanding product. elegant themes did exactly what you said it does. Friendly and courteous people are always a pleasure doing business with.

  2. Web 2.0 says:

    It looks pretty cool :)

  3. PixelBlue says:

    Wow!. Impressive stuff.

    The sheer array of options is dazzling and shows that some serious work has been put into this. Bravo sir, Bravo :)

  4. Love Graphics says:

    I agree this looks pretty awesome, I can’t wait to give it a go.

  5. Compute Live says:

    They are beautiful… Previously I had purchased Elegant Themes, they are really helpful and easy to use…

  6. Marcio Rocon says:

    Friendly and courteous people are always a pleasure doing business with.

  7. This is why it’s always better to have premium themes than free ones especially if you are not really good in coding themes and stuff like that. I for one don’t know how to manipulate a wordpress theme to make it suit my preferences. So I think next time, when I have the money and the time to make a new blog, I think I’d give try elegant themes. I’ve always heard good things about Nick’s themes and $20 a year is I think easy even for blogging newbies.

  8. Sophie says:

    Friendly and beautiful theme.

  9. Jean says:

    kyle, I am wondering if you could update us on the new wordpress update, as well as the upcoming wordpress 2.9 would be great to read about it =D

    Till then,

    Jean

  10. cbreceipt says:

    The design looks wonderful. But does somebody know whether it supports the new Feed protocol subhubbub ( what a name huh? :P)

  11. Besides Elegant themes, Pure Type is one of the better stuff introduced in recent times. Over the past years the premium themes market has continued to grow and expand, causing designers to search for innovative and distinctive themes. Creating something unique is the way to attract the consumers and Pure Type is a great new theme for word press. Color combination of cream and blue is looking awesome. I prefer the same more than anything else.

  12. I like the themes that are clear and transparent. There is nothing more annoying that too complicated and the most unclear versions of panel. I must say that I like more the most simple version of WordPress theme than those that I can’t say what is where.

  13. Alex says:

    Elegant themes…the name says it all. Elegant, flexible and user-friendly. Price is not too steep.

  14. Themen says:

    Wow the custom ePanel looks better than most WP themes out there!

  15. Jauhari says:

    Wonderful admin panel

  16. WPExplorer says:

    The admin panel is beautiful! Kudos to Elegant themes.

  17. Rick says:

    I love the new ePanel. It looks very cool, as well as being easy and intuitive to use.

  18. The epanel looks very good and it is a good reason for bloggers like me to buy this theme, who dont know much about coding but i am wondering what options they are providing for SEO.

  19. bev says:

    wow very cool and ePanel is already integrated.

  20. feld says:

    Excellent theme and looks very user friendly. :)

  21. darjeeling says:

    I want to use that in my blogs looks like user friendly i hope specially in the control panel also.

  22. asansör says:

    The code and files are well organized. Available channels to hook up to your CMS or other tools as well as existing websites in XHTML format.

  23. contms says:

    These themes usually feature a much more unique look and more functionality specially the editor panel.

  24. talonecl says:

    This is another awesome theme.

  25. One of the lovely features is the SEO section. Now you can optimize the Title, Meta Description, Meta Keywords for your Homepage, Single Post Page and Index Page easily without editing the stylesheet of the theme directly. Now there is a colorization section too. Instead of having to modify the stylesheet, all you need to do is click on a section that you want to change and then choose the color from the color-picker popup.

  26. nakliyat says:

    if you could update us on the new wordpress update, as well as the upcoming wordpress 2.9 would be great nakliyat

  27. Alen says:

    Help solve the problem: epanel not working, not disclosed menu items :( Why? Maybe it’s that I have wordpress 2.7?

  28. Saban Akkaya says:

    The epanel solutions are very nice, great stuff, i will add that into my blog :)

  29. MEFDesign says:

    I love it. It seems so flexible for customizing.
    Keep working.

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