Free E-Book: The Blogger Template Book

I’m pleased to announce that one of our authors, Amanda Fazani, has allowed us to offer her wonderful E-Book on building Blogger templates to everyone for free. She’s done a fantastic job with this book. If you’ve been thinking about building Blogger templates, or are simply looking to refine your skills, I highly recommend that you read it. It goes into the details of choosing, uploading, and customizing themes.

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The Competition is Over! Winners Announced!

Our Theme Forest launch competition ended this morning! For those of you who tracked the contest over the course of the month, you’re well aware that it came down to the wire; So much to the point that we had a tie for first place in the site template category. That means that four hard working authors have won $600! Congratulations to the following people.

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ThemeForest’s First Month

A few minutes ago the clock ticked over into October – at least it did in Australia where all our statistics are measured. And so ends our first month of ThemeForest and what a month it’s been! I can’t believe how far the site has come in such a short space of time. But don’t take my word for it, here are some numbers to crunch:

  • 125,000 – Number of visitors to the site
  • 800,000 – Number of pageviews generated
  • 200+ – Number of items for sale
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5 Quick Ways To Enhance Your WordPress Theme

For beginners to WordPress design, it can feel like a daunting task trying to compete with other, more-experienced, designers. To help, here’s 5 quick ways which I’ve found invaluable in creating a more complete theme.

1. Separate Trackbacks & Comments

Nothing ruins a great conversation in a comment thread more than a load of trackbacks appearing all over the place. They look ugly and completely out of place. But thankfully, there’s an easy solution.

With just a few extra lines of basic code you can move all those Trackbacks (and Pingbacks) straight to the bottom of the list where you can display them in a much nicer layout. I honestly don’t know why this isn’t built straight into the WordPress code!

Read: “Separate Trackbacks from Comments”

2. Multiple Widget-Ready Sidebars

Including one sidebar in your theme is easy, but what if you need two or even three? Well, that’s just as easy! But trying to find how to do this quickly becomes a pain – all the solutions seem to be outdated and aimed at much older versions of WordPress.

However, Stefan Vervoort of DivitoDesign wrote up a great article on creating multiple sidebar areas.

Read: “Multiple Sidebars With WordPress Widgets”

3. Using Custom Fields

The ‘Custom Fields’ section of the Write page is probably the most confusing section of WordPress: “What the hell do I use that for?”

After a Google search, you will see the WordPress Codex gives only a few examples for this, which are mainly adding a ‘Current Mood’ to the end of your post which is completely pointless. In fact, it’s not completely clear on how to actually use it.

Actually, Custom Fields are probably one of my favourite features of WordPress. If done correctly, it allows you to enhance your blog in a way to rival much more complex CMS systems.
Most people use them to display an accompanying image with your post outside of the normal loop (such as in ‘Magazine’ themes). And I’ve used a lot of them in my latest theme – GamePress – to create a featured reviews page.

So take your themes to the next level with a great article by designer Justin Tadlock:

Read: “WordPress Custom Fields”

4. Breadcrumb Navigation

Including a breadcrumb navigation bar on your site is a great way to improve navigation on more complex WordPress-powered sites. They allow you to easily see where the current page is located within the rest of the site structure; and it’s a shame more themes don’t include this.

Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t include native support for a breadcrumbs, so you have to get your hands dirty a little. There are a few ways to do it, but my preferred way is the Breadcrumb NavXT plugin. Simply drop a piece of code where you want the bar to display and you’re done!

You could also go that extra step further and integrate the plugin into your theme directly. Simply copy the plugin’s code and paste it at the bottom of your theme’s functions.php file — Instant breadcrumbs! (You are allowed to integrate the plugin to your theme just as long as you give credit to the author.)

Get: Breadcrumb NavXT Plugin

5. Featured Posts

There are many WordPress powered sites which don’t have a traditional “blog” feel. They feel more like fully-blown News sites and handle a lot of content on a daily basis. For site’s like these, it’s a necessity that the most important news is displayed first.

For example, a news site like the BBC may publish a very important article such as “Aliens Abduct The Queen” and then five minutes later a few more less-important articles are published (such as “Man Grows Biggest Potatoe”).

It’s clear that those more important articles need to stay on the front page for much longer, with less-important ones appearing below. This is usually referred to as creating ‘Featured Posts’ and I’ve wrote a tutorial on creating this at NETTUTS.

Read: “Build a Featured Posts Section for WordPress”

Intellisense Support for jQuery in Visual Studio

I’ve got wonderful news for you Microsoft developers (me included). Early this morning, John Resig and Scott Guthrie announced on their respective blogs that, beginning in a few weeks, all versions of Visual Studio (including the free Visual Web Developer) will include Intellisense support for jQuery. For those of you who already own Visual Studio 2008, you’ll be able to download an update sometime in October.

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Everything you Need to Know About Adobe CS4

Hey everybody! If you missed Adobe’s online broadcast on September 23rd, you can now watch the hour long video on their website. One thing is for sure, it’s definitely appealing. We can complain about the increased price all we want, but we’ll all end up getting it sooner or later! People have accused this new release of being more of a “technical update”. But according to John Loiacono, this is far from the truth.

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Joomla 101

For those of you who do not know, Joomla is a wonderful open source content management system (CMS). At its core, Joomla is a powerful way to rapidly develop professional quality websites of any kind. Through extensions, Joomla can become just about anything you want it to be. Best of all, it is completely free and available in numerous languages.

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Create a Sliding Featured Section for Your Themes

As I strolled through the available themes yesterday, trying to acquaint myself with all of the product that we offer, I came across Justin Scheetz’s wonderful “Business Professional Package” theme.

If you view the live preview, you’ll notice a nicely implemented scrolling image featured section. The way that Justin accomplished this is by using a jQuery plugin called jFlow.

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Getting Started with WordPress

This is part of a series of articles covering the basics of installing and using WordPress aimed at new-comers to WordPress and to CMS usage also.

This article serves as a guide for ThemeForest users who are new to WordPress.

If you need help installing WordPress, please check out our previous two articles:
Installing WordPress Automatically with Fantastico.
Installing WordPress Manually.

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Installing WordPress with Fantastico

This is part of a series of articles covering the basics of installing and using WordPress aimed at new-comers to WordPress and to CMS usage also.

Many web-hosts offer a ‘one-click install’ script for quick and easy installation for a number of popular web scripts – including WordPress. Most hosts who offer this will use ‘Fantastico’ which is what I’ll be using for this tutorial. Some hosts may use another similar program for doing this, but the basic steps involved will be the same. (more…)