Feb 132012

zBench is a good starter theme for a new author to experiment and begin to understand wordpress and the various themes and features (layout, plugins, fixed or fluid width, columns, etc). This theme is a two column – which is what I wanted.  It has ample widgets but I had to upload a few, which is a somewhat easy process.  I don’t care for the comment plugin that came with the theme – too much spam gets thru.  I visited this page on 5 essential comments and chose GASP.  I go to dashboard – plugins – add new – search – gasp – install – and activate the plugin. I installed 4 other plugins:  enhanced text widget, fast secure contact form, image widget and sidebar login.  For my purpose, I don’t like the bold type in the text widget, would rather it be plain type.  If anyone knows how to change it in the css or php files, please comment and let me know what to edit.  Sidebar login replaced the default meta widget.  Many don’t know about the image wiget for photos in the sidebar with this theme.  This codex page will help if you are having trouble figuring out how to add categories like I did.  In this theme its in the posts dropdown menu.  I changed the default title tagline in the theme to WP themes (settings / general).  Otherwise people googling would see on your site “just another wordpress blog”.  I downloaded the background file from Subtle Patterns, hopfully bringing about a soft relaxing tone to site.  Same zBench theme, Cat Taylor delivers a different tone.

A few google plugins to consider would be google analytics (free traffic report) or an advanced wordpress plugin analyticator (wp directory), connects to your registered analytics account.  Another may be a sitemap generator to aid google indexing your blog – automatically generates code of new or updated post.  A third may be google webmaster tools.

Jason Cordova is an example of a feature rich zBench theme website.  He uses a 3 column layout, with a visitor stat count, calendar, twits and a few other plugins.

  8 Responses to “zBench …. my review of theme”

  1. zBench theme ftw!

    I like it because it is simple, easy to read and uncomplicated. Just like me.

    I got a visit/hit from this site and I was quite surprised to find myself on your Author&Theme page!

    Good luck with your blog.

  2. Michael … good luck with sales of your new book Shades of Grey. If sales are good, at a future date you may think of self hosting on wordpress.org. You may find wordpress.com somewhat restrictive or limited in plugins and other features. Sarcasm is an art but somewhat of a double edged sword.

  3. Just an FYI, the top image in your side bar is off centered.

  4. Sam …thank you for the constuctive comment. I looked at the sidebar thru your eyes and recropped the original photo with less width. Looks more uniform than the other.

  5. Hey, just wondering how do you ADD plugins cause I am having trouble finding a plugins option in the admin panel.
    please reply

  6. Cole … you have a free wordpress.com site and I believe no options for additional plugins that do not come with the zBench theme. That is the downside of going this route. Pilcrow and iTheme2 are alot more robust in features. If you upgrade you may be able to add plugins – not sure about that. You’ll have to ask in the wordpress.com forum. I like your site – a niche curation news blog.

  7. I’ve messed around with a lot of different themes over the past… four? five? years and I’ve found that zBench is the best for what I want to do and is the easiest on the eyes.

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