Yesterday I told you about 6 WordPress themes that are specifically optimized for Gutenberg (aka WordPress 5.0).
One of those themes is the Magazine Pro theme from StudioPress.
I have always liked the Magazine Pro theme and I think it is a great WordPress theme for beginner bloggers for the following reasons:
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- it runs on the Genesis Framework for WordPress
- The Magazine Pro Theme is not complicated to learn
- it has a clean and simple appearance
- you can easily customize the theme using the Design Palette Pro plugin (this is a paid WordPress plugin)
- Magazine Pro has been newly updated to work with Gutenberg
So, let’s start with Genesis for WordPress.
What is the Genesis Framework?
The Genesis Framework for WordPress has also been called a parent theme.
This is a framework that you install like a theme on your WordPress site but you don’t activate it.
It basically provides the bones or the basic structure for your blog.
If you activated it and used it as a theme, it would be kind of bland, simple, and ugly.
So, you need what is known as a “child theme” that is specifically made to work with Genesis.
The advantage of using these child themes is that you can change the look and feel of your site relatively easily. It’s sort of like changing your blog’s clothing.
However, please be aware that when you change child themes it still does take a good amount of time to make it look the way you want. I don’t want to give you the impression that it an instantaneous kind of thing.
There are many advantages of using the Genesis Framework for WordPress including:
- good customer support and continuous updates
- SEO benefits
- ease of changing themes
Related Post: How to Install the Genesis Theme for WordPress
The Magazine Pro Theme is Not Complicated to Learn
One of the main reasons that I think the Magazine Pro theme is a good WordPress theme for beginner bloggers is that it is a fairly simple and straightforward theme to learn.
A mistake that many new bloggers make is this – you see a beautiful theme demo and want your site to look exactly like that that – the demo.
What you don’t realize is that many of the demo relies on pretty color coordinated stock photos and soft colors that are really pleasing to the eye.
Not only that, the homepage is filled with content about (usually) the theme designers business.
When you finally install this beautiful WordPress theme, you realize that your homepage widgets are empty, your photos don’t look all matchy matchy, and you have no content yet to display prominently.
Trust me, I am speaking from the voice of experience.
If you take a theme like the Authority Pro theme (which is also from StudioPress) or many of the feminine WordPress themes from Restored316 Designs (which I love), you will see what is called a “hero” image across the top of the homepage with a call to action – sign up for my newsletter, get a free eBook, etc.
Then you will see sections about “our products”, maybe a video, something about “our business”, more sign up boxes, categorically organized posts, etc.
It all looks amazing, but if you are a beginner blogger, you don’t yet have the content to fill out such a complicated homepage effectively.
You also may not have the WordPress knowledge yet to be able to upload the right size images etc to make the homepage look really good.
And that’s ok.
Sometimes a complicated theme can motivate you to learn quickly but it can also make you quit before you even start.
Don’t forget the definition of a blog.
Blogs started out as being a chronological list of articles.
Your newest post would appear at the top of the list and all the other would get pushed down.
With almost any theme on WordPress – even now – you can set your homepage to be your latest blog posts in chronological order. Simple.
But blogs have evolved over the years, and now most sites have a widgetized homepage to highlight their best content or some kind of a hybrid page where there is a fixed section that doesn’t change daily followed by other sections that show more recent content.
How the Magazine Pro Theme works
The Magazine Pro Theme from StudioPress brings the best of both worlds to WordPress beginners.
The main part of the home page has 3 widgetized areas that you can use to display your posts:
- The top section shows one full column post.
- The middle section offers two columns side by side to display your posts.
- The bottom section shows posts in a list format.
On this site, right now (be forewarned that I am prone to changing my theme often) – but right now, this site is wearing the Magazine Pro Theme.
If you go to the homepage you will see that I have my latest post set to display in the top section.
The middle section displays my 2 most recent organizing or lifestyle type posts.
And I have two widgets in the bottom section – one shows my latest recipe posts and one shows my latest posts about blogging – all in a list.
More Useful Blogging Tips
- It’s Never Too Late to Start A Blog – This Is How
- Blogging for Beginners FAQ’s
- Should You Start More Than One Blog?
- 21+ Affiliate Programs You Can Join Right Now to Start Making Money
The Magazine Pro Theme Looks Clean and Neat
Right out of the box, the Magazine Pro Theme uses nicely sized and easy to read fonts.
It has lots of white space around the different elements.
And it resizes nicely for mobile and tablet devices – meaning that it is mobile responsive.
Here’s a little tip for you to use as you evaluate new WordPress themes – as you test out the demo, make sure to resize your browser window to see how it would look on mobile. Or you can open the demo on a mobile device as well. Even though the theme says that it is mobile responsive – it still might not look great on a mobile device.
I like the way the Magazine Pro theme looks on mobile and since a lot of my traffic comes from mobile, this is very important.
You Can Use the Design Palette Pro Plugin to Customize Without Coding
To support it’s amazing themes, StudioPress created the Design Palette Pro plugin to make it easy for you to customize your colors and fonts without any coding.
While the Design Palette Pro plugin is not free, it can make your life a whole lot easier – especially if you don’t like the way that your theme looks right out of the box.
If I have one criticism about the Magazine Pro theme it is that there are very few options built in to customize the colors in the theme – especially the black headers on the homepage and in the sidebar.
Personally, I could not live with those, so I changed the colors using CSS – yes coding.
I am a little bit dangerous when it comes to coding – meaning that I know just enough to be dangerous. Much of what I do is trial and error and lots of Googling and using the Developer tools in the Chrome browser to figure it all out.
If I decide to keep wearing the Magazine Pro theme, I will probably pony up for the Design Palette Pro plugin so I can make changes more easily.
Magazine Pro Has Been Optimized for Gutenberg
One of the biggest reasons to start a blog with the Magazine Pro theme is that it was just updated and optimized to work with Gutenberg.
Gutenberg is a huge change to the backend WordPress editor. Not all theme designers and plugin authors are ready for it. But Magazine Pro is.
I have been holding off on the update myself because I’m a little scared of it – and it is a really busy time of year for me.
But now that I installed Magazine Pro, I might just bite the bullet and update WordPress.
Why This Theme Might Not Be Right For You
As clean and simple as this theme is, it might not be right for you if you:
- already have an offline business or an established online business,
- you have lots of products and services that you want to feature on your homepage.
If you have an offline business or an established online business, you probably want that hero image with a call to action on the homepage of your site.
The Magazine Pro Theme might be too simple for your needs.
The same principle applies if you already offer products and services that you want to highlight on your homepage.
Be Sure to Check It Out
However, if you are a new blogger and/or your blog is your business then the Magazine Pro theme might just be right for you.
Recommended Blogging Resources
- Bluehost WordPress Hosting – get cheap WordPress hosting for as little as $3.95 per month for your first year
- The Genesis Framework and StudioPress Themes for WordPress
- Restored316 Designs – beautiful feminine WordPress themes
- PicMonkey Photo Editor – Take the FREE Trial
- Check out all my favorite blogging tools here.
Wondering How I Can Afford to Change My WordPress Theme So Often?
One of the reasons that I am able to change my blog theme so often is that, years ago, I purchased the StudioPress Pro Plus All Themes package.
This was a one time purchase that gave me unlimited access, plus support and updates, for all themes created by StudioPress – even future themes!
For someone like me or for someone that builds sites for clients – this is a really good deal.
You can also get free access to over 35 StudioPress themes and the Genesis Framework if you sign up for WordPress hosting at WPEngine.
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