A few days ago, I talked about some Adsense-optimized WordPress themes. A set of seven themes was (and still is) available for purchase for $7. You would assume that with proper implementation, you would make those seven bucks back pretty quickly. Then again, why pay for something that you can get for free? That’s the thinking behind the free WordPress themes offered by Bloginon.
Tosif Patel, the guy behind the site, wants to get some valuable feedback from the WordPress community. He wants to know what you guys think about his free WordPress themes. By ordering this ReviewMe review, he has effectively reached an audience base of over 7300 RSS subscribers, most of which are pretty savvy on the WordPress and “make money online” phenomenons.
Soften the Blow, Remove Sharp Corners
At this time, Tosif only has two free WordPress themes and they are essentially identical to one another. The only difference between the two themes is the color scheme and even then, they’re just darker and lighter variations of one another.
Here’s what the main Sweet Corners theme looks like:
And here is the dark variant of Sweet Corners:
You can see “live” versions of both of these themes with the lighter version being showcased here and the darker one here. In the future, Tosif plans on producing more WordPress themes, but before he does, he wants to make sure that Sweet Corners is the best it can be.
The most notable feature of this WordPress theme is the lack of sharp corners. They’ve all been rounded, making for a soft and inviting appearance. Contrast this to the sharp corners you find here on John Chow dot Com.
In following with this “softness”, both versions of Sweet Corners have very subdued color schemes. You’ll find mostly baby blues and muted browns. If you’re looking to make a bold statement with your blog, Sweet Corners might not be for you.
Why Choose Sweet Corners?
There are several critical features that make the Sweet Corners theme appealing:
* Highly visible search box
* Adsense-ready divisions for easy integration
* Recent posts and Featured posts showcased on top
* Smooth, inviting lines meant to relax the reader
* Fun icons for sidebar categories
* Check it out! section
One thing that I would like to see improved is the prominence of the RSS subscription button. As it stands, the icon is very small. The unassuming button sits underneath the search box and is wrapped by the fading brown background. Of course, you could make the RSS icon a little more exciting yourself, perhaps throwing in the Feedburner subscriber count widget.
The idea of highlighting recent and featured posts at the top of the page is a good one for new visitors, but I’d imagine that repeat visitors would find it a little annoying after a while. On most standard resolution monitors, the actual content should still start above the fold, but it’s quite a ways down. It might be better if this text box wasn’t quite so tall. I do like having that Adsense block on the right though.
Some people are going to love them; others are going to hate them. Accompanying each section on the sidebar is a suitable icon. For the blogroll, you see a couple of MSN-like cartoon characters. This Web 2.0-inspired look adds to the personality of the page and helps to break up the text. I think I like it, especially since it adds some color to an otherwise drab-looking page. Some people may disagree.
In addition to the 250×250 ad block near the top of the page (the ad on the sample site is an unclickable dummy), there is also a link unit placed in the footer.
I’ve personally found that ads of any kind near the footer perform quite poorly, but you could probably fool some people into thinking that this link unit is an extension of your navigation.
Sweet Corners Isn’t Too Sweet
If you want something that’s sweet, but not too sweet (I can’t handle the same level of candy as I did as a younger boy), then this free WordPress theme might be for you. Sweet Corners has some pretty cool features — like its relaxing appearance, Adsense integration, and sidebar icons — but some may find the color scheme to be too drab or boring for their tastes. The minimalism and web 2.0-ness of it would work great for blogs focusing on meditation, Zen, and other similar topics.
On a side note, Sweet Corners is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License, meaning you can alter it however you like, so long as you still give Tosif Patel some credit.