Free WordPress Themes Are Pretty Sweet

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:

free wordpress theme - sweet corners - light

And here is the dark variant of Sweet Corners:

free wordpress theme - sweet corners - dark

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.

Sidebar Icons

free wordpress themes - sweet corners - sidebar

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.

More Adsense

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.

free wordpress themes - sweet corners - google adsense in 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.


65 thoughts on “Free WordPress Themes Are Pretty Sweet”

  1. Enkay Blog says:

    Saw the cows talk about this earlier and they have a good design but the drawback is their lack of colors! Your blog needs to be a little more colorful and attractive. (kinda like mine!..j/k)

    First comment..yay!

    1. Jacob says:

      I don’t agree that the blog needs more color. Besides, it’d be very basic to edit the colors, I would think. Perhaps not, though. I’m no designer. 😛

    2. I like your blog design, but there is always space to criticize when the design is in question. I would advice you to give some “space to breath” to your content, the content is side-to-side and it seems like it is suffering there.

      Giving some padding to the sides it will make the overall look better, and more pleasant to read.

    3. Not a bad service, he should’ve developed some more free wordpress templates before ordering the reviewme though…

      Two that are just variations on the same isn’t enough 🙂

      1. Enkay Blog says:

        Thanks for the comment SEO! I will be expanding the columns a little soon! 🙂

        As for Hamilton Ontario – I didnt see John mention that this was a sponsored post but at the bottom it says ReviewMe so I think yeah, the guy should have worked on the templates a little more before paying $400 to John and $200 to the cow for a review.

      2. Geedos says:

        Totally agree – there seems to be a gap in the market (and on this blog) for a site where you can get about 20 truly different WordPress designs.

        I just don’t see the point of paying $400 for a review that pushes traffic through to a site where you only have 1 theme in 2 different colours. 🙄

        1. KingJacob says:

          The site has alot more than those two themes.

    4. mason says:

      aww I want a first comment! 😈 it’s almost impossible with so many readers on john chow lol.

  2. Jeff Kee says:

    There are tonnes of cool free wordpress themes you can use. Although my blogs are ALL CUSTOM coded with my own CSS..

  3. mahdi yusuf says:

    damn son, leeching off the cow! not something i would contrast with! 😯

    1. John Chow says:

      Leeching? LOL More like the cow recommended that Tosif Patel order a review. :mrgreen: 😈

      1. Yeah, John isn’t going to turn down a $400 review me order…The AndrewTalk review from a few days ago drove that point home 🙂

      2. Enkay Blog says:

        Does this mean that the cow and JC have put things behind them? wow!

  4. Click Input says:

    Yeah… I thought this post was familiar from somwhere!

  5. utwou says:

    I’m thinking on changing my theme (it is still the default one) and this is a good option. Yesterday I was having a look at the available ones, but there are not so many good options.

  6. Spud Oregon says:

    I agree with the color scheme, but I’m sure Tosif can make different colored versions once he’s ironed out the kinks in this.

    The navigation buttons at the top (home, about, etc.) don’t seem to be preloaded, so when you rollover them, they disappear for a second before the highlighted image loads. The same goes for the “Add comment” button.

  7. James Wilcox says:

    It’s all blog incest at some point isn’t it? How many blogs out there are just hoping JohnChow links to them to get the traffic effect? Sure sure, JohnCow is coming into his own, but obviously on the back of the original…I read the cow post first and checked out the themes…not my cup of tea but nice job.

  8. Joshua says:

    The layout is not bad, definitely a bit different than the run-of-the mill themes out there…colour not so good, but that’s easily changed…

    …saying that, I like his site’s theme way better!

    1. Well Joshua you said it all, .. whats a design without the colors? 😉

      The overall look indeed tho is okey, slight improvements and it could give a go. Usually when i am in lack of creativity and can’t design my own theme i lurk on finding a free one..and first thing i look at is the coding…so even the new ones i have to grab and code them from scratch to meet my needs.

  9. As Joshua said: colours would be improved. By the way…good stuff for bloggers.
    Shall I decide once more moving from Blogger to WordPress? lol

    Nice! 😉

    1. Tom Howell says:

      Definitely move from blogger to wordpres. It’ll be the best thing you ever do 🙂

    2. You could consider that option, but before you should think about few more things, the hosting expense, the theme modification and implementing hacks, forwarding the posts you have in the current blog to the new blog with 301 redirect..

      Tho moving on a proper domain name would build (in some way) a better relation and trust with your readers, but you need to think about this and get informed better before moving, i usually build the themes, implement hacks to the theme i want to use before i even host the domain.

      1. If you can’t afford $3 – $4 a month for a hosted site then I’d give up. WordPress also make it very easy to move posts from Blogger.

  10. sodoii.com says:

    good staff

  11. John Bennett says:

    I personally like the design of the blog. I would use it if I were looking for a new design.

    1. Jorge says:

      Simple and clean design.

      1. mason says:

        there are a bunch of simple and clean designs. I don’t see how this one stands out from the bunch. but.. the adsense optimized layout sure makes it more appealing than others. 😎

      2. Ya…simple and clean design

  12. Hmmm. I’m having a debate in my head. I see that he put the recent posts and popular posts at top.

    I like it, but then I don’t. I feel like it pushes the first post way to far down.

    Hmm… me thinky…

    😐

    1. Enkay Blog says:

      True, you’d probably want people to see your content first!

  13. Ashok Arora says:

    Simple themes are more attractive.

  14. flexy says:

    hmm, john chow, are you and john cow affiliated? 💡 ❓

    1. Enkay Blog says:

      No, it seems that cow recommended tosif to get a review done with JC.

  15. KingJacob says:

    Its a nice theme though he should have made more than one before ordering a 400 dollar review.

    1. Jorge says:

      That’s true! 😆

  16. Lots of people are saying that he should have made more themes before ordering the reviewme, that might be the case if he was looking for people to use the themes. But he stated that he was looking for feedback, not users. (I know I know, the more users you have the more feedback you’ll get). For example, John told him that he needed to make the RSS button bigger and more predominant, that’s going to be the case for all his themes.

    To the creator – it’s nice to see somebody using CC with good content. Keep up the good work :).

    1. KingJacob says:

      Yes but for me $400 is too much to pay for that little piece of advice but then again thats just me

  17. Tosif Patel says:

    Hey,

    Great review John well worth $400 🙂 might even make you a theme adapting your theme into a Web 2.0 style what you think ? and beer’s on me tonight!

    Also thankyou to everyone who are commenting negative and positive i am going to take it all away and make sure we release more great themes to suit the wordpress community and your needs.

    Any custom theme requests can be posted to [email protected] – [baring in mind you will have to pay for custom designs to gain exclusive rights to the theme :mrgreen:]

    Also KingJacob i don’t mind paying John Chow, $400 everytime i release a theme its a total pleasure to be reviewed on his blog, but yeh your right would have made more sense if i did a few more. However be sure to keep visiting Bloginon for future updates.

    Cheers

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Check the byline, Tosif. The review was by me. 😆

      1. Tosif Patel says:

        oops ❗ i just sent $10 to John for beer instead, tell john to send it to you Michael instead. Great Review mate. Maybe in future you can review my themes for free if you like them 🙂

        And what do you think about the idea of a new Web 2.0 theme for JohnChow.com courtesy of bloginon.com?

        Best Regards

  18. Jorge says:

    Free = Great!

  19. Jorge says:

    Check out my theme and tell me what you think of it. 😉

  20. Debo Hobo says:

    The templates need more color, but the layout is okay I suppose.

  21. Jorge says:

    Subscribe my blog and win a free link valid for 6 months! 🙂
    (You only have to leave a comment and subscribe.)

    1. Jacob says:

      Well – If everyone did that, the link wouldn’t be worth anything.

  22. Free is always good, and these themes are not so bad at all!

  23. rich says:

    I can’t wait to see what other designs they come out with! How long have they been up and running?

  24. mason says:

    You know I was gonna design my own wordpress theme and all these posts about free themes is making me want to change my mind 😮

  25. Chris says:

    WordPress themes are highly customizable. Adsense themes will do little for you if you have little traffic and if your content isn’t worthy of a repeat visit.

    A good example of a customized blog can be found at RichDollar.Com

    It takes a bit of $$$ to pay for design. But it is worth it when you stand out rather than have your theme shared by hundred other bloggers.

  26. Alan says:

    I use a free WP theme on my blog. Some people say to avoid them, but as long as you get them from a reliable source it’s fine. (make sure that you double check your site’s META description after adding a free theme)

  27. Geedos says:

    Can I put in a request for no more reviews for sites that give WordPress themes?

    I know John is evil and money talks but there’s been two reviews recently on this kind of thing and each time both sites have offered a very low level of product.

    Review Me’s from this blog provide a huge spike in traffic so it’s well worth having a complete site / a decent set of products to advertise before ordering a review and sending across a load of readers who leave feeling disappointed.

  28. Hmm, don’t care for the fuzzy buttons

  29. sandossu says:

    The theme really looks great. I think i will tweak it and use it on my blog.

    Thanks for letting us know about it.

  30. Tay says:

    I really love this theme. Its design and colors appeal to me. It could definitely use some tweaking and improvement here and there (I think I’d also change the font face), but overall I like this one a lot. Another one of my favorite features is the Check It Out! section and the featured posts area. With those, it makes it easy to expose more of your blog. Awesome theme. 😉

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