This post was guest blogged by Syed Balkhi of Balkhis.com.
I met John over at Izeafest 2008 where I got an opportunity to write a guest blog for him. As you all know that this site has just got a new astonishing magazine style design, I couldn’t think of any better topic than to explain the What, Why, and Hows of Magazine Style Themes.
What is a Magazine Style Theme?
Magazine style theme is a special type of a blog design which organizes content on the front page using excerpts, headlines, and categories to give the user an overall glimpse of an entire website, so users can easily navigate themselves to their desired location. It acts as a portal to content on the rest of a site.
While this concept is nothing new, but the popularity of magazine style themes lead to suggest that this could quiet possibly be the future of blogs. Many bloggers have begin to switch, including this website, but what is the reason behind it?
Why Magazine Style Theme?
- Simply Different – Bloggers are trying their best to distinguish their blogs from the other blog looking sites (Personal Diaries). In an attempt, they are switching over to magazine style theme.
- Content and Usability – Most famous cliche in our industry is “Content is King”, but is it really king when you can’t find it. When you put Content and Usability in the same bowl, the mixture come out as a Magazine Style Theme.
- Multi-Author Blogs – Blogs that have multiple authors produce more content daily. So sometimes it gets hard for the user to keep up. Therefore magazine style theme can navigate them to their desired article easily.
What are the advantages of a Magazine Style Theme?
- Allocation of space – As a blogger, you get to pick what goes on your homepage, so you can feature more attracting content on the homepage. For example, if you are running a contest, now you can keep the updates of the contest in the featured area. Example of a featured area can be seen at this blog’s homepage.
- Easy to Navigate – Magazine style theme enables the ability of easy navigation for the users. Each site take different steps on achieving that. You can navigate your users by using categories like Balkhis. You can have your favorite post like Problogger in the tabs.
- More Exposure to other areas – You can add other areas of the website like gallery on John Chow, or Job board on Problogger. This way you are displaying your blog as a whole because more and more blogs are now adding on to the blogs, so blogs are no longer just blogs.
- Organized and Good looking – Just like when your room is organized and it looks good, when your blog is organized it looks good. Magazine Style Theme is another name for an organized blog hence another name for a good looking blog.
What are some of the disadvantages of a magazine style theme?
- Price – Magazine style themes are expensive in general. Now to hire a good designer which is expensive alone, and then hire them for a magazine style theme can be hard for some.
- Clutter – While it is an organized style, some people can over do a magazine style theme. So they end up creating a clutter rather than organizing the site. So you have to know your limits. If you don’t, then get someone who does.
- Sometimes outdated – It often happens with smaller blogs that they can look outdated if they are not updated as frequent as some of the larger blogs.
- Some users don’t like it – As you can see in the poll here at JC, some users don’t like it. I understand, that users can’t directly see all posts, so it requires one or two extra click, but at least you can spot everything rather than search all day. Remember, you can’t keep everyone happy.
When should you get a Magazine Style Theme?
Personally, I am a big fan of these type of designs, so I will be a little biased. I think everyone should get a magazine style theme even from the start. But realistically, when you think you have a good enough audience. When you think you can write good content in various categories.
How to get a Magazine Style Theme?
Well there is an easy way and there is a hard way. You can get a customized version of magazine style theme (Recommended). It is going to cost you more, but will be beneficial in the long run. It is easy per say, but the money part makes a bit hard. If you know that JC’s design was done by Unique Blog Designs, so you can always approach them. I met with them at Izeafest as well, and they are really nice people. Uzzz Productions (My Crew) can do Magazine Style Themes as well. Special Rates available if you mention this post.
You can reach out for a premium theme (Shortcut). There are a lot options to pick from. The disadvantage of premium themes are that they are not just for your site. But I recommend Revolution Theme because they have some very nice magazine style themes. There are a lot of free magazine style themes as well, but once again you know there will be a lot more people using that. Avoid using these shortcuts.
Hard way is learning by yourself. If you know html/css, and can make simple graphics. You can definitely make your own magazine style theme because most of it is the correct placement of html codes using css. Now there are bunch of wordpress tutorials that you can look up. I have compiled a list of a whole heck alot, and put them in an ebook, but you can read it online as well. There is one feature that is absolute essential and that is featured post. There are many ways to go about it, but if you want to use the slide show one, you can do that by using Auto-Playing Featured Content Slider. It is a harder way of getting a magazine style theme because it takes time to learn, but it is much better than the shortcuts.
Now you know the What, Why and Hows of Magazine Style Themes. If you have any questions regarding it, post below, and I will try to reply.