My first impression of the Professional theme from Elegant Themes was that it appears to have been created to focus on a more modern clean design with the idea of less is more. I certainly feel that the audience it would most likely appeal to, would be anyone seeking a sharp, business style.
Product Features and Benefits
The themes most noticeable feature would be its use of a nice big featured slider which you can easily setup through the admin area by selecting pages or by choosing a featured category. To set this up you would simply create a category called “ Featured “ and then assign posts that you want to appear in the slider, into that category. If you want pages to display you will need to go into the General settings>Featured slider tab and set the option to use pages.
You can choose between four different colors which are blue, green, purple or the default silver which enabled you to quite quickly gear it towards various markets. What people are really going to like with this theme is that it allows you the flexibility of running it on your site in either a regular blog structure or using only pages.
If you do opt to use the theme only as a page CMS, then you will find that it offers a range of options all nicely accessible on the right hand side area when you go to create a page. Those option let you select between 8 different page layouts. Default, Blog, Contact, Full Width, Login page, advanced search page or a sitemap
The benefits of this theme are numerous. If you’re looking for a theme which lets you run a simple blog it can do that. Yet at the same time it can be used by anyone wishing to develop a full scale advanced CMS site for a business or corporation. It’s what I like to think of as an all-in-one theme.
One of the key features of this theme is it’s epanel which was designed to allow anyone to be able to customize all areas of the theme by simply selecting an option and hitting save.
For photographers It offers the ability for a user to run their own images gallery very easily with the help of the fancybox plugin. You can zoom in on the images and see some nice close ups while at the same time presenting all your images on one single page.
Like all of elegant themes it comes widget ready which means you can insert widgets into your sidebars very easily allowing you to add custom html, adsense, adverts or banners. If you want to add thumbnails to your posts you will be using a script which is included in the theme called Timthumb which automatically resizes the images. The readme and their videos will show you how to use that.
You can add advertising blocks throughout your site by either including the code in the options area in the admin or through widgets.
A really nice feature of this theme is its use of shortcodes which allow you with ease to add elements to your posts and pages just by adding a simple snippet of code like [ tab ]. There are actually up to sixteen different types of shortcodes which can take complex requirements and simplify them within seconds such as adding:
- Small buttons
- Big buttons
- Context boxes
- Icon buttons
- Toggled content
- Tabbed content
- Image slider
- Tool tips
- Social media Icons
- Password protected content
- Author information
- Column layouts
- Custom icon lists
- Corporate pricing tables
- Drop caps
Compatibility and Code
I tested the theme in Internet explorer, Firefox, Opera and Chrome and found that there were no conflicts with this theme and it appeared and functioned nicely in all of them. They do claim that it is compatible in Netscape and Safari and after having view the other major browsers without any issues I would trust it is the same.
When it comes to plugins, I was able to determine that it makes use of jquery and several plugins such as WP-Pagenavi and fancy box for the image gallery. There are no details on the site if these are included with the theme but I imagine they are as elegant themes do come with a plugin folder that you upload when you install the theme. Those plugins are free anyway through the WordPress plugin library.
I checked the theme to see how valid the XHTML and CSS were and it passed with flying colors, there were no errors at all.
I found the theme did load very fast even with just the generic dummy data showing. I decided to run n the theme through Google page speed tool to really get a better idea of good it was and I found it scored 76/100 with a few references to areas they could improve on. Had it scored 100 it would have been classed as perfectly optimized. At the moment Google is very big on load speeds of websites so it was nice to see that they scored high.
3 Pros – Things that are great about the theme
- They provide videos that walk you through install and setup of the theme and for $39 you get access to all their themes which make it a no brainer for choosing them. Many other theme companies charge you $69 just for 1 or 2 themes.
- Highly customizable, allowing you to setup ads change the page templates; insert pre-made design elements through the use of shortcodes.
- You can translate the theme into another language easily using their included MO and PO files
3 Cons – Things which aren’t too good
- For a new user to word press it might be a little too advanced due to the numerous features
- The default font I find is too small
- It could provide an easier way to change the logo with an upload option in the admin area.