iCustomizeThesis https://icustomizethesis.com Thesis skins, boxes and services. Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:18:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Inspire: Thesis 2.1 Skin https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/08/inspire-thesis-2-1-skin/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/08/inspire-thesis-2-1-skin/#comments Mon, 05 Aug 2013 17:55:50 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=1836 After the popularity of Myra,  Thesis 2.1 skin this week I am launching a new business style responsive Thesis 2.1 Skin, Inspire. Inspire has been built keeping in mind the ease of use and flexibility of customization. You can use it to build your business, portfolio, church, non-profit, fashion blog, interior design site or anything else you could think of.

That’s all possible with its easy to use features like, responsive design, a pre-integrated featured slider, home page widgets, a call-to-action area, blog updates section on home page, footer widgets and a top right header area to place your contact details.

Demo

Click here for a demo of Inspire.

Inspire Home Page Design

Inspire Home Page

Unlimited Color Schemes:

Inspire uses Thesis 2.1 color scale which provides you unlimited color schemes for your Thesis 2.1 skin powered website.

inspire-default-scale inspire-green-scale
inspire-green-scaleinspire-green

Visit skin detail page for more information

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Myra: Multipurpose Responsive Thesis 2.1 Skin https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/07/myra-thesis-2-1-skin/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/07/myra-thesis-2-1-skin/#comments Fri, 26 Jul 2013 18:42:33 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=1784 With so much of Thesis 2.1 buzz all around, I am excited to introduce my latest Thesis 2.1 skin, Myra. It comes with features that makes it a perfect fit for all kind of websites. You can use it to build your business website or simply a personal blog.

Demo

Click here for demo. 

Unlimited color schemes

Myra has been closely integrated with Thesis Color Scale to make most out of it. color-scale-default color-scale-custom myra-greenmyra-green-widgetsmyra-red featured-widgets

Integrated Icon Fonts

I have integrated more than 350 fonts from Font Awesome with Myra so that you can improve your site’s look and feel. Some examples of icon fonts can be seen on demo site and in the screenshots above.

Responsive Design

Just like my all other Thesis Skins, Myra also comes with a mobile responsive design. It works perfectly on all screen sizes.

There are lot more features that you can find on the skin’s detail page.

 

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WP Engine: All Good Things! https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/05/wpengine-review/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/05/wpengine-review/#comments Mon, 13 May 2013 19:47:04 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=1561 Yes! I am happy with the new home for my website. WP Engine, it is.

Why I moved to WP Engine:

I have been using HostGator since the day one. But, I realized this is the right time to make a shift. Being a freelancer, my site is the major source of business. I wanted it to be insanely fast and needed a reliable host so that I don’t face any down-times. Above all, security was a major concern. I sale Thesis Skins and would have never wished to get hacked!

I moved iCustomizeThesis to WP Engine, leaving behind all the sub-domains and other test sites with HostGator. So, now HG acts as a development server for me. I need not worry about the performance any more.

My Blog is 4 Times Faster Than Your Blog

It’s Fast:

Yes, it’s insanely fast. I don’t use any caching plugins and CDN yet the site loads in less than a second. I got to chose my server location and picked up US as that’s my major source of traffic.

Reliable:

Being a Managed WordPress hosting provider, it’s much more reliable than any other regular web host. I get automatic upgrades, daily backups, one-click restore points. I don’t spend a single minute “taking care” of my website. No worries. It’s absolutely worth every penny.

Secure:

Getting hacked could be a nightmare! But, their malware scanning system is always in action and if something goes wrong, you can rely upon the technical team. They will fix it for you, for no extra penny. Heard of any other hosting provider doing that?

Staging Area:

That’s always a developer’s dream. What could be better than developing on a sub-domain and going live with a single click or a command. WP Engine is the only Manage WordPress hosting provider with Git for version control fully integrated with WordPress.

Amazing Support:

They have got a great support team in place. Not only after-sales support is great but the pre-sales support is amazing as well! All my pre-sales questions were answered really well and up to my satisfaction. I had some issues getting the payment processed. Despite of weekend, I received quick response and was able to get started with their services in a few hours.

What’s missing?

You get to run ONLY your website. You don’t get mail boxes and some fancy stuff that many other web hosts provide. So, is that bad? Not really. At least not for me, as I use Google Apps for Business. The personal plan at WP Engine starts at $29/month which allows you to run one WordPress installation. You can pay more to run additional instances or upgrade to higher package.

At the end, your website is in safe hands:

Yes! At WP Engine, your website is in safe hands and you get complete peace of mind. They are expensive but you know, all good things come at a good price. 

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5 Super easy ways to save your WordPress website from Brute Force Attack https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/04/mass-wordpress-brute-force-attack/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/04/mass-wordpress-brute-force-attack/#comments Sun, 14 Apr 2013 09:53:10 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=1451 The massive WordPress brute force attack is in news these days. It’s being said that hackers are trying to break into poorly-secured WordPress websites with the help of a powerful botnet  (which is assumed to be made up of over 90,000 webservers).

First question for many users is:

What is Brute Force Attack?

A brute force attack in simplest terms is a trial-and-error method to get access to your website. It performs sequential login attempts to your website using common username (e.g. admin) and password (e.g. admin123) combinations.

Now, how do you protect your WordPress website/blog from such attacks? Here I am listing some ways that can help you protect your WordPress website.

How to protect WordPress from Brute Force Attack?

  1. Strong Password: Make sure that you have a strong password. Use random alphabets, numbers and special characters. Do NOT use strings like 123456 or qwerty.
  2. Stealth Login Page: This is a really cool plugin by Jesse Petersen that allows you to create a custom login URL that is known only to you. Any attempts to access the login page by simply using /wp-login.php or /wp-admin will fail. Check out this plugin on WP Repository.
  3. Limit login attempts: This is a good way of denying access to login page or forcing a password reset when the login attempts with incorrect login details reaches a certain limit. You can use this plugin, Limit Login Attempts
  4. Password Protect WordPress login: Ipstenu has published a nice tutorial to protect the access to wp-login.php file. Click here to read the tutorial.
  5. Hire me: So busy to handle this on your own? Or you think you need some technical help? Feel free to contact me.
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Studio: Responsive Thesis Skin for Creative Professionals https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/04/studio-thesis-skin/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/04/studio-thesis-skin/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 20:51:54 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=1437 Studio is the latest addition to my collection of  responsive Thesis 2.0 Skins. Featuring a full-width responsive slider on home page, it’s a perfect fit for creative professionals.

It comes with custom page templates for landing page and full width (no-sidebar) page, a mobile responsive navigation system and minimal design.

Demo

Click here for a demo of Studio.

Features

  1. Responsive Design
  2. Pre-Packaged with Soliloquy Pro version for building responsive content sliders
  3. Landing page template
  4. No-sidebar page template
  5. Styling for Gravity Forms
  6. Widgetized Home Page
  7. 3-column Widgetized Footer
  8. Unlimited usage on personal and client sites

Slider Plugin Bonus!

Studio comes pre-packaged Soliloquy Pro, a premium responsive, rock solid slider plugin with the skin. After you activate the skin, you will notice a message to install and activate the plugin. Simply follow the instructions and you will be able to build almost all kind of sliders, be it a carousel or a content slider for posts and pages. It works like a charm and it’s my favorite slider plugin.

And you get all this at no extra cost!!

Sneak Peek

Responsive Layout

Responsive Layout and Navigation

 

Buy Thesis Skins Bundle for only $99

All present and upcoming Thesis 2.0 Skins for only $99.

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Introducing “Aroma”, a mobile responsive Thesis 2.0 Skin https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/02/aroma-responsive-thesis-2-0-skin/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/02/aroma-responsive-thesis-2-0-skin/#comments Thu, 31 Jan 2013 21:10:12 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=1148 Before I begin with introducing you to Aroma and all it’s new features, I would like to admit that I am terribly bad at two things :

  1. Picking up names for my Thesis skins
  2. Writing Post titles

Moving ahead, I am happy to announce my all new Thesis 2.0 Skin, Aroma. After weeks of busy schedule, I decided to finally start with a new Thesis skin that could be used for all kind of websites, be it a web design agency, a freelance portfolio, a church website, a non-profit organization’s site or anything else.

Aroma - Responsive Thesis Skin

I have tried to keep the colors that are calm and soothing to eyes. I will probably like to release a few color-mods for this skin. Any suggestions from your side are always welcome and I will try my best to work upon that.

Demo

Click here for a demo.

Slider Plugin Bonus!

A major feature of Aroma is that I have pre-packaged Soliloquy Pro, a premium responsive, rock solid slider plugin with the skin. After you activate the skin, you will notice a message to install and activate the plugin. Simply follow the instructions and you will be able to build almost all kind of sliders, be it a carousel or a content slider for posts and pages. It works like a charm and it’s my favorite slider plugin.

And you get all this at no extra cost!!

Features:

  1. Responsive Design
  2. Pre-Packaged with Soliloquy Pro version for building responsive content sliders
  3. Landing page template
  4. No-sidebar page template
  5. Styling for Gravity Forms
  6. Widgetized Home Page
  7. 4-column Widgetized Footer
  8. Unlimited usage on personal and client sites

Buy Aroma:

Buy Complete Bundle for only $99

All present and upcoming Thesis 2.0 Skins for only $99.

No recurring payments. No membership plans. I promise. 

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Why I like and recommend MaxCDN https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/01/recommend-maxcdn/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/01/recommend-maxcdn/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2013 08:18:11 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=1084 When it comes to improving a site’s loading time, CDN plays an important role. Installing caching plugin for WordPress sites does a lot of work and using a CDN is icing on the cake.

My favorite CDN provider has always been MaxCDN and I use it for many client sites. Here is why I say so:

A great product that comes with great support is always worth every penny. I couldn’t be much happy with their Online Marketing Specialist, Taylor Jasko. This 19 year old guy is incredibly fast at answering all your questions, helping you in the best way. Ask him on Twitter or send him an e-mail, you can expect replies within minutes.

I had some issues setting up MaxCDN on a client site that was running two WP installations (one-inside-other. Strange thing! Right?). I didn’t have much time to fix up the nested WP installations and had to live with it. This caused a lot of issues and Taylor helped me to set up the CDN correctly. Finally it worked!

After sorting this out, we realized that the content wasn’t served from Asian servers. But, majority of the traffic on client site was from Asia. So, I contacted Taylor to check if they had any servers in Asia that could benefit the client site.

They do have a server, but it was a part of MaxCDN’s Premium Edge Network and wasn’t offered with standard packages. But, before I could think of looking for some other CDN provider Taylor got it covered! He was generous to offer a free account to us so that we can continue using MaxCDN.

I can recommend MaxCDN without any second thought! :)

Would like to hear your thoughts about MaxCDN or any other CDN provider that you are using.

 

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My rant on Premium WordPress Themes https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/01/premium-wordpress-themes/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2013/01/premium-wordpress-themes/#comments Mon, 31 Dec 2012 18:44:45 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=1026 It’s been a while since I was thinking of writing about my experience with Premium WordPress themes. This post is not about criticizing a particular developer or theme company. It is about the way premium WP themes are built, marketed and sold. All of that is usually done in a wrong way by many theme developers and companies. Not to mention, themes by Elegant Themes, WooThemes or Justin Tadlock’s ThemeHybrid are great!

So, what goes wrong with most of the Premium WordPress themes in the market?

Almost all the themes in the market are sold with some flowery promises and some solid claims that they fail to fulfill. To list the most common ones:

  1. Search Engine Optimized
  2. Fast Loading
  3. Clean Code
  4. Theme Options
  5. Short Codes
  6. Lifetime Upgrades and Support

I have worked with hundreds of WP users who were using some premium theme from a marketplace or a theme company which ended up putting them into troubles. Every time I looked at the theme code, I found out how it was affecting the performance, search engine rankings and bloating the database despite of all their promises as above.

Best way to help out such users was to move them to reliable and rock solid frameworks like Thesis, Genesis or get some theme from WooThemes. Yes, even being into Thesis customization for years I have helped people move to Genesis or WooThemes. Reason, either they had a limited budget or they were short on deadlines. StudioPress offers a wide variety of themes to choose from and it helped clients save both on time and money. Same was the case with WooThemes. I never faced any plugin compatibility issues with either of these themes and hardly had to reach out to support forums.

Now, getting back to the rant! I will share my personal experience with all the points that I have mentioned above.

Search Engine Optimized:

This is probably the best way to market a theme. Who in this world wide web won’t like to get on to the first page of search results? Everyone would. So, all themes must be presented as “Search Engine Optimized” even when they are not.

I got a request to make few tweaks to a site and client also wished to know if there is something that could be done to improve search engine rankings. Though I am not an SEO expert, I have fairly good knowledge of how things should exist. I had a quick look at the theme structure and was surprised to see that so called “Search Engine Optimized” Premium WordPress theme was using H1 tags for all the headings on front page and inner pages. H1 tags with font size attributes and I wondered why they didn’t use H2, H3, H4 tags? Right from slide titles,  section titles to post titles everything was wrapped in H1 tags. Even the footer widget titles had H1 tags. And I have nothing more to say about it.

Fast Loading:

Another promise that goes hand-in-hand with Search Engine Optimization.

Your site loads fast that means Google loves it and so does your visitors.

With all beautiful looks and cool scrolling, sliding effects many themes load a lot of stylesheet and JavaScript files in the HEAD section. Affecting the loading time to a great extent. Talking about use of CSS sprites is a dreamy thing.

This particular WP theme claimed it to be a fast loading theme. But, it had a slider on front page, rotating testimonials and a smooth scroll navigation for recent blog posts. To my surprise, all these used different JavaScript code and files. Slider was built using FlexSlider and I see no need of using anything else for testimonials or blog post navigation because FlexSlider itself is capable enough of handling all these.

Clean Code:

Well, most users don’t really care about this because they hardly need to dive into code. Even when they get stuck they prefer hiring a developer. And these premium themes then become a pain for other developers. Their code is neither well indented nor commented. You need to keep browsing some 3-5 different function files and figure out what’s where.

Clean code is yet another dream. I worked on a theme that was purchased by the client from a marketplace. Looking at the theme files, I was amazed that it had tens of files which I never ever heard of. Some files created additional tables in DB. Some had option settings, others had custom post types and what not. There was no reference of what’s where. No documentation that described the theme structure and all the custom functionality that came along. Spending time on making the changes and fixing it was completely useless. Finally, I helped the client make a switch to Agency theme by StudioPress.

Theme Options:

This is something very appealing for every user because it looks like they have complete control over the theme’s look and feel. Theme options allow the users to change colors, font styles, background patterns and a million other things. But, that looks good only till you get your hands dirty playing around with million options trying to figure out the best combinations for your site design.

Here is what WP.org says: 

Great software should work with little configuration and setup.

And every theme developer MUST go through this section on WP.org. Here is a sneak peek of what I am referring to:

Decisions not Options

When making decisions these are the users we consider first. A great example of this consideration is software options. Every time you give a user an option, you are asking them to make a decision. When a user doesn’t care or understand the option this ultimately leads to frustration. As developers we sometimes feel that providing options for everything is a good thing, you can never have too many choices, right? Ultimately these choices end up being technical ones, choices that the average end user has no interest in. It’s our duty as developers to make smart design decisions and avoid putting the weight of technical choices on our end users.

Theme options create confusion for users in the first place rather than adding the convenience of customization. Many themes don’t even care about using data validation and sanitation.

My most recent terrible experience was with a client using a Hotel theme with booking engine for his website. This theme had “Room Types” controlled by Theme Options in a strange manner, then the featured image for each “Room Type” was controlled by another option even when there was an “insert image” option available for Room Type’s settings. Moreover, this theme created extra DB tables to keep track of bookings.

Short codes:

An attractive incentive for users to showcase their content using accordions, sliders, tabbed content sections, colored buttons, info/alert boxes and lot more. All that looks good only till the user continues to use the existing theme. What if he/she needs to make a switch to other theme? Go back and edit all pages, posts?

This article by Justin Tadlock sums it up.

Lifetime Upgrades and Support:

Let’s get practical here, lifetime upgrades and support depends on the product life-cycle. Theme companies end up with so many themes in their collection that they eventually stop developing/upgrading some old themes and that’s the end of product life-cycle. So, lifetime upgrades and support is a flowery promise. While there are many developers who like to stick with their promise and continue to provide regular upgrades for their themes. It’s all about how lucky you get to pick up the right theme from the market.

There is a huge scope of improvement in many premium themes in the market. While some themes have already reached a maturity level with rock solid, well documented, optimized code and these are the themes that work really well, adhere to the promises that the developers/companies make and get all the love from customers and community.

If I were to build a theme, I would make it a “Zero Options Theme“. Install it, activate it, use it. 

If you are a WP user, developer I would love to hear your thoughts about WP themes.

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How to add a Logo or clickable Header image in Thesis 2.0 https://icustomizethesis.com/2012/11/how-to-add-a-logo-or-clickable-header-image-in-thesis-2-0/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2012/11/how-to-add-a-logo-or-clickable-header-image-in-thesis-2-0/#comments Fri, 02 Nov 2012 18:10:27 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=672 First of all we need to upload an image and set it in right place for Header. To do so, please check this link.

After that, we will proceed with removing the Site Title, Site Tagline and making our Header image / logo link to home page of our site.

Here is a quick 10-step tutorial to make it work perfectly!

  1. Login to WordPress admin and go to Thesis admin page.

  2. Switch to HTML Skin editor and click Header box. All the boxes under Header will be visible then.

  3. From here, you can shift+drag Site Tagline box to the upper right box where it says “shift+drag boxes here to remove them from the page”.

  4. Now hit the green Save Template button.

  5. Next, switch to CSS tab in Skin editor.

  6. Look for Site Title package in the list of packages on right and click it to make some changes.

  7. In the pop up box for Site Title Package, click on Additional CSS tab.

  8. This section allows us to add our custom CSS for Header. Just like it used be custom.css in previous versions.

  9. Now, add the following to the box :
    #site_title a  {display: block; text-indent: -9999px; width: 960px; }
    You can replace value for width with the width of your site or width of your logo.

Hit the big green, Save  CSS button and check your site.

Here is an explanation of CSS code that we have added:

display: block makes the title link appear as a block element

text-indent:-9999px indents the text 9999 pixels away from the site’s visible area. This is a trick to hide the text from header.

width:960px is used to define with width of header link or in other words clickable header area. If your logo is 200px wide then you can use that value instead of 960px.

Check out mobile responsive Thesis 2.0 Skins

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BizLife Pro : Mobile responsive portfolio skin for Thesis 2.0 https://icustomizethesis.com/2012/10/bizlife-pro-mobile-responsive-skin-for-thesis-2-0/ https://icustomizethesis.com/2012/10/bizlife-pro-mobile-responsive-skin-for-thesis-2-0/#comments Tue, 30 Oct 2012 17:58:38 +0000 https://icustomizethesis.com/?p=628 BizLife Pro is a fully responsive skin for Thesis 2.0. It’s a perfect fit for building your online presence. Build your portfolio site or business website with a few clicks. You do not need to spend time configuring various options. BizLife Pro comes with ease of use, install and activate. That’s it!

thesis-skin

Static Home Page of BizLife Pro

Demo

Click here to check out the demo.

Buy Now

Features

  1. Fully responsive design. Your site looks beautiful not only desktops but also on all mobile devices. Click here to see how it appears on different screen sizes.
  2. Custom Home Page widgets gives you flexibility to add any type of and any amount of content to your home page.
  3. Featured Headline widget area to put up your business tagline or add an optin form or create a call to action button to generate leads.
  4. Landing Page template. Create your sales pages, product launch pages and all kind of landing pages with ease.
  5. Full Width Page template. A full width page template without any sidebars.
  6. Documentation: When you buy BizLife pro, you also get a PDF Installation Guide. So that you can set up your site perfectly.
  7. Great support! Send me a support request via this form and you will receive answers within 24 hours.

Buy now!

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