I’ve wanted to update the Rain City Guide theme for a while now, and took some time this week to play around with some different ideas. I *think*I’ve come up with something that will work well for me, but wanted to run it by the RCG community for feedback first… If you head over to 4realz.net, you can see the theme (in action) that I’m thinking of launching here.
Here’s what I like about this theme:
- Magazine-style so more articles are featured “above-the-fold” . This “teaser” style of posts is a bit controversial, and I won’t really know if it’s better until after I have some data with RCG-level traffic. My hope is that the bounce-rate for people that land on the homepage will go down.
- The pages and categories are featured just below the header which, for a site like RCG, will help show off the breadth of content.
- I noticed that the existing RCG theme played funny with a couple of new features of WordPress (in ways I didn’t like), and this one plays much better. Just one example is that when I linked out to RCG with a Facebook status update the existing theme is doing something funny so that the title and photos are not being pulled… That problem is solved with this new theme.
- Threaded comments… @ARDELLd and I have been having an interesting conversation about this on twitter, but my opinion is that the threaded conversations will actually help improve the flow of the conversation. It will be interesting to see and would love your feedback on this feature.
- By pushing the “pages” to the header, I’ll free up some space for bringing recent comments in a more prominent place (I’ll probably put them where the “connect” widget currently exists).
- And finally, my wife, Anna, says the theme is easier on the eyes (and I trust her “design” sense over mine any day!). When/if I launch this theme on RCG, I’m going to use “RCG” colors instead of “4realz” colors (i.e. maroon instead of blue) and “Seattle” photos instead of “Dustin” photos, but the idea is that the new theme will be very similar
Here’s a screenshot with the colors/graphics I’m thinking I’ll use when (if?) I launch it on RCG:
One of the main things I’ll be looking at with the new theme is if our bounce rate for people who arrive on the homepage for the first time drops… I don’t know if a magazine-style theme is the solution to our high bounce rate, but the easiest way to find out if to actually launch it on the site.
By the way, the theme I’m using is a slightly modified version of the theme by c.bavota called Magazine Basic. The only changes I made were to:
- Add some color and graphics (like the 4realz/Raindrop logo in the header)
- Add an “author” box below each post (much more important for RCG than 4realz!)
- Add some code so that the “comment preview” shows up with a box around it…
As you can see, really minor stuff… and that’s only because the theme rocks the boat right out of the box!
As always, I’d love your feedback!