If you stop by Let’s Reach Success often, you might have noticed its new design. That’s because I just got a new WordPress theme for it.
It’s the second Premium one I’ve ever bought. I noticed it’s been more than a year since I last changed the design. That’s a long time for a website and blog as many things are changing. Now I have a slightly different vision for it, want the design to focus even more on content, and had some features in mind that I never had with a theme before.
So, with the start of the new year, after registering Let’s Reach Success as a company, and before I change to a new hosting provider soon, I decided to also take the design to the next level.
In this post, I’ll share what that theme is and why I chose it, together with the immediate results I saw in terms of speed and performance.
Why a New Theme?
While that wasn’t necessary, it was an investment I wanted to make for a few reasons:
– A better optimized and fast loading theme;
– It was the right time for a site makeover;
– I want Let’s Reach Success to look like a powerful digital magazine now that it has a ton of content;
– It’s fun to play with the settings of a new theme.
How to Choose a New WordPress Theme?
I trust ThemeForest. It’s part of Envato Market, which is the biggest community of designers, photographers, and more, with over 3 million products. As for ThemeForest, they are one of the top theme shops on the Web with close to 40,000 stunning designs.
My previous theme, Mono, was from there too.
So, how does a blogger and website owner who can’t code or design choose a theme? For a start, know what you want to narrow down your search.
For instance, on the main page of ThemeForest, I clicked WordPress -> Blog/Magazine
Additionally, I checked ‘Magazine’ in tags. You can add more filters, sort by popularity or else, include your maximum budget, etc.
I wanted to do some browsing, though, as looking through different templates helped me realize what features I really wanted.
What’s more, before that I had prepared a list of features I wanted to keep from my last theme. And another list with design elements I wanted to have on the site with the new one.
Then, I found the ideal one for Let’s Reach Success, purchased it, activated it and started setting it up.
I know that all themes from ThemeForest are well-coded, with great support, optimized and with responsive design. However, some are more powerful depending on what kind of site you’re having. Also, you should look out for some features in particular, while others won’t matter to you that much.
The ideal theme for the new era of LRS is Mag – a full-featured magazine theme with a modern and bold expression.
Here’s what made me get it:
It seemed like the ultimate magazine theme, with all the possible options I could ask for. When checking all that it was offering, I realized there are some fantastic little and big things and design elements that would be a great addition to the site. I didn’t even know I needed them until I saw what a site could turn into with a theme like that.
There were a few other themes I liked too, such as MagPlus and Newsmag. I even gave it a few days without thinking about that once I checked out all themes’ features, so I could organize the information in my head and find out what would work best.
Some might say these 3 themes are quite similar. True. But it’s about the details, and also what each theme’s creator emphasizes on. They are all from different authors after all, and it’s worth going into details.
So I did explore the Live Preview and every element on it. This option is fantastic as it lets you imagine how your site will look like once you install that theme. Honestly, I fall in love with the Live Preview of Mag and wanted to imitate the homepage.
Mag is fast and lightweight, with excellent plugin compatibility.
It has cool elements such as smart article blocks, single article styles, post time format, reviews, article labels, Mega menu options, pre-content and pre-header areas, and so much more.
I still haven’t had the chance to try all things that are possible with it.
Enter The Mega Menu
The Mega menu is something I definitely wanted to do. I believe all authoritative sites with a lot of content should have it. It’s different on mobile, of course.
Additionally, there’s side navigation.
What to include in a menu is another thing I had to decide. It’s easy to put all the pages you have there, and not organize them with the visitor in mind. I made sure to focus on content again, so the first 4 menu items are Motivation, Business, Lifestyle and Success. Each covers additional categories such as Health, Money, Productivity, Work, and more. It was important to divide them into just a few main sections, though, for ease of use.
Then, there’s the About menu tab with links to not just the About page, but also the Start here page, Contact and Advertising.
The last item is Resources, where I gathered things like the free newsletter, podcast, book store, income reports page, and some important pages such as my recommended tools, a guide on how to start a blog, and more.
There are countless combinations as to how I can arrange the homepage of the site. It’s all about the content though, so with the use of article blocks and well-designed labels and headers, I came up with this version.
In the beginning, you can see some of the latest posts, together with views count and when each was published.
They are followed by an article block with 2 images, presented with the title Live a Bold Life. You can hit the ‘load more articles’ button to read some more. These are motivational articles mainly.
Beneath is a news post. After that is a business section, a ‘Popular Right Now’ field, and articles on productivity.
All these can be changed and re-ordered over the next couple of weeks in order to find the most effective way to present the best of the site on the homepage, which is no easy task.
New Accent Color
Yellow is the new addition to the brand color palette. I’ve seen it on some cool sites and brands that I like, whose message is similar to mine. Yellow is somehow bold when combined with white background and black elements. I liked it. The Live Preview of Mag was another factor that encouraged me to choose it as the theme color.
What Happened Once I Installed The Theme?
I saw an immediate change in the site’s performance.
The website speed test by Pingdom is one of the most popular free tools that tells you how your site is performing.
My result looked like that till recently:
And that’s how it is right after installing the theme:
That should come as no surprise though, as the cleaner the code of your design, the better the rankings and user experience.
While the load time is the same and is still a lot in this case, and the page size increased (due to the more content presented on the homepage), a higher performance grade is a great immediate result.
I am continuously trying to learn more about optimization and test different things, without touching code or playing with settings I don’t understand.
The next thing I’ll be doing for the site is changing to a better hosting provider. I believe some of the issues I’ve been having are due to my current one, and so these should be resolved which will speed up the site more.
Are you in need of re-design?
I think a new theme can be a fun thing to do if you’re looking to take your WordPress site to the next level. Make sure you check out ThemeForest and explore the category you have in mind if you want a quality product.