In case you haven’t guessed by the name, the wildly popular “Newspaper” WordPress theme is, according to the authors, “focused exclusively on news, magazine and publishing themes.”
Whatever your subject matter and however you prefer to disseminate it to your waiting audience (i.e., written content, video, audio or blogging layout) Newspaper wants to be the theme to help you carry out your mission.
It has more than 24 demos (which will be discussed in more detail later), and it integrates smoothly with bbPress, BuddyPress, Forum, and WooCommerce. All of these features—coupled with the hope-inspiring promise that “no coding experience is required,” make for great possibilities for developing and designing the site of your dreams.
The Newspaper theme came into existence only a little more than three years ago (in 2013), and yet it has already garnered over 32k+ sales and 3,000 5-star ratings. Now, that’s nothing to sniff at.
The theme in a nutshell
According to a WordPress theme review article by Joe Fylan, most WordPress themes strive to be “multipurpose”—or rather, “to include as many features, page templates, customization settings and options as possible to enable you to build any type of website with one package,” and the Newspaper WordPress theme does all of this and more.
It is optimized to help web designers handle an extremely high volume of video, image and written content without slowing down its load or speed, and it has unique and useful widgets to expand well past the basic features. Specifically, there are weather widgets, ad widgets, and special category and social sharing widgets, to name a few, and they are all designed to help give your site a unique feel and experience.
With Newspaper, you can have your own bright and colorful newspaper magazine up and running in moments. There are dozens of design templates, multiple grid styles, smart lists, and smart content blocks to choose from that are designed to make your website seem like one-of-a-kind, plus the authors offer video support (Vimeo, YouTube, and Dailymotion), which is always good news for a budding journalist who has lots of content to share.
There is also has a “built-in structure dedicated to small screen users” which makes the theme more mobile-friendly – and web designer-friendly than ever.
As we’ve mentioned in our previous articles about laying out new WordPress themes, you must first make sure you have installed the latest WordPress software on your server. Once the installation is complete, you can then upload the Newspaper theme via FTP, and then activate it. The theme authors, Tagdiv, have included some very detailed theme documentation that will practically hold your hand and walk you step-by-step through the installation process.
Once the theme is installed, you’ll go to “appearance” and “theme” on the left side of your control panel and prepare to choose the demo that best represents the website you would like to have. This “best representation” gives you a starting point so that you don’t have to begin with “thin air.” You already have a great demo to build upon.
Like many of the more innovative WordPress themes of today, Newspaper is just teeming with demos. There are 24 (and counting) demos. You can use the Magazine demo for…you guessed it, the magazine look.
If you’re into recreational travel or you’re a professional travel writer, you can use…right again: the Travel demo. Other demos include Food Recipes, Global Medicine, Babies, Cars, Health, Sports, Car Enthusiasts, College, Animals and Breaking News.
Each demo is designed to be built upon so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Each can be installed in just one click, and each is, according to the author, “unique down to the smallest detail.”
Installing a demo
For purposes of this article, we’re going to assume that you already know how to install and activate your Newspaper theme. Like most WordPress themes, you will be required to insert your license number to prove that you have obtained the theme legally. The license number activates all of the theme’s functions and possibilities. Once your purchase has been verified, you can then decide which demo you would like to install.
Special Note: When you install a demo, you get all the wonderful demo content that comes along with it. That’s the beauty of today’s sophisticated premium WordPress themes. However, if for some reason you change your mind about your chosen demo and you decide that another demo better suits your needs, you can roll back your choice by clicking a handy “uninstalling” button and choosing something else. Just be aware that when you uninstall a demo, you remove everything: content, sidebars, navigation bar and any other customizations or additions you have made to the theme. In other words, your site will roll back to the way it looked before you chose a demo and you must start over from scratch.
Tweaking your demo theme
- Necessary Plugins. Premium WordPress themes make it easier and easier to decide which plugins you need to optimize your theme, and where to find those plugins without having to browse through hundreds of other plugins with similar names. That being said, Newspaper theme has a handy “Install premium plugins” section in the admin panel that makes installation and activation as smooth as silk. These plugins include Slider Revolution, Visual Composer, and the Tagdiv Social Counter for all the social sites you subscribe to.
- The Theme Panel is divided into intuitively small and logical parts to make customizing “parts of the whole” easier. For example, customizable sections begin at the top of the website—the “header,” and then the “footer.” Next, users can decide which ads will be shown on the site, and then they can move on to the layout section (templates, categories, posts, etc.) and so forth. There are sections for translating the theme to other languages, customizing colors and fonts, and even inserting custom coding, if you want. By the way, each of these sections can be designed to follow the global (default) settings, or they can each be tweaked for a unique result.
- The Page Builder (Visual Composer) – comes with 60+ pre-defined web design drag-and-drop layouts that help you be your most creative.
- Posts and Pages. These can be as unique as you want to make them. There are multiple ways to display content: you can format your content as a standard post and show a featured image, or you can format it as a video. You have the option creating a unique sidebar (See item “f” below) and then choosing which of your original sidebars will show up on each page, including what side (right or left) the sidebar will show on. You can also create custom fields.
- Categories and Tags. This flexible theme allows you to decide what you want your category page to look like, your post page style including the type of grid it will use, how the page will be paginated (with numbers or with the “more” option), and what sidebar will show on the left or right of the page. The icing on the cake is that every category or tag you use can be tweaked so that no two look alike.
- Unique Sidebars – This is one of the site’s best features. It allows you to fine-tune your categories by creating a sidebar for each one. For example, if you own a book review site like I do and one of your categories is “Science,” you can give this category its own sidebar. You might include the Social Counter, a Google ad customized specifically for the science genre, and any other widgets you can think of. Take a look at my book review website, which uses the newspaper theme. Here is a science category article called Ocean-Pedia, which uses my unique science sidebar. Now take a look at this second article. It has is the fantasy/creative category and is called Books Do Not Have Wings. Notice that the sidebar is different. Now notice that although I have some universal features (the social network widget and an ad space) on all sidebars, the sidebars are still unique because the ads are based on the subject matter on the page, and the related content is based on the category. If there is any drawback with unique sidebars it is that you may have so many categories that you grow tired of creating unique sidebars for them.
- Other great stuff – this theme is brimming with useful surprises. It has 21 styled smart content blocks that adjust columns on the page to fit your needs. It has “random” features so that each time a user lands on or refreshes the Homepage, he or she will see different article titles. This should diminish the inevitable boredom that comes with sameness, and make for an adventurous experience.
Designing a Custom Website
To reiterate, the Newspaper WordPress theme is designed for news, newspaper, magazine, publishing or review sites. In my case, I am a professional book reviewer and I need a review website that is bright, lively, easy to navigate, and capable of handling a large volume of images and video links. Newspaper WordPress theme turned out to be perfect.
My site is called PICTURE BOOK DEPOT. The site has been through several WordPress themes. The first theme was a simple blog layout that was purchased on eBay nearly ten years ago, and cost all of $8. From there, I purchased a great “review” theme from Themeforest, but it was neither very flexible nor visually appealing. I abandoned it within a year and moved to a third theme that was what I call “eye-popping” as far as visual appeal goes. But too soon I discovered that it was not responsive, and as technology improved, my site was left in the dust.
Finally, I stumbled across Newspaper, and it was just what I needed. I needed a flexible, responsive and sexy-looking WordPress theme that would be like an adventure for fellow book lovers. I wanted it to show the most crucial posts first: the “Latest Reviews”, because everyone in the writing world always wants to know what just debuted or what’s trending. I decided to use the “most recent post” feature in this section so that users knew they were seeing the most recent book releases.
Next, I needed a theme that would allow me to feature a “shortcut” option to finding the books my visitors loved, and this theme complied. I was able to create as many categories as I desired, all patterned after those categories you find in a real brick-and-mortar bookstore: “Girl”, “Boy”, “Humor”, “Multicultural”, “Science”, and “Animal” books.
Because I am familiar with how quickly children—and, unfortunately, their parents—get bored, I knew I needed some way to make my content seem fresh and new all the time. There was no way I could post new articles everyday to keep my audience interested; I just don’t have that kind of time. So I knew I needed the “random” option to display the content dispersed across my multiple categories. This way, each time a user lands on the home page, or each time a user refreshes the page, a different book cover shows. This keeps users feeling that they are seeing something they have not seen before.
These random and/or stationary options demonstrate the flexibility of this theme and its ability to give the user what they want.
FYI: Same Theme, Different Look
Just as a FYI, here’s a comparison of the Newspaper theme as it is used on two separate websites with two separate focuses. First, let’s return to my book review website called Picture Book Depot. Take a moment to scroll down the site and re-examine the layout, keeping in mind that it was built to accommodate avid picture book readers.
Now take a look at a second site called Women’s Golf. I chose this site at random at Newspaper’s Showcase page. I suggest that you take your time and browse through these sites to get a feel for Newspaper’s flexibility and style possibilities. Notice the unique Homepage? And if you click on any of the articles, you’ll notice that these posts look nothing like the posts on Picture Book Depot. Yet the two sites have the same theme in common.
There are 12 post templates choices in the Newspaper theme. For my book review post called “Molly and the Bear”, I chose to display all the categories the review matched with at the top of the page. If displaying these categories makes your page look too busy, you have the option of not showing them, or you can color-code the categories to make them a bit easier on the eye. You can also show your social sharing buttons at the top or bottom of your post (or in both places) if you like.
Depending upon what type of review you have just posted, you can choose from among the various sidebars you have created (as explained in an earlier part of this article). Since I happen to review lots of children’s books that are peppered with humor, I used the “Children’s Humor” sidebar for Molly and the Bear. I used the “circle” style of social sharing buttons, but if you browse through my site, you will notice that I sometimes choose the slim bar style for social sharing…just to spice things up a bit.
I included a custom Google ad based on the category, and then I added one of my own humorous inserts: a turkey reading a picture book and trying to figure out how to avoid being eaten on Thanksgiving.
Your theme panel will give you several options for how your footer can look. I chose what I call the “double decker.” The top half displays a visitor counter and a few other custom videos and links I want my visitors to be aware of. The bottom half sports my logo, my “About us” information, and a link to the website’s email address.
Newspaper is a multi-faceted, super-flexible theme with a world of personality and a world of options that are too numerous to feature in this one simple review. The current price tag is $64, and that comes with 6 months of support and a lifetime of free upgrades. If you want to be certain that this is the theme for you before you buy, simply surf over to the theme Demos page, choose a demo that interests you.
Experiment for awhile. In fact, jot down any pre-sale questions you may have and then go to the theme’s Themeforest comment page and chat with the author. Themeforest authors love pre-sales questions, which help to insure that buyers know exactly what they’re getting. This way, they are more likely to become satisfied customers—and that’s always good for the bottom line.
In the meantime, I highly recommend Newspaper WordPress theme. It isn’t called “The #1 Selling News Theme of All Time” for nothing.
Rita Lorraine Hubbard is a full-time author of contemporary and historical books for children. She founded and manages two WordPress book review sites: Picture Book Depot, which celebrates picture books for children and adults; and The Black History Channel, which provides content, music, current articles and book reviews for people of color. She also writes technical “user manuals” for WordPress theme developers for whom English is not a first language.