April 10, 2017 / Tutorials
Flothemes Review + How-To
The whole point of a WordPress theme is to make creating your own website an easy process, without needing to pay a web developer. Being able to setup your own site is extremely important. WordPress isn’t always the simplest platform in the world to use. The frustration can come from having too many options to configure, too many ways to achieve the same goal, and too many themes to chose from. Fortunately, between well designed themes, the latest frameworks, a great support staff, and thorough support documents, Flothemes has made building a WordPress photography site extremely simple.
Flothemes vs Squarespace
Flothemes are a premium theme that you install in WordPress. Squarespace is an all-in-one platform that takes care of your hosting and content management. Squarespace is slightly easier to learn as an absolute beginner, due to its lack of options and total simplicity. I prefer the open source WordPress platform with ultimate customizability and thousands of plugins available. Anything that you’re trying to do with WordPress has probably already been done and a how-to guide has been posted to youtube. If you need a special plugin for wordpress, it probably exists. Flothemes builds on this platform’s strengths and makes it simple to make a great looking, responsive, fast, and well designed website for photographers.
Flothemes vs ProPhoto
When I was first getting into photography, ProPhoto themes were on ~90% of the websites I admired. I’ve never used them personally. My take is that they can build a decent website, but that updates don’t keep up with quickly changing technologies. ProPhoto was years behind on offering responsive mobile sites. Flothemes has been at the front of the pack in regards to taking advantage of modern web frameworks.
Let’s talk install
In my own experience, and with helping a few friends setup their new sites, Flothemes has changed the game with their latest releases. Let’s go through the whole process of setting up a new website. First you need to install WordPress (if you’re building a brand new website). Then install the theme and child theme, this will allow you to update your theme without overwriting any code changes you make in the future.
After you install your new theme, here is your starting point:
The most valuable tip I can give you today, is to read the instructions and watch the quick youtube videos for each section. They have made the process very simple, and in my opinion their back-end is laid out very well. That said, there can be a learning curve if you’re coming from a different content manager or theme company. The few minutes you spend watching the youtube videos should clear up any confusion you might have later on.
You start out with the Flothemes menu on the left WordPress sidebar:
You can just go, step-by-step, down the list from 1-8 (or 9! if you’re feeling adventurous). I’d recommend doing this if you’re building a brand new site, or transferring from an older Flothemes theme.
For each section, they have an image that guides you through every option available:
This image is your map to setting up your theme. Each section of their settings area will have an image like above, showing you exactly what the annotated setting will change. They also have visual examples for design related changes. This makes going through the entire setup process very intuitive.
Here are example layout options:
Here is a major feature of the new Flothemes back-end, page templates:
These page templates do most of the work for you. Each page has a few different design versions, you pick the one you like most. Then each section of that template is able to be modified, using the same easy format. The text areas have different available fonts, sliders for color and size, etc. This process makes setting up the important pages of your website a very straight forward process. Make sure you’ve set each page to the correct template.
My Cube theme has templates for: home, about, contact, and listing (blog) pages. When I switched themes, it took less than 20 minutes for me to go through the process of selecting my preferred options for each page template and applying them to my previously built pages. This was a total website transformation, in under an hour. Flothemes has found a way to make the whole process easy, while still looking great.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!