Responsive Blog WordPress Theme Review

Responsive Blog WordPress Theme Review

Responsive Blog Theme Review, A Premium WordPress Child Theme By CyberChimps.

The Responsive Blog theme by CyberChimps is actually a premium theme for their free theme Responsive. Responsive in itself is a popular theme available on the WordPress repo.

Theme Review Disclaimer:

This review of the Responsive Blog theme is a paid for review, it contains no affiliate links whatsoever. All opinions in this review are my own and at no point was CyberChimps privy to this review content, nor was it edited by CyberChimps.

Responsive Blog WordPress Theme Review
Responsive Blog WordPress Theme

Reviewing the Responsive Blog WordPress Theme

Right back to the business at hand. As I often mention in my WordPress theme reviews this review of the Responsive Blog theme was conducted on the latest version of WordPress 4.7.3 at the time of writing this article.

I have no other plugins installed, I’m on shared hosting and running PHP 7.

Lets get this theme review started then

As usual you can either install via FTP and your FTP client of choice or you can simply upload via the back-end. I have chosen the back-end upload.

parent theme installed premium one on right
parent theme installed premium one on right

You will of course need the free Responsive parent theme installed before you can activate the premium child theme. Otherwise it will tell you need to download the theme install it. A simple notice on the theme screen itself will say parent theme missing install here. Which I did by the way.

Theme activation and prompts

Responsive Blog theme activated
Responsive Blog theme activated

As the Responsive Blog theme comes bundled with a few plugins we are prompted to install them. Also we have an option above that to go straight to the Theme Options page for Responsive Blog or get help.

Nice to see help isn’t too far away should you need it. I am going to install the plugins recommended for the Responsive Blog theme.

Addon plugins for Responsive Blog theme

The plugins in question are:

Responsive Add Ons: Which is available on the WordPress repo, it essentially adds some new functionality to the Responsive theme without having it baked into the theme. It’s a standalone plugin developed specifically for the Responsive free theme and respectively the pro Responsive Blog theme.

iFeature Slider: This plugin adds slides to your install of WP. You can add slides set transition times, add images then use the shortcode generated to embed in posts / pages. It’s free to use and not limited to just CyberChimps themes incidentally.

Slide Deck 3:  Another slider plugin, this one has more bells and whistles to it. The Responsive Blog child theme comes complete with a personal license of Slide Deck 3.

Plugins are now installed. Let’s take a look at the theme options for the Responsive Blog theme.

Responsive Blog theme options

Responsive Blog theme options
Responsive Blog theme options

Navigating the the Responsive Blog theme options section in the WP back-end under appearance throws up the above screen. It’s here where we can go to town and set a number of different options.

Responsive Blog Home Page

Here we can choose to override the standard front page option within WordPress. By doing this there are more options to choose from. Selecting to override will use the Responsive Blog themes custom home page which comprises of several elements, which are as follows:

Slider section: Here you can enable or disable the slider section, as well as choosing a category to display blog posts from. There is a recommended image size of 1363 x 609 px for featured images for blog posts that display in this section.

You can also choose to disable the effect of the slide as well.

Callout Section: This section deals with a call to action box just under the menu itself, or indeed under the slider (if you choose to show the slider. See below for an example:

Callout section
Callout section

Using the theme options we can change the text of the callout, as well as change the button text and lastly the URL of where to send people to once clicked. Don’t want to show it? Simply disable it from the theme options.

Other sections you cannot see in the image are:

Featured Category section:

It’s here that you can set some features for your business / blog the featured image size for blog posts or at least the recommended is 37 px by 30 px. Basically good for icons and such. As well as giving the section a title to make it attractive to visitors.

Gallery Section:

Here you can showcase images from a blog post category as well as setting a title for the section itself. Perhaps name a category portfolio then create blog posts with a featured image size of 800 x 531 px. The images shown here will be your featured with no text on them till you hover over them. Enable or disable as per your needs.

Testimonial Section:

Create a title to this section and add testimonials to show off how good we are. In the WordPress back end is a Testimonial tab where we can add them in choose a testimonial category give it an image of 150 x 150 px. These will then be shown as below:

testimonials
testimonials

Don’t want testimonials? Well disable them if you wish or enable.

Recent Posts Section:

Here you can choose to enable to disable recent posts from a specific category as well as naming the section. The output looks like the below:

Recent posts output
Recent posts output

Theme elements settings

Theme elements settings
Theme elements settings

Relatively straight forward. Here you can disable the call to action button, breadcrumbs choose whether to enable minified CSS (speed up page load) enable the blog title and choose a title. As well as displaying some copyright text of your choosing.

Logo Upload:

I’m not going to show you a screen shot of this as clicking on it takes you to the native WordPress section for a custom header, with a prompt to do it in the live customiser the suggested width is 300 px with a suggested height of 100 px.

Home Page settings:

The next section actually deals with what the Responsive Blog theme calls a “Responsive Front Page”. It’s completely different to overriding the standard home page as mentioned earlier.

Responsive front page settings
Responsive front page settings

As you can see from the above you can add a headline, some content a call to action button a URL box to choose where to send visitors after clicking on your CTA button. As well as some featured content. It looks like the below:

Responsive front page output
Responsive front page output

You can see from the above how it all lays out. The bottom three boxes are actually widgets, these can be configured from the widgets section under appearance in the WP back end.

There are no specialised widgets with specific output for this section. My advice? Create a blog post and add content, then copy the content from the text tab and add a text widget and paste the content in. Voila. Job done.

Default Layouts:

Default Layouts
Default Layouts

Here you can set the general layout of pages. Choose from default, content / sidebar, sidebar / content, content / sidebar half page, sidebar / content half page and lastly full width page.

These settings will apply to static page layout, single blog post and lastly the blog post index / archive.

Social Icons:

Social icon settings
Social icon settings

Here you can add the URLs to your social media accounts and your RSS feed if you so wish you have to input the full URL to your social media accounts. These in turn get displayed in the copyright footer as below:

Social icons in copyright footer
Social icons in copyright footer

CSS Styles & Scripts

These two sections deal with additional CSS (style elements and such) and of course scripts. You can choose to embed scripts like Google Analytics in the header or indeed in the footer then hit save.

Webmaster Tools

Webmaster tools for Responsive Blog
Webmaster tools for Responsive Blog

This section deals with verification of your website for Google, Bing & Yahoo. For instructions on how to add your website to Google you could check out this awesome post on how to do it and get indexed within 20 minutes!

That’s it for theme settings. It’s worth noting that a lot of these settings as outline above can actually be done via the native customiser in WordPress itself see below:

WordPress native customiser
WordPress native customiser

Blog posts in Responsive Blog theme

These function in the same way as all blog posts do, nothing new there. You do however have the ability to select which layout you would like to show on a case by case basis which is quite cool.

Choose your layout
Choose your layout

Great if you want to separate the layout of specific posts, choose from default, content / sidebar, sidebar / content, content / sidebar half page, sidebar / content half page and lastly full width page.

Blog post layout for archives

There are in fact three different layouts for the blog index page. You can choose from:

Blog (full posts)

This option will show all of the content from a blog post, whether it’s 10 words or 1000.

Blog Excerpt (magazine layout)

Blog magazine layout
Blog magazine layout

A nice looking clean layout in a magazine style. This option certainly looks the part and functions quite nicely indeed.

Blog Excerpt (summary)

This layout shrinks the length of the post content text on the archive page. This will show an excerpt if you have added an excerpt on the blog post page itself. If not it will take post content.

Page templates for Responsive Blog theme

There are in fact quite a few page templates for Responsive Blog. It’s here you can actually set the layout for your dedicated blog page as outlined above.

You can also choose from content / sidebar, sidebar / content, content / sidebar half page, sidebar / content half page, full width page, responsive front page and landing page.

Landing Page

This option if chosen as a page template will load the page content but will not load the menu itself. Which of course could be good for targeted email campaigns, advertising and more. See below for an example:

Landing page
Landing page

Useful if you add a contact form and pad the page out with some specific content relevant to a marketing drive and such.

Call to action buttons

The Responsive Blog WordPress theme has CTA buttons available to utilize via adding some CSS styles, all you have to do is click on the text tab on a page or post (next to the visual tab) and paste in the respective size.

There are four different sizes of buttons as shown below:

Call to action button sizes
Call to action button sizes

What about button colors?

Call to action button colors
Call to action button colors

Well CyberChimps has you covered on that as well. By adding 15 different colors for you to choose from, like the button sizes, you will need to paste this into the text editor and revert back to show them on the page itself.

Findings on the Responsive Blog theme

What I like:

  • It’s very easy to use, very easy indeed. Up and running really quickly in truth.
  • Clean layouts with minimal distraction means your visitors will focus on your content.
  • It’s responsive and renders well on my cell phone and tablet.

What I don’t like:

  • I don’t like the fact that everything is blog post related.

By this I mean on the home page with the featured category section, you have to have a post in a specific category which is fine. However the image size has to be a specific size of 37 px by 30 px I get that as well.

However when you click on the post title and navigate to the post itself it shows the tiny icon which is the featured image and it just looks silly. I think this section would be better served as page content, as not everyone want’s there service or solution content displayed in a blog post format.

  • Home page gallery section I do like this and here’s a reason I don’t.

I like it as it fits in well with the overall look of the theme and displays nicely. What I don’t like is the on hover effect it shows post content instead of a post title which makes no sense to me.

  • The inability to change colors on the theme itself.

Sure the more tech savvy would be able to do this via some CSS and go to town. I’m not saying it’s impossible to do, however for the average users they are used to seeing a color picker in the native customiser to change colors and such.

  • You have to be careful with featured images for the slider section

By this I mean as the text is dark it will not show very well on a dark image, so you might have to do some editing of your photos or add make them show in a different section to counter this.

Minor niggles?

Yes they are, easily rectifiable and they shouldn’t put you offer what is a great little WordPress theme. It’s simple and very easy to use and if you’re using the Responsive free theme, you will be at home using this one for sure.

The Responsive Blog Child WordPress Theme

Is available on Cyberchimps website and as it’s a premium WordPress theme it will cost you $67.00 to purchase.

For that $67.00 you get the Responsive Blog child theme as well as the following:

  • All 50 Current Themes & Plugins
  • 12+ New Themes a year
  • Use on unlimited websites forever
  • You can cancel anytime – no contract

If you would like to take the Responsive Blog theme for a spin you can do so over on CyberChimps, I recommend you take a look at this theme with your own eyes!

Responsive Blog WordPress Theme Review
  • 8/10
    Ease Of Use - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Overall design - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Functionality - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Cost - 9/10
8.3/10

Summary

A well made easy to use WordPress child theme. With the main theme being free, you could always download that one and play around and see if it's right for you.

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