Veggie WordPress theme review
The Veggie WordPress theme is a product of Anariel Design a specialist designer of quality WordPress themes for both self-hosted WordPress users and WordPress.com. In this review, I am going to be taking a look at one of their newest WordPress themes Veggie.
At its core, the Veggie theme is specifically for those who love to blog about food, share recipes and more. Without further ado let’s take a look at this theme and put it through its paces.
As usual, I am going to be performing this review with the latest version of WordPress (4.3.1) and absolutely no plugins installed. I have a dummy domain for testing and have deleted all content, so I have a nice blanks canvas ready for testing.
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Installation of the Veggie theme:-
This can be done one of two ways, for FTP (FileZilla is always good, plus it’s free) or install via the Appearance menu in your WordPress backend. For this review, I am going to be installed via the WordPress backend. So here goes!
Installing Veggie is just how you come to expect nice and straightforward. Bearing in mind I have no content on the site as yet, what does it look like with nothing on it? Take a look at the below to see what I mean:
Well we know it’s installed perfectly, sure it’s a bit blank at the moment but let’s take a look at the customization options for Veggie. Let’s see what we can tinker with, after all, you may have a color scheme or layout in mind if you’re looking at using this theme.
Customization options for Veggie
It’s always been a bone of contention with some. Should a WordPress theme have its own settings page? It’s frowned upon by some and others don’t mind it. Me? I’m not too fussed either way, however with the way the native WordPress customization panel is coming on I’m leaning towards using it more.
As you will see from the above Veggie uses the native WP customization settings. We have a varied range of options to choose from, so let’s take a look through each one and see what there is on offer.
So the first entry in the WP custom settings screen has a raft of choices for you to get your teeth into. We have an option to hide the search box, so if you don’t want people to search your site we can do away with it completely.
Next up is ‘Blog Layout’ we have list post layout, right sidebar layout, left sidebar layout, two column grid layout, two column grid with sidebar and lastly three column layout.
We will dig more into these later on in the review as I have no content on display at the moment I can’t really show you what they will do as yet. Worry not though we will indeed cover them!
Lastly, in this section, we have the option to hide the post author/date from posts. Now I know some blogs don’t show this info and some do.
However, it’s nice to have the option to remove it if you are that way inclined. We can also hide the author bio if you wish, you know the standard one at the base of blog posts.
Standard fare now for WordPress themes using the native WP customization panel, we can give the site a title you will see I named my test site ‘REVIEWING THE VEGGIE THEME’ as funnily enough, that’s what I’m doing.
You also have the option to choose an icon to be displayed in browsers when viewing your website and as an app icon for mobile users.
|Custom CSS panel:|
If you’re looking to make small changes to the theme itself you can do so and paste in the CSS edits into this rather handy box.
If however, you are looking at making CSS design changes wholesale, I strongly recommend using a child theme, guess what?
The Veggie WordPress theme comes with one already, which is handy for those who love to tinker with the design of a theme and make changes!
If you have a specific color scheme in mind for your new website using the Veggie theme then here is where you can change colors for certain elements.
As you can see from the image all elements with blue color will change things like the search box icon and others throughout the site.
They’re all pretty self-explanatory and really don’t need me to waffle on about them here.
Save to say you can indeed change the color of elements thus helping you get the color scheme you need for your new site.
Not the most descriptive panel title so far! However all this one does is allow you to change the color of the header text (if you have elected to go for text over an image as a logo) and finally change the color of the background, nice and simple.
Here you can display an image of your choosing the theme does recommend a size of 2600 x 300 pixels.
The image itself will sit right above the text of the site or the logo of the site, could be good to use for highlighting something of particular interest.
This item and the one before it are pretty much the standards in all WordPress themes that use the native custom settings screen. However, if you wanted to add in a paper background, think a crinkled one that might look rather nice.
Would give it a real cooking/foodie look, just a quick idea, anyway I’m waffling! Get it (waffles, food, Veggie theme, oh forget it).
Again this is a standard fixture for WordPress themes, we cant really do anything as yet as I mentioned earlier we have no content to display, no pages or posts. If you already have content and are changing over to the Veggie theme then all your menus would be shown here.
It’s worth noting that the Veggie WordPress theme has four widget areas. One for the sidebar and as the image denotes three more for the footer as well. Minimal and concise, not a million different widget areas all over the shop!
At the very bottom of the theme, you will see a note that says: ‘© Veggie Theme by Anariel Design. All rights reserved’ well this section allows you to change that to your site name or whatever you want to put down there.
You also have the option to hide it completely if you so wish via a checkbox.
So that covers native settings what’s next?
Well as you no doubt know by know I aim to be as thorough as possible and give you the consumer all the information I believe will help you in the making that all important buying decision.
So next up we will be taking a look at importing demo content for the theme itself and seeing what it can do in terms of post creation, page creation, and other shenanigans. So let’s continue on with the review of the Veggie WordPress theme review then.
Importing demo content into the Veggie WordPress theme
We’ve covered the native theme settings for the Veggie WordPress theme now we are going to look into importing demo content into the theme so we can see how it functions and what it can do.
We have no content at the moment obviously and what we need is of course content! Thankfully the theme does come with demo content which we can upload via the WordPress import plugin. I like to do everything fresh from scratch so you can get a feel for what’s in store if you decided to purchase the Veggie WordPress theme.
Following the rather healthy theme documentation
So far I am quite impressed by the length of detail incorporated into the theme documentation. It’s great and not overbearing with needless info on things you will never need. It’s refreshing to see that there are minimal plugins used as well. Not that there is anything wrong with plugins, however, installing shed loads of theme can indeed slow your site down. So major plus for me so far.
Anyways let’s crack on….
Firstly we will need to install some demo content, you don’t have to you understand. However, for this review I am going to follow the instructions to the letter. We will need the WordPress import plugin, this can be found by simply clicking on the ‘Tools’ menu in your WordPress admin sidebar.
You will need to install this plugin to enable the importation of theme content, so it can look like the demo. Again you don’t have to but to show you what the theme can do, let’s do it.
Theme import tool installed, what’s next?
Well in order to get the best out of the Veggie WordPress theme, there is indeed a couple of more things we need to do before we can import content. We will also need to install the Widget Importer Exporter, as we want our widgets to look like the demo.
There are some other plugins we will need to install. Firstly as this theme supports WooCommerce we will need to install that, it does come bundled with the Soliloquoy slider, support for Jetpack and lastly another plugin called Simple Instagram.
Installing and setting up Soliloquy
As the theme comes with a license for Soliloquy we will need to navigate to themes folder and locate the plugin in question, again you do not have to install Soliloquy and can use the theme without it. The theme does include a license key for Soliloquy and in order to receive updates, you will need to verify the key.
Once you have verified your license key you will need to do the following: go back to the Soliloquoy slider section in your admin sidebar (it adds one upon activation) then go to settings and the addon tab and look for the box that states themes addons. Install it and activate it. You will need to do this as the Veggie theme uses a slider theme which is part of the themes addons extension for Soliloqoy.
The Veggie theme uses the following settings for Soliloqoy:
I am going to install WooCommerce as well, there’s no point showing you how to install WooCommerce as it’s fairly straightforward. We will, however, have to create our own shop, so I will disappear now and go through the installation of WooCommerce.
I may run a tutorial in the future on setting up WooCommerce, on this occasion I shall do it behind the scenes so to speak…..Ta daa, I’m done.
Next up the Widget importer / exporter plugin
Simply navigate to the WordPress add plugin section via the back end and search for ‘Widget Importer & Exporter’ and hit install now and there you have it your widget importer is installed nice and simple.
I’m not going to install Simple Instagram or Jetpack
Not to be difficult, but as this theme review is on a dummy domain I don’t really want to install JetPack on it and secondly I don’t have an instagram account!!! However, if you do purchase the theme do note that it supports both!!!
Let’s import some content to the Veggie theme
Firstly I’m going to import some post and page content through the WordPress import tool, then secondly I will import some widgets via the Widget importer. ***It’s worth noting that in order to get the best out of the WordPress widget import plugin you have no sidebar widgets already installed. It’s not a major thing just means less work for you after the import is complete. So I will go off and import posts, pages, and widgets.
The theme does as mentioned earlier come with an XML file for the importation of content so you can set up your site as per the demo. So I am going to import everything that needs importing to get going.
You will also need to ensure you click on ‘Download and import file attachments’ to ensure everything is imported as per the demo of the Veggie WordPress theme.
It shouldn’t take too long to import, and once it’s done voila we have some great content on our site to play around with, howev,er we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. We also need to import the Widgets!
Again all we have to do once the plugin is intalled is navigate to the themes folder and find the file ending with .wie once that’s done simply import it in and your widgets are there for you.
I guess you’re dying to see what it looks like? Well there’s a couple more things we need to do. We need to sort out the menus so it fits the part! We need to set a primary menu for the theme.
As the import has created a menu for us all we need to do is to allocate it to one of the themes two locations. The primary menu will be allocated to the primary menu slot, so we do that by ticking the box and saving.
As you can see from the image to the left you have options for links to Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, Vimeo and Pinterest.
The demo content import set’s up this menu, however, there is support for other social networks such as Codepen
Digg, Dribbble, Flickr, GitHub, Linkedin, RSS Feed (urls with /feed/), Tumblr, WordPress and lastly YouTube.
So you are indeed pretty much covered by social networks. What exactly does this menu do?
More on that later, let’s continue you shall we?
There is one last thing to do
In order to get the theme set up as it should be we need to head on over to the reading settings in the back end under settings in the admin menu sidebar, here you need to set the blog page as blog page and the home page as one of five different options, front page one, two, three, four or five.
I’ve gone to front page one, next we will look into the makeup of the theme, options and more. So let’s continue.
What does the Veggie WordPress theme look like!!!
So we have followed the demo importation to the letter, we have covered everything (apart from installing JetPack and of course Simple Instagram) and we are now ready to take a look at what our shiny new site looks like using the Veggie WordPress theme…..
As you can see it’s quite a beast in terms of layout, the demo import has worked a treat thanks to the concise theme documentation and we have everything in place as it should be. As the demo import does include a raft of pages and content the theme is nicely padded out and you can get a real idea of what the theme could look like with your very own content.
The front page is by and large widget driven
Thanks to the import of the widgets pretty much everything on the front page is indeed widgets, you can play around with the widgets to your heart’s content to get the right look and feel. So let’s take a look at the widgets themselves, shall we?
Veggie WordPress theme & widgets
As I mentioned the theme’s homepage is mainly widget driven. This gives you a great degree of flexibility on what you want to show on the homepage. So let’s take a look at this and get to grips with it.
Thankfully the theme import has done this for us already, for those who are interested see the image to the right. By doing this it opens a range of options for your home page, if you, of course, decide to use it rather than having your blog posts page as your homepage.
Whatever floats your boat! Let’s take a look at those widgets then.
Veggie theme widget layout
The above is taken directly from the theme documentation and gives you an overview of what widget section will do what. It’s handy to know what widgets you can tinker with and which section they relate to.
As the image shows you there are two widgets in the block which is above the main menu. The first being the soliloquy block, so you can create a slider or use the imported one.
I was tinkering around with the theme and decided not to have a Soliloquy slider above the main header, for me personally I think it detracts overall from the site content. That’s my opinion though, take it or leave it.
I have left it there for illustrative purposes!
Next up is the Veggie feature content widget, here you can select how many features posts you wish to show along with the column layout for said posts.
In order to display them, you just need to select the category in this case feature. You do not have to go in and make the post a sticky post to make this work, you just need to add in the category URL. You can also have more than one category just by adding some commas.
If you refer back to the image with the green highlighted section the page content part actually displays content from the page itself, pretty self explanatory.
However, if you wanted to go to town and introduce your new food blog to people you could have course fill this in with whatever you desire. This is a great option for SEO. You can add in some real relevant content here instead of just relying on widgets to fill the screen, a nice touch indeed.
Front page second block & the rest
Now, this block consists of a number of items from our widget import. In fact, it does consist of 4 widgets. The first widget which is recent posts (the one repeated a number of times) is set to one column with a specific category URL in place which makes it look thus:
This is the one column layout for a specific category, it’s well styled and certainly is eye catching. The image is taken from the allocation of a featured image in the blog post itself.
The next widget is from a promo block, here you can add a call to action add some text and a specific URL to point visitors to as well as changing the button text to make it more appealing.
There are two more widgets in place which are different from the image of the page structure shown elsewhere in this section. Both of these widgets are the same as the first one which is a recent posts widget, they have the settings of a four column layout and a three column layout all pointing to posts from a particular category.
The rest of the front page consists of more recent posts widgets from different categories with various column methods displayed. I love the simplicity of these, I really like the layout and what the developers have done by keeping it concise and clean. Great stuff so far!
Page templates for the Veggie theme
Well, there are 5 templates in all the default one (sidebar to the right), full-width template, right content no sidebar (image above), a grid template and of course the front end template which is used for your homepage. So you have plenty of different templates for you to use at your disposal.
That’s pages covered what about the blog page itself?
We’ve come pretty far in this review so far, would not blame you for not remembering the blog layout via the native WP customization panel! Well take a look at the gallery below for how you can change your blog page layout thanks to this theme harnessing the native custom panel:
You’re spoiled for choice in fairness with the above. Some great looking layouts, remember you don’t have to use the front end page template as your homepage you could lead in with one of the above layouts!
Post content in the Veggie WordPress theme
As the demo content includes recipes from the creators of the theme as well (which you can use freely, which I thought was rather nice of them!) let’s have a look at how a recipe is displayed:
The image shown is of blog posts with quite obviously a recipe for Avocado Pasta, you have the title date of the post and who created the blog post itself.
Now I didn’t install JetPack but that little image grid underneath the text will be powered by JetPack and it’s gallery creation thingy. You don’t have to have JetPack installed to make this theme work, you could use a plugin specifically for gallery creation if you wanted to!
What I love about the theme is the simple elegant boxes, the clear division between post content and a highlighted section. In this case the ingredients for 2 box and the method box.
This blog post does not have a scrap of shortcode in it. Nothing. The boxes are simply styled divs which give the lovely border around them and make them prominent to the visitor.
All you would have to do is add the following into a blog post via the text editor:
<h3>Ingredients for 2</h3>
<li>150g feta cheese</li>
<li>1-2 tablespoon olive oil</li>
You then end up with a lovely box around the content of your choosing. Really like that.
Veggie & WooCommerce compatibility
As you can see from the above WooCommerce really does take to the Veggie WordPress theme, minimal, functional and well balanced. The product pages themselves look rather good as well and not overcrowded with a bunch of distractions.
Whilst the product pages are not too overcrowded, it would have been nice to have a sidebar on a product page itself. I know some of the single product page layout to be all about the product, however, not everyone feels this way.
Another sidebar in the back end would have been nice one specifically for WooCommerce pages detailing offers and what not. This might seem like a really fussy statement to make however it’s down to personal tastes, and that’s something I quite like.
Google Structure data
Having a pretty and minimal blog is all well and good, sure the Veggie WordPress theme looks the part, however, how does it stand when you run it through a Google structured data test?
Well, I am pleased to tell you it performed very well, very well indeed. This is usually the part that most WordPress themes fall to pieces with code that throws up errors on the structured data test. You want your blog to get found after all and the Veggie WordPress theme will help you do just that!
The cost of the Veggie WordPress theme
With reference to pricing on the Veggie theme, you will be pleased to hear the following: There are three different license options available from Anariel Design the creator of the Veggie WordPress theme and very kind donator of the veggie recipes!!!
They are as follows: