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Announcing Make 1.5.0

by Corey McKrill on February 23, 2015 / 2 comments

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Version 1.5.0 of Make was released into the wild today, and we’re pretty excited about the changes included in this release!

In version 1.5.0 of Make, the Customizer gets an overhaul. We’ve added a bunch of new theme options, improved the interface for controlling some of them, and reorganized things to make everything easier to find.

New interface

Inspired by the Kirki project, we added some new Customizer controls:

A range slider for adjusting numbers. These are used for font sizes, line heights, letter spacing, and more.

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Button sets, which are easier to toggle than a dropdown. These are used in many places where there are a small number of options to choose between, such as font weight, link underlining, and the site layout.

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New Typography Options

font-propsMake 1.5.0 includes several additional typographic properties that can be adjusted, including font weight, font style, line height, letter spacing, and word spacing.

We’ve also introduced a few new customizable elements in this release, including sidebar widget titles, and footer widget titles and bodies.

You can now also customize whether links in the header, body, widgets, etc., will be underlined.

We’ve also enhanced the font family dropdowns in 1.5.0, making it much easier to find the font you’re looking for among the 500+ Google font options.

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New Color Scheme Options

Make 1.5.0 includes several new color options that will override parts of the global color scheme when set. These include header and footer colors, menu colors, and widget colors. We’ve also added separate color options for various links when they are in their hover/focus states. And for background color options, Make now includes accompanying options to control the opacity, so you can have semi-transparent (or entirely transparent) backgrounds.

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For background images, we’ve enhanced the standard background position option so you can set both horizontal and vertical positioning right from the Customizer.

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Updates & New Integrations

In addition to a couple of bug fixes, we’ve updated to the latest set of FontAwesome icons, added a new Russian translation, and added style support for Postmatic. Check out the complete changelog for more details.

For Make Plus, version 1.5.0 is mostly a compatibility update to keep up with these changes in the Make theme, and is a recommended update for all users. Stay tuned for some exciting new features we’ve got planned for Make Plus in upcoming releases.

When you have a moment to update your theme, let us know what you think of these new features. And if you haven’t tried Make yet, download 1.5.0 right now for free and give it a spin. We’d love to see what you’re putting together with Make and Make Plus, so please do share your creations!

Thanks so much for all your support and enthusiasm!

Why a responsive theme is so important to your web strategy

by Melissa Hill on February 12, 2015 / 4 comments

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When you’re searching for a WordPress theme, you’re probably not doing so on your mobile device. And when you’re sketching up ideas for a new website for your business, project or startup, it’s unlikely that the vision you’re conjuring is the stacked content and mobile menu toggle that ends up displaying on your iPhone.

We’ve talked about finding and evaluating responsive themes on the blog before, but we haven’t really touched on why it’s critical, especially now, for your website to be accessible to mobile users.

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Desk: A simple way to write and blog

by Melissa Hill on February 4, 2015 / 7 comments

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The Theme Foundry team is pretty serious about productivity and it’s exciting to be able to feature helpful tools and apps we like. This week, we’ve been talking about Desk, a writing app for Mac that makes blogging a breeze. I’ve been playing with Desk for a few weeks now, getting to know it, establishing a workflow, and testing it out with WordPress and our themes, and it’s been an overwhelmingly pleasant experience.

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Three elements of a great landing page (and creating one with Make)

by Melissa Hill on January 29, 2015 / Leave a comment

If you’re selling online, chances are you’re at least familiar with the concept of the landing page. You might have even tried to put one together for a product, event, or class you’re offering. Typically landing pages are structured differently than a traditional website, though. They have a singular purpose, and often lack standard WordPress theme elements like a header, menu, sidebar and footer. This kind of page design is easy to accomplish with Make, and in today’s post, I’m going to show you how.

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Landing pages are designed to tell a story. And in particular, they’re designed to tell the story of your product. Here are three basic principles you should keep in mind when creating landing pages.

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A Make milestone: 200K downloads

by Melissa Hill on January 20, 2015 / 3 comments

200k Downloads of Make!

Make hit a milestone last week: over 200,000 downloads in the WordPress Themes Directory. The intention with Make was to create a truly flexible drag and drop theme while staying true to what we do best — that is, building solid and soundly coded, no-nonsense WordPress themes.

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Melissa Hill joins the team

by Melissa Hill on January 6, 2015 / Leave a comment

If you’ve been hanging out in our Help Center, tweeted at us, or shot an email off in our direction over the past few weeks, we might have already bumped into each other. If not, hello! My name is Melissa and I’m so excited to be taking on the helm of Community Manager here at The Theme Foundry. It’s been such a treat to get to know the team and some of you — our friends and customers, and I’m looking forward to many more great conversations around the exciting projects we have planned for 2015!

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Oxford: Preferred WordPress Theme of the US Embassy, United Kingdom

by Drew Strojny on December 22, 2014 / Leave a comment

Image from Website Using Oxford Theme

“Well-meaning British friends advised me not to use the term “special relationship” before I came to London. They said it was hackneyed, worn out, a cliché. I listened – then quickly realized when I got here that they were wrong. The US-UK partnership really is exceptional.”

–Matthew Barzun, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom

It’s always a pleasure to see someone benefiting from one of our themes. And when it’s clear we’re really helping a small business enhance communication with its audience, seeing one of our themes in action is more than just a pleasure; it’s an honor as well.

On other occasions, we’re totally blown away that a certain person or organization has chosen to use one of our designs – and that’s exactly how we feel about this user: the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom.

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Choosing stock images for your website

by Scott Rollo on December 15, 2014 / 3 comments

Using images in your content helps you express ideas, attitudes, and sentiments, all the while improving communication between your brand and your audience. But images can only help you do these things when you choose the right ones.

When you choose poor or low quality images, your audience might find them ambiguous, bland, or, even worse, inauthentic. And you don’t want that.

Let’s explore how to identify images that support your message and elicit a positive response from your audience. We’ll focus on images from popular stock repositories that are affordable for most small businesses.

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Checklist for WordPress theme typography

by Scott Rollo on December 2, 2014 / Leave a comment

Web typography baffles many business owners and WordPress developers. What fonts and font layouts are most appropriate in a WordPress theme – and how should you evaluate the plethora of options at your disposal?

While there isn’t a catch-all solution to the typography question, one thing is certain: typography should help your readers to obtain value from your written content – not discourage them. To identify typography meeting that specification, pay close attention to the following:

  1. Readability: Reading your content should never be a struggle. It should be effortless and natural.
  2. Appearance: Typography should have a clearly defined hierarchy, contrast, and spacing among content areas.
  3. Errors: Some themes omit, overuse, or combine certain typographic styles. You should avoid themes that do this.

Think of these issues as a checklist where each item informs the quality of a theme’s typography. When you’re evaluating WordPress themes, typography should always meet these benchmarks! Let’s examine each issue in greater depth so you can identify WordPress theme typography that works for your website.

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Key performance indicators (KPIs) for Google Analytics

by Drew Strojny on November 20, 2014 / Leave a comment

Google Analytics offers a multitude of data-related features for websites serving nearly any imaginable purpose and targeting all kinds of audiences. And best of all, you can start using it today, free of charge!

There are numerous helpful tutorials on the Web that show you how to use the different tools in Google Analytics. At the end of this post, we’ll direct you to some Google Analytics-related articles that we think are relevant and practical for WordPress users.

But before you start perusing the pie charts, line graphs, and spreadsheets available in the application’s UI, it’s important to figure out what to monitor. Otherwise, you could face information overload – not to mention a lot of time tracking metrics that have little to do with your goals.

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