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Archive of posts with the From the workshop topic

Why a responsive theme is so important to your web strategy

by Melissa Hill on February 12, 2015 / 4 comments


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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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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Customizing WordPress themes before they’re live

by Corey McKrill on October 29, 2014 / Leave a comment

Publish button

If you’ve ever switched WordPress themes, you know how frustrating it can be to tweak your site to perfection while it’s live. The whole world can view your changes in real time, not to mention your mistakes. It’s far from ideal, sure, but what choice do you have?

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See Make in action: South Milwaukee PAC

by Zack Tollman on September 17, 2014 / Leave a comment

South Milwaukee PAC Website Screenshot

What kinds of websites can you create with our Make WordPress theme? We developed Make to provide versatile design and layout options for a variety of personal and professional sites, and we’ve been reaching out to users to find out how they’re taking advantage of the theme’s powerful features.

One organization doing exciting things with Make is the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC), which hosts over 500 events each year at its 786-seat theatre. For SMPAC, using the web to connect with the public is crucial – and Make is helping it forge those connections.

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Building blocks of responsive website design

by Drew Strojny on July 10, 2014 / 1 comment

Building blocks of responsive website design

By now, few can deny the benefits of responsive website design. The web follows us everywhere, and responsive websites help publishers connect with readers on a variety of devices.

But what constitutes quality responsive design? Adapting content width to screen size is one thing, but providing a seamless, consistent experience across platforms is quite another. With an eye toward how we design responsive WordPress themes at The Theme Foundry, let’s examine some primary building blocks of effective responsive websites.

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Widget areas in Make Plus

by Drew Strojny on June 19, 2014 / Comments are closed

Widget area

Our latest theme, Make, features a simple drag and drop page builder interface. It gives you the power to build a professional and responsive website by arranging sections and columns on your page.

We wanted to make the page builder even more flexible by adding support for widget areas in Make Plus. Widget areas unlock all kinds of interesting options. Popular plugins often add custom widgets to WordPress. These widgets can be placed almost anywhere on the page when you’re using the Widget areas that come with Make Plus. Some quick examples of what you can do with widget areas:

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Should you use a third-party WordPress commenting system?

by Drew Strojny on June 11, 2014 / Comments are closed

Choosing WordPress commenting system

Many popular blogs use third-party commenting systems. From social sign in to support for rich media, comment management systems like Disqus and Livefyre bring an array of features to online conversations. Read through these brands’ marketing literature, and you might be convinced that native WordPress commenting is dull and outmoded by comparison.

Yet in spite of the impressive feature suites these two wellheeled organizations bring to the table, WordPress comments still have a lot to offer. In fact, the WordPress comment system provides at least one extremely useful feature for small publishers – a feature neither Disqus nor Livefyre can touch.

Let’s consider that feature and others as we explore the advantages of WordPress native comments and alternative comment applications alike. We’ll begin with the option many of us already know well: the built-in WordPress commenting system.

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Style Kits in Make Plus

by Drew Strojny on June 4, 2014 / 8 comments


Earlier this week we released a new version of Make Plus, the powerful companion plugin for our new free drag and drop WordPress theme, Make.

One of the new Make Plus features is Style Kits. Think of them like custom starter themes for Make. Style Kits give you a head start with the design of your Make powered site. When you load a Style Kit, we’ll populate your Customizer design settings for your site with some hand picked style choices. You can then take control and tweak each the individual setting to get things just right.

Here’s the rundown on the rest of the new features we released:

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Quick start templates

by Drew Strojny on May 28, 2014 / 3 comments

Quick start templates make things faster

One of our most common customer requests is: “How do I set up my website like the demo website?”. The most obvious answer would be to just hand that customer an unwieldy dump of demo WordPress data to import into their website. A slightly better option would be to add a button to our theme that imports this same dump of data into their WordPress website automatically.

When building Make, we knew we wanted to solve this problem, but neither of these solutions felt like a very nice user experience. Dumping a bunch data into a WordPress site just feels sloppy. We really wanted to find a more intentional approach.

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Why we don’t use a CDN: A story about SPDY and SSL

by Zack Tollman on February 5, 2014 / 49 comments

Fast scooter blurred

Last week we moved to a new SSL everywhere setup for this website. We were really excited to implement SSL across the board, but nervous about the impact on site performance. Therefore, we made it priority to focus on performance during the transition. Using a CDN (content delivery network) for the new site was a forgone conclusion, as we assumed it would help us speed things up. But, after testing with a few different CDNs, we uncovered some surprising results.

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