If you want an outstanding WordPress theme, you would be hard pressed to improve upon Atahualpa. This theme from BytesForAll.com is the most flexible I have worked with from a sample of about 30.
What I appreciate most about it is the relative ease with which you can customize the design. Atahualpa sports a very cool options panel accessible from with the WordPress administration page (see: Access Atahulpa Theme Options).
Almost any feature (if not all features) of the theme can be modified within these options panels. Though not exactly WYSWIG, it is far superior to modifying theme layout and design in the style sheet or making changes to PHP pages. So far widgets work just fine in either side panel.
I am impressed enough that I plan to make this the default theme for my blogging/web site clients. I’ll continue to report my experiences with it. I am interested to know how easily a person who is not a web-geek can pick up a few simple CSS concepts to make mroe advanced changes to the site design.
I had a conversation last night with a colleague. Why he was calling me to talk about website stuff from the hospital after having a heart stent installed is beyond me, but such is the dedication of my friends to web technology.
His question was about using DreamWeaver (DW) for web development. I am a fan of DW, use it all the time and have been very happy with the product, but I cautioned him that typically if you build a website in DW, you’ll have to use either DW or Macromedia Contribute to maintain it.
I have a site – fbccolumbia.org – in which the church administrative staff maintain the content using Contribute. It works great, but the software costs over a hundred bucks to own, and you can only edit your website on machines where Contribute is installed.
My recommendation for small to medium-sized businesses to use online content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla. For eight bucks a month on Host Gator you can install either of these tools (plus a whole bunch of other equally useful online tools) and have a very robust CMS in which you can have almost any number of editors.
One potential drawback to this approach is that you have to be satisfied with a fairly standardized layout schema. While there is great variety in how a WordPress blog or Joomla site can look, there are some obvious similarities as well. However, the usability specialist in me sees this as a plus, rather than a minus. Both of these systems are used in search engine marketing and optimization, where small failures in usability can mean big losses. They have organically grown to incorporate a certain look and feel that, in my judgment, reflect the accumulated experience of good user interaction.
If you are interested in launching a new website, or re-deploying your site to take advantage of CMS technology, I offer these services. Email me at email@example.com.