Longtime readers of Performancing will recognize the name, Nathan Rice. For those that don’t, Nathan is a great WordPress theme designer. He also works for iThemes.com, a premium theme resource. Lets find out what Proximity has to offer.
Proximity is a red, black, gray, white three column theme. The left side of the header contains a stylish logo while the right side contains the search box. Above the search box is where you’ll find the register, log in and subscribe links.
The navigational bar is black in color with white text links. When the mouse cursor is placed over one of these links, the background turns red providing a nice visual cue.
Below the navigational bar is where things start to heat up. Although the theme has a three column design, there are only two elements which make up the top half of the theme. These two elements are the featured story and the featured video blocks. Below these two elements lies the rest of the content. The left side of the theme contains posts with thumbnail images to give them a bit more spice. The second or middle content column is dedicated to a block filled with other content published on the blog. The third column on the right most section of the theme contains a dual tabbed block highlighting the most popular posts as well as the most commented posts. This column is a sidebar meaning, you could add other widgets or take the default widgets away.
The bottom of the theme contains your typical footer with credits to both WordPress and the theme author.
Presentation Of Content:
One thing that struck me as unique with Proximity was the single page view. Most major news sites offer up what I would call a mini post control panel. Here is a screenshot to illustrate what I’m talking about.
As you can see, there are links to four of the major social media sites for promotion. On top of that, you have links to subscribe to the comment feed and a personal favorite of mine, a link to print out the article. Thanks Nathan!
The meta section at the end of each blog post contains two different means of pushing people deeper into the site. A recent entries block alongside an related entries block. This means the proximity theme will come with built in support for related posts. Not bad if you ask me.
The Back End Of Things:
Like most other themes, Proximity contains its own set of configurable options.
- FeedBurner URL – If you are using FeedBurner, this is where your FeedBurner URL would go.
- Exclude Pages From Navigation – A nice feature to have, this option allows you to select pages that you have created and exclude them from showing up in the navigation menu.
- Feature Category -This is where you would select a category that would be used to populate the featured story block.
- Post By Category – This option provides you the ability to select multiple categories in which to showcase on the front page as featured posts.
- Feature Video: Inside of this blank text area is where you would place the embed code for a YouTube or Vimeo video. This is for the Featured Video block.
Some other things you can configure:
- 468X60 AdSense Block
- 250X250 AdSense block
- Tracking code aka. Google Analytics code
- Options for SEO such as using post tags are Meta Keywords and the option to either allow or disallow search engines from crawling your category archives.
Other Things Worth Mentioning:
Proximity comes bundled with a full fledged contact page via the Secure and Accessible PHP Contact form. Using the CSS provided with the theme, you can customize the look of the form to the way you see fit. Alternately, you could also look into using a third party contact form plugin.
The way the blog archive is displayed on Proximity is a little different compared to most other blogs. Proximity showcases your post archive by displaying images next to your corresponding posts. In fact, browsing the blog archive through Proximity is a lot like browsing the front page based on the layout of the content.
As for the comments, that section fits in with the rest of the theme quite well. Here is a screenshot of a test comment in action to give you a sense as to what they look like.
All in all, Nathan has once again done a great job in creating a unique looking, premium WordPress theme. Although there are many news type designs out their on the premium theme market, Proximity stands out thanks to its feature set along with its built in SEO.
The Proximity theme has been released and is available for purchase here. If you’d like to see the theme in action, you can check out the Proximity Theme Demo.