There are quite a few theme shops out on the market these days. From Tesla to StudioPress to MojoThemes and beyond; there literally hundreds of places you can go when trying to choose the right WordPress theme for you.
With so many theme shops to rifle through, I’m going to zero in on one up and coming shop at CrocoBlock.com that is definitely worth your time considering. (hint: if you read the whole article, you’ll find a special offer just for WPKube readers)
CrocoBlock – The Fastest Growing WordPress Club
This may sound like a big claim, but with 64 themes already on their site and 1-2 more added every week, it’s less of a claim and more of an inevitable outcome.
The themes offered here aren’t just your ordinary run of the mill cookie-cutter WordPress templates.
The themes you can find on CrocoBlock range from simple and clean layouts like the Portfolio theme, Tesoru, to the engaging and rather impressive Restaurant theme, Brit’s Pub.
(as pictured below)
Not only do they offer a wide variety of themes in the professional genre, (e.i. business, portfolio, blog, magazine) but all of their themes work with either the Jigoshop or WooCommerce plugin which is a huge bonus.
The designs that are specific to e-commerce are very unique and may just be some of the best I’ve come across so far.
All and all, the selection that you find on CrocoBlock is plentiful and the variety means that you’re sure to find something you’ll like.
But aside from the variety, the features within these child themes (yes, child themes, but don’t worry about that just yet. I’ll explain in a moment.) that are pretty top notch.
CrocoBlock Theme Features:
- Simple Custom Post types
- Easy Color and Font customization (Google Fonts are built right in!)
- Free theme updates for as long as you’re a member
- Over 80 Shortcodes for easy customizations in posts/pages
- 24/7 Customer Support including a’ Live Chat’ option (not a Theme feature per say, but well worth the mention)
- E-Commerce Ready
- Responsive layout including built sliders that are responsive as well
- SEO optimized
- Data Management (Create backups of your site with a quick and simple click of the button)
All of this and more come packed inside these themes and I have to say that this is a rather amazing list of features; especially is that the case with the last four listed.
But, now it’s time to ask the question, which framework are these child themes based off of?
That would be the slightly new but still very powerful, Cherry Framework.
CrocoBlock | Child Themes Built On The Cherry Framework
All the themes offered by CrocoBlock are built on the Cherry Framework which, unlike other frameworks, is a completely free platform that you can download. (Grab the Framework for Free here.)
Most WordPress web designers or developers (myself included) who have been in the game for a while, tend to turn to frameworks like Genesis or Thesis to help speed up the overall development of their designs. They also put my mind at ease when it comes to common issues within WordPress.
Many who do their homework find that using framework theme with a corresponding child them is the safest option for a high quality WordPress site.
However, many people who want this have very little or no HTML/CSS coding knowledge, and thus these frameworks can become a real headache for them when it comes to customizing things.
However, after playing around with the Cherry Framework for a little while, I was pleasantly surprised by the array of backend options and overall features within the Framework, as well as the options within the individual Child Themes that CrocoBlock offers.
The features within the child themes have been inherited from the framework, (i.e responsive layout, data management, SEO ready ECT.) which really does make it a truly amazing platform for building any website on.
For me though, it was the ease that came with accessing and using these options that really impressed me. There is little doubt in my mind that the Cherry Framework narrows the gap a bit between the above stated dilemma.
This framework is not only a great foundation with the parent/child theme combinations, but the ability to customize a large part of the look and feel of each theme is also staggeringly simple!
This makes it a really great options for people who want something high quality but also want to be able to do the majority or all the customizing of the theme themselves.
Now, let’s go over some of those customizing options.
Customizing Your Theme Just Got Easier With CrocoBlock
Unlike other frameworks and themes out there that require you to use CSS for changes to something as simple Font and Font Size, the themes at CrocoBlock make those type of changes easy.
Customizing certain elements is fairly simple. Just go to your WordPress Dashboard, and then go to “Cherry Options” to edit elements like:
- Link and Link Hover color
- Heading and Body Text (ability to change color, size, weight and font style, per heading)
- Background color or image
- Simple Logo and Favicon upload
Not only can you makes these changes in the backend of WordPress, but you can also do this by selecting the “Customize ” option when on the Home Page of your site from the WordPress Admin bar for real-time, visual editing.
The backend does give you a bit more control when it comes to these simple customizations.
For example, editing the “Navigation” in real-time only gives you the option to change the font and font color of the menus. However, in the backend using the “Cherry Options”, you can do more like:
- Add a delay to mouse-out
- Fade in and slide down animation
Even with all this being said, to really change the look and feel of the entire theme, you are still going to need a bit of CSS. Not as much as you would with another framework, but you’ll likely need a few snippets here and there.
However, I really don’t see this as a reason for your to disregard the themes altogether. With over 60 themes to choose from, chances are you’re going to pick one that you already like the look of straight out of the box so you probably won’t want to change things up all that much anyway.
But if you do end up needing help, the CrocoBlock team has great documentation and support (including a forum) to help you along. Can’t find the answer you need?
Just contact the Help Desk from within your CrocoBlock account.
Setting Up Your CrocoBlock Theme
There are a few things you need to do before you can use your CrocoBlock theme. First off, since these theme are all based off the Cherry Framework, you’ll need to download that and install it as a Theme in your WordPress Dashboard. (The site says it comes with the Cherry Framework, but I had an issue getting it from the theme files. This was the easiest method for me.)
Once that is ready, you can go to CrocoBlock and download your desired theme. But don’t take that file and upload it to your themes just yet because it probably won’t work.
Many of the files that you get in either the Developer or Premium Pack have separate images and PSD files. These will mess with your installation and cause it to fail.
Unzip the file you’ve just downloaded and you should find the correct child theme .zip file located inside that newly opened folder with the name of your chosen them.
Take that file and upload it to your Themes section in your dashboard and you should be good to go.
Your next step should be configuring your SEO settings inside the, “Cherry Options”.
It’s best to leave the General settings as is, but you shouldn’t overlook the Sitemap XML section to decide what you want do there.
However, I suggest you leave the ‘sitemap.xml’ enabled so ensure your site is indexed in search engines.
Not having a sitemap is pretty bad from an SEO perspective, but again, the choice is up to you.
Pricing and Something Just For You
For everything that CrockBlock offers, we do have to remember that it is a theme club. As that is the case, if you want to access all the themes that they offer, you’ll have to pay to join.
The CrockBlock Theme Club comes in 3 levels.
Standard Pack, which includes:
- All WordPress themes
- Cherry Framework included
- Unlimited domains
- Theme updates
- Technical support
- Video tutorials
- 1 brand-new theme every week
- Download 15 themes per month
- Live chat
Price for the Standard theme club pack is $55 plus an additional $19 a month to have access to support and theme update
- Everything that Standard comes with plus,
- Image License
- PSD Files
The price for the Developer pack is $75 plus an additional $19 a month.
- Everything in Standard and Developer packs plus,
- All Jigoshop and WooCommerce Themes
The price for the Premium pack is $95 plus … you guessed it, an additional $19 a month.
Not sure if you want to pay for everything just yet? Then you’ll love this offer!
CrocoBlock is offering a special bonus just for WPKube readers. Grab these 3 free CrocoBlock themes from their site before it’s too late.
Though this is a nice way to dive into the themes and framework that Crocoblock offers, I should mention that these Free themes do have a downside.
That is, they don’t have the same level of support as the paid themes do, (you get what you pay for and since they are free, you don’t get much of anything support wise so be sure to expect that) but at least you have the chance to get a good feel for the themes.
Overall, I really like what CrocoBlock has to offer so far and where they’re headed. The combo of the framework with the pre-designed child themes is a huge advantage that warrants attention.
As a theme shop, they seem pretty solid as far as creative designs, and as a business, they look ready to provide some pretty great customer support.
The Cherry Framework is a really great option for both beginners and long time designers. The interface makes it easy for anyone to change simple elements, but adding elements and fully changing the theme is still going to require some code.
The only major downside I see to CrocoBlock is the price. It would be nice to have the option of a lower price for a single theme, however, from a business standpoint I understand their reason for the starting price point being $55 and the additional monthly payments.
On the other hand, they have given the option of a few free themes to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.
CrocoBlock is definitely worth throwing in the mix when deciding on a WordPress theme shop club and I hope this overview of their shop helps you guys out.
Have any thoughts or questions? Be sure to post your comments below!