Theme Updates: Added Magazine widget area to blog index

I’m thrilled to announce that we have released several updates for all our Magazine WordPress themes this week. In addition, all Pro add-ons were updated as well. This short post covers the new features and describes what things have changed.

Magazine Homepage widget area on blog index

We aim to create easy to use Magazine WordPress themes, but actually it took a lot of steps to create and setup a Magazine home page.

Until now the process involved these steps:

  1. Create a new static page
  2. Assign the Magazine Homepage template to it
  3. Add Magazine widgets to the Magazine Homepage widget area
  4. Configure the Front Page Settings to show the Magazine page instead of the blog index

While this seems easy for experienced users of WordPress and our themes, it is not very intuitive for beginners. Users often have to read the documentation to set up the magazine-styled front page, because it is not easy enough to figure out how it works by just using the theme.

In order to make the whole Magazine setup faster and easier, we have now added the Magazine Homepage widget area to the blog index. This means you can just add the Magazine widgets to turn the normal blog index into a powerful Magazine page. One step instead of four!

We also got a lot of requests how to show the latest posts on the Magazine template or display some sort of pagination in the widgets. With the blog index showing Magazine widgets, this is now possible.

If you want to show the Magazine Homepage without displaying the latest posts, you can still use the existing Magazine Homepage template, which just displays the widgets.

In rare cases, when you were using both the Magazine template and the blog index, both pages will now display the Magazine widgets. You can prevent that by using our ThemeZee Toolkit plugin, which includes a Widget Visibility module to control where widgets appear.

New ‘Empty Sidebar’ Layout and New Page Templates

With the latest updates, all our newer themes (released after Merlin) now support an Empty Sidebar layout. This means if you do not add any widgets to the sidebar, the themes do not show an empty sidebar column anymore, including the notice where to add widgets.

Instead, the theme will automatically switch to a centered one column layout and just display the content. That way, the themes still look good if you choose not to use any sidebar widgets.

We have also added a new “Centered Layout” page template, in case you want to use the one column layout only on individual pages or single posts, but have widgets on other pages.

WordPress 4.7 brought templates to all post types, not just static pages. We have therefore extended the “Full-width Layout” page template. It is now possible to use it on single posts as well.

Sticky Header Bugfixes

We have also fixed several small issues of the sticky header by rewriting the whole feature from scratch. The sticky header feature is currently supported in Poseidon, Gridbox, Pocono, and Palm Beach. All these themes were fixed accordingly.