I’m on a mission to choose the 5 Best Magazine themes for 2018 so I can choose a new one for myself.
I love the Motive News theme I have on my genealogy website, Out of My Tree Genealogy, but as my paid version of WPBakery Page Builder has been updated, I’m having trouble with compatibility. The theme is no longer being supported by the author so it is time to start shopping for a new one. When I first chose this theme, this particular style of WordPress website was not all that prevalent, but I’m happy to see that there are many more choices available now.
Since I’m still happy with the overall design of my genealogy website, I want similar theme but one that is being supported, and if possible, one that is compatible with the latest version of WPBakery Page Builder, but that isn’t essential. I’m always happy to explore new ways of creating web pages.
I like clean, fresh looks and I’m a sucker for good typography options. New features are fun so it would be great if there were interesting ones but the ones I have currently (category pages, mega menus, news ticker) are important too. I’ve been burned before with bundled premium plugins so I will be cautious of themes that have too many of these. I’d rather have a free plugin that is updated regularly than a premium one that I can’t get updates for.
The number one ranked magazine style WordPress theme on Envato is the Newspaper theme, now at version 8.5, by tagDiv. It is responsive, of course, and seems to have quite a few tutorials over on YouTube. It has a featured plugin by the same author called Elements that lets you insert such things as icons, social icons, progress bars and the like. The default demo looks much like my current website with a header, trending news ticker, drop down mega menus, reviews, category layouts and the usual collection of shortcodes. I like the look of the individual posts and the typography. It sells for $59 which isn’t too bad for such a full featured theme.
Another, similar theme on Envato is NewsMag, also by tagDiv. Ranked at number four, the default demo is also very similar to my current theme. It has the tagDiv composer page builder which seems relatively easy to use and is a front end page builder, meaning you see what it will look like as you are building. The single post style and typography looks a lot like the Newspaper theme and is clean and fresh. It has some custom widgets, some of which I might use like the social counter widget, the popular category widget, the author box widget, and an ad box widget. Others, like the exchange rate widget or the weather widget would be good for other types of websites but not mine. It has a smart list generator, a feature that might be handy and one I would like to explore. Apparently the theme detects the article subtitles and images and auto-generates a list.
By ThemeSphere, SmartMag has been around since 2014 and is being regularly updated. It has one-click demo imports, which makes it faster to get up and running by importing an existing demo and then tweaking to suit your website. It has a drag and drop page builder, is responsive, has mega menu support, the revolution slider, a review system, and since this author has been around for a while, I feel comfortable that they mean what the say about long term support. The typography is clean and crisp and there is a smart-scroll sidebar which I like.
I’m intrigued by the idea of Publisher‘s claim of a migration plugin to make the switching process much easier. I’m dreading the transition from the old theme to a new one. Usually a new theme is exciting but in this case, since I want to maintain the look and feel, it is more of a chore. Unfortunately, my old theme is not supported yet but I’ve sent a request to see if it can be added. By Better-Studio, Publisher also has the ‘smart list’ feature in over 20 styles and more than 15 block quote styles.
I love block quotes so this is an exciting feature.
A trending theme, Voux is decidedly different and rather pretty. It is less cluttered and fresher than some of the other magazine style blogs. The typography options are interesting and it supports Visual Composer page builder. It might be better suited to another niche, but I do like the look and it is definitely a contender.