The people from Pootlepress have done it again. They are known for their great extensions and plugins for the Canvas and Storefront theme from WooThemes. But this time they have come out with their own theme.
It’s called 18 tags and is marketed as lightweight, fast and easy to customize. And after going through it I must agree. You can get it free or, by paying a $49 yearly license, you’ll get premium support. From my experience, the latter is always worth it. But the fact that you can download it for free, well, you have the opportunity to give it a try.
As we are seeing more and more with the new themes, the settings and customizations are all via the WordPress customizer. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with it yet, I would highly recommend as we see more and more settings ending up there.
The beauty of using the customizer for your theme features is that you get to see the changes to your site even before saving it.
So let’s break it down and see what options you have in the customizer and specifically for easy customization that comes with the 18 tags theme.
Uploading a logo into your header is similar to other themes that allow this option. But the one thing that stands out is the ability to resize the logo, which automatically increases the header height. You will find that when you size it larger, it will only go as large as the original file uploaded. There may be a point where you are sliding it and nothing happens. I like this feature because it doesn’t allow you to make it bigger than the original file, so you don’t have to worry about your logo becoming unfocused.
You can add an image to the background of your header as well. Further down the menu, you can also change the background color.
Social Icons, Etc.
It also has built-in features if you want your social icons, email, and phone number at the top, with the option of making that black bar sticky or not (sticky meaning that it will stay at the top when users scroll the page).
And if you find the default color for this is hard to ready, you can easily change both the background and icon colors in the secondary navigation settings.
As you can see here, there are several options of customizing your navigation or menu bars. You can choose from a wide range of Google fonts, styles, sizes and colors, as well as the colors for the background. And as with the header area, you can adjust the Menu height, a nice option to have. You have all these same options for a secondary navigation bar as well (except for the menu height).
One particularly nice set of options is in the Navigation Style. I cannot tell you how many times someone has asked me to center their logo and menu.
Here are the different styles with screenshots to give you an idea of how they look.
Centered Inline Logo
There are also specific settings for a mobile menu.
Tag 18 comes with built-in mega menu options. This is particularly helpful if you have a complex site with a lot of sub-menus. This is used often in medium to large-sized eCommerce sites.
I have created a menu to demonstrate this with one complex part.
The results give us a bit of a hard-to-navigate menu.
Now all I have to do is go back into the menu, and open the Tutorials and Reviews item. You will see a new option called Make a mega menu. Tick that box and save.
Now when we click on Tutorials and Reviews on the site, we get this instead.
You can easily change the background of your content and hide or show certain elements.
There are several options for customizing the headings and body content, including your choice of several Google fonts, as well as colors and styles. The other great option, especially for those you are into details, is the line height in both headings and body text, as well as letter spacing in the headings. This is particularly helpful with certain fonts for better readability.
You can also change font and background color on your buttons, such as your search button, comment submission button, or any others. And you have the three standard layout choices as well, with the option for a boxed layout. This means instead of your site being full-width, you can box it in and have a background surrounding it.
Note that these content changes are global, which means they affect every page and post. But 18 tags does have the option for some single page and post customizations, which I will touch on shortly.
If you have a blog on your site, you can do some customizations to the archive page and your single posts.
The archive page has some pretty cool options for layout. You will see that not only can you choose from 3 layout options, but you can also create a grid. So if you’d rather not have your standard layout, you can tweak it for more of a magazine style layout with columns and rows. With excerpt word count control, you can tweak your archive page several ways to make it just perfect. And, if you want to remove the post meta, which some people prefer, you can do that very easily as well.
The single posts has a couple of layouts with adjustments you can make on heading size and color.
The customizations for the footer layout are pretty standard, but the one that does stand out is the column choices. In addition to the usual 1-4 columns, you have the option for some width variations as well, which gives you more control on how content fits when choosing your widget.
The options you have for the widgets covers most of what you would need, with a nice addition: changing the bullet color.
And lastly, some color customizations for the footer bar.
The customization options I have shared with you are all global settings. This means that if you change the heading size and color, it changes it everywhere.
But 18 tags takes this one step further and offers customizations for each specific page. When you are in a page, you will now notice a Customize Page choice in your top WordPress menu.
For example, adding a background color, image or video per page. Hiding page elements and turning off the header or footer.
This feature can come in real handy and gives you an extra layer of creativity. For example, let’s look at creating a landing/sales page.
Here is the page as is.
If I click on Customize Page I now get these options:
And these are all the options that I have.
But I want to keep it simple, so I am going to:
- Put in a light background color
- Hide header (and I would have hidden the top bar if I had it)
- Hide the title (since I put one in the page as I wanted it centered)
- Hide footer and footer bar.
And here are the results.
Of course, you can get even more creative, and this theme works with both the free Pootlepress Page Builder and Divi for even more custom page layouts.
As you can see, the 18 tags theme if pretty feature-rich and has several options for customizing without knowing code or having to install another plugin. For a free theme, it’s pretty packed, but I would definitely recommend paying for the support.
For some, it may be overkill and more than you need, but it’s a nice addition that gives users the ability to customize some of the elements on their site.
Now that you have seen what the free version can do, let’s take a quick tour of the 18tags Pro theme. You will get all the great features I’ve already shown you but with a live editor to even have more control over your site.
Watch this short video as I give you a walk through the live editor.
You will find several videos here to watch and where you can download the theme. Install, play around with it and see if 18 tags if right for you.
And if you want to learn even more about 18tags Pro, you can check it out here. I can guarantee you, it’s worth your time and your money.