As one of my blog has evolved to become a directory and review based website, its current Atahualpa theme could no longer meet most of the new requirements by itself without installing tons of plugins. So I decided it’s time to change to a theme that’s more built for this purpose.
After a couple of days of research, I decided to go for GeoTheme.
If you’re familiar with Templatic Geo Places theme, then GeoTheme is pretty much similar. If not, then GeoThemes is a premium WordPress theme that helps user to build a city directory + review website.
Their initial development was pretty much based on the Geo Places theme. In this case, both themes have very identical main features. But I think as both themes continue to develop, each will eventually have their own distinct features.
After using GeoTheme 2.5 (2.6 is expected to be out soon !) for about a month, I would like to share some of the things I like about this theme so far. With this list, I hope to give you an idea on how powerful this theme is.
1) Fully and easily customizable homepage contents with widget-ready areas.
You can decide what you would like to display on the homepage content area and sidebar by placing the required widgets to the available widget-ready areas.
There are also widget areas for you to customize the content of the footer and the sidebars of place listing, place detail and blog content pages.
2) Built-in Review, Star Rating and Image Attach System.
This theme comes with its own build-in review system. Your readers can now submit star rating and review messages for places. On top of that, they can also attach images related to the place during the review submission process.
The great thing about this review system is that it’s compatible with Google Rich snippet, therefore the stars will be appearing in Goolge search results to improve the its click through rate.
For this feature, I hope that the future version will come with the review voting function such as “Was this review helpful to you?”
3) Neat and Informative Category Listing View.
By default, it comes with a very neat category listing view. Some important information such as the number of reviews and its average review values are shown for each record. On top of that, you can even sort the listing according to number of reviews and rating.
4) Enable or Disable claim listing.
There’s an option you can either enable or disable for the business owner to claim a listing. Similar to many well-known review sites, the business owner can edit the content of the listing and reply on reviews.
5) Built-in Google +, Twitter and Facebook social buttons.. and more
All the Tweet, Like and Google+ button functions are built-in. Therefore, no additional social plugin is needed in this case. If you do not like any of these buttons to be shown on the place detail page, you can easily disable them.
6) Easy customization of category icons(markers)
You can easily customize the place marker (for the map) for each category. The “Manage Category Icons” page lets you define the image file for each category.
7) Built-in Sign in and Sign Up now form.
This theme comes with its own Sign In and Sign Up Now form instead of using the default WordPress sign in form. With Social Connect plugin, it allows visitors to sign up using their Facebook, Google, WordPress and Yahoo credentials.
8) Easy addition of a new Place listing.
With its built-in Add Listing form, adding a new place is quick and easy. A user just needs to fill in the required fields, (title, address, latitude, longitude, description, special offer, social media information and etc.) and press the submit button to publish a new listing.
9) Built-in multicity capability.
Another feature I like about this theme is that it has built-in multicity function. Now, I can easily categorize the places based on cities. And a visitor can filter the place listing according to his/her preferred city or choose EVERYWHERE to have the listing for all cities.
The city information is managed on Manage City Page.
Alright, the above are some of main features that have helped me to launch my city directory website. And this is by no means a complete list of GeoTheme features. You can go to their official website to get that list.
As soon as I’ve converted my website to this theme, most of the plugins I used previously were no longer needed. Other than saving cost in some premium plugins such as MapPress Pro and MyReveiwPlugin, it makes the whole website a lot easier to manage. Just loving it at the moment.
You can also go to GeoTheme to register an account to setup a demo site if you would like to test drive before buying. This was what I did actually.
Aright that’s all for now, I will probably add more points after I’ve explored more features in the coming months.
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