WP Sumo is a great WordPress theme framework from developer Dragos Roua. It was created specifically for blogs and has great social media integration, advertising integration and a fantastic style editor.
One of the most striking features of the framework is the featured area that can be added to the home page. There are 8 different variations for this area including a nivo slider, carousel or features list.
In total 9 different layouts can be chosen via the layout editor with content being displayed in 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns. There are 4 WordPress menu areas too: the top of the page, the main navigation menu, the footer menu and a menu for mobile devices.
I love the way that the framework has a traditional blog layout and the way that Google+, Facebook and Twitter share buttons have been integrated into post excerpts by default.
In order to customise the footer you need to enable footer widgets and/or the footer menu. The layout of the footer widgets works in the same way as the main design with 9 different layouts to choose from (1 to 4 columns). It works a little differently from other themes. Normally the footer widget area is already defined in the widgets section. With WP Sumo, what you need to do is assign different sidebars to each column of your footer. In the settings area there is a ‘Sidebars and Layouts’ page for creating new sidebars.
Creating a new ‘Sidebar’ basically means you are adding a new widget zone. Although it works a little differently to other themes, I must admit that once you get used to assigning sidebars for each column, you’ll find it works really well
WP Sumo offers a lot of customisation options for the comments area. You can choose from 5 comment navigation styles, define the message for when comments are closed, style the post button and enable trackbacks and pings. Facebook comments can be enabled or disabled on posts and pages and are displayed in a separate tab from standard comments to keep everything tidy.
It’s difficult to judge the design of a framework from the default layout though in my opinion WP Sumo looks great. The personal blog of Dragos Roua was designed using the framework.
A better example of what can be done using the framework is Inspired Magazine. It’s colourful, well laid out and very professional looking.
WP Sumo Settings
As I have said countless times before, the quality of a framework is not normally defined by its design but by the level of control it offers you. Although I haven’t designed a website using WP Sumo, after testing the framework over a week or so, I am very confident that it can be used to create beautiful blog designs.
In total WP Sumo has 15 setting areas as well as an import and export page and a help page that brings up the WP Sumo website in a frame. Many features are switched off by default so you need to enable them and then configure them accordingly. For example, the featured area is not set up when you first launch the framework so you need to enable it and then decide how you want the content displayed here.
The WP Sumo visual editor is nothing short of fantastic. 27 different areas of your site can be styled using the editor and you can create custom styles so that you can switch between style variations.
Cufon fonts can be enabled in a separate settings page and then be selectable via the style editor. Each font has a preview so you can quickly see how the font will look on your website.
It’s common for premium WordPress themes and frameworks to have mobile versions of the main design though few offer the level of customisation that WP Sumo does. The home page, menus, blog posts and the header and footer can also be customised via the mobile settings area.
Whereas most themes only let you define ads used in your header and sidebar, WP Sumo allows you to integrate ads directly into your posts. It lets define ads at the top, middle and bottom of your content area. Those of you who make money through Google Adsense will love how easy the framework makes integrating advertising into your content.
WP Sumo has a very basic SEO settings area too that allows you to define your SEO settings for your home page, set your noindex, nofollow and noarchive rules and change your title format. I was disappointed that there was no to disable the SEO settings so that a more feature rich SEO plugin could be used instead. Hopefully this is something Dragos will add in a future version (he has been updating the framework actively and seems to be very responsive to user suggestions).
I’ve only touched upon what WP Sumo can do. Additional setting areas include a subscription area for customisation a subscription pop up box and a blog audit area that gives you statistics about your site such as posting speed and comments density.
The import export option works great too. It allows you to export everything or simply export the settings for one particular area such as your mobile settings. 404, archives, portfolio, blog and sitemap templates are also included with the framework.
It’s hard not to be impressed by WP Sumo. It’s packed full of features, has a fantastic style editor, amazing social media integration and the ability to insert ads directly into posts and pages makes it a great design for those who are building websites for Google Adsense.
The quality of a WordPress theme framework depends on your own level of experience and personal tastes though I believe WP Sumo is a great option for beginners and experienced developers. You’ll really see what it can do once they release their upcoming child themes.
A standard license for WP Sumo retails for $89 and will give you automatic updates, unlimited use and standard support. For extended support you can purchase a developer license for $129. If you apply the discount code WPMODSCODE at checkout you will get 25% off these prices; thus reducing the license costs to $66.75 for a standard license and $96.75 for a developer license.
With a framework as big and feature rich as WP Sumo, it is difficult to review everything that it can do, therefore if you have any questions about the framework please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer your query.
Link: WP Sumo
* Many thanks to Dragos for sending me a test copy of WP Sumo for the purpose of this review.