When I first came across the Suffusion WordPress theme I thought it was a dull looking generic style design. However if you scratch beneath the surface you will find one of the biggest, most versatile, and most feature rich WordPress themes ever released. And the good news is….it’s free!
Suffusion developer Sayontan Sinha really should be commended for this theme. My only criticism is that he isn’t marketing it better. I’m shocked that most WordPress users, including myself, haven’t heard about this design sooner (It was originally released August 2009).
As you can see from the above screenshot, the default layout for Suffusion is quite dull and uninspiring. Though you need to realise that the screenshot above doesn’t represent the theme, merely the starting point for building the theme you want.
What is Suffusion?
Although it isn’t marketed as one, I would consider Suffusion as a framework. It has more customisation options than any other theme I have ever used.
Similar to the 2010 Weaver theme, Suffusion comes with a wide range of custom colour schemes to choose from. In total there are 17 colour schemes to choose from. You can also change the the colour of any section you want from the settings area.
In total there are 19 different widget areas available to you. This allows you to easily create one, two or three column designs very easily. Suffusion also features tabbed sidebar menus, a cool featured post option and support for WordPress 3.0 features like custom menus.
Thankfully, there is an import and export feature which allows you to back up and restore your favourite customisations. BuddyPress users will be happy to know that there is an official BuddyPress pack available for Suffusion too.
The Suffusion settings area has 6 sections. The first section is the introduction area. Here you can update the theme and import and export your saved designs and tweaks.
To give you a better understanding of how big this theme is and how it lets you create the design you want, let’s look at the 5 main sections.
Suffusion Visual Effects
The visual effects section is where you choose the colour and shape of your design. In the theme selection page you can choose from 17 different pre set skins. These are nothing to shout home about to be honest; there’s 9 skins with a white/grey background and a different foreground color and 8 skins with a black background and a different foreground colour.
Thankfully, you don’t need to settle for one of the default skins as you can customise everything in this section. The favicon can be changed, the fonts can be changed and the footer can be customised too. Margins can also be changed in this area.
You can change how the header is displayed and set the header background image, colour and gradient. The title and description can also be switched on and off here.
The theme skinning area is huge! You can change the colour, transparency level and positioning of every menu, wrapper and background. Essentially, this is where you choose the colour scheme of your design.
Suffusion Sidebars and Widgets
The sidebar and widget section is where you determine the internal shape of your design. As previously mentioned, you can choose from 19 different widget zones and choose either a 1, 2 or 3 column design (i.e. 0, 1 or 2 sidebars).
Each widget can have it’s position (and sometimes colour) changed to suit your needs. It’s a different approach to how other framework themes deal with structuring a site but it works well.
Suffusion Blog Features
The blog features section has 15 different pages to configure. This section is where the little details are set. For example, in the posts and pages area you can set where comments, categories, tags and the ‘posted by’ link is positioned.
SEO settings, comment settings, page navigation, Google Analytics integration and much much more can be set in this section.
The templates section gives you control over all the templates in the theme including the sidebars, author and 404 pages. All templates can be edited just like any other WordPress theme in the Appearance editor in your WordPress admin area however in the Suffusion templates section you enable and disable specific sections and change certain aspects of them like the width, colour or title.
Suffusion Custom Post Types
A nice additional feature is the ability to add custom post types. New post types can have their styles inherited from posts, pages or another custom post type you have added before.
I’m sure you can tell by now that I am a big fan of Suffusion. I have barely touched upon the number of features this great theme has. The Suffusion design is clearly not as attractive as other frameworks out there like Thesis, Headway or Genesis; but what it lacks in style it more than makes up for in features.
If you are looking for a theme which gives you complete control over how your website or blog is designed then you need to download Suffusion and try it out. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for reading :)