For this review I have tested both the free and pro version of the theme so that I can show you all the differences between them. From the outside both themes look identical though the pro version has a more advanced options area therefore I will detail which sections are absent from the free version. Before we look at the backend, let’s look at the design of iFeature (note: screenshots were taken from the iFeature Pro Demo).
The demo showcases a corporate style home page with a large featured slider displayed underneath the drop down navigation menu. Both the top navigation menu and the bottom menu underneath the footer widgets are powered by the WordPress system. The design has a kind of boxy feel to it that is reminiscent of the design many content management systems had many years ago.
The blog template comes with a slider at the top of the page. This can be set to display in the main content or span the full width of the page. The blog template is one of the most important templates of iFeature though I feel that the design is a little dated. Neither featured image thumbnails or author avatars are used in the template, which makes the page a little bland in my opinion.
Social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn are integrated into the bottom left corner of every post but it’s so easy to miss them as they blend into the grey background. A bigger problem is the size of the icons; they are only 16×16 pixels in size. These social media links also take the visitor away from your site in order to share your content. This is something that most developers are moving away from. It’s more common to have the Facebook like and Twitter retweet buttons that show the number of votes that the old style links that force a new browser tab to open.
The design is not terrible though it’s something which I believe holds the theme back. As you will soon see, the heart of iFeature lies in the backend.
The options are for the free and versions have the same section. The only difference is the free version lacks the import and export section that the pro version has. The main sections have similar features however in each section the pro version has many more features than the free one (as would be expected).
At the top of the options pages are links to important links such as CyberChimps support, documentation and their discussion forums. A welcome section is the first you will see when you visit the options area. This gives you some basic information about the theme and how to use it though for a full explanation of how the theme works you need to check the theme documentation.
iFeature has a responsive design that allows it to look great in all browsers. There is an option to switch this off in the design section. From here you can also choose the theme skin colour, the typography, select a background and set common colours.
The free version only allows you to choose from a grey and green colour scheme whilst the pro version also allows you to choose from blue, dark blue, black, orange, pink, red and white. There are an additional 3 background colours to choose from too and 4 more areas to change the colour for (footer, site description etc). The pro version also has a handy box for adding your custom CSS.
The header section can be customised using drag and drop elements. The free version is fairly limited as you can only choose from 3 element types. The pro version allows banners, icons and custom code. In the Header Options you can upload your logo and favicon, change the margin for the social icons and turn the site description and breadcrumbs on and off.
iFeature uses the WordPress menu system for the top navigation menu. Via the iMenu options are you can change the menu font and switch the home icon and search bar off. The pro version also allows you to switch on rounded corners for the menu and customise the colours that are used in the menu.
The social icons that are displayed at the top of the page can be configured in the header section too. The free version has two icon sets to choose from whilst the pro version has three. Apart from that, they are identical. Google Analytics code can also be added in the header section and with the pro version you can add additional scripts to the header.
The blog template can be configured using drag and drop using the same method as the header. Once again, the pro version has an additional 4 elements to choose from. iFeature gives you a huge amount of control over how the blog template looks. Lots of common features such as post excerpts, featured images social media sharing buttons can be enabled and disabled easily. The blog slider and SEO for the blog index can be configured here.
There are few differences between the free and pro versions in the blog section. The main differences in the pro version are additional options for the slider and the ability to set the sidebar. You can remove the sidebar, place it on the left or place it on the right. You can have two sidebars if you wish. If you choose this option you can place on sidebar at each side of the content or place two sidebars on the right. For some reason there is no option to place two sidebars on the left.
Also available in the pro version is the ability to show Facebook Like and Google+ share buttons underneath posts. Both buttons can be switched on and off easily in the pro blog options area.
The single post, archives, search and 404 templates can be modified via the templates section. There isn’t much to customise in the search and 404 templates though the archive and single post templates have a lot of features that can be switched on and off.
The main difference between the free and pro versions in the templates section is the pro version allows you to determine where the sidebar is placed. It also has an additional feature or two for each template but there isn’t much between them.
In the free version of iFeature you can only add a copyright notice. The pro version also allows you to switch off the footer completely and the CyberChimps footer link and after footer can be switched on and off too.
One big omission from the free version of iFeature is the ability to import and export your settings. This is a welcome addition in the pro version as it allows you to backup and restore your settings if you move site or if you want to copy your preferred settings to another installation of the theme.
iFeature Pro comes with the iFeature Pro Slider. The slider is responsive so looks great on mobiles and tablets too. You can add as many slides as you want via the slides page. Adding a new slide is easy, you just need to set the slide caption, link and either upload a photo or link to one.
Another good feature in the pro version is iFeature Pro Carousel. It allows you to display 6 posts at once though visitors can scroll through more.
The carousel works in the same as the slides option. You simply define the post title, the featured post image and the URL.
The slide and carousel features are great and very easy to use though I would prefer if they were updated automatically. I see no point in uploading photos and defining post titles when this information is already there in the database. Hopefully in a future version these features will be updated to automatically information from selected posts or categories.
iFeature is a great theme for business websites or blogs. Some of you will love the simplicity of the iFeature design though in my opinion it’s a little dated and could do with a revamp. Thankfully, the theme has a fantastic options areas that makes customising your site straight forward. WordPress beginners will love how easy it is to enable and disable common features and change the design layout.
I would recommend giving the free version a try first. It lacks of a lot of great options that the pro version has but it is still a very capable theme and will give you an idea of what you can expect from the pro version.
iFeature Pro usually retails for $60 but at the moment it has been reduced to only $30. The pro version includes the slides and carousel options and has lots of extra options such as defining where the sidebar is placed. iFeature Pro also supports all WordPress post formats, 8 colour schemes instead of 2, child theme support and gives you support that you won’t get with the free version. It’s a good price for such a feature rich theme.
I hope you enjoyed this review. If you have any questions about these themes or the differences between them, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them. Also, please make you sure check out WP Mods tomorrow as we will be giving away 3 copies of the pro version to WP Mods readers.
* Thanks to CyberChimps for providing a copy of iFeature Pro for this review.