I realize free themes are nice, but if you want some incredible flexibility and easy customization, then you need to pay. If you’ve been a WordPress user for a few years, then you know that WP and themes have come a long way. Remember when the most you could hope for would be choosing a layout with 1 or 2 sidebars. If you’re lucky, you’d get a full-width option.
Not anymore. The community kept wanting more customization and the theme developers have responded. One theme developer in particular that has responded in spades is Catalyst Theme.
If you join any WordPress theme forum, you’ll see endless requests about customizing a theme. Catalyst is a true DIY build your own WordPress website from scratch theme. I bought it being a little sceptical about its claims with respect to the degree of easy customization. However, after using it on a project, I’m astonished.
The reason I say “easy customization” because if you know HTML, CSS, and PHP you can pretty much do anything with any theme. The aim of Catalyst Theme is give customization control to people who are not coding experts. I know my way around a CSS style sheet and even some PHP, but I’m by no means a PHP expert. Hence, I had a lot of fun with Catalyst Theme.
3 Reasons to Use Catalyst Theme Are As Follows:
1. You Get Complete Layout Control
My hobby is trying new themes and then writing about them. When I review a theme, the first thing I look for is the degree of layout of control I get without diving into the PHP. Webmasters and bloggers want the ability to create custom layouts for specific pages and posts. Catalyst delivers on this important criterion in spades. You can create any type of layout for any individual page or post you can devise. The layouts are customized with widget placement using hooks. Since Catalyst makes it easy to place widgets pretty much anywhere, you have easy layout customization control.
2. You Enjoy Fast Default Website Setup Options
Catalyst also understands that not every user will be designing from scratch. Therefore, they wisely included what they call an EZ panel loaded with default layouts, styles, etc. You choose layouts and styles from a series of drop-down menus. What could be easier or faster?
3. The Devil is in the Details
I’ve built hundreds of sites in WordPress. I’ve used many themes including several “WordPress theme generators” and there is no doubt that Catalyst Theme focuses on the details. What I mean by this is the degree of design and style options is mind-blowing. For example, when you create a custom widget placement section, you can, through a series of drop-down menus, fully stylize that widget with respect to font, background, padding, margins, etc.
These are definitely the most important features and benefits you gain using Catalyst. It comes with an easy and intuitive series of 3 design panels. If you are a coder, you can insert your custom code as well.
3 other key points worth mentioning are as follows:
1. You pay only one time. This means you get free updates for life.
2. Your 1 time payment provides you lifetime access to Catalyst’s support forum.
3. You can use Catalyst on as many domains concurrently as you wish. You aren’t restricted to the number of projects on which you use Catalyst.
My only real complaint with Catalyst is the skins offered aren’t that great. I wouldn’t use any of them for a website. Granted, they’re designed to get you started quickly with a default design. However, I’d love to see some superb designs that could be used “as-is”.