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    JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers

    By in Wordpress Theme

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    Review of: JustWrite
    WordPress Theme:
    Alexandru Cosmin
    Version:
    1.0.4
    Price:
    Free

    Reviewed by:
    Rating:
    3
    On July 1, 2014
    Last modified:July 1, 2014

    Summary:

    JustWrite is a nice theme for writers and bloggers. It's also for anyone who wants a free WordPress theme with a clean and uncluttered interface, with big and readable font size, but still having a decent number of customizable options.

    I'd give it a 4-star rating if the theme supported some of the shortcomings/missing features. I gave it a 3-star rating also because of lack of proper support from the developer, and no response to my queries on the theme support forum (as well as via e-mail) for more than a month.

    JustWrite is a modern theme and still in its infancy at version 1.04, as of June 2014. I'm hoping it'll have more features and overcome some of the shortcomings in the next version.

    From the WordPress.org theme details page for JustWrite theme:

    JustWrite is a theme with clean lines and an open-spaced design that can be used to show off your latest articles.

    Justwrite demo 2 JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers

    I had searched and was testing out some WordPress themes for my writer website, which had a big, readable font. Recently, I came upon this JustWrite theme. Its name told me, it was good for writer sites. The theme demo showed a nice, readable font. This made me install this theme on my site.

    There are other free themes which have big readable fonts too, but most of them have minimal options. Some don’t even have a proper navigation menu.

    This is the theme I’m using on my writer website. It’s not perfect and surely has some short-comings but, looks nice. Also, my website seems to load much faster than with the highly customizable theme I was using before.

    Note that JustWrite by no means may compare to paid/premium themes. If you’re looking for paid themes, Harsh Agrawal has reviewed a few premium WordPress Themes in the past. If you prefer using a premium theme, I’d advise Swift Premium, which Harsh reviewed a while ago. I’m also using it on one of my blogs.

    JustWrite Theme Features’ List

    Below is a list of JustWrite Theme Features:

    • Big, Readable Font
    • Customizable Logo Image, Header Image and Font Color
    • Customizable Top Menu, Link and Background Colors
    • Two Widgetized Sidebars and Two Mini-sidebars
    • Wide Right Sidebar
    • Very Visible ‘Back to Top’ Button at the Bottom
    • Post Excerpts and Featured Images
    • Theme Options Support
    • Favicon Support
    • Featured Posts Slider
    • Disable Comments, Authorbox and Footer Credit Link
    • Sticky Navigation Menu

    Below, I’ll talk about JustWrite’s features in a little detail and then about some of its short-comings/missing features.

     

    JustWrite WordPress Theme Features

     

    Big, Readable Font

    As I mentioned above, a big readable font was what attracted me to try this theme. I’m a big fan of such fonts and have always disliked webpages with tiny fonts. The first thing I do when visiting a website is to increase the text size in my browser, if they use tiny or small-sized font.

    Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing suggests that your blog look nice and clean, in her post Transform Your Blog into a Paying-Gig Magnet in 7 Steps. And, it should have a big, readable font, that’s consistent throughout your blog.

    JustWrite has a decently big and readable font size, which is easy on the eyes of the reader. A JustWrite theme review from another blog said, “Your eyes don’t bleed” (when using this theme). Surely, our eyes bleed reading those tiny font sizes.

    JustWrite boasts many other features as well, as you can read below.

    Logo Image, Header Image and Font Color

    You can upload an image logo or even a header image, which is nice to have. Blog title and tagline text color can be chosen too.

    Top menu, Link and Background Colors

    You can completely customize the look of the top menu through the WordPress customizer. Same for the link, background, border and font colors.

    Typography

    There are four available fonts, from Style1 to Style4. You can select these under Content, in the WordPress Customizer, to change the typography.

    Two Mini-sidebars

    If your blog/website visitor’s monitor resolution is 1600 px or higher, they’d see two left-side mini sidebars (if you enable them). However, if their monitor resolution is lesser than the above, they won’t see these sidebars at all. These sidebars are for larger screens and wouldn’t look nice if you somehow enabled them on smaller screens.

    Customizable Footer Text

    You can customize what you want others to see in the footer. There’s a credit link when you install JustWrite, but under Theme Options, there’s an option, which if checked, removes this credit link. See the screenshot in the Disable Comments feature, below. Not everyone likes to show a credit link back to the theme author’s page, so this is nice.

    Two Widgetized Sidebars

    One widgetized main sidebar on the right of the main blog page, another posts sidebar visible in single posts. These two widgetized sidebars would be enough for most people.

    Under widgets, you’ll also see a few widgets installed like Featured Posts, Popular Posts, Recent Posts, Social Buttons, and another one called Tabs. This Tabs widget provides 4 widgets in tabbed form. Cool I’d say.

    Wide Right Sidebar

    Many free themes have a narrow sidebar at something like 270 or so pixels. JustWrite gives you a wider sidebar at 400 pixels. This is good to display big ads or a big headshot and wide text widgets like the Popular Posts widget.

    Clearly Visible ‘Back to Top’ Button in the Footer

    JustWrite  Back to Top JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers

    This is a nice little addition at the bottom of your blog/website. It’s quite noticeable and no one can miss the arrow in a big, red circle. Clicking it takes you to the top of the page, whichever page you’re on. Very handy if you’re reading a long page and at the end, want to go back to the top without wanting to scroll back all the way.

     

    Post Excerpts and Featured Images

    Most simple themes I tested till date don’t have an option of displaying excerpts on the front page, even when WordPress supports it. At least I don’t like a blog having lots of full-sized posts. It’s wasting visitors’ bandwidth and time. JustWrite supports this post excerpts feature.

    Additionally, it also supports featured images, which if you upload when publishing a post, you can see image thumbnails along with the text excerpts. Author, Date and Categories are also shown along with the excerpts.

    Theme Options

    JustWrite Theme Options JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers
    A few options can be set using the Theme Options under Appearance, on the WordPress Dashboard.

    Following are the options available:

    Favicon Support

    You can upload a custom favicon image to show in the title bar of your browser, when someone browses your blog/website. If you don’t know how to create a favicon, read #4 in this blog post by Harsh Agrawal. There’s also a great resource list by Srivathsan using which can create a free favicon for your website/blog.

    Featured Posts Slider

    There’s also an option to display a featured posts slider with up to 10 featured posts. Note that you’ll have to mark some posts as featured posts, to display them on the slider.

    Advertisement Banners

    Another option is to display ad banners in two sizes – 728x90px and 160x600px. I haven’t tried this one.

    Disable Comments, Authorbox and Footer Credit Link

    JustWrite Disable Comments JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers
    If you want to disable comments, disable the author box or the footer credit link, you can easily do this from the theme options.

    Note: In case of disabling comments, they’re completely disabled. If you just want to disable them on pages and keep them enabled on blog posts, I advise using the Disable Comments WordPress plugin.

    Sticky Navigation Menu

    The top navigation menu is sticky, which is a nice feature. When it becomes sticky, you can see the social icons on the right side of the menu.

     

    Shortcomings/Missing Features

    Sticky Menu not Sticky

    Lots of times, the top navigation menu, which is expected to be sticky (that is, stick to the top of the browser window), is not sticky at all. I have tested this in 4 browsers. Also, I didn’t get a proper reply/response to this from the theme developer, when contacted by e-mail/forum. But, what can we expect with a free theme?!

    Removing Author, Date or Categories and Custom CSS

    Removing Author, Date or Categories from displaying needs you to edit PHP files. The theme doesn’t have an option to input custom CSS code. But, if you know a little CSS, you can install and use the Simple Custom CSS WordPress plugin to change some of the options.

    This was how I removed the date from my blog. It’d have been nice to have this CSS functionality built into the theme itself.

    Less Number of Fonts

    Only four font styles are included with the theme. Though these are nice and readable, a few web-safe fonts or Google fonts would have added some spice.

    No Support for Header Tags in Widgets

    You can’t use the H1-H6 HTML tags for any text in the sidebar widgets. Even if you use them, the text displays in normal font size. Having the ability to display larger text size in the widgets would have been nice.

    Small Widget Title Font

    JustWrite Theme Small Sidebar Title Font Mistake JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers
    The widget title font is quite small. Even smaller than the normal body text font or the widget text font size. Bigger or customizable font would have been better. At the least, H1-H6 tags should have been supported.

     

    No LinkedIn Social Icon

    JustWrite Theme No LinkedIn Icon JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers
    The social icon for LinkedIn is missing. LinkedIn is a very important social network and should have been supported.

     

    No Footer Widgets

    JustWrite Theme No Footer Widgets JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers
    There is no support for widgets in the footer. Also, HTML doesn’t work in the footer. Both these features would have added more value to the theme.

     

    Did you understand what those three dots above meant? Neither did I, when I saw them under each of the post excerpts. Instead of something like Read More or Continue Reading, only three dots “…” are shown along with the excerpts.

    This may be confusing to some readers. It’d be nice to be able to change this without editing PHP files.

    No Previous or Next Post Names

    JustWrite Theme Previous Next Buttons JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers

    Previous and next post icons at the end of posts show up as simple gray colored arrows. Post names would have been better instead of the arrows, just like you can see at SML.

    Different Sidebar for Single Posts

    The main sidebar doesn’t show up within single posts. Only the posts sidebar shows, so widgets from the main sidebar don’t show in single posts. You need to add the widgets again, into the posts sidebar, to display them. This could have been simplified.

    Fancier Author Box

    There seems to be some compatibility problem between JustWrite and the Fancier Authorbox plugin. The authorbox doesn’t display, but the two tabs from it – Bio and Latest Posts – display, though they do nothing on clicking them.

    It seems, the theme wants to use its own authorbox functionality. Fancier Author Box is nicer and many people would like to use that instead.

    Blog Title Problem

    JustWrites Blog Title Problem JustWrite WordPress Theme Review : Free Theme for Writers
    The title starts near the left of the header image. Also, the title and tagline are on the same line. This could be a problem to most people using image headers, especially if the left side of the header contained an image you don’t want your blog title to overlap with.

    It’d have been nice if we could customize the display of the blog title and tagline left, centered or right, and they were on separate lines.

    Also check:

    Have you tried using JustWrite? What features or short-comings did you notice which I may have missed? If you’ve not yet tried it, would you use it on your blog or writer website? Which of its features do you like? Let me know in the comments below.

    JustWrite is a nice theme for writers and bloggers. It's also for anyone who wants a free WordPress theme with a clean and uncluttered interface, with big and readable font size, but still having a decent number of customizable options.

    I'd give it a 4-star rating if the theme supported some of the shortcomings/missing features. I gave it a 3-star rating also because of lack of proper support from the developer, and no response to my queries on the theme support forum (as well as via e-mail) for more than a month.

    JustWrite is a modern theme and still in its infancy at version 1.04, as of June 2014. I'm hoping it'll have more features and overcome some of the shortcomings in the next version.

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    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    Tirtha

    Thanks, Raspal you have provided a great wordpress theme. I think now I have to replace my current theme with JustWrite.

    Reply

    Nilantha Jayawardhana

    Thanks Raspal. Nice theme review.
    JustWrite is an awesome free WordPress theme and it is very easy to use.
    But, I think premium WordPress themes are better than free themes. There are many important functions we get in premium WordPress theme which are not there in free themes.

    My Recommendation: Sahifa WordPress theme and Newspaper WordPress themes are good for blogs and magazines.

    Reply

    Raspal Seni

    Thanks for your comment, Nilantha.

    Premium themes are anytime better than free ones. Even if someone uses a pirated premium WordPress theme, sooner or later, they end up buying it, or trashing it due to the updates.

    I’ll check out the themes you mentioned.

    Reply

    Rahul Dubey

    Respected Shouters, it’s really a pleasant feeling to share my views after reading this post.

    Thanks Raspal ! Great to see, someone reviewing a free theme :). Usually bloggers review premium themes considering the implementation of affiliate link. But a free theme featuring here at SML makes sure blogging is not all about making money. The soul of Blogging lies in sharing true information. Again great motivation from SML to all bloggers.

    Great info. indeed. Hope this would help fellow bloggers.

    Reply

    Raspal Seni

    It’s actually thanks to Harsh, who instantly offered to accept my free WP theme review. :)

    Reply

    Ganeshkumar

    Hi

    Thanks for seconding this. I have been using Justwrite for about close to 3 weeks (I’m a newbie). I found this very expressive as compared to the other free themes which I have used before. This is clean and basic. I have two problems though. First is the viewer needs to “zoom out” to read the text, otherwise the right side menu is not displayed in the 100% zoom mode. The second problem is, I get “Add a menu for Right side bar”. I couldn’t figure out what to do with this.

    Overall, this theme is much cleaner and for me one of the most favorite is “Featured Post” aspect. Thanks for writing on this theme.

    Reply

    Raspal Seni

    Hi Ganesh,

    I didn’t have any such problem with the theme. I had also installed it before using it on my main wrtier website, on a test blog. No such problems other than the ones I mentioned in the post.

    Maybe it’s your browser, causing some problem. You should try with different browsers. If it persists, you should still post to the support forum for JustWrite, at WordPress.org.

    You may try to temporarily switch to the default WordPress theme and then back to JustWrite. Sometimes doing this solves the problem.

    I just viewed your blog and it’s fine on my screen. I can view everything in the sidebar without zooming out. The only thing I didn’t like is the social icons’ vertical bar that comes over the text in the middle of the screen. Rest all is fine, and a nice blog. :)

    If Harsh allows it, you may post a link to a screenshot of your link adding problem.

    Reply

    Abu Zafor

    Hi Raspal, Great insight for “Just Write” WP Theme. I have heard about Just Write before your’s is detailed not like others. I will try Just Write to my new blog.

    Reply

    Nitin

    Is there any negative SEO effects with free WP themes?

    Reply

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