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.
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 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.
There are four available fonts, from Style1 to Style4. You can select these under Content, in the WordPress Customizer, to change the typography.
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
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.
A few options can be set using the Theme Options under Appearance, on the WordPress Dashboard.
Following are the options available:
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.
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
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.
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
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
The social icon for LinkedIn is missing. LinkedIn is a very important social network and should have been supported.
No Footer Widgets
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
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
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.
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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.
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.