I have been using Thesis theme for long and before Thesis 1.8.3 was released, I almost made up my mind to switch to some other Theme framework. I was looking from options to options and Genesis and Swift were two framework which caught my eyes. Out of these two WordPress theme frameworks, I selected Swift WordPress Theme. Though, thanks to Thesis update, I didn’t make a switch but after learning more about Swift, I had to share it with ShoutMeLoud readers. In this post, I will be sharing Swift Theme review which comes with two options : Free & Premium.
Free Swift theme is one of the most downloaded free WordPress theme from WordPress repo and back in 2009, when I saw the feature of this theme, I was amazed and wondering why Satish Gandham is offering this theme for free. Glad, he made the right move by offering Swift premium Theme, which comes with some advanced feature. I tested premium version of Swift theme and based on my user experience, I will be sharing a review of the same.
Swift WordPress Theme review : HTML5 WordPress Theme
Let me get straight to the point, Swift is more like a user oriented theme. When SEO in 2012 is changing from hard core SEO to user engagement & behavior, Swift offers everything which a reader needs (Speed, architect, images for better CTR). Even if a reader lands on a 404 page, swift 404 page will make sure the the user will stay on the site and your bounce rate will decrease. Now, lets talk about Speed, we just posted about WordPress caching plugins, and on the very first line I mentioned about role of site loading time on SEO, and Swift does that perfectly. It’s one of the fastest loading WordPress theme, as it takes care of basic loading for example: Thumbnail is generated using WordPress core functions, all other social elements, ads are loaded after content.
Before I go more into depth of Swift theme review, let me tell you I’m not a designer. I use basic tools like Firebug, Color picker to make simple changes, else my team does it for me. None the less, I like playing with themes and to see a normal WordPress blog user like me and you can use and customize that theme or not. I remember, back in 2008 when I started blogging, Premium themes were too costly and we had very limited options. But now, we have an ample amount of choice and to pick the best out of them is not an easy task. When I have to find the perfect Premium WordPress theme, here are some options which I look for:
- Design options
- Theme options
- Ease of Customization
- Theme Technology and so on
The very first feature, which amazed me about Swift, is it’s option panel. You have three options to select from for your Homepage layout, which includes normal blog and magazine style look. It comes with an inbuilt slider, which you can toggle on and off any time. Most of the part and element can be drag, drop and need a check-box to enable or disable.
When I think about my journey with WordPress, I find myself stuck with customization. I needed something concrete in terms of ease of customization and such theme which doesn’t take ages to load. What’s the benefit of using a Theme that is visually very appealing, but takes minute or more than 10 seconds to load.
One of the main reason of featuring Swift theme here is because of it’s loading time. Swift premium, is rated as one of the fastest loading WordPress theme and with all its inbuilt feature, you will be cutting down lots of plugins. (See above screenshot for Gtmetrix score of swift demo site).Now, if we look at the title of the post, I emphasize on Responsive WordPress theme, and with the great increase in readers from mobile and tablet browsers, we can’t deny the importance of having a responsive design. In simple word, you need not require to use any plugin to make your blog iPhone or iPad compatible, but with responsive design, your theme will be optimized automatically for mobile & tablet browser size. This is one big feature, which I have been missing in Thesis and there is no sign of getting this in Thesis 2.o. Pearson, I hope you are listening to this and we can expect a responsive design layout in future update. Here you can find more free responsive WordPress themes.
Notable features of Swift theme:
- SEO advantages of HTML5
- Responsive design
- Fastest loading WordPress Theme
- Adsense ready
- Ad management from Theme option
- Theme option Panel
- Theme design option Panel
- 7 Custom page templates
- Google author markup ready Theme
Theme design option has pretty much everything that you will be needing to customize swift theme. Here are two screenshot of Swift design option and swift option panels, which explains it all:
And here is a screenshot of Swift design option panel. You can customize every part of your blog and under color options, you can use chrome addon like color picker and customize your site according to your need. Though, it may take little time for you to get accustomed with all options in swift option and design option panel, but once you do, you can quickly customize and design theme according to your need on swift framework.
I’m not going more into details here, as this theme offers everything we need. Though unlike Thesis, swift doesn’t offer inbuilt SEO options and I highly recommend to use WordPress SEO by Yoast, which is one of the best free SEO plugin and does everything you need to optimize your site for search engine.
Swift Pro VS Swift Basic:
Swift theme offers three theme purchase option : Free version, Personal license and developer license. Basic version of Swift offers almost everything to get started but with premium swift you get more options like: 6 Page templates, 7 pre-defined widgets (Include subscription box), Support forum access, Shortcodes and many more. Here is a chart showing the difference between and prices for Free and Premium Swift themes:
Swift premium costs $57 but you can use coupon code “ShoutMeLoud” to get 33% off. This Swift discount coupon is valid for in-definite time. They offer 2CO and PayPal payment system. If you use 2CheckOut, make sure you use swift coupon on 2Co checkout page again to avail this discount.
For Swift theme renewal, you can use coupon code “SML_RENEW”, it will give you 10% off on Swift license renewal.
So, if you need a good WordPress theme with all advance feature including responsive theme design, Swift basic is one of the best choice at this moment.
Check out Swift WordPress theme : www.SwiftTheme.com
Over all, I find this WordPress theme worth spending upon, and if I may move away from Thesis, swift theme is going to be my best bet. Finally, we are also working on giving away ShoutMeLoud old design for free on Swift theme soon. :)