spotlight-tom

Featured Site: Tom McFarlin

Tom McFarlin is an active and invaluable member of the WordPress community. If you’re reading this blog post, it’s likely you’ve read one of his many contributions to the Tuts+ community or ran across one of the many conversation-inducing articles he’s written for his own site, TomMcFarlin.com. While some of his writing is technical, he also expands on many philosophical and social topics and how they interact with our everyday lives as web workers.

Tom recently switched his site over to use our Author theme and we think it looks and feels great! Author’s long-form content style really handles Tom’s variable content well, allowing Tom to focus on writing and visitors to focus on reading. Head on over to TomMcFarlin.com and see what you can learn from Tom!

Tom is also available for hire and enjoys fun and interesting projects so drop him a line through his site if you’re looking to build something great.

support

We’re moving to Help Scout!

Heads up! We’re improving the way we handle our support tickets here on Array. Up until today, we’ve been using the a forum plugin (bbPress) to handle support requests. This has worked well enough for us in the past, but your eye can’t help but wander with the number of game-changing help desk solutions out there these days.

We’ve decided to go with Help Scout for many reasons, one being its ability to extend into other apps and services we’re already using, such as Slack and Easy Digital Downloads. How does it all work? Help Scout is a web-based help desk that essentially turns email conversations into tickets on our end, allowing us to collaborate on fixes and provide one-on-one support for quicker solutions. Instead of posting to a forum, you simply fill out a simple form we’ve made available on the Support page. Once you submit, keep an eye on your inbox for our reply!

We think this new format for handling support will be much more seamless for everyone involved, further removing any friction in communication between us and our awesome customers. We want to get your questions answered as quickly and efficiently as possible so you can get back to creating content or browsing reddit. Please reach out to us with any feedback you might have about the switch, we’re all ears!

domain

We recently changed our domain name!

Today we wanted to drop a note to mention we’ve switched our domain name from array.is to arraythemes.com.

When we launched Array last year, we opted to go with a unique .is domain name. I really wanted a short, neat domain to match the aesthetic and UX of the Array site. Unfortunately, these days every single short domain name is spoken for, and the price of acquiring a short domain can be astronomical. Alternatively, you can go with one of the non-standard .com TLD’s (top-level domains) like .co, .us, or .io. There are many neat generic TLD’s to choose from these days. In the past few years, some really slick domains like .design, .camera and .photography have been made available. Grab them while you can!

Some countries have their own top-level domain, such as .co for Columbia, .us for United States and .is for Iceland. array.is was one of the few TLD’s available with just the word “array,” so I decided to go with it. I also bought a few other back up domains such as array.li, and also grabbed arraythemes.com in case we needed to fall back to something more standard.

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zoommy

Finding the perfect photo with Zoommy

Today we’d like to share a very handy tool with you called Zoommy. Zoommy is an app for OS X that combines photography from about 20 different free stock photo sites like Unsplash and Startup Stock Photos.

This is a great way to find beautiful, free photography to go with your content. Jumping around from site to site looking for the right photo can be a pain, and may be a reason to skip a photo entirely. But having them all collected in one place actually makes photo hunting fun again. Give it a try!

If you don’t have OS X, you can still visit the Zoommy site to visit links from the photography sources. Enjoy, folks!

year-in-review

A year in review

It’s been exactly one year since we rebranded Okay Themes to Array and relaunched as an independent theme shop. We’ve put in a ton of work over the past year, but it’s been incredibly rewarding laying the foundation for Array. We’ve gained thousands of new customers, answered every support question lobbed at us and crafted some really great themes along the way. We thought it would be interesting to share some of our experiences and experiments in the WordPress world during our first year of Array.

The Team

We continue to maintain a very lean approach to theming, and therefore we’re able to keep a lean team. My partner in crime, John Parris, and I have been manning the fort between the two of us, and still manage to find the time to send gifs back and forth all day. I continue to lead design and development of themes and the Array site and John helps code up ridiculously-awesome new features like our Typekit integration, which we’ll get to later.

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checkout-blog

Create a digital store or marketplace with Checkout

As we’re approaching our 1-year Anniversary as Array (which we undoubtedly will be celebrating here on the site), we’re excited to announce our next WordPress theme, Checkout! Checkout is the first eCommerce theme in our collection, and it’s powered by a free and powerful plugin called Easy Digital Downloads.

Simply put, Checkout along with Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) enables you to sell digital goods on your website. You can sell stock photos, design resources, audio files, ebooks, and more. You can easily manage your product prices, files, details and images. EDD is built and meticulously maintained by Pippin Williamson and his growing team of dedicated developers and contributors. They are constantly making EDD better and releasing new extensions that ultimately make your site even more powerful. Our entire Array site runs on EDD and we couldn’t have the business we do without it.

Turn your website into a full-blown marketplace.

Using the EDD Marketplace Bundle, you can turn Checkout into a multi-vendor marketplace, where vendors can submit products for sale on your website. Enable the Commissions extension (included in the Marketplace bundle) to earn a cut of every sale made on your website! We’ve made it super simple to get a minimal, easy-to-manage marketplace up and running.

The Marketplace bundle also allows you to add product reviews, wish lists, recommended products and more. Check out the Checkout Marketplace demo to see some of the marketplace features.

Create a visually stunning portfolio.

Create a visually stunning portfolio.

Along with the eCommerce features, we’ve also included several beautifully-designed templates to help you create a professional and elegant business or portfolio website. Create a portfolio page, team page, add pricing tables, testimonials, email subscription forms and more. Checkout really can be any kind of website you want it to be!

A Partnership with Typekit

typekit-array

We’re also super excited to announce we’ve partnered with Typekit to bring finely-crafted typography the Array theme collection and to your website! If you aren’t familiar with Typekit, it’s a font subscription service that lets you embed eclectic and iconic typography in your website. These aren’t your average fonts, folks, and that’s why you need to buy a subscription to use them.

Let’s be honest, there are some good fonts offered by Google, but many of them lack the polish and consistency of a professionally designed font, and that’s what Typekit is able to provide. They work with leading type foundries to bring eclectic and visually stunning fonts to the web. And we want to see them on your websites!

How does it work? Each Typekit-powered theme will come with a hand-picked font(s) that best match the theme’s design. For example, with Checkout, we’ve chosen Proxima Nova for its clean lines and bold, professional appearance. Because Typekit is a subscription service that we provide for you, it requires yearly renewal, just like theme updates and support. We’ll automatically renew your account so your fonts go uninterrupted and you continue to receive support and updates, but you may also opt out at any time. We’ll send you a friendly reminder when you’re close to renewal.

John and I are both excited and honored to add this level of quality typography to our theme collection. Mostly because we’re type nerds, but it also happens to align perfectly with our dedication to continue making honest, finely-crafted products.

So with that, I invite you to check out the Checkout demo and details below and let us know what you think!

ted2

Featured Site: TED’s Ideas Blog

A few weeks ago, our Featured Site went to TED for their Return on Ideas blog. We’re huge fans of TED talks and naturally we were excited to see them using Publisher for their blog.

Publisher’s masonry layout is a great fit for TED’s content. So great, in fact, that they are now also using Publisher for their daily Ideas blog! They’ve added a slick new coat of red paint and a few improvements of their own here and there. We think it looks wonderful!

Head over to TED’s Ideas blog to check out Publisher in action and read some finely crafted content by big thinkers.

DSCF5180

A head start on child themes

When you run your own website, there’s a good chance you’ll want to change something about the way it looks. Whether it’s the color of a button or the size of the text, something about it just won’t be exactly the way you want it. You’re hard to please. You can’t leave well enough alone. So you roll up your sleeves and get to fixing something that isn’t broken.

But hold on, big guy. Before you go slapping a coat of neon green paint on your brand new Mercedes, step back a minute and think about what you’re doing. If you don’t do the job properly, that lovely shade of green will come right off the first time you visit A1 Car Wash, and you’ll have to do it all over again.

If you customize your theme files directly, you’ll lose your changes when installing updates in the future. So what do you do? You make your customizations in a child theme. What’s a child theme?

“A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits design and functionality from its parent theme. Child themes allow you to change certain design elements or features of your site without changing the parent theme directly.”

All jokes aside, we know that child themes can be a little confusing if you’re not familiar with them. We are frequently asked about ways to tweak our themes, and have explained how to create child themes many times. The hardest part of getting started with a child theme is often getting the right files in right place with the right stuff inside.

Today we’re happy to announce that we’ve put together a set of ready-made child themes for all of our themes. So, if you’re the kind of person that likes to tweak your site to perfection, head on over to the child theme article in the knowledge base and start breaking things!

editor-wp

Editor is now available on WordPress.com!

Earlier this year we released our first free theme, Editor, into the WordPress.org theme repository. Since then, it’s been downloaded nearly 60,000 times! We’ve seen some beautiful websites created with Editor and we couldn’t be more happy with its success.

Today, we’re happy to announce Editor is now available for WordPress.com users. If you have a WordPress.com account, you can activate Editor today by going to the Themes page and searching for “Editor”.

We’re excited to share Editor with even more folks and can’t wait to see what you create with it!

spotlight

Featured Site: TED’s Return on Ideas Blog

Today’s featured site belongs to none other than TED. If you aren’t familiar, TED is a global set of conferences that feature progressive and inspiring talks and conversations about technology, entertainment and design.

TED’s Return on Ideas blog uses a customized version of Publisher. TED’s content is a great fit for Publisher’s masonry-style layout and infinite post loading. TED has taken Publisher a step further by adding a featured article section and a customized header.

We’re thrilled to see Publisher used to share unique content about science, design, technology, business, education, and arts! What will you share with Publisher?

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