Everybody’s always trying to build a better mousetrap. It’s true for… mousetraps, and it’s also true for websites. Someone’s always coming around to improve upon an existing site or service, be it aesthetically, navigationally, or business model-y.
Anyone remember Friendster? It was fun for a month or so, but it was clunky and messy. MySpace came along, and that was cute, but then something even better came along, and, well, we know how that story ends.
This “survival of the fittest”-vibe came to mind when checking out ClassifiedsTheme, a wonderful, easy-to-use, and visually brilliant WordPress theme. It can transforms your site into a scintillating classified site that, upon first blush, eclipses the drab (albeit utilitarian) Craigs Lists and its ilk.
ClassifiedsTheme, in their own words, is a “powerful, secure, SEO-friendly classifieds theme for WordPress, which supports 1,000’s of extra plugin’s, has built in payment options for visitors to list their classifieds, advertising slots, Google Maps, CSV and Amazon import tools, extra classified website designs and lots more.” Ultimately, ClassifiedsTheme is doing what I suspect many developers are doing: merging the simplicity and ease of the WordPress platform with a targeted, service-oriented business model, namely classifieds. Very nice.
So I took it for a spin. The Features page lists all of the functionality, including built-in search tools allowing visitors to quickly search and reorder the display of their classifieds, and personalized user account pages, where members have their own account area to login, edit their details, upload their photo and update classified ads. Most interestingly, ClassifiedsTheme allows administrators to sell ads on the site, easily updated in the admin area including per-category advertising slots. Like all WordPress based sites, it’s also Google Adsense-friendly.
So to summarize: WordPress platform + classifieds (an inherently user-generated format) + SEO-friendly + Adsense-ready = delectable and creamy website goodness.
And lest there be any confusion, ClassifiedsTheme is not offering just one single interface or theme. By purchasing now users get to choose from ten different themes, varying in color, all of which are crisp, clean, and simple. If you want to get slightly slicker, I’d recommend the Cool Ads Blue or Classifieds Theme Gray themes. In fact, I was also taken in by the Nice Ads Yellow theme.
Immediately it’s evident this is not your grandfather’s classified site. The colors jump out at you – admit it, we have been conditioned by Craigslist to see in black and white. With ClassifiedsTheme the search box is upfront and impossible to miss. And while not shown here, all that wide open would-be advertising space is screaming for attention. Which is a nice segue into ClassifiedTheme’s tremendously compelling Screenshot page, rife with call outs. Here is where the possibilities come to life; we see Google maps, custom fields, room for widgets, ad space, and so much more.
Which brings me to the final piece: ClassifiedsTheme’s Support. I personally love the WordPress platform – it’s the Slapstart platform of choice, mind you – but for my own personal blogging adventures, I’m always slightly remiss in how to get support in setting it up. Not so the case with ClassifiedThemes. I mean, jeeze, they even put their phone number on their website! What are they thinking? Anyway, I don’t need to tell you that knowing professional help is a call away can provide profound peace of mind. Actually, I just told you. Oh well.
WordPress’ open source platform has fueled an entire industry of plugins and themes. Inventive developers like those at ClassifiedsTheme are able to piggy-back on this to create powerful, user-friendly themes for intrepid entrepreneurs out there. And by sprinkling in some SEO, a brilliant interface, and unlimited advertising potential that harvests user-generated content, I envision many classified entrepreneurs out there, will make a buck or two.
Like their Darwinian forefathers who toiled before them, ClassifiedsTheme is working to build a better mousetrap. It’s just not a mousetrap – it’s a WordPress theme. (The mousetrap thing is just an analogy. A turn of phrase, as it were.)