I am starting a new, hopefully weekly, feature were I review various church website services and offerings. This week I wanted to take a look at a WordPress theme from ChurchThemes.net. I was initially very impressed with their offering and designs. It appeared to me that maybe finally a theme company could put great efforts into their design, and functionality, not only in their code.
Does Urban Theme deliver what your church will need? Keep reading to find out.
Urban City has three pricing options, first is a free version, which includes lifetime updates and unlimited usage. Second is their standard pricing which is $29, which adds: Automatic Updates, Rock-Solid,Expert Support, Online Giving Widgets, Sermon Media Manager, Podcast Publishing Settings, People Manager, Locations Manager, and aTwitter Feed Widget. Third is the developers edition, which adds: both HTML and PSD files. I couldn’t be more pleased with ChurchThemes pricing of $29 for the standard edition and $49 for the developers edition.
For this review I used the developers edition.
The Urban City theme from ChurchThemes has a modern, dark, and well urban feel to the design. The design for Urban City was based on a 12-column 960 grid, which if you are a fan of the 960.gs then you will be very happy. The 12-column base gives the design an open feeling, the content isn’t too cramped, and the 3-column look of the homepage feels very nice and balanced.
“Urban City is unique design approach for any church seeking to appeal to a younger audience.
The interface features deep tones and textures organized in a clean and readable layout.
Ambient shadows and rich typography make Urban City the perfect way to engage church members and future guests with your content.” -ChurchThemes
Urban City’s navigation is a nice two-tier drop down, users will have no issues finding their way around the site. The primary color palette used is dark grey, orange, and an off-white color. The colors are well executed and feel nice on the site.
The homepage includes a large jQuery slider to promote the main events at your church. The slider is a nice focus point on the homepage which will help drive your user to the areas you want to focus on.
I think the line-heights for the template were a tad too big for the font size, and would have liked them to be a little shorter.
The included PSD files are a nice touch, it will enable church designers to incorporate their own church assets into the design.
Files are well organized and very straight forward to work with.
I did run into an issue with the PSD fonts since I didn’t have the correct fonts installed. Not a huge issue and ChurchThemes can’t supply fonts, but offering a link to purchase the font would be a nice touch.
Installation & Setup
Urban Theme comes with a nice getting started guide, which will walk the user through the setup process. While installing a WordPress theme isn’t too difficult, if you are not technically inclined, you would want to have someone who is technically inclined do this for you.
For the setup, I simply went to the themes manager in WordPress and uploaded the included zip file. After activating the theme, I was able to easily use the included theme options to upload a logo and make a few changes.
I also had to make a change to the permalinks settings, which every WordPress theme needs as well.
The theme comes with a few basic options, including the ability to upload a favicon and iOS logos. You can also add your Google Analytics code and some custom CSS styles.
For this theme I had to install a couple of plugins that came with the developers package in order to take full advantage of the sermon player and the scripture tagging.
The one thing I noticed is that the theme didn’t come with any type of event manager, which I found odd since the demo uses one. After looking back at the getting started guide, I noticed there was a link to the WordPress Plugins directory that showed where I could download the plugin. No problem, just download and upload the zip file just like the other plugins. Although I do wish this was included in the original developer’s package.