Beautiful Pro is a WordPress child theme that runs on the Genesis Framework.
It’s got all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a StudioPress theme, including:
- mobile responsive
- HTML5 markup
- custom header
- custom menus
- page templates, including a landing page
This theme is purely for bloggers — if you need a non-blog-style homepage, look elsewhere. But if you want to blog, Beautiful Pro is worth more than a second glance.
Its look is clean and uncluttered, so readers can focus on what you have to say. That doesn’t mean it’s bland or boring, though!
Recently I put Beautiful Pro through its paces.
I Started with a Clean Slate
For this review, I started with a clean install of WordPress on my sandbox site. The only plugins I installed were for security.
After installing WordPress and the plugins, I installed the Genesis Framework, then the theme. Here’s what my Manage Themes page looks like at this point.
At this point, the site looks pretty bland.
To start the customization, I clicked the customize link on the Manage Themes page. It brings up a sidebar that looks like this.
I had already filled in the site title and tagline, so I ignored this choice.
To choose the background color for the site, click the Colors button to expand it so it looks like this:
This is a standard color-picker tool. If you know the code for the color you want to use, you can type it in directly. Or you can choose one of the preset colors at the bottom, or use your mouse with the tool to find the exact color you want.
I’m going to choose a white background for now.
Expand the Background Image tool. In this theme, the background they’re referring to is this shaded area under the Title of the website.
You can choose a color, or you can upload an image. I’m going to upload the WordPress Building Blocks logo.
I’ll select No Repeat, Center and Fixed.
Look what happens to this background image area as you scroll down the page. There’s a parallax effect. The image area appears to slide under the next page element. This adds some unexpected visual interest for your readers.
For now, I’ll deselect the Static Page option for the homepage.
Save and close.
Now the homepage looks a little more interesting, but we still have a long way to go.
The out-of-the-box header size is quite small, only 320×120 px. If you upload a header, it replaces the text at the top. Personally, I don’t much like it, so I’m going to remove it but leave the header banner in the “background image” area.
If you want to move the header to the left, as shown in the Beautiful Pro Theme demo, you can add a custom menu via the Header Right widget area. Here’s what it looks like:
Beautiful Pro lets you create a Custom Menu. Here’s what the header area looks like after I add it.
Beautiful Pro includes the following widgets:
- Header right
- Primary sidebar
- Before header
- Welcome message
- After entry
- Split sidebar left
- Split sidebar right
- Bottom sidebar
- Footer 1, 2 and 3
The only one that affects only your homepage has is the Welcome Message. That’s because Beautiful Pro is a blogging theme, so your homepage shows a traditional blog format.
Use this widget to add a search box, or maybe an advertising banner on the right-hand side of your header area. Here’s what it looks like now.
This widget area gives you space above the entire header to add a narrow, full-width message or ad, like this.
Want to have a message at the top of your homepage that doesn’t change? The Welcome widget provides a more elegant solution than just creating a post and making it “sticky.”
The After Entry widget lets you place a piece of text, an opt-in box or whatever else you want at the bottom of each and every blog post.
One interesting feature of Beautiful Pro is the split sidebar Notice how the sidebar changes from one column to two. . . that’s the split sidebar at work.
In your widget area, you’ll notice the Primary Sidebar, along with the Split Sidebar Left and Split Sidebar Right.
Just as its name says, this widget stays at the bottom of your sidebar so you can place content there on every page. Use it for a copyright notice, for example.
Beautiful Pro is an attractive theme for bloggers. It’s got a bit of non-standard functionality, and is easy to set up.
If you want an easy blogging theme without a lot of fancy bells and whistles, Beautiful Pro might be just what you’re looking for.