While compiling yesterday's Free themes of the month post, there were loads of great themes this month - one which stood out was Toivo. Toivo means "Hope" in Finnish and the theme was developed by Sami Keijonen a theme developer from Finland, it looks very well designed and is one of only a few themes with the accessibility tag in the directory.
The theme has some nice features - Top and Bottom "Call Out" areas, background and header image support, multiple layout options and styling support for Jetpack features such as logo upload, testimonials, portfolios and infinite scroll.
I spoke to Sami who told me it took around 2-3 months to develop the theme, he said " It might sound slow but I have couple of reasons why it takes some time. I didn't work on it 8 hours a day for every day because I currently have a day job as a teacher. And in the evening I spend 2-4 hours developing the theme or other WordPress related projects. But sometimes in weekends I was developing it 10-14 hours on row. When you get in the mood of creating something time stands still. I can work on details for days. I will not stop until I'm happy about it:)"
He tried to get it published on WordPress.com but it wasn't approved, after that he moved on to focus on the free version "After that I made a couple of changes and published self-hosted version, took some features off, and sent the .zip file in WordPress.org. It took only 11 days to approve Toivo Lite in WordPress.org. But I was lucky because Theme Review Team had queue push day and they did amazing job. It usually takes 2-3 months."
Sales of the pro version have been slow to start with just 5 sales so far, he currently lists the sales on his site "You can see them in the sidebar. If I sell over 100 license in a year, that's a good start. Over 1000 licenses would be off the chain."
Finally he told me, "Toivo is a man's name here in Finland and I have two godsons called Toivo. It also means Hope in english so it has double meaning for me."
Once you have activated the theme, the first requirement is to create a page to use as the homepage which enables all the extra options, its perfectly acceptable to use the theme as a regular blog which is the default view. To add the extra functionality, create a new page and name it something like "Home" and choose the front page template under "Page Attributes".
Then Go to Settings → Reading and click A static front page. In the Front page dropdown, choose the front page you created before.
As now required by the WordPress directory, all the theme settings are created within the Customizer. There is a "Theme Settings" tab where you can choose a homepage layout - 1 column, or 2 columns with left or right sidebar.
You can add text, image and buttons for the top and bottom "call out" areas:
Here you can also change the header color and opacity.
There is also more options for colors, header images, background images and so on.
There is good support for the Jetpack plugin which you can use to add extra functionality as required, the theme supports :
- Upload your logo.
- Show your testimonials.
- Show your portfolio.
- Add infinite scroll in your blog.
I recommend you check out the theme demo to see the optimum setup for this theme with all features activated.
There are some differences between the Lite version of Toivo and the premium version, the main reason to upgrade is if you need support from the theme author. These changes between the two themes are also listed:
- Hide or change Footer text. By default there is link to WordPress.org and in my site. Many business sites wants custom text for footer.
- Change Portfolio title and description in portfolio archive page in the Customizer.
- Change Header text and description when editing singular pages.
- Add Subsidiary Sidebar Background Image and Color. Looks the same as header image and you can change the color opacity.
- Add Callout section and Callout image at the bottom of Front Page template. This is the template that’ll probably get some more love in Pro version.
- Change order of the testimonial and feature area in Front Page Template.
Pricing for the premium version is as follows :
- Basic: License for 1 site + support for 6 months.
- Standard: License for 2-4 sites + support for 1 year.
- Developer: License for infinite sites + support for 2 year.
I can highly recommend this theme - I was able to tell that that Toivo has been coded to extremely high standards, Justin Tadlock himself commented :
Looking through its code is like reading a best-practices manual. Add in the fact that it’s also accessibility-ready makes it nothing short of a work of art.
It is extremely easy to setup - no complicated configuration required or required plugins, just install it, set your homepage and begin tweaking in real-time within the Customizer - I believe this is how all themes should work.
Unfortunately Sami, wasn't able to get it approved on WordPress.com for sale, I have also recently had a new theme rejected from there so they are either becoming extremely choosy with new premium themes, focusing on their free offerings, or they just have bad taste ;)