Build a Classifieds Site with WordPress – WordPress Classifieds Theme Review
ClassifiedEngine is the third theme from EngineThemes. So far each of their themes has been created for building a specific type of site and this one is no different. As the name suggests, this theme has been designed for creating a classifieds listings website with WordPress.
Like the other themes from EngineThemes, this theme is more than just an attractive design for your site. In this case, the theme includes the additional features required for successfully managing a classifieds website. Once installed, your site will have the ability to begin accepting classified adverts on your site, managing users, collecting payments, plus a whole lot more.
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After getting access to the theme files, they can be uploaded via your WordPress admin dashboard (Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload). Once the theme has been installed, a status message is displayed on the dashboard, offering you the opportunity to run through the setup wizard.
The inclusion of a setup wizard is a nice touch. However, the wizard only covers one step in the process so don’t go expecting a full walk though of the setup process.
Configuring the Theme
Upon starting the setup wizard, you will be taken to the theme options and settings control panel. Here you have the option of installing the sample data. This is a good idea as it will give you an easy way to see how the site handles the different features that make up a classifieds website.
The sample data can be deleted at the touch of a button at later date so you won’t be left with lots of dummy content when your site goes live. That is about it for the setup wizard, but at least you have some sample data to work with.
To get started with configuring the theme, the best place to start is the ClassifiedEngine Overview dashboard. Here you can get a quick view of how many ads have been posted to the site and how many are pending, as well as the number of expired ads. The Overview dashboard also shows the latest sellers and how much revenue has been made. The Overview dashboard is again well-designed while also being very useful.
The theme settings section gives you access to the options that will affect how your classifieds site looks and functions. From here you can set the site title and description along with a logo and mobile icon. The theme comes complete with its own taxonomies. These consist of the categories for categorising the classifieds adverts by type of listing, and the location for filtering the ads by their geographic properties.
The categories can be created in a hierarchal structure that goes many levels deep. This is great for making it easier for potential buyers to browse your adverts, as well making it easier for sellers to list their items correctly.
Another option is the ability to set the ads to either be auto-approved or put in the moderation queue with the status of pending. When starting out, it’s probably a good idea to enable the pending ads option to prevent anything unwanted being posted on your site.
One important feature of this classifieds site builder is the ability to take payments for listing an ad. From the Payment settings page, you can choose from an existing currency or easily add your own. You can also activate the payment test mode, allowing you to test the payment configuration without actually charging your account.
The theme includes support for two payment gateways: PayPal and 2Checkout. This allows you to automate the process of collecting payments for ads that are listed on your site.
As well as choosing how you collect payments, you can also create multiple pricing or payment plans. The details that can be defined for a pricing plan include the price, number of days it will be listed, number of ads that can be posted per payment, and whether the advert is a featured ad or not.
Email notifications are another feature that is included in this classifieds site builder for WordPress. Templates are included but they can easily be modified to match your site. The templates cover such occurrences as:
- Users registering with the site
- Notification that an ad has been published
- Ad archive and rejection notifications
- Payment received notification
- Notification that a seller has received a message from a potential buyer
The ClassifiedEngine theme from EngineThemes requires sellers to register an account on the site before they can post an ad. The sellers are registered as regular WordPress users and their profiles can be managed from the admin user manager. They are assigned the custom user role of Seller.
The theme also has an advanced settings area which allows you to edit the default slugs, enable infinite scroll to load ad listings infinitely as the user scrolls down the page, minify the script and CSS to reduce loading times, and also set the max number of images a seller can upload for an ad.
Overall, the theme options are very easy to work with. The control panel doesn’t use the native WordPress user interface; however it is well designed and despite not blending in with the rest of the admin dashboard, it does look good and is easy to navigate.
Managing the Ads
The adverts used for the classifieds board are created as custom post types. These means that creating, editing and managing them is very similar to how you would work with regular WordPress posts.
The theme ads a new menu item to the WordPress admin dashboard entitled ‘Ads’. From here you can view the existing ads, create a new ad, and also work with the ad category and ad location taxonomies.
When creating or editing an ad from the backend, as well as the standard post editor, there is also a selection of custom metaboxes and custom fields for the adverts. These include things like which ad package to apply to the advert, the price, and the expiry date.
If you’ve ever used WordPress before, then you should have no problem creating or managing ads from the backend. For those that are new to WordPress, then it won’t take them long to pick up the process for working with the ads.
Front End Experience
This theme looks really good and the design is very up to date, taking in the latest trends in web design. From the homepage, site visitors can view the latest items to be listed on the site, as well as select a category to view listings from.
When it comes to creating an ad from the front end of the site, the process is very straightforward and shouldn’t pose any problem to your visitors. The theme design features a prominent ‘Post an Ad’ button which when clicked, takes the user to the ad creation page.
Here the user must select a price plan for the ad, register with the site by creating a profile, and then creating their listing.
After creating the listing, they can enter their payment details and submit the ad to the site. Depending on how the site is configured, the listing will either be posted straightaway or set as pending for a manual review.
Browsing the site is very easy and thanks to the clean design and great navigational aids and filtering options, finding the type of products or listings you are looking for is simple.
As the theme is integrated with the CE slider by default, as well as coming with a copy of the premium Revolution Slider plugin, the homepage can feature a large ad listing slider that is ideal for showcasing the classified listings on your site.
The ClassifiedEngine theme includes everything needed to setup a classifieds website using WordPress. If you want to create a website where visitors can come and list their offerings, whether that is products or services, this is a great choice. ClassifiedEngine is much more than just a theme and includes all the additional functionality required to manage such as site.
It is worth pointing out that the blogging capabilities of WordPress will be disabled by this theme, and there is no way to view regular posts on the site. This makes ClassifiedEngine only really suitable for those building a site that will functional solely as a classifieds listing website and doesn’t already make use of the standard WordPress posts.
Thanks to the design and appearance of the theme, any site built using it will look great and have a professional image. Both the front and back ends are well-designed and easy to use. I did notice a few spelling mistakes and some less than fluid prose on the back end pages. However, none of these issues were visible on the user facing front end so it’s not really a big deal.
If you want to create a classifieds site with WordPress specifically or just in general this theme is the perfect choice. It covers everything you would need such as easy management of the ads, creating pricing plans, and collecting payments while still being easy to setup and configure.