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NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW
NewsToday theme review by Brian Elliott looks at a brand new theme from MyThemeShop.
Guess what? I am probably one of the most suitable candidates to give an honest user review of a WordPress news theme. Why is that? I have had a news website from 2010. Falmouth News is based in my small town in Falmouth, Jamaica.
The current theme I was using on the site is Newspaper theme by tagDiv. This is the most popular news theme in the world. Over 42,000 persons have already bought it. It is a powerful theme with lots of styling options.
Contents for NewsToday Theme Review – How it Compares with Newspaper by tagDiv
- 1 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW
- 1.1 NEWSTODAY VERSUS NEWSPAPER BY TAGDIV
- 1.2 NEWSTODAY REVIEW
- 1.3 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW – WEBSITE SPEED
- 1.4 NEWSTODAY THEME SEO OPTIMIZED?
- 1.5 VISUAL APPEAL (THEME DESIGN)
- 1.6 NEWSTODAY WORDPRESS THEME REVIEW: LAYOUTS
- 1.7 Unlimited Colours and Background
- 1.8 NEWSTODAY BY MYTHEMESHOP: RESPONSIVENESS
- 1.9 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: THEME OPTIONS CONFIGURATION
- 1.10 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: CUSTOMER SUPPORT
- 1.11 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION
- 1.12 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: PRICE
- 1.13 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: ADSENSE READY
- 1.14 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: ECOMMERCE READINESS
- 1.15 NEWSTODAY WORDPRESS THEME: ECOSYSTEM
- 1.16 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: AFFILIATE PROGRAM
- 1.17 NEWSTODAY WORDPRESS THEME: OTHER FEATURES
- 1.18 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: THE CONS
- 2 NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW SUMMARY
NEWSTODAY VERSUS NEWSPAPER BY TAGDIV
I believe it is fitting that I compare NewsToday with the most popular theme in its niche. By doing so, you will see if it is worth your while.
This NewsToday review will be a straight review of MyThemeShop’s theme. However, I will also add references and comparisons with the Newspaper theme.
Note that MyThemeShop gave me a copy of NewsToday for the purpose of this review.
By the way, don’t confuse tagDiv’s Newspaper with MyThemeShop’s Newspaper theme, which you can read about here.
Before I started the review, I went to GTMetrix to measure the speed of the existing installation. As I said before, the site (Falmouth News) was using Newspaper by tagDiv. I also went to Google’s PageSpeed insights.
Why did I start there?
As one who knows the importance of good SEO, I know how important speed is to rank a website. It is one of the few ranking signals Google has explicitly declared. That underlines its importance.
What’s more, a fast website is also great for customer experience. It is a fact that visitors stay longer on a fast website. A slow loading website? Not many folks will stay around longer than 3 seconds waiting for your website to load.
So let us start with site speed.
Related: MyThemeShop Review.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW – WEBSITE SPEED
When it comes to speed, I had struggled in the past with the old installation of the Newspaper theme.
What exactly do I mean?
It was slow loading. I tweaked everything I could to get it to load faster. I finally decided that it was the fault of the theme.
MyThemeShop displays an excellent Pingdom report of NewsToday WordPress magazine theme on their website. This is shown below.
Will I have a similar experience?
Now I have this review theme, I can just switch themes. I can then check the performance of both themes to see if it was really a theme issue.
Sure enough, it was.
SITE SPEED AND SEO TEST
For the test, I chose a random post and ran it through GtMetrix. I first tested the old Newspaper theme installation, then NewsToday. NewsToday was “raw out-of-the-box” without any configuration. By the way, it does look unattractive as is, but I will soon configure it.
By simply changing from Newspaper (by tagDiv) to NewsToday by MyThemeShop, I got a drastic increase in site speed! That is a difference of a whopping 11.5 seconds. SEO experts will tell you that eleven and a half seconds is a lifetime in the world of website speed.
NEWSTODAY THEME SEO OPTIMIZED?
One of the popular selling points of themes is to market them as SEO optimized. In reality, some are, some are not.
If there is one thing I can say about MyThemeShop themes, it is that they place heavy emphasis on SEO optimization. NewsToday is proof of that.
This is raw, out of the box, without any tweaking of NewsToday. Surprisingly, it outclassed the Newspaper theme in 12 SEO areas. It was almost a total wipeout.
The Newspaper theme only won in 2 areas. One of them is optimized images.
Fortunately for Newspaper, I have not yet regenerated the images on NewsToday, nor apply the themes image optimization features. That could very well turn the tables and remove their advantage in that area.
SEO and loading speed are the real strengths of the NewsToday theme.
Related: The Best Blog Themes for WordPress.
VISUAL APPEAL (THEME DESIGN)
The NewsToday WordPress theme by MyThemeShop gives a minimal look. It, therefore, looks more like a blog post than a newspaper post.
The minimal look is popular on blogs. It places focus on content by removing distractions.
A regular newspaper website theme, on the other hand, is created to make money. As a result, lots of distractions and ad spots are thrown at you.
NewsToday removes this commercial look while still providing for strategically place ads.
NEWSTODAY WORDPRESS THEME REVIEW: LAYOUTS
NewsToday offers 3 different types of layouts.
- You may use it for a news theme (default).
- Then there is the dark theme, perfect for gaming sites or photography sites.
- Thirdly, there is the craft theme for highlighting items or your hobbies.
What is really great is that you can easily import
- Only the layout
- The layout and widgets
- Layout widgets and contents
So, when I was converting from my old website, I simply imported the layout and widgets. My existing content was not touched.
6 Homepage Layouts
Additionally, NewsToday comes with 6 unique homepage layouts. Mix and match these to create the layout you desire.
Unlimited Colours and Background
Colours are extremely important in branding. This website uses a shade of green and red in branding. Since I have decided on these colours, almost everything on the website is based on the colour scheme.
NewsToday offers unlimited colour options, including that of the background. Brand your site with colours, making it absolutely unique.
NEWSTODAY BY MYTHEMESHOP: RESPONSIVENESS
Responsiveness is now a must. Your website must be able to adapt to all screen sizes and fit perfectly on the screens.
No surprise that NewsToday is responsive. This is the case with all the MyThemeShop themes I have used over the years. The image below is how my website looks on 4 different screen sizes.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: THEME OPTIONS CONFIGURATION
One of the most powerful features of MyThemeShop themes is their Theme Options panel.
Everything is laid out orderly. You start from General Settings and work your way down.
In less than a few minutes, you have a completely configured blog or website.
NewsToday theme is no exception. This makes their theme perfect for everyone: from beginners to pros.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: CUSTOMER SUPPORT
In a previous post, I knocked MyThemeShop for the fact that they only gave 1 year (12 months) of updates. Well, if we compare tagDiv’s Newspaper, MyThemeShop’s support looks like a steal.
SUPPORT: NEWSPAPER BY TAGDIV
First, let us look at Newspaper’s support.
Newspaper only gives 6 months support with their purchase. Support includes:
Now here is the bummer. Both themes cost the same, but Newspaper theme licence is for use on only one installation.
SUPPORT: NEWSTODAY THEME BY MYTHEMESHOP
A licence from MyThemeShop for the same price allows use on unlimited sites. This includes those of clients. To charge a client for Newspaper installation would need a $1200 licence!
What’s more, support is unlimited as MyThemeShop uses a forum. One can get info quickly and easily without further subscription necessary.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION
Next, in our NewsToday theme review, I will look at media integration. Now social media has become oh so important for building our blogs or websites. It is, therefore, a must that a news theme has good social sharing integration.
NewsToday shines in this area.
- There is one below the featured image and
- Also, there is another set of social sharing buttons at the end of content.
- Most important is the standing bar that scrolls with the content. This means at any time one can see a sharing option. This is a big plus.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: PRICE
NewsToday is priced at $69, but now on sale for $59. This is the average price of a premium theme. It is the same price as the Newspaper theme by tagDivi.
However, when you buy NewsToday (like all MyThemeShop themes), you get to use it on unlimited sites. A $59 purchase of Newspaper theme gives you only one licence for use on one site.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: ADSENSE READY
Google Adsense is the most popular way for news websites to earn. It is therefore essential that NewsToday be Google Adsense ready. No surprise here, it is Adsense ready.
There are ad slots at all the locations that get the highest click through rate.
You will get a 728×90 slot in the header, sidebar ad slot, below title slot and the highest converting, which is an ad slot below content.
Of course, this is not limited to Adsense. Any type of ads can be setup in these slots.
What’s more, NewsToday offers a time delay feature. You can let the ads show after a certain period of time has elapsed.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: ECOMMERCE READINESS
What if there comes a day that you want to sell something from your site? NewsToday is e-commerce ready. This means that it has all the coding laid to accommodate the WooCommerce plugin. Add a shop at any time. Your items will have perfect layouts.
NEWSTODAY WORDPRESS THEME: ECOSYSTEM
MyThemeShop is building a WordPress theme ecosystem. What do I mean by that?
They are offering several products as value added products. This they do by offering plugins that work seamlessly with their themes.
Related: The Ultimate List of Blogging Resources.
The rapidly growing company currently offers 29 premium plugins. Many of their plugins have a free version that provides less functionality.
With their plugins, you can “soup up” your theme without adding bloat and causing a reduction in speed.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: AFFILIATE PROGRAM
Personally, I believe that if I buy something and like it, I should be able to promote it.
Not only that, but it must be worth my while to promote it. In other words, it must have an attractive affiliate program.
Buy NewsToday WordPress theme and you have access to MyThemeShop’s attractive affiliate program. You actually get to promote over 115 themes and 29 plugins.
Here is what you get with their affiliate program.
Quite an attractive program isn’t it? Buy NewsToday theme and it can really pay off in the long run.
NEWSTODAY WORDPRESS THEME: OTHER FEATURES
There are several other features worth noting in this NewsToday theme review. Here is a list:
- Breaking News ticker
- Call to Action and Social Buttons in header
- Parallax Scrolling
- Clean Code
- Translation ready
- All Google fonts included
- Font Awesome icons included
- Ajax loading
- Author Box
- Off canvas mobile menu
- Advanced Typography
- Import or Export option
- Footer widget areas (2)
- Dedicated options to improve performance
- Integrated related posts
- 4 types of pagination
- Child theme support
- Custom widgets (12)
- RTL support
- HD video tutorials
- 1-Click install
- 1-Click update
- Extensive video tutorials
- 365 days 24-7 direct support
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW: THE CONS
Now no theme is all perfect. NewsToday is no exception. I will now look at what I believe are the disadvantages of the NewsToday theme.
No Custom Post Type for Videos
In the age of video, I would expect all news themes to be able to create video posts. This is a special post type for featuring videos.
With Newspaper by tagDiv, all I do is input the video URL and a thumbnail is created. In addition, there are various attractive ways to display video on these posts. This feature is missing in NewsToday.
Fortunately, this can now easily be achieved using the Video Thumbnails plugin.
Mega Menu is Not Built In
A mega menu is a menu that adds images and other details to the menu. Because of this, it increases engagement and provides creative ways of displaying content.
NewsToday offers this as an add on and sold as a $29 plugin. It is not embedded into the theme. Newspaper by tagDivi offers it free as a part of their theme. This is one feature I wish I had on NewsToday.
No Dedicated Shop Layout
Some other MyThemeshop themes (such as the Newspaper theme) offer a dedicated shop layout. How important is this? If you want to use the theme for a dedicated shop, you get a preset layout. Not very critical, but this makes the theme that much more versatile and valuable.
NEWSTODAY THEME REVIEW SUMMARY
Well we have come to the end of our NewsToday theme review. What is my conclusion? How does it compare with Newspaper by tagDiv? Will I be using it on my website instead of Newspaper. Let’s see.
NewsToday is a simple, minimalistic news magazine theme. It is fast, SEO optimized, with all the features one needs in a news theme.
It’s speed and SEO optimization makes it far more attractive to me than the more powerful Newspaper theme by tagDiv. In the end, it is not the power of the website that matters. Rather, it is how the website performs.
Search engine optimization will determine my position in the search rankings and speed will determine how long persons stay on my website.
Primarily for these two reasons, NewsToday will be my new WordPress news theme on Falmouth News. See it in action.