Everyone and their mother seems to be promoting Affiliate Theme for WordPress over the past week. Major blogs like JohnChow, ZacJohnson, JonathanVolk are all telling us how great the theme is in their Affiliate Theme reviews. But have any of them actually used it? I doubt it. So I decided to see what the hype was all about, and went ahead and purchased the theme together with this domain.
The thing that attracted me most to the Affiliate Theme was that it looked like an easy way to create landing pages for my pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. If you have done any PPC at all, you know how important it is to have a well designed landing page. A compelling landing page will definitely increase your conversions and provide you with a good quality score which is critical if you use Google Adwords. What makes Affiliate Theme unique is that it allows those with limited WordPress skills to create nice looking landing pages with a minimal amount of effort. I’m decided to test this out by seeing how well it works to create this blog.
Installing Affiliate Theme is the same as any other WordPress Theme. Just unpack the zip file into your themes directory and select it from the Manage Themes page of your WP control panel. Once the theme is installed, an Affiliate Theme Options menu item will be added to your control panel sidebar. This options page is where you’ll spend most of your time customizing your theme.
The first thing I wanted to do is to change the layout of my site. Affiliate Theme offers 6 different layouts. I decided to go with the 1 Column Layout for this blog. I also chose a pre-made Banner and set my Page Background Color to a shade of gray. One of the selling points of Affiliate Theme is their in-line color picker. It looks really slick, but it didn’t quite act how I expected. First off, the little cursor doesn’t always move when I click on a color. It seems to work better when you drag instead of clicking, which doesn’t seem typical of most color picker widgets. My other big beef is with the placement of the Save Settings button at the bottom of the options page. See, the options page is filled with a lot of different configuration options and it requires quite a bit of scrolling to get to the bottom. So every time I change a setting, I have to scroll down to the very bottom just to save. I found that to be somewhat aggravating after awhile.
Those complaints aside, customizing the rest of my blog was pretty easy. I created my own custom header and input it into my Header Settings. I didn’t change any of my fonts, but the Post Headlines, Captions and main body fonts can all be customized. I was able to change the post meta info to turn on displaying things like my Post Date, author, and comments. I also liked the fact that I can paste in my Google Analytics code here and it will be automatically added to my site. All in all it took me about 30 minutes to get my site configured the way I wanted it. I’m sure once I get more familiar with how all the different Affiliate Theme options affects things, I bet I can cut that time in half.
I think I’ve only explored about 20% of what Affiliate Theme can do so far. As you can see, this page has a pretty clean look, although a little sparse at the moment. The theme is meant for creating landing pages which is not what I’ve done here and I haven’t yet taken advantage of any of the pre-made banner graphics which is another selling point of this theme. If you are looking to get into PPC and you don’t have any coding skills, you should investigate whether Affiliate Theme can work for you. It’s definitely meant for affiliate marketers who lack design or coding skills, or for someone who wants to throw up a decent looking landing page really quickly. It’s not perfect and it is a little bit pricey. But if it helps you throw up nice looking landing pages, then the profits you make from your PPC campaigns will definitely pay for your license of Affiliate Theme.