An Organic Themes Update: Changes Are Coming

Great changes are on the way! Our blog has remained somewhat silent for several months. However, Organic Themes has been working diligently behind the scenes. The WordPress platform and themes are changing. And Organic Themes is evolving with those changes. A pivot is upon us.

First, let’s talk about the changes happening within WordPress. Then, we’ll get to the changes coming to Organic Themes.

Full Site Editing

The next evolution of WordPress introduces Full-Site Editing (FSE).

When using the Full-Site Editor, you can customize every element of your WordPress website directly within the editor. And I mean everything. Your website header, footer, page templates, layouts, global styles, and more — it can all be customized. Pretty cool.

In short, WordPress is finally becoming a complete website builder — like Divi or Elementor, but without the need for such plugins.

In order to take full advantage of the new Full-Site Editor, a block-based theme is required. The above example showcases our STAX block-based theme, which is currently under development. We’ll get to that, but first let’s talk about block-based themes.

Block-Based Themes

Traditional WordPress themes have always been somewhat rigid. While many traditional themes have Customizer options for changing global styles, there are still several limitations to the Customizer. As the name suggests, you can “customize” an existing design, but you can’t change it completely.

For instance, changing the layout of a traditional WordPress theme often involves editing PHP code within theme files. Making granular changes to website elements often requires custom HTML and CSS. Such changes require development skills beyond the average WordPress user.

Full-Site Editing and block-based themes resolve this issue of limited customization. Block themes will not need Customizer options or robust page-builder plugins to change every element of your website design.

Of course, in order to take advantage of the new Full-Site Editor, you will need a good block-based theme. And, since Full-Site Editing is still in the experimental phase, there are only a handful of block-based themes currently available for testing, all of which require the Gutenberg plugin to use, and all of which are likely to change in the coming months.

Knowing this future will soon be upon us, Organic Themes was at a crossroads — continue developing rigid, traditional WordPress themes, or begin working on block-based themes. We opted for the latter.

With our eye to the future, we are currently deep in the development of a new block-based theme called STAX. Which brings us to our first major Organic Themes update:

The Upcoming STAX Theme

Below is the first glimpse of our upcoming block-based theme — STAX.

Unlike traditional WordPress themes, block-based themes are created using mostly HTML files, with a little bit of PHP and JavaScript sprinkled into the mix. But what you really need to know is that it’s an entirely different type of WordPress theme altogether. Consequently, an entirely new approach is required to develop such a theme. At first, that scared the pants off of me.

However, as I’ve been working with the new technology and methodology of building block-based themes, I have found myself enjoying WordPress all over again. In truth, building a traditional WordPress theme is a long and cumbersome process. Despite knowing the process thoroughly, it’s hard to find the motivation to build yet “another” theme. Through the process of building STAX, I find myself excited to build themes once again.

I’ve been deep in the development of this theme for quite some time, and I can say with certainty — it’s awesome! STAX will provide users with ultimate flexibility over their design. We know what a painful process building a website can be. Our goal has always been to remove the frustration of web design, and make the process fast and easy. STAX goes a step further, and makes it fun! It’s a huge step forward for Organic Themes and WordPress, and we’re very anxious to get this theme into your (virtual) hands — when it’s ready.

Block-based themes and the Full-Site Editor are still under development. WordPress 5.9 aims to improve the FSE experience and block-based theme integration, and it’s currently slated for release in mid-December. Our goal is to release STAX shortly afterwards, when the editor and framework is stable. So, expect a release by late December or January.

Additionally, Organic Themes is making other major changes within this time-frame as well. Which brings us to our next major product update.

Organic Blocks Plugin 2.0

The STAX development process has revealed that a great block-based theme requires great blocks. Fortunately, the Organic Blocks plugin provides a fantastic collection of blocks. However, it’s about to get much better.

We have been thoroughly testing Organic Blocks within the Full-Site Editor and the STAX theme. Throughout the development process, we have been vastly improving our existing blocks, and adding several new blocks.

Some of the new blocks being added to the plugin include:

  • Hero Block – Featured banner content with background media, including background videos.
  • Callout Block – Quickly add emphasis to your content with bold colors, gradients, and shadows.
  • Icon Box Block – Create feature lists with icons and descriptions.
  • Featured Content Block – Display featured content in a customizable container.
  • Pricing Table Block – Quickly create beautiful pricing tables.
  • Link Container Block – Wrap any group of blocks in a clickable link.
  • Max Width Container Block – Define the width of content within the container.
  • Position Container Block – Move the position of a group of blocks.

Additionally, the existing collection of blocks have all undergone significant improvements.

The updates are almost complete, and the launch will likely coincide with the STAX theme and the new Organic Themes website. Yes, you heard that right. The Organic Themes website and brand are also making a bold change.

The New Organic Themes Website

I’ve been designing and developing websites for a long time — at least 15 years. When I started designing websites I was passionate. I strived to create bold, beautiful designs that were still approachable and user friendly.

Over the years, I watched design trends come and go. Some have been great, some not-so-great. Feeling the pressure, I jumped on the minimal and flat design bandwagons. However, ultimately I felt those design trends lacked soul. They lacked a human touch. Frankly, websites just got boring. And my passion faded.

For the new Organic Themes website design I wanted to feel inspired again. I wanted to design something that I would like to see. I didn’t want the trends of the day bearing major influence over my design decisions. Since Organic Themes is undergoing such major changes in our product development, the site and brand should reflect those changes. As a result, I went back to my roots, and designed something bold again.

The new site won’t look like any other WordPress product company’s website — for good reason. Organic Themes isn’t like any other WordPress company. When we’re at our best, we march to the beat of our own drum.

I was trained in the corporate design industry, but Organic Themes wasn’t born of that world. Instead, our company was born of the desire to escape the corporate world. That’s why we moved to Maui with nothing but our cars, a couple months of survival savings, and a dream of a different life. It’s why we founded our business in Hawaii. It’s why we kept our business small. And it’s why we love helping other people create their own websites, and free themselves from the chains of the corporate world.

When we entered the WordPress industry, it was full of people like us — nerdy tech rebels. People that didn’t want to be another cog in the machine. However, over the years, the industry became more and more corporate. WordPress companies grew and swallowed up smaller companies and the people that built the platform. It’s a natural evolution of any successful industry. But it became the very thing we worked to escape.

The world has changed over the past 2 years. It’s my belief that people are craving authenticity and a human touch again. Not only in their personal lives, but in the products and businesses they use. As a result, I think the WordPress industry needs Organic Themes again.

The new site is our way of letting people know we’re still here, and we’re still the same people, but with much more experience. When you contact Organic Themes, you engage in communication with real humans — my wife, myself, and my best friend. And we just want to help.

The site will launch with the release of the new STAX theme. We’re very excited about these upcoming changes, and what it means for our customers. We’re also excited to put ourselves out there again, and let you get to know us as more than just a WordPress business, but as real people.

8 Factors To Consider When Choosing A WordPress Hosting Provider

Considering the variety of WordPress hosting options available, choosing the right one for your website isn’t always easy. This is especially true since managed hosting companies make bold – and sometimes outrageous – claims that make it difficult to differentiate marketing from the cold, hard facts. 

There are many factors to consider when looking for the right WordPress hosting provider. In this article, we will go over 8 of the most important things you should consider when making your choice.

Let’s get started.

3 New WordPress Blocks Added To The Organic Blocks Bundle

We’re excited to announce the release of 3 new WordPress blocks within the Organic Blocks Bundle plugin. The collection now contains 12 premium blocks for the WordPress Gutenberg editor.

We added the new WordPress blocks to replace some popular shortcodes from the retired Organic Shortcodes plugin. The new blocks are a major improvement over the old shortcodes. Additionally, each new block features several customization options. As a result, the blocks can be styled to match your website design and colors — directly within the Gutenberg editor.

Toggle Block

WordPress Toggle Block
An example Toggle Block.

The Toggle Block displays content within an expandable box that may be toggled open or closed. As a result, it’s an excellent tool for creating FAQ and documentation pages.

View Toggle Block Examples

Modal Block

WordPress Modal Popup Block
The Modal Block displays content above your website content.

The Modal Block displays content within a dismissible pop-up container. Clicking the modal button or text link will reveal the pop-up content. Which then displays above the rest of your website content.

Pop-up modals are a great tool for displaying content that you would like hidden from the rest of the page content. For instance, a contact or newsletter form, or a list of downloadable files.

View Modal Block Examples

Alert Block

WordPress Alert Block
A simple Alert Block added to the page content.

The Alert Block notifies visitors of important information on your website. It’s a useful tool for notifying visitors of changes, sales, and promotions on your website.

There are two ways of displaying the Alert Block. Directly within your page content, or as a dismissible pop-up upon first loading a page.

View Alert Block Examples

These new WordPress blocks are a useful addition to our growing Organic Blocks Bundle plugin. Additionally, 9 more premium blocks are available in the bundle. Get the plugin today, and spice up your WordPress pages!

The Updated WordPress Restaurant Theme – Version 5

2020 has been a rough year, to say the least. When it comes to businesses, the pandemic has been particularly difficult for restaurant owners. During this time, restaurants are transitioning to taking orders online out of necessity. As a result, Organic Themes has worked to make that transition smooth using the updated WordPress Restaurant Theme.

WooCommerce Integration

WooCommerce is the most popular and powerful eCommerce solution for WordPress. As partners of WooCommerce, Organic Themes understands how to develop themes to work perfectly with the platform. We applied that knowledge to Version 5 of the Restaurant Theme.

As seen in the updated Restaurant Theme demo, WooCommerce is seamlessly integrated into the website experience. Additionally, the Restaurant For WooCommerce extension will provide your website with everything it needs to process delivery and pickup orders.

Gutenberg Blocks Bundle – A Collection Of WordPress Blocks

The Organic Blocks Bundle is a growing collection of blocks for the Gutenberg editor created by Organic Themes.

Organic Themes was among the first companies to release a free block within the WordPress plugin directory — the Profile Block. Additionally, we were the first to publish a tutorial on How To Create A Custom Block For Gutenberg. An article that was copied by many.

As partners of Automattic and WooCommerce, we’ve kept a watchful eye on Gutenberg since its inception. We have witnessed new blocks introduced into WordPress, Jetpack, and WooCommerce over the past year. Since Gutenberg is rapidly evolving software, it was important that we didn’t duplicate any of those existing blocks within our collection.

So, we created a suite of blocks designed to compliment the existing blocks in the Automattic arsenal. The result is the Organic Blocks Bundle. A useful collection of 9 purposeful blocks.

Many Organic Blocks are designed to display existing WordPress content. Additionally, we chose to develop these blocks using the ES5 Javascript syntax. As a result, Organic Blocks can be edited on a web server without the need to compile changes. That’s a big deal. It means our blocks are customizable — even for amateur WordPress developers.

Organic Themes Partners With WooCommerce To Release New Themes

Organic Themes is very excited to announce a partnership with WooCommerce — the most popular eCommerce solution for WordPress.

As the company grows their theme offerings, we are thrilled to be a part of the expansion. As a result, Organic Themes has released 2 new themes on the WooCommerce website — Threads and Artisan.

The Threads and Artisan themes have undergone extensive reviews to guarantee that they are optimized for both WooCommerce AND Gutenberg. As a result, they are among the first officially Automattic approved WooCommerce and Gutenberg themes available. Meaning, the themes are developed to a standard worthy of the makers of WordPress itself.

It’s a BIG deal.

Organic Themes has long been partnered with WordPress.com. Our new partnership with WooCommerce now ensures that our products are developed at the highest standards of WordPress and WooCommerce. As a result, the knowledge we have gained from working with these companies is incorporated into all of our products.

I don’t want to toot our own horn too much, but it’s an important message to our existing customers and all consumers of WordPress products:

Organic Themes provides some of the highest quality themes available for WordPress and WooCommerce. Period.

Now, let’s get to the themes!

Artisan Theme

The Artisan Theme is designed for makers of DIY goods. Whether you’re sculpting beautiful pottery or creating custom skateboard decks — the Artisan Theme is designed to turn that passion into a profession.

Threads Theme

The Threads Theme is designed for selling t-shirts and apparel online. The shop features a unique full-screen layout, in which products are displayed in a uniform grid. It’s an excellent website solution for launching your clothing brand online!

During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to establish an alternative means of income. Our hope is that these new WooCommerce themes will assist your efforts to sell goods online, and pocket some cash doing what you love.

Moving forward, Organic Themes is excited to work with WooCommerce, and release more themes in the future.

10-Year Anniversary Sale

In early 2010, Jeff and I launched Organic Themes from his apartment in Napili, on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Over the past 10 years, we overcame several personal and professional challenges. Today, our friendship and business partnership is stronger than ever. If you’re interested in our journey, read the full story here:

How We Created A Tech Startup In Hawaii
Jeff and David launching Organic Themes on Maui in 2010.

In celebration of our 10-years in business, we are offering a 25% discount on all Organic Themes products and memberships. Sale ends April 30th.

To redeem your discount, use the following code during checkout:

10YEARSOT

Unfortunately, our 10-year-anniversary coincides with the global COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a strange time in the world, and we wish all our customers good health and safety.

During this time, many people working from home are motivated to put their ideas into action. This is inspiring at a time like this, and we want you to know we are here to support you!

Stay safe, practice social distancing, and should your attention turn to building a WordPress website, Organic Themes is here to help.

Coronavirus Response

Organic Themes is a very small company of friends and family. Fortunately, we’re able to work from home and monitor each others health closely during this pandemic.

Additionally, we will be taking every precaution possible. We believe it’s better to be overly cautious under the circumstances. As a result, our team will be refraining from any WordPress meetups, conferences, or social gatherings. All meetings will take place online via Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.

We want our loyal customers to know that we’re here, we’re healthy, and we continue to provide our products, services, and support during these trying times.

In recent days we’ve seen an increase in activity on our site. People working from home are motivated to put their long held ideas into action. This is inspiring at a time like this, and we want you to know we are here to support you!

Helpful Resources

The following section includes a few helpful resources regarding the coronavirus.

COVID-19 Tracking Map

The following site from the John Hopkins University is an excellent resource for tracking the global expansion of the coronavirus:

The John Hopkins COVID-19 Tracker

COVID-19 Information and Public Announcements

We’re avid fans of Sam Harris. He is a rational, logical, and moral voice in the best of times. His podcasts with experts on the coronavirus are insightful and informative. The first podcast is somewhat alarming, as it should be. The second is more hopeful. We recommend both:

Podcast #190: How Should We Respond To The Coronavirus?

Podcast #191: Early Thoughts On A Pandemic

Additionally, experts have advised that keeping the growth curve down is vital to getting through this pandemic. This article illustrates real simulations on how to keep the curve down.

In short, extensive social distancing is key. It’s recommended to “shelter in place” if at all possible. Organic Themes is adhering to these practices.

Stay Safe And Healthy

The owners and employees of Organic Themes heed the advice of health and science experts. We take our health, and the health of others seriously at all times, and particularly under these circumstances.

Should you choose to start a WordPress website with your newfound spare time, we would love to help! Please reach out to us with any questions.

More importantly, we want our friends, family, colleagues, and customers to stay safe and healthy during this time. Thank you for your continued trust in Organic Themes, and we wish you all good health.

How To Convert WordPress Classic Content To Gutenberg Blocks

Bulk Block Converter

Organic Themes is excited to announce the release of the free Bulk Block Converter plugin. We created the plugin to help users migrate their content from the classic editor to WordPress 5 blocks.

Download Bulk Block Converter Plugin

After upgrading from WordPress version 4 to version 5, previously created content is contained within the WordPress “Classic” block. Converting that content into individual blocks requires editing each page and/or post separately. If you have several posts and pages in need of conversion, it’s a long and tedious process.

The Bulk Block Converter plugin vastly improves the process of converting old content to blocks. The plugin scans all of your WordPress content for posts and pages that contain the “Classic” block. Then, it returns a list of all content available for conversion. Choose to convert content individually, or bulk convert all posts and pages to WordPress blocks.