Crocoblock is a new theme club that has ambitions of becoming the largest WordPress theme club in existence. With the store already carrying a large number of WordPress themes at launch, with 67 currently available, and plans to add two new themes every week, this looks like a realistic goal.
The current selection of WordPress themes on offer cover a wide range of uses and styles, such as eCommerce, magazine, music, restaurants, travel, and many more. The themes are built to be compatible with popular plugins such as WooCommerce and Jigoshop, so building an online store isn’t a problem.
The Crocoblock.com themes can be purchased by joining their subscription based club, although there is a free option which gives you access to three free themes. This is a great way to check out the member areas of the site and evaluate the quality of their products before handing over any money.
The Crocoblock Themes
With 67 WordPress themes already available and a steady stream of new templates promised for the future, the selection at Crocoblock covers pretty much every type of site you could hope to build with WordPress.
Here is a small section of the best themes currently available from Crocoblock:
Fusion mixes more traditional skeuomorphism concepts, such as a use of natural elements like wood, with the latest web design trends, including a vertical header menu, a skills meter, and large homepage icons.
Pivot is a good choice for anyone looking for a theme with a strong landing page. While the layout will comfortably fill a large monitor, it can also responsively adjust to work just as well on a smaller portable device.
Toys is an eCommerce theme that is compatible with the Jigoshop plugin. As you can see from the design it’s an ideal choice for anyone building an online store selling toys and other items for children.
Regina is a highly responsive theme with a strong landing page which is a good match for businesses, agencies, or freelancers who want to attract more customers and clients.
With an ever growing list of themes, make sure you check out the website for the latest selection.
When it comes to features, these themes aren’t lacking. As the themes are all built on the same framework, most of the themes share a common set of features which includes:
- Customization and configuration options
- Responsive design for use on portable devices
- Custom Post Types and Post Formats
- Over 80 shortcodes
- Google Fonts
- Custom sidebar areas and widgets
- Import and export content
- Backup and restore tool
- WPML ready
- Sample demo data
- All images and PSD files included
These features ensure that your site will be highly customisable, making it possible to modify it to meet your needs.
Installing the Themes
Once you’ve signed up, either as a free or paying member, you can download any of the available themes from your account area. You can also access the theme-specific documentation and support forums to help you get started and find solutions to any issues that may arise.
The Crocoblock themes are all built on the Cherry Framework, with the individual themes functioning as child themes. This gives you access to a standardized theme options control panel through which the settings and appearance of the theme can be modified. You can find out more about this framework in the WP Mayor Cherry Framework review.
This parent framework and child theme approach works well in theory and is used to good effect by other popular WordPress theme providers such as the Genesis StudioPress offerings.
With the Crocoblock themes it would be more user-friendly if the framework was available to download along with the other themes you have access to. This might prevent users from uploading their new theme into WordPress and then expecting to be able to activate that theme in their dashboard. As it is, users must view the documentation for the theme in order to find the link to the Cherry Framework, download it, and then upload it to their site.
Locally extracting the zip archive of the child theme is slightly messy, as the theme files are just extracted into your themes directory, rather than into a new directory by default. However, once you’ve correctly extracted the theme files or uploaded them via the dashboard, along with the framework, you can get started with configuring your chosen theme.
Configuring the Crocoblock Themes
Once the framework and a theme of your choice have been uploaded, you can install any required plugins, such as Contact Form 7. You also get the option of importing the sample data before getting started.
The appearance of the themes can be modified through the WordPress theme customizer panel. From here you can set the fonts and colours, setup the widget areas, and many other options, depending on the functionality of your chosen theme. This works really well and gives you a live preview of how your changes will appear to the visitors of your site.
The framework also adds two menu items to the WordPress admin dashboard side-menu: Cherry Options and Cherry Plugin. The plugin includes the widgets and shortcodes, which means that if you change frameworks in the future, you can continue to make use of these features from the Crocoblock themes. Through the Cherry Options screen you get access to a lot more customization options for your theme.
Some of the elements you can configure through the framework include:
- Styling including width options, fonts, and colours
- Customize the navigation including animation effects
- Configure the slider
- Setup the portfolio content
- Add links to social profiles
The good thing about the framework approach is that if you change themes to another template offered by Crocoblock, your customizations and framework configuration settings will be applied to the new theme.
Plans and Pricing
As well as being able to sign up for free and get access to three WordPress themes, there are also four pricing plans to choose from:
- Standard: $55 to join + $19 p/m
- Developer: $75 to join + $19 p/m
- Premium: $95 to join + $19 p/m
- Yearly: $249 p/y
Each package includes access to all* 67 themes, and one brand new theme each week, all of which can all be used on an unlimited number of domains.
There’s also a bonus for new subscribers. After paying the joining fee, people get the first month for free, which is a good way to thank customers for their business.
*The standard and developer plans exclude access to the WooCommerce and Jigoshop eCommerce themes.
Support and Documentation
Members of this theme club get access to technical support via live chat and the support forums, as well as access to updates for all themes for as long as their subscription is active, including a three month period of continued support after their subscription has ended.
There is also online documentation and a video tutorial on how to install a Crocoblock theme to help you get started. Each theme comes with its own set of documentation and there is a support sub-forum for each theme.
The theme package includes a copy of the detailed documentation, which covers setting up a theme and configuring it. This documentation is well written and covers all the features of the themes, including post formats, custom post types, shortcodes, and the Cherry Options control panel. Although some of the instructions, such as where to find the different options and screens on your dashboard seemed to be based on a previous version and were no longer correct.
Overall, the themes seem to be well supported provided you are prepared to do a bit of exploring of your own.
Final Conclusion and Recommendations
Launching with over 60 WordPress themes means that Crocoblock stands a good chance of being a success in the crowded WordPress premium theme marketplace.
While the themes aren’t available individually, the price of $55 for joining the club and getting access to all themes is comparable to the price of many single themes available for WordPress. There is the monthly payment to consider to, but at just $19, and with new themes expected to be added each month, this still represents good value for money.
The theme framework and options for customizing your site are well implemented and give you lots of control over how your site will look. By including some of the features in a plugin, such as shortcodes and widgets, rather than adding them directly into the theme, the developers have taken active steps to minimise theme lock in, making a move to another framework or theme from another source less painful.
With an ever growing list of themes and competitive pricing, Crocoblock should definitely be on your list of theme providers to visit when shopping for a new WordPress theme.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to subscribe to WP Mayor’s RSS feed.