I’ve been thinking of changing the theme on this blog. Yes we all need a bit of a change now and then don’t we?

One of the themes I’ve been looking at is the Mandigo theme which is a free one. I’ve been playing with it on a couple of IPK mother sites I’ve set up, and it’s really very nice, better than some of the paid for themes I’ve purchased.

I can confirm it works perfectly with WP 2.7.

(Speaking of which I am really beginning to dislike WP 2.7 because of the dopey new admin interface – WHAT were they thinking? I hope good sense will get them to change it back to the interface we know and love. Anyway…)

The Mandigo theme has a LOT of configuration options so you can make it look quite different on each site you build with it. And of course it works with WP widgets.

For instance it runs at 800 pixels wide, and you can change it to 1024 at the tick of a box in the admin panel. It has several different colour schemes built in (including header graphics) and you can amend them all from within the theme options – no fiddling with the standard WP theme editor.

In fact there are a LOT of options you can change, and the author has even added “HTML inserts” which allow you to change and add useful things such as CSS amendments or tracking code without you having to amend the theme files themselves. The benefit of that is when you upgrade to the latest version, you won’t break any of the changes you’ve made to your site. Very cool.

The default layout shows two columns, the main area and a right hand sidebar. But you can enable a second sidebar, plus top and bottom “sidebars” too which are useful for dropping sign up code or ads into. You can place the left and right sidebars in any configuration you like – sb1-main-sb2, sb2-main-sb1, main-sb1-sb2, etc and you can change the widths of them individually too.

Any pages you add automatically appear in the top menu, and if you create sub-pages in the WP admin area, they appear as sub-pages in a drop-down menu.

You can easily change the appearance of the date in posts, or even remove it altogether.

There are a LOT of settings you can tweak, and I found it possible to make all the changes I needed to make it ideal for use with IPK mother sites. It even has SEO options to re-write title tags, although I use the All-in-One SEO Pack for that purpose.

In Mandigo, it is very easy to change the header graphic. All you have to do is create one and FTP it into the headers directory within the theme at:-

/public_html/wp-content/themes/mandigo/images/headers/

then change a setting within the theme options and your custom header will be displayed. If you drop several graphics in there, they will be displayed randomly. You can even have a different header show per page if you want to by twiddling with a few files.

It really is an excellent piece of work, and I suggest it’s worth taking a little time out to check it out. I’m sure you’ll be as impressed as I am.

-Frank Haywood