Craft Blog is a WordPress blog theme by SparkleThemes. It can be also used as an Editorial and Magazine. Moreover, it is reputed for multiple purposes like lifestyle & travel blog, style guides, personal blog, journal, music band & singers, photographers, writers, fashion designer, interior designers, wedding, E-commerce… The modern, decent design is friendly with all genders and ages.
Craft Blog is translation-ready, supported WooCommerce and friendly with all Internet browser.
You can see that the appearance of this theme is built mainly from the straight lines and squares. The contents are put on the different boxes, and the boxes are put on a table. I think that the reason for putting contents in the boxes is to avoid messing with the background color or image of the table. This design makes Craft Blog very sleek and modern.
There are not many options for the color. You can only change the color or choose the image for the wall and Website’s name. There is an unlimited choice of color for you to freely personalize your website.
Meanwhile, the default color oriented to the classic and decent style with black, light grey, and white color. Some special element like hover color and continue reading button are red to highlight and make it energetic.
You can’t change the font type and size. This theme supplies users with 3 default fonts. The super big size Arizona for the Website’s name is to draw people attention. Lato is used for the post heading and Raleway is for the body text. I suppose that these fonts are both artistic and clean to read, so you don’t have to think about the font.
There are 2 layouts for the page: Full-width layout and Box layout. I see that the 2 layouts are not much different. The only change the box layout brings about is that the content boxes are on a bigger transparent box. Both styles are nice for you to use.
One advantage of this theme is the multiple layouts for the archive post page. List, grid and masonry styles are available. All layouts look goods and reasonable.
Move up to the Header, it’s where you can choose a header image. The Header image is full-width, looks like a long ribbon. But the Website's name is really big compared to the header image so I think it looks quite cramped. Unfortunate for me, this is the only fixed style of Header. One thing I love from this header is the sticky primary menu that helps me keep a look on it even if I scroll down the page. Besides the header image, the main menu and top menu bar can be chosen to display or not. As for the main menu, there are 3 positions to arrange it.
Similar to the primary menu, the sidebar also sticks to its position. So I can easily use the widget here without scrolling up the page.
The slider is my favorite area with the full-screen image. There is only 1 style for this area. The post title, information and continue reading button are put on a white box in each slide as a “hook” to encourage people to read more.
At the end of the site, you can see the footer area in a separated black area. The footer columns with all basic widgets can be added. The default column is 3 so you should choose enough 3 columns. Otherwise, a blank space on the right will make it look empty like this.
Secondly, there are social linking icons under the footer column. These icons appear with both text and icon, giving an elegant look. The Scroll up button also have text and arrow symbol to clarify it. The social linking, copyright text and scroll up button show up at the center, looking symmetrical with the footer columns. This arrangement, from my point of view, is well-organized. But I wish that the scroll up button could stick to the page so I don’t need to roll down till the end of the page to find it.
One last thing, this theme is decorated with many kinds of icon.
These icons make Craft Blog looks creative and unique. But I’m afraid it may be glitzy to the users following minimal and simple style.
When I used this theme in my tablet and my iPhone 7, I found some mistake.
In the iPad and 1024x570 screen, the Website’s title disappears and the Web site's name is partially covered by the primary menu bar.
The same mistake happens in a smartphone. To make the matter worse, the menu on the left of the top menu totally disappears.
In other devices with a larger screen, the design is still okay. You can see the design in some popular devices here using ami.responsivedesign.is/
Craft Blog requires no enclosed plugin to run. So even if you don’t know about setting up a plugin, you can use it smoothly immediately. But without the 1 click demo import, you have to manually customize your website to make it look as pretty as the demo.
Sparkle Themes doesn’t suggest any plugin for more features. So if you are not familiar with searching for a plugin, you may be confused.
Overall, the Installation is simple and it's ready to use for everyone, even a beginner.
- Social linking
- Sticky sidebar
- Sticky menu
- Featured post slider
- Post formats
- Gutenberg compatible
- Instagram carousel
- Social sharing
- Related post
- Page builder
- Video background
- Like button
- Affiliate system for post
WooCommerce compatibility is one of the prominent features. It helps you sell your product on your website. After you install and active it, your shop catalog is displayed in a shop page.
This theme lacks some important features. I think your blog need social sharing and related post to spread your blog or encourage people to read more. If you want to have them, you have to upgrade to the Pro version.
You can customize everything in the Customizer very easily.
The header area is where you can customize many options. You can enable/disable the top menu, primary menu as well as the sticky menu. The primary menu is not compulsory to be shown in 1 position. You can choose the left side, right side or putting it in the center of the menu bar.
On the top menu bar, the top menu is fixed on the left and social linking icons are on the right. They give you 11 social linking icon to choose. All these icons also exist in the footer areas. They are the most 11 popular social networking sites, but when you use the different social site, for example, Reddit, you can’t show it here.
As for the slider, you can choose to show or hide it. One more category or all categories can be chosen here, so you’re free to display your prominent posts. Additionally, it doesn’t restrict the number of post for the slider. You just need to enter the number of posts you want here:
The sidebar is stick on the right side of the front page and you can’t hide it. As for the single post page and other pages, I see the 2 positions in the customization. However, the left sidebar doesn’t show up so I guess that there is only 1 position for the sidebar on the right.
Besides setting up the footer columns, you can rewrite the copyright text. Write whatever you want next to the text WordPress Theme: By Sparkle Themes. A logo image can also be added under the social linking.
On the archive post page, all the post’s information is shown. Especially, there are 3 kinds of post excerpt and the flexible number of the word for it to be shown. I like the excerpt with 30 words. I think it’s an adequate length for this part.
Finally, there is only 1 section to modify on the single post page. The author section under the post content can be shown or hidden.
It’s not difficult for a beginner to use this theme. I can get used to it for about a few hours.
The necessary forms like video, blockquote, gallery, file, audio, title...are available.
You can gather all your image in 1 gallery and it looks well-organized even with different size of images.
The blockquote appears in a pink box, separated from the normal text. Moreover, there are 2 quotation marks to make it more special and distinctive. In reality, I see no difference between 2 styles except that in the first style, the text stick with the quotation mark. That’s why I prefer the second style to make it airier.
Here is the single video display.
I used a tool to check the SEO configuration and see that it has been customized for SEO but not so effectively. So if you want to enhance it, you should find plugin support.
I checked the speed by Page speed insight. It shows that the speed when you use this theme by computer nearly reach the excellent standard. Meanwhile, mobile device lowers the speed.
Right after I installed this theme, I couldn’t find the documentation. When I clicked the Documentation link in the theme description, it still led to that description page.
You can receive the support in a forum and search for the topic by a search tool. The author takes responsibility for answering all the question quickly.
It’s a good Blog theme for different purposes, reputed for the multiple layout options. You are able to personalize your website to some extent. The appearance is bright, elegant and carefully designed.
With the support of Gutenberg editor, you can edit your post more easily. WooCommerce allows you to earn money on your website. The speed is acceptable. It is SEO friendly but has not been really effective yet.
In conclusion, I think that it’s worth trying this theme for your blog before upgrading to the Pro version.