Freelance Web/Graphic designer, photographer & community campaigner

Zerif Lite, ThemeIsle and Growing in Lochgelly

The voluntary environmental group ‘Growing in Lochgelly’ has recently had an overdue website makeover, going from a static website (one page) to a more interactive WordPress site whilst still retaining the one page design.

Normally I would design a theme from scratch, or heavily customise an existing theme but one of the key priorities for me was to be quick in converting the site over to WordPress with a minimum of set-up and design customisations.

To achieve this, I looked towards using a professional template, preferably free if possible. One theme I liked the look of was Zerif Lite, a free theme provided by ThemeIsle.

ThemeIsle provides premium WordPress themes and plugins and quite a few well made free themes. Users can access all the themes by paying a membership fee or purchase individual themes and plugins.

I opted for Zerif Lite as it was a one-page theme which fitted with the previous design of the Growing in Lochgelly site, and I wanted to test the restrictions of the free theme.

After installing WordPress and then installing the Zerif Lite theme, I wanted to set-up the site as per the demo provided by ThemeIsle. I imported the demo xml file but unfortunately my results were very different from the demo site. Wiping all the data, I started from scratch.

Starting from the beginning Zerif Lite was very easy to set-up, and despite the theme being well documented, the need to reference the documentation was not required.

Setting up the front page was a straightforward affair. All that was needed was to create a new page, select the homepage template, then edit the sections via Appearance > Customise.

ThemeIsle provided a couple of free plugins as well to ensure that the theme features worked smoothly, such as the custom form on the site.

The free version vs the pro version of the theme has some major differences and restrictions. For the pro section there is more options available but part of the pro package which is important for those customising the theme extensively is the support provided as part of the cost of the premium theme.

All in all, setting up the site didn’t take too long. Setting up the site and theme took less than an hour which allowed me to concentrate on creating graphics and generating content for the site. In total, it took around 5-6 hours to remove the old site, install WordPress and Zerif Lite, generate content and re-launch the site. The majority of the time was spent on graphics and content.

This was a great time-saver and if it was a job where I was charging a client, the charges would have been very low, which is why I always recommend other not-for-profit groups to consider using WordPress and premium themes, such as the ones provided by ThemeIsle.


Zerif Lite:
Zerif Lite (demo site):
Zerif Lite (documentation):

Article written by:

Tech geekery, blogging, volunteering, graphic/web design, photography, digital activism and community-based campaigns are some of the things that I am passionate about.

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