I encountered the Bimber viral WordPress theme about a month ago and I was drawn to it like a moth to a lightbulb.
At the time, I was trawling through WordPress themes looking for a new design for Wpliving, and the Bimber theme just had that immediate punch thanks to its simple layout, clear font work and strong use of images.
Bimber is one of several viral WordPress themes released in 2016 that take inspiration from popular sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy.
Although attracted to the theme, I was sceptical about using it on Wpliving as this is not a viral content site (at least not yet). But after a month of using the theme, I am pleased with my choice and I have received several comments in praise of the new design, including this one by Oliver Dale from wplift.
Thanks Wil 🙂 Your site is looking great, I remember it from a long time ago https://t.co/kthoWrBUC8
— WPLift (@wplift) March 11, 2016
I thought I'd share my experience of working with Bimber and give you some insight into the pros and cons of this theme. I find the best way to review WordPress themes is through videocasts, because it allows you to see the theme in action. So I made a 2-part video review which covers the following topics
- Feature Overview
- Design and Functionality
- Installation and Usage
- Summing up the pros and cons
Review part 1
In this video, I introduce the theme's overall design concept and key feature set, including its emphasis on social media sharing buttons, easy social media content curation and its custom ads and widgets integration.
Review part 2
In the second part of the review I cover the theme installation process; how to set up the theme to look exactly like the demo version; how to customize the theme.
I finish the review by summing up the pros and cons of the theme. Here is my conclusion of using the Bimber viral WordPress theme after 1 month.
- Easy to install: from download to activation takes less than a minute. All required plugins and all demo content can be installed with a single click of a button on the theme's options panel.
- Easy to use: once the demo content is installed, it doesn't take long to figure out how to use the theme's core options. The documentation that comes with the theme is also useful.
- Clean design: the layout of content is simple and well balanced. There are several options to change the way front page, single page and archive page layouts work. The theme has a professional feel.
- Visual punch: the theme can be a loud or toned down as you like. The core design elements (layout, fonts, media integration) are well thought through so whatever colour scheme you go for, the content always feels fresh and impactful.
- Good social media integration: this is the theme's main selling point. Bimber does a nice job of integrating the Mashare plugin to give readers a range of options to share content.
- hide or limit comment, share and like counts: this is a very nifty little option that I like a lot. Basically you can set a threshold for when you want comment, share or like counts to appear on your posts. This means you don't have to worry about your content looking neglected or underviewed.
- Works well on all platforms: I have tested the theme on an iMac 27″, Mac Mini and 21″ monitor, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, Microsoft Surface and a Windows PC using Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer and the theme worked well on each form factor. It renders particularly well on smartphones.
- Mailchimp widget cannot be customized from the admin panel: in order to modify the default text inside the MailChimp widget, you have to edit some of the theme files. I hope the theme developers will change this in a future update.
- Needs more custom widgets: At the moment, the theme comes with 4 custom widgets, including a Facebook and Mailchimp widgets and custom posts and sticky start point widgets. It would be nice to see Twitter, Instagram widgets and YouTube widgets given the theme's emphasis on social sharing.
- No archives, sitemap, contact page template: while all three of these pages can be created manually, it would have been great to see the developers go the extra mile and include some bespoke templates.
- No fullwidth option for single posts: this is another addition I would like to see in a future update. Having the option to make a single post fullwidth would go a long way in pushing the viral content side of the theme.
Overall, I have found the Bimber Viral WordPress theme a pleasure to use. It was very easy to get the theme up and running. I particularly enjoyed the one-click automated plugin and demo content installation option. I also found it easy to customize through the WordPress customize panel. The option set is not exhaustive, but offers enough control to modify the look, layout and overall impact of the theme. I also like the ability to set thresholds for when to show comment, share and like counts. This is a small but nifty feature of theme that I would like to see in use across other themes.
There are a few odds and ends that have been left unfinished, such as the lack of an option to modify the MailChimp widget text for example, but given that the theme has already been given 4 updates since its release, I am hoping these small wrinkles will be ironed out.
If you're looking for a theme that presents your content with a punch and lets your readers share it with ease then go take a look at the Bimber theme.