Standard Theme is not free, but it is affordable, and is available in two license choices: the standard license with no support ($49), and the support license that comes with support forum access and lifetime free updates (and more).
1. It looks great. To be honest, there are a lot of themes that look flashier and glitzier than Standard Theme. This is due to their minimalist design sensibilities, which I personally appreciate. Also, they intend for you to have fun customizing it yourself. You might be saying, well, I’m not a designer – so I guess Standard Theme is not for me. Well, that’s not necessarily true. Out of the box, Standard Theme has an elegance that is hard to describe – it looks amazingly beautiful. But, if you want to customize it and need some help, you have a couple of choices. First, you could spend a little more for the support license. Second, you can hire someone to do it for you (GR offers affordable service – inquire here).
2. Great features built-in. As you use WordPress, you’ll notice is a rich plug-in ecosystem. However, as you begin to live with plug-ins you notice some problems. Some are poorly written. They can be bloated, make your site load slower, or rely on external servers. Standard Theme has many of the most desired plug-in features built-in. This ensures that you are in control of your features and their impact on your site.
3. It’s well coded. I love to get under the hood and hack stuff out. With some of the themes I’ve use, it is very hard to find the stuff you want to modify, and when you do, their logic is so convoluted you wonder how they managed to get it working. Not so with Standard Theme – the code looks great. Funny fact: there have been a few times I wanted to change a default behavior of Standard Theme (re:125×125 ad engine) but decided not to touch the beautiful code – haha.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) built-in. While you have to ensure great content and do the work of getting your site included in similar communities, Standard Theme helps by making sure the right stuff is under the hood to aid the search engines as they index your site. There are a lot of well-written and well-managed plug-ins available to do this – but they are complicated. Standard Theme is easy.
5. I like their mission. Standard Theme‘s John Saddington wrote this to me (posted with his permission): “My bottom line as I rise to do work and before the last moment before I go to sleep is to ask myself if I’ve been successful resourcing the church.”