Explorable – The name of the theme itself gives you idea about it is a location based theme containing google maps and making it very easy for travellers. The full screen live Google Maps banner looks absolutely stunning, and because it is fully integrated with the Maps API, it offers full Google Maps functionality.
The bloggers are loving this theme to write the blogs on such a beautiful travel theme. It allows you easily find the location if one is stuck in middle or for long way route. It is possible due to the google maps integration and as the layout is responsive it allows you to work across all the devices say from large websites to small handheld devices.
The homepage of the theme is fully featured and hence you can zoom in, zoom out and scroll to see the entire planet. Locations can found using the Listings dropdown menu. There are also Advanced Search and Login Page templates. Basic customisation can be performed through the Theme Customizer flyout, which lets you change color scheme, font colors, and fonts. In addition tons of shortcodes are also generated.
If you have skills and immense interest in writing and want people to know about it than building a blogging website is the best idea. Moreover if you are building a travel blog or a travel guide than you want to build a website that will surely focus on the location and maps. Though there are many plugins through which this can be achieved easily but I was looking for a theme that will provide with this functionality and avoid the usage of plugins. Over weeks I have reviewed various theme that totally focused on travel or the location based theme. And finally I came across Explorable theme by Elegant themes that was fully integrated with Google maps into the design. Besides this theme has an ability to be used for various purposes ranging from simple local business directory to providing information that can be easily located on the maps. Hence I decided to review this theme on various factors and share my views with everyone.
Design and UX:
For a website that is focused on travelling and provides with the travel guide, the design and user experience plays a very important and vital role for it. This theme provides in creating listings for the mapping system very easily. It also provides with the filters based on listing types, locations and review ratings that helps the visitors to easily locate the place that they are looking for. It provides you with the layout to set the zoom level for the maps along with its type. To make it more appealing for the visitors there can be different colors, typography and schemes that can be easily applied. One have full control over the settings through the theme options panel and can be easily customized as per the requirements. This theme provides with a great design and user experience for the visitors.
This theme allows the visitors to easily access the website from any of the devices, whether on tablets, mobile phones or any handheld device. It is a very mobile friendly theme that provides a good user experience to the visitors. Responsiveness of this theme is one of the added advantage for it as many of the travelers will look on the listings or the maps through the mobiles or any of the handheld devices.
Ease of Customization:
There are many theme options that are provided by this theme that can be easily customized as per the requirements. These options includes:
There are also widgetized area that is provided by this theme and you will find it under:
Appearance >> Widgets
ET About Me Widget: This widget will display the About Me information.
ET Adsense Widget: This widget will display the Adsense Ads.
ET Advertisement: This widget will display the Advertisements.
There are 3 Footer areas that are provided by this theme and the widgets available for it can be dragged and dropped easily.
2) Explorable Page Settings and Shortcodes:
There are different templates and shortcodes that are available for the theme that can be applied to any post or page.
ET Learn More Block: Learn more block can be added from here.
ET Box: Box related to info, warning, download, bio and shadow can be added from here.
ET Button: A button along with the content and link can be easily added from this option.
ET Tabs: It allows to add the tabs along with different effects and contents.
Author Bio: One can add the bio of the author along with the image from here.
Note: Depending upon the Page Template that is selected there will be different ET Page Template Settings that will appear in the bottom.
There are different Page Templates that are provided by this theme and those are: Blog Page, Contact Page, Full Width Page, Gallery Page, Login Page, Portfolio Page, Search Page and Sitemap Page.
3) Customizing Theme:
The theme options of the Explorable Theme can be easily customized from:
Appearance >> Customize
Colors: One can set Background color, Link color, Main Font Color, Headings Color, Menu Bar Background Color, Menu Links Color and Menu Active Color from this option.
Fonts: One can easily set the header font and body font color by selecting it from the drop down.
Schemes: The color scheme can be selected from here.
Menus: All the settings related to Menus can be done from here.
Widgets: Settings related to Footer and Widgets can be done from here.
4) Explorable Theme Options:
The theme options of the Explorable Theme can be accessed from:
Appearance >> Explorable Theme Options
General Settings – One can easily set the Logo, Favicon, Grabbing first post image, Map Type, Google Maps Zoom Level, Number of posts per page, Date format, Responsive shortcodes, Google Fonts subsets and Custom CSS from here.
Navigation – One can exclude the pages and categories from the navigation bar, Showing Dropdown menus, Displaying Home links, Sort Pages Links, Order Pages Links by Ascending/ Descending and Number of Dropdown options that are shown.
Layout Settings – There are 3 different tabs that are available for it such as Single Post Layout, Single Page Layout and General Settings.
Ad Management – All the settings related to add can be done from here such as Enable Single Post 468X60 banner image, It will also consists of the options to add banner image, destination url and adsense code for it.
SEO – All the settings related to SEO can be done from here. It will consists of the options related to Homepage SEO, Single Post Page SEO and Index Page SEO. According to ones own choice all the settings related to it can be done.
Integration – In order to add third party code in the theme this tab settings can be used. It will allow you to add the code on the header code, body code, single top code as well as single bottom code. This will directly allow you to add the code without touching any other piece of code.
5) Custom Post Type – Listings:
This theme also allows to add the Listings along with location Latitude and Longitude. There can also be description and rating that can be added for it. Different Types and Locations can be added accordingly for it.
Speed and Load Order:
The speed and load time for the website plays a very important role. Your visitors will not wait for long in order to visit a particular site. So I decided to check the Google Page Speed of the Theme. The page speed for mobile devices was 52/100 and for the desktop it was 77/100.
In order to check whether the particular theme followed the standards and practices of WordPress and to scan all its files in order to know about any malicious and unwanted code. I checked it by activating 2 plugins Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) and Theme Check.
Search Engine Optimization:
Basic search engine optimization is done such as,
Post Title on Blog Archive is in <H2> tag
On Single Post, the title is in <H1> tag
It is advised to use Yoast SEO WordPress plugin for even better SEO for the site.
Explorable Theme is a good theme when you are planning to build a website related to travelling. Google Maps are well embedded in the design of this theme. There are different settings related to Maps (zoom level) and Listings that is provided by this theme. It will hardly take an hour to get familiar with this theme and you will be able to build a website using this theme. It gives you the control over all the settings through the theme options panel.
Well integrated with Google Maps.
Visitor rating on each location of the map.
Different shortcodes such as ET Learn More, ET Box, ET Button are provided.
Allows to add the code integration easily from the Theme options panel.
There are different page templates that are provided by this theme.
It does not provide any way to add a logo for the site.