X Theme… It’s the most sold theme on ThemeForest, and has been for the last few years. There is good reason for it, and I’m going to show you why.
This is going to be a very thorough post so might want to grab some snacks and a coffee!
To break down what we’ll cover, here is an overview so feel free to jump to the sections you care about:
- What is X Theme?
- How does X Theme make WordPress so much better?
- Cornerstone and some key features you need to know about
- What are Cornerstone Elements?
- X Theme shortcodes
- Blogging with WordPress and X Theme
- X Theme and WooCommerce
- How to get on the bandwagon!
Ok, let’s begin at the beginning…
What is X Theme?
Themeco, the company behind it launched the initial theme in October 2013. Back then they used the Visual Composer (VC) page builder as Cornerstone twas’ but a dream!
Back then the theme was pretty basic, the updates focused on bug fixes, speed issues and adding in new options into the customizer sections, like blog layouts and portfolio settings.
Cornerstone didn’t show up till May 28th, 2015. This is where X changed the game by making a page builder that was a WYSIWYG editor. Much like Wix or SquareSpace. See you later VC!
Next on the agenda was integrating WooCommerce and making that look sexy AF in X Theme.
Why is this important? It shows that the Themeco folks have been doing this before it was a thing. They are at the forefront of all things WordPress and making it as easy to use as possible!
For a quick tour of the admin side, check out my introduction blog post about it.
Check out how you can make a page in less than 5 minutes! (scroll down when you get there)
How does X Theme make WordPress so much better?
WordPress alone is amazing and powers over 30% of all websites. ALL websites. That’s insane.
WordPress deals with the boring stuff, like code structure, blogging formats, URL formats.. you know all the fun stuff. Slap on X Theme on you’ve got an unstoppable force. Like Batman and Robin or Zapp Brannigan and Kif Kroker.
Themeco brought the party to WordPress with the Cornerstone addition. They made page creation fun and quick.
They also made the whole thing template-able which means you can add in templates in a few clicks.
Normally, multi-themes are known to do lots of things poorly, but not in this case (in my opinion).
There is a huge range of pre-built demos + some niche specific layouts in their expanded demos that transform your WordPress site into a working, ready to launch (after you add your content that is) site that you’ll be proud of!
Let’s take a closer look at Cornerstone now and some of the new stuff they’ve added in 2018.
Cornerstone and some key features you need to know about
Themeco’s page builder worked differently from most WP page builders by making changes from the frontend. The others have now caught up (a little) and this will now be the standard way to do things. This is awesome for the non-technical folks that want websites!
I think it’s time for a video to really show you Cornerstone and X Theme in action.
An overview of the process
- WordPress pages start with a blank template with a set layout
- Cornerstone has a big list of Elements you can use, Classic and now V2.
- You create a section, choose its layout, and add in the elements you want such as text, forms, images, quotes, accordions, etc
- Add in CSS and JS to get some extra functionality going.
- Drag stuff about. Save it. Done.
One of the best features of the latest update: Global blocks.
Global blocks ARE AMAZING.
For example, I have a website that has a competition opt-in. The competition lasts for 2 months then closes, then changes to a new one and opens again for another 2 months.
Before Global Blocks – You had to use an extra plugin or go in and edit each page it was on.
After Global Blocks – Set it up once in the Global Blocks section, add that to the pages once. Then you only have to update the changes once and they’ll populate all over the site.
Another great feature – Templates
This has been around for a while but it makes life so much easier when making pages. You can get a section of a site looking amazing, like a page header, CTA or an opt-in section, then save it as a template, and paste it in where you need on any other page.
Let’s dive into Elements a bit more…
What are Cornerstone Elements?
Basically, these are pre-formatted sections for you to drop in and drag about as you please. For example…
Look through all the Classic Elements on the WP Templates YouTube Chanel.
V2 elements have recently been added into the Standard X theme license. These allow you to do some even cooler things and I shall be doing a video series soon so be sure to subscribe to stay in the loop!
Now, elements are just shortcodes in a WYSIWYG suit. This means.. you can get super creative when building your pages as you can chuck in shortcodes into Elements…. that’s right. Elemen-ception.
SIMPLE USAGE EXAMPLE:
A button midway through your text, or a button in your accordion.
You could also hide forms in your accordions. This would really help layouts if you did have a page full of forms. imagine a government site with loads of specific forms to fill in. You get the idea.
Where to find all of the X Theme shortcodes?
What is a shortcode?
A shortcode is a way to add in a custom bit of code anywhere on your WordPress website. You might want to add in a custom bit of a code in a sidebar widget. Shortcodes allow you to use all of the WP hooks to pull through data and you can put all the options in a single line.
Shortcodes generally look like this: [shortcode_name variable=”variable_value”]
Funnily, Themeco hasn’t got any detailed documentation of the shortcodes as you can just use them as elements. Fortunately, there is another X Theme fan that has done the work already so, here is the full list of shortcodes that you can copy and paste.
If you wanted to combine a few together and don’t want to get into the code, here is a little tip from the Apex forum.
- Make a temporary page with Cornerstone
- Add the module and configure
- Switch to the ‘text’ tab and copy the code
- Paste into the ‘text’ tab on your non-Cornerstone page.
Blogging with WordPress and X Theme
Now, back when WP launched it was mainly a blogging platform. It still is and is the most popular on the web. It’s just so easy to do. Title, content, some good-looking and informative images and Boom. Done. A Google friendly blog.
How does this get improved?
Well, it’s mainly how quickly you can change the layout of your blog through the Customizer. A quick refresh of a blog goes a long way for your regular readers. It’s good to keep things fresh.
I personally keep Cornerstone out of my blog posts as I like the writing to do all the work, but a flick of a switch in the options and you can pick to allow the page builder to be available on your blog posts.
For more information on this, check out the post about making SEO friendly blogging.
Now we have the main website usage sorted, let’s look at turning your site into an E-Commerce platform. Enter WooCommerce.
X Theme and WooCommerce
WooCommerce is free to add in with some add-ons costing a minimal fee. These add-ons though can turn your shop into an eLearning platform and more.
X Theme comes with pre-styled settings for your e-commerce store. They are known as “Stacks”. Its the foundation of your site’s styles and determines your menu and main blog layouts. You can see the different stacks in the Themeco demo pages.
For some themes that you buy, WooCommerce is an afterthought. Which is a shame. Good job you didn’t get an alternative!
A simpler way to monetize your blog without WooCommerce
Adding in payment options doesn’t mean that you need to add in WooCommerce. A simple Stripe plugin will do the trick. You can update the pricing table to include buttons that take payments there and then.
So, have I convinced you that X Theme is the only theme you need?
How to get on the bandwagon!
Obviously, you can set up WordPress and X Theme yourself.
OR you can get it set up for you AND grab yourself a template available from the site. Go for the expensive one and you’ll actually save money than doing it yourself!
If you need hosting we can accommodate for that too! SSL, VPS, plus a template or two of your choice!
I did mention at the start that Themeco were the first to make a page builder for the frontend and that now the others have caught up.
By the others, I mean Divi and Visual Composer. They have made some recent updates to their builders and they are pretty good.
A basic, free version of a page builder, which works like Cornerstone is actually Elementor. All the good stuff is paid though.
Errrr… X Theme is amazing. It’s only going to get better as time goes on. I actually like that the other 2 big players have pulled their fingers out as this is only going to light a fire under the folks at Themeco to be even better.
Competition is the key to getting greater products and will stop any thought of complacency.
Thanks for reading this far! If you have any questions, template requests, set up options, please feel free to get in touch.