As promised, here is Part 2 of my review of OceanWP, a feature-rich and affordable WordPress theme. In Part 1, I told you about the free version, which was already packed with design options. Now, I present the paid upgrades. The Core Extensions Bundle costs $79.00 for a 1-year license, and includes add-ons that can be purchased separately. The bundle is easily a better deal because it can be used on unlimited websites, whereas the individual add-ons can only be used on up to 20 sites and will cost over $500.00 when bought separately.
The Core Extensions, as well as the free extensions (which are plentiful enough), give the website creator a vast toolbox to create websites without needing to write code. I want to advise you that you shouldn’t use these tools just because you have them; we all hear complaints about “Bells and Whistles.” Having many features doesn’t always make a site more sophisticated. Your mindset in using these design options is to make your site unique, reflecting your personal brand and yours alone. It’s easy with cheaper themes, or heaven forbid, Wix, to make a site based on a template that’s the same for everyone who uses it. A professional website should be like a tailored suit- made to fit you specifically.
Below I list the 9 paid add-ons in the Core Extensions Bundle. Nick the developer hints at future extensions, and you’ll automatically access them if you purchase the bundle today. I want to note that some add-ons use OceanWP’s “My Library” in the Theme Panel. Here you can create custom templates with your chosen page builder plugin (preferrably Elementor, but I think others are enabled.) The templates are saved and can be used in the site where indicated in the theme’s Customizer settings.
Elementor Widgets: These are add-ons to the 3rd party drag and drop page builder plugin, Elementor. What Nick means by widgets are elements or modules in American vernacular; a collection of objects and/or displays that can be used in the Elementor work environment. Some of these display links to your blog posts in either grids, carousels, or newsletter styles. There is an AJAX search module that you can place anywhere in the page, alert messages, navigation and logo areas that can be designed with Elementor and placed in the theme’s header, “logged in/out” indicators if your site can be used by visitors, and pricing tables and “skill bars” to market your business services.
Ocean Hooks: Hooks were introduced in GeneratePress and expanded upon by OceanWP, Astra, and a growing number of other themes. They are universal areas in the theme where one can insert programming or codes, and thus display custom made sections or widgets uniformly throughout your site. Suppose you run an online store, and you want the same special promotion to appear at the very top of every page. You can design that banner in Elementor or Beaver Builder, copy the “shortcode” create by either of those builders, and paste the shortcode into the top bar hook area.
Another use for hooks displaying ads provided by Google AdSense or another advertising network. This is helpful if you want to earn money from your blog. As of this writing, I use GeneratePress for natehoustman.net, and I’ve pasted my unique AdSense code into a few hook areas of the theme. That’s why you see ads in my header, footer, and in certain points of my articles. You can do the same thing with OceanWP.
Six of the premium add-ons are utilized through WordPress’s Customizer area. Every theme has its own unique settings in the Customizer where the user can set the appearance of the site throughout every page.
Side Panel: This is an area that can be opened and closed on the side of your pages, which contains WordPress widgets. Think of it as an additional widget area that normally wouldn’t fit in a standard page, in which you can show categories of information. In the Customizer area, you can set the background and text colors, as well as the padding and spacing of the content blocks. You can design your own custom side panel layouts in a page builder, save it in the My Library section of the theme, and bring it up in the “Select Template” area of the Side Panel Customizer controls.
Sticky Header/Footer: These are 2 separate add-ons, but they work similarly so I’ll group them together. When either of them are activated, the site’s header and/or footer areas will stay on the screen while the visitor scrolls up or down.
Footer Callout: This is an additional banner that appears directly over the footer. In the Customizer, you can write out any text or call-to-action, and add a button with a hyperlink. The button can be designed in the Customizer, and can lead to any page where you want your visitor to take action, like the “Contact Us” page, product page, etc. Like with the Side Panel, you can design a custom Callout in your page builder plugin, save it in “My Library,” and bring it up in the Customizer.
Portfolio: This add-on is very involved. It creates a content category called “Portfolio,” which you can access in the Dashboard. You add individual portfolio items you’ve created, like artwork, photographs, or websites, and then display them in a gallery with links so each item can be examined separately. In the Customizer, you assign the Portfolio to one of your site’s pages.
This add-on has a sub-menu in the Customizer with items that let you set the appearance of the portfolio gallery and items. You choose how they appear on mobile devices, whether to set a color overlay/tint to the featured images of your items, and the colors and fonts of the supporting text. You can add tags and meta data to each item, then enable the items to be searchable within your site through the Query feature.
Woo Popup: The Woo Popup is a quick popup that appears whenever a visitor adds an item to the cart of your WooCommerce powered online store. Again, you can design a popup with your page builder and include it in “My Library,” or set its appearance in the Customizer. This lets a customer know how many items they’ve selected, and can thank them for their choice before they check out.
White Label: This is useful mainly to contract freelancers or agencies who make websites for clients. It hides all the OceanWP branding from the WordPress Dashboard, and replaces it with the contractor’s own business name and information. I’m not sure I would use it myself, because I like to talk to clients about what I use and why. However, it could be helpful if you’re building a site that many members of a business would log into and use, and you don’t want to clutter up the dashboard for them.
You can download OceanWP and purchase the Core Extensions by following the link below. It’s one of the fastest-growing themes available in the WordPress ecosystem. However, I’ve heard very little talk about it compared to other popular alternatives. I’ve wanted to examine it more ever since my article about the best themes and builders for multiple websites, and give it its due. This is a creative professional’s theme, with endless applications because of its blank canvas nature. If you’re a business owner wanting a DIY site, or a professional designer making sites for clients, you’ll be well served either way.