A Review of the Stallion WordPress SEO Theme
You know that you need a premium theme if you're serious about creating your business with WordPress. But with so many choices out there, it's hard to know what to pick. I recently set up a niche site and decided to give the Stallion SEO Theme a test-drive with my site. I've been incredibly impressed with the power and versatility built into this theme, as well as the responsiveness of the developer.
Easy Out-of-the-Box Setup
Stallion is a piece of cake to get installed on your server. I did have to upload it via an FTP program. It's packed with features so the file size was more than my WordPress back-end wanted to upload. No problem, I just unzipped the theme file and uploaded them into my themes folder. Once I did that, it was one click to get it set as my theme.
The first place I visited was Stallion's general options. You'll notice right away that everything there is to do with Stallion is extremely well-documented. I have used other premium themes that have their own custom configuration menus like Stallion. The difference is that David, Stallion's developer, has given instructions on each setting. If the settings are more in-depth, there's a link directly to the help pages on Stallion's home site. David has taken the time to set up help pages for every feature of Stallion. It's very friendly, even for newbies.
The general page lets you register your copy of Stallion and input all your credentials for the built-in Adsense, Clickbank, and Chitika integration. Yeah — that integration is all built in, along with integration for some major SEO plugins and other monitization services like in-text ads.
Any Color You Like
After setting up my Adsense and Clickbank, I headed right over to change the layout and color scheme. Stallion has tons of different color choices. It's easy to pick a color scheme that matches your visitor's expectations and fits well with your brand.
There are a lot of customization options beyond just color. There are quite a few built-in headers to choose from, or David gives exact instructions for adding in a custom header. I designed a custom header with my niche site's branding on it and had that uploaded and selected in Stallion's settings in a snap.
You can also easily change your background color to a new color or seamless texture. Again, there's exact documentation on how do that and I had mine changed in seconds.
You can also choose from a wide variety of layouts with just about any column configuration you wish. I wanted a two-column layout with a wide sidebar on the right (there are three column layouts, too). All it took was one button click 🙂 It took me a little longer to figure out how to work with my column in the WordPress widgets panel. This is where I found out personally that Stallion's developer David is quick to give personal response and very open to user feedback. I was impressed!
There are instructions on how to use WordPress's new custom menus with Stallion and the integration worked perfectly with my top navigation menu.
My Stallion theme now looks really fantastic and fits my site's niche and branding perfectly.
I also want to add that Stallion inserts pictures into posts beautifully, with a border and nice padding. It looks professional… something that other “premium themes” don't do so well. Images are a big deal in blog popularity now — they should look good.
Custom Ad Layouts
One of the powerful features of Stallion is the ability to place ads just about anywhere you want in your theme's template. I immediately used the widget to add an Adsense box to my site's sidebar and a small horizontal link unit just under my navigation menu.
Adsense in WordPress is honestly one of the biggest pains when setting up a site. You have to remember to manually add the code… or you have to use “shortcodes” to add it into your theme (which you also have to remember), or something doesn't look right, or this or that. Stallion takes all that pain away.
You can choose where you want the ad to be in each post, and it will just be there! You also pick the size you want and you can choose what colors you want your ads to be. There's even a search box feature where Stallion will build a custom Google search box for you.
I haven't tried the search box yet, but I have inserted a large ad into the content of each of my posts and it works really nicely.
I did run into a problem… I wanted a static homepage for my site, and I didn't want an ad block in the same place on that page. I looked at the Page Templates provided with Stallion and was thrilled to see “Static Page, No Ads, Main Content Only.” Bingo. Exactly what I wanted – just my content with no ads and no time/date stamp.
Stallion also has a number of other templates, including a single page, no sidebar template. I used this to set up a squeeze page and it looks awesome — I'll also use it for a sales letter when I get this niche site's product done.
You can use Stallion set up your ads for Chitika and Clickbank so those networks can be featured in your ad blocks, too.
SEO and Tracking
Stallion keeps on going with SEO features and the ability to easily integrate tracking. It was easy to install Google Analytics so I can keep track of my stats. Along with Analytics integration, Stallion includes easy verification of your site in Google, Bing, and Yahoo's webmaster tools.
There's also a lot of opportunity for SEO and social networking. Social Networking buttons can be quickly configured from the Promotion Options tab. You pick which networks you want to show buttons for you and you can configure your buttons. You also decide where you want them to appear on your posts – all with the click of a button. I do wish there was an option to have them both at the top and bottom of each post/page.
Stallion gives the ability to set up widgets for your social network profiles, Youtube video feeds, a Google Translate box, and more. Plus there's set up for custom advertizing (so if you want to show affiliate banners in your sidebar, for example).
This leads to another great feature — built in affiliate link cloaking! This is a great feature, especially if you're like me and plan to promote affiliate products on your blog.
Stallion makes it easy for you to optimize your main Meta Tags for SEO purposes, and it plays nicely with other SEO optimization plugins.
I have been really impressed with Stallion. I'll admit that it took some time to go through all of the settings and get everything working. There's a lot to it and tons of features, so it really does take focus to sit down and get it all set up the way you want it. I spread the setup over a couple of days as I have gotten my niche site set up, and I still have a little exploring to do 😉
The good news is, it's packed with features! There's also tons of help in the help files if you need it, and David has linked all the help files right on the configuration pages. If you mess up, don't worry. Each config page has a button that lets you reset to default values.
Sit down with Stallion SEO theme and in a couple of hours you'll have a blog that looks awesome to you and your visitors. You can set up navigation that makes it easy for your visitors and the search engines to explore, meaning you get ranked faster and stay at the top. Plus, it's easy to integrate Adsense and other monitization modules… so you make the money you deserve 🙂
I think Stallion is awesome, and I want you to know that I do receive an affiliate commission if you grab it via my link – I appreciate it 🙂