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Announcing the Underground + New Newsletter + Free Theme Bribe

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Some of you may have noticed the new ladder image labeled “Underground” in the top right corner of the site. I’ve been working on this behind the scenes for a while, basically it’ll be a new section of the site with primarily paid content/access.

What is the “Underground”?

Inside I’m planning on having a few things:

  • Private forums where you can ask for WP/HTML/CSS help directly from me.
  • Exclusive WordPress themes and tutorials coded and written by me, respectively.

Best of all, you’ll be able to buy individual themes and tutorials a la carte, or get an all access pass for the whole kit and kaboodle. Forum memberships will probably be a low monthly fee.

When will it launch? Aiming within a couple months, but an official launch date has yet to be determined.

New Newsletter / Mailing List

In other news, I’ve been meaning to start a mailing list for a while (that’s not directly tied to my RSS feed). I finally started one with MailChimp and it was actually way easier than I thought. I’m still learning more about it but the basic set up was pretty painless.

In the newsletter I’ll announce any news regarding Theme Lab, share any cool WordPress tips I come across, and other stuff. You can sign up using the form below.

* indicates required

Just the e-mail is required. You can enter your name too if you want the emails to say “Dear Your Name” at the top, but not necessary. Don’t worry, I won’t spam.

After confirming your e-mail address you’ll get the download link to the free WordPress theme below.

Free Theme

This theme is called Bright Spot, I’ve been using it as a “framework” for semi-custom themes. By framework I mean I customized the base theme with custom colors and a header, not to be confused with the likes of Thematic. I’ll go over this in the following screencast.

I went over all these in the video, but here are the basic features:

  • Three color schemes: blue, green, red
  • Integrates with WP125 for 125×125 ad management
  • Integrates with WP-PageNavi plugin for numbered pagination
  • Social networking links below each post

To download it, just sign up to the mailing list, confirm your e-mail, and the download link will be in the welcome email. You can check out the live demo too.

It might be a paid theme in the future, but for now I’ll leave it as a bribe to get people to sign up to the newsletter. If all you care about is the theme, feel free to unsubscribe right after you confirm your email address and download it. You’ll be missing out on some other newsletter goodies though.


Some of you may have seen this coming. I’ve had so many requests for detailed tutorials on coding/porting WordPress themes, but I felt that a high-quality detailed tutorial like that could (and should) be paid.

With the new forum, I’m hoping it can become a bustling community where people can get answers to their CSS and WP problems, fast. It will also be the home to all the free theme support, which means the current (sparingly used) support forums will be closed.

Oh by the way, the ladder graphic, Underground landing page were designed by James McDonald, the same guy who designed this site.

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on this, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • Romeo

    i’m glad to hear that from you :) I think that for real good and well explain tutorials people have to pay little bit and its Fair till your spending a lot of hours writing them.
    It would be nice to see a xhtml to WordPress conversion tutorial. I have searched a lot and have no where find a real good and well explained tutorial for that.

    Keep going and hoppe other people will enjoy this too

    • Leland

      Hey Romeo, thanks for the feedback. The HTML → WP tutorial is by far the most requested tutorial I’ve had, so that will be the first to be released when I launch the Underground.

  • Jaypee

    So this is the project you told me about. Cool! Can’t wait for it to launch. Good luck mate! :D

    • Leland

      Thanks Jaypee. Yep, this is it indeed.

  • Zach

    Just got the them and I gotta say, it looks really, really nice. Just wish it had more theme options than what’s already there. For example, a way to replicate what you did with your other sites using that theme. I wanna do that!

    At the very least make a tutorial on how you can make it look awesome. :P