The Business of Online Publishing

Popcorn Theme Review for WordPress

Alex Cooper (WP Eagle), Carl Broadbent, and Phil Lankester (Spidrweb) have teamed up to create a unique WordPress theme. It’s called Popcorn. It is designed for affiliate marketers by affiliate marketers. The developers have kindly sent me a copy of the theme to review.

NOTE: This review is my first impression. I'm sharing my opinions in an unbiased and truthful manner. I'll be updating the review in much more detail soon. Please consider this a work in progress. 

Spoiler: Popcorn is an impressive theme!

Try Popcorn Theme!

Review of Popcorn Theme

I’ve tested literally hundreds of themes since I first started using WordPress back in 2010. Popcorn is literally the first theme where I was able to go live after just a few minutes of tweaking. That’s impressive!

Almost always, on other themes, I end up having to do my own custom CSS. That’s usually to fix margins and padding and basic things like that I shouldn’t need to. Popcorn just looks good, right out of the box. Nice.

Speaking of out of the box, I tested the speed without any caching turned on (apart from Varnish), and it nails Google PageSpeed Insights. Green all the way.

Now that was on a site with no display ads. I’ve yet to test how Popcorn performs on a site that has Ezoic implemented.

Try Popcorn Theme!

Overall, the theme looks very nice visually. I love the shadowing on the post boxes for related posts etc. I believe that customizations will be soon available to tweak the look.

I checked the size of the uncompressed codebase. It’s only half a megabyte! What voodoo is this? I’m very impressed that this theme with its tiny codebase matches up very well visually to expensive (and very bloated) premium themes.

Popcorn Theme Features

Popcorn has some impressive features:

  • Designed to be very simple to use
  • Affiliate websites can be deployed quickly and efficiently
  • Super lightweight codebase
  • Hardly any CSS or Javascript
  • A customizable affiliate disclosure is built in
  • You can customize from within the WordPress Customizer
  • Built without the use of existing frameworks that add bloat
  • Designed and built by a team of affiliate marketers who are working in the trenches just like me and you

The Team Behind Popcorn

I made a few very minor technical suggestions to the development team and they responded very positively and enthusiastically. The suggestions will be added to the developmental roadmap.

Based on version 1.0.5, I suggested the following:

  • expanding the buttons to include the common ‘button’ class
  • to enable sidebars by default on posts and pages
  • to allow the option to disable the author meta, date, and time to read (on post pages)
  • an option to disable ‘latest posts’ on pages globally within the customiser

It’s rare to find a theme so highly optimized for SEO – despite what other WordPress theme developers claim!

One little example of a nice optimization within Popcorn is how they’ve set the social media links as “no follow” to prevent link juice leakage. That’s often a template edit that I need to make on other premium themes that I’ve paid for.

The Popcorn theme has three menu locations included. This is nice for sites that will grow to authority site status.

I looked long and hard, but I genuinely couldn’t find any bugs in this theme!

Verdict

In my opinion, the Popcorn theme blows a lot of competitor themes out of the water. Even competitors who have much deeper pockets.

The pricing of the Popcorn theme is very reasonable and it is a once-off payment. You get updates for life and you can also use the theme on unlimited sites. You can’t get any fairer than that. Check the price here.

Well done to the guys for creating such a well-designed and well-engineered theme. I consider myself difficult to impress and I have been truly impressed after trying out the Popcorn theme.

Try Popcorn Theme!

Resources:

Popcorn Theme for WordPress
Alex Cooper (WP Eagle)
Carl Broadbent
Phil Lankester (Spidrweb) 
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