It’s been a while. If you don’t want to read the whole story behind the theme or how to use it, here’s the condensed version:
- IceChimp is a free “coming soon” theme for WordPress.
- It’s designed to work with the official MailChimp plugin.
- It utilizes WordPress’ Theme Customization API to change stuff.
- It’s based off an older theme I released called Ice Breaker.
- Here’s the download link. Here’s the live demo.
I was browsing through my WordPress.org profile the other day and came across the Ice Breaker theme, a theme I released over two years ago, and decided it was time for an update.
Ice Breaker is a “domain parking” theme that was pretty deeply integrated into FeedBurner, specifically their RSS email subscription service. Again, the original theme was over two years ago, and times have changed.
Some Twitter followers might have noticed I asked a question on Twitter a couple weeks ago:
Do people still use RSS?
— Theme Lab (@themelab) December 28, 2012
I received mixed answers, some use it, others don’t. The general consensus was that the technology of RSS itself was not dead, far from it actually.
But what I really should’ve asked is if FeedBurner was dead or not. Although the service is still active, articles like The FeedBurner Deathwatch Continues showed that FeedBurner isn’t exactly Google’s top priority.
Therefore, I decided to take Ice Breaker in a completely new direction.
Enter MailChimp. And IceChimp.
I’ve been quietly using MailChimp for a while now (there’s a signup form on the Theme Lab homepage if you want to join my newsletter).
I also think it’s good for a public release theme because you can sign up for a MailChimp account for free, with no credit card required. You only pay if your list reaches a certain amount of subscribers. So I decided to replace the FeedBurner integration with MailChimp.
Although I looked into some more advanced API implementations, I decided the most practical method was just using what was already available: the official MailChimp for WordPress plugin.
And since I was pretty much redoing this theme from the ground up, I decided a name change was in order: IceChimp.
MailChimp for WordPress
This theme requires the MailChimp for WordPress plugin installed and activated if you want to use IceChimp’s MailChimp-specific features. It’s free from the WordPress.org plugin directory, which means you can install it right from your WordPress dashboard.
Without it installed, you basically just get a static template with an email subscribe form in the middle. With some basic HTML knowledge you could implement any subscription service you wanted, but that’s not the point of this theme.
Upon MailChimp plugin activation, the form on the theme will begin to look completely different.
Now accommodating MailChimp’s default First Name, Last Name, and Preferred Format inputs.
You’ll find that the theme has styles for pretty much every combination of setting you can think of within the MailChimp for WordPress plugin backend.
After inputting your MailChimp API key (you’ll need an account for this) you can select which list you want the form to link to.
The only settings it won’t recognize are the “custom CSS” settings, as I deregistered the default plugin styles in the functions file so IceChimp could take over those.
But that’s not all
In the original Ice Breaker theme, I included four custom color scheme stylesheets. I used some Theme Options code I found on the web (I believe on ThemeShaper) in order to allow users to change the color scheme without touching the code.
The screenshot above shows the four color schemes (with the default form layout, no MailChimp plugin) present in the original Ice Breaker theme, which were carried over to IceChimp as well, although the way of altering the color scheme has changed.
Again, this was over two years ago, and some new ways of allowing users to customize themes have come along since then.
Yes, I’m talking about Customizer, introduced in WordPress 3.4.
With the Customizer options included in IceChimp, you can instantly change the color scheme, as well as input your Twitter username, custom logo, custom background, along with the standard Site Title and Tagline options.
A screenshot of the customizer options is to the left. I’ll go over that (as well as other MailChimp-specific options in the video below.
IceChimp Video Guide
Below is a quick Screenr video covering all the options in IceChimp (excuse the crappy mic).
The video shows you how to quickly and easily set up a custom MailChimp-powered “coming soon” page with WordPress.
Many thanks to Otto and his Theme Customizer tutorial, which I referred to more than a few times when getting IceChimp’s Customizer to work right.
Also, I’m planning on submitting this theme WordPress.org so you’ll hopefully be able to grab everything you need (theme and plugin) to get this working right from your WordPress backend.
Let me know what you think in the comments.