It amazes me how popular those meme or captioned picture related sites have become. Websites like 9gag, quickmeme, knowyourmeme, failblog, and LOLcats all receive heaps of traffic. Those entertaining posts are ideal for the shrinking attention span of internet users. So how do you get your slice of that pie?
I did a few searches for user generated content WordPress themes and the available options appeared quite thin. I seem to have a knack for wanting to play in areas where there’s not many out of the box WordPress solutions readily available. (see Photo Battle, Software Repository) In my opinion the standout in this category was the Me Gusta theme from CosmoThemes.
If I had to pick one site to compare Me Gusta to it would be 9gag.com with a complete sidebar instead of that stunted, non-moving one 9gag has going on. I actually prefer the long sidebar because if you ever managed to snag as much traffic as 9gag, you could fill up all that space with ads and affiliate stuff to make a little coin. With over four million Facebook likes, these people must be cashing in big time so if there’s a site you’ll want to try and emulate, it may as well be this one.
So what does this theme have to offer? It’s got the nice layout as I mentioned, it has a nice one click like (or love rather) button next to each post, a built in lightbox for images, a not safe for work feature that shields a photo from view unless you’re logged in, Facebook comments integration, and an easy to use control panel with many configurable options in the WordPress admin dashboard.
The theme does have a couple of things I’m not crazy about too. For example, the whole keyboard window thing that jumps in front of you like a pop up ad is annoying. The caption for it is actually “advanced navigation for a better experience”, but I honestly find it a nuisance. Luckily you can easily disable this feature. The other issue I have is registration. For a user generated content theme, they don’t put the register link in an obvious place or easy to find. I don’t like that you have to (know to) click on the login button to even find the register link.
Despite these minor problems, I still think Me Gusta is the leader of the pack for this niche and I hope they continue to update, improve, and develop the theme further. Just because you’re on top today does not guarantee that same success for tomorrow if you get lazy playing king of the hill. I like to call it the Blockbuster effect.
I’ve included a screenshot of the Me Gusta options panel within WordPress down below. If it looks like something you might be interested in exploring further, be sure to check out the Me Gusta demo.