Toujours is a fully responsive free WordPress theme, suitable for wedding, travel journals, magazines, photography websites or any kind of photo-based blog. Its clean and beautiful layout along with large featured images and bold typography gives it an elegant and premium look.
Before diving into the review, I would like to thank Mohamad Karbi for giving me the opportunity to contribute to his blog. I really feel honoured to write here.
Let’s start with how the theme Toujours looks in the raw form-
See how elegant it looks? Although you can customize it in your own way to make it look much different than this.
Header Image: Toujours allows you to add a header image at the very top of the website. A header image can be a decorative image that describes your website, or it can also be an advertisement. The recommended size for a header image is 1160 pixels wide at least.
As of my opinion, the theme looks better WITHOUT any header image. Although you might think otherwise.
Logo and Blog Title: Initially when the theme is activated, site logo is turned off. But you can add a logo which will be displayed just above the blog title, aligned centrally. Whatever be the logo image size, the maximum space it can take is 200 pixels (height) and 600 pixels (wide).
The blog title is also aligned centrally and positioned just below the logo. To make it stand out, it is displayed in Huge Sized Letters.
Main Menu: The top menu bar (which is the only navigation menu allowed in this theme) is placed horizontally below the blog title. The menu is separated from other contents by a double-lined top and bottom borders, which makes it even more appealing.
The menu items with sub-menus have a down arrow (˅) placed right next to them. On hover, the sub-menu opens automatically. What I didn’t like about the sub-menu is the colour combination they used. I found it a bit struggling to read grey letters on whitish background.
Additionally, when any menu item is hovered the text colour of that item changes to whatever colour you’ve set for links on your website (red in my case).
Homepage & Other Page Templates:
Default Homepage: I cannot but admit that the layout of the homepage is what has lured me to use this theme in my website. It has three sections – a post slider for featured posts (full width, optional), three recent posts placed side by side in a boxed layout (full width, optional) and other posts displayed vertically in a single column (the width of the screen is shared with an optional right sidebar).
The layout is nicely explained with a visual here-
Further breakdown of the homepage layout –
- The featured post slider takes up the whole width of the screen. Understandably the features images for these posts should be large and clear. While they recommend using featured image of size 1160 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall at least, I’ve found that smaller images also works fine. The title of the post, along with the date of publishing, are displayed in overlay on the featured image.
The slideshow is automatic but can also be navigated manually, thanks to the navigations arrows. Delay between each slide is around 5 seconds, which is neither too fast nor too slow.
- Now about the three recent posts section, it simply displays three of your latest posts (ignoring any post which already appears in the slider) in a three column boxed layout, taking the full width of the screen. You have the option to turn it off, but I like to keep it turned on as it makes the homepage diverse.
- The rest of the posts are displayed in a single column below the three recent posts. This column takes almost 70% of the screen, while the sidebar widget area takes up the rest.
Note-1: An unique feature of this theme is the placement of the tagline. In Toujours the tagline is displayed below the featured post slider. The design of the tagline section is similar to the main menu. Since it’s not included in the header section, it won’t show up in any pages other than the default homepage. In my website, I decided not to use any tagline, thus this section was removed automatically.
Note-2: You need to post at least six posts until the website takes shape (two for the slider to work, three for the recent posts section & one for the main column).
This is how I’ve customized the homepage of my website:
Page Templates: Unfortunately, Toujours has only 2 page templates – the default template and Guestbook template.
- A default page contains two columns, one for the main content (almost 70% in width) and another for the sidebar widgets (almost 30%).
- The guestbook template is in fact a very unique feature of this theme. There is no sidebar in this template and the main column is placed at the centre (width remaining the same, 760 pixels). This page displays the comments prominently in two columns. Since it focuses more on comments rather than the contents, it can be used as a Forum page (like I used) or simply a platform for visitors to write something.
Widgets & Post Formats:
Widgets Areas: I’ve already made mention of the optional sidebar widget area at the right side. Here optional means when there is no widgets added to the sidebar, the main column will be shifted to the centre, maintaining the same width (almost like the Guestbook template).
Other than the sidebar widget area, there is option to add widgets in the footer as well. When you have only one widget in the footer, it will take the whole width of the footer area. After adding another widget, the two widgets will be shown in two columns (taking 50-50 width). In this way, there can up to be 4 columns in the footer widget area! Interestingly, the fifth widget will be added to the column which has the minimum height, instead of going serially back to the 1st column.
Post Formats: Toujurs offers all the diversity one can possibly wish for while choosing a post format. In this theme, you will have all 8 post types that WordPress allows – Image, Video, Audio, Gallery, Status, Aside, Quote & Link.
In homepage or archive pages, the post format is mentioned below the excerpt of each posts. For most of the post types, other than this nametag there is hardly any distinctions at first sight. But given enough attention, you will notice many significant dissimilarities among them. I will skip the details for you to observe yourself.
Social Menu: Other than the footer widgets mentioned earlier in this post, you can add a social menu at the very bottom of the footer area. I’m not sure about the list of websites whose icons are shown automatically in the social menu, but usually icons of popular websites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram etc. are supported in almost all themes.
Footer Credit: And of course there is the Footer credit, placed right below the social menu. Both the social menu and the footer credit are aligned centrally.
- A special feature of this theme is that – a thin inset border is added around the featured images. You can turn it off, but please don’t. Because this tiny little line is able to improve the overall look of the website unimaginably.
- The featured images are clickable.
- The whole website is surrounded by a thin background from all sides.
- The Site title turns grey when hovered over. The featured images also exhibit a partial fade out effect when hovered by the mouse.
- Sticky posts remain at the top of the main column (not included in the three recent posts section of the homepage), marked by a sign saying “FEATURED”.
- Hyperlinked texts are underlined automatically, and cannot be made non-underlined.
Mobile Device Performance:
There is no alternative to a responsive website in today’s world. Good thing is, Toujours works perfectly on all devices. Let’s see how it handles smaller screens-
- In mobile devices, the background around the site is removed.
- The top menu is collapsed initially and opens only when clicked. With this click all the sub-menus also open up, something I don’t like.
- The three recent posts at the top are put vertically one below another, just like the main column.
Among all the positives, there are some matters of concern that you should be aware of before switching to it.
- There is no auto excerpt, which means the full contents of the posts will be included in the homepage or the archive pages. Although this can be solved with a little effort. You have to set the excerpt in all of your posts manually (not the excerpt from the post settings, but by adding a “more” block).
- In the main posts, there is no option to hide the featured image. While I like to show featured images above each post, but I also like to have the freedom to turn it off anytime I want. (If the post format is Audio, Gallery, Status or Video the featured images will be hidden automatically)
- Author info/bio is not included in the posts. Since I run my website on my own, I don’t need this feature. But for a multi-author website it can sometimes be considered as a must have feature.
Toujours is a free theme with all the qualities to be a premium theme. It’s easily customizable, fast loading and SEO friendly.
The makers of the theme (Automattic Inc.) says: “Toujours is made for planning and sharing moments from your wedding”, but I think this underestimates the quality and potential of this theme. In my opinion, Toujours is much more than just a wedding theme.
About customization, you can use CSS customization to further personalize the theme. See this guide on CSS customizations of Toujours theme here – Theme Toujours By Automattic : Customization, Documentation and Styling to create a new blog site.
I have used Toujours on my travel related website Traveller BD. Don’t forget to pay a visit to see how it looks with this theme.
Toujours is available to use both on wordpress.com and wordpress.org. For more info and download link, go to wordpress.com/theme/toujours
I hope this review was able to help you with making informed decision about choosing a theme. If you liked this review, I humbly invite you to read the WordPress Theme Review Series in my personal blogsite.
Thank you for taking your time and reading this long review. Let me know what you think about this theme in the comment section below.