Vantage Beta Launched

Ladies and gentlemen, Vantage beta is now available to all AppThemes Club members and beta testers. We are truly happy that we can finally pull the curtain back to give everyone a peek at this long-awaited and much anticipated theme. Here it is folks…Vantage, the business directory theme for WordPress.

So let’s get to it and see what this theme is all about.

Vantage Home Page Vantage Single Listing Vantage Create Listing Vantage Dashboard

What’s in Beta?

All the basics of what you would expect from a business directory theme.

  • Business listings with business address, contact, website, social links and description
  • Pictures including a thumbnail / featured image – pictures open in a lightbox
  • Vantage Single Listing Lightbox

    Listing tags and categories (custom taxonomies)

  • Reviews and ratings (custom comment type)
  • Editable user accounts
  • User dashboard to manage reviews and listings
  • Keyword and location-based search using Google Maps API
  • Multi-tier categorization system
  • Search engine optimized
  • Multiple page templates
  • Editable menus in header and footer
  • Email notifications for new listings and reviews
  • Localization support
Vantage Custom Form

Vantage Extras

  • All new custom forms and custom fields with an even easier to use AppThemes form builder (custom taxonomy)
  • Refine search features with search radius, category and sorting filters
  • User admin bar that leverages the power of the WordPress admin bar
  • Easy log in form on every page

Sidebars and Custom Vantage Widgets

  • Four fully widgetized sidebars: main, single listing, search results and single page
  • Four widgetized spots in the global footer
  • Vantage Widgets and Sidebars

    One widgetized spot in the global header, perfect for a 468×60 ad banner

  • Create listing button is widgetized so you control where it is placed on a page
  • Sidebar map widget with exact location of business listing
  • Recent reviews
  • Recent listings
  • Popular and related categories
  • Sidebar and footer ad widget
  • Vantage social connect widget for footer
Vantage Payment Options

Monetizing Vantage

  • Charge a fee for business listings
  • View all transactions via admin panel
  • Additional fee for home page and category featured listings
  • Standard ad widget can be used in four pre-installed sidebars and four slots in the global page footer
  • Widgetized location in the header that is perfect for a 468×60 banner

Taking Payments

  • Vantage PayPal Options with PDT

    All payment gateways created as plugins

  • Comes prepackaged with PayPal
  • Uses PayPal Payment Data Transfer for greater security
  • Test gateway for testing transactions on your site (available version 1.0)

What’s Planned for 1.0?

There are a handful of items that did not make beta but are planned for the first full release of Vantage.

  • Completion of sidebar map widget
  • Menu item that displays all categories
  • Integration with ShareThis plugin
  • Theme color options
  • Themed log in, register and recover password pages
  • Vantage help tab in admin
  • Business listings tag widget
  • Separate blog to promote your directory

What’s Planned for 1.1?

  • User defined favorite listings
  • Ability to add more than five images
  • Allow business listing owners to reply to reviews
  • Custom fields for user profiles
  • Bank transfer payments plugin
  • Coupons and discount codes for business listings
  • Ability for business owners to claim existing business listings
  • Responsive design for better viewing on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones

Beyond Vantage 1.1

  • Improved map and location based search features
  • Facebook log in, and potentially a Google log in, too
  • More pricing options
  • Child themes
  • Contact business owner form

When Will All of This Become Available?

The beta testers are already hard at work and we’ll give them a week to see what they discover. While we anticipate beta testing to continue past next week, the development team will meet next Monday (Mar 12) to review the ticket list at that time. We will then create an estimated release date for Vantage 1.0.

Any release dates for 1.1 or beyond would be completely speculative at this point. We can only say that we want to release everything as quickly as we possibly can. As always, we will keep you updated as we get new information.

Until then, have a gander at our Vantage live demo. This demo will be updated regularly. As new features are added, you’ll see them in the demo.

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 Comments (189)

  • customer
    crisppx

    so how do you change the logo?

    this theme its very frustrating..

    it lacks of features to customize theme, in my opinion there is not a big different between the Dev version and this release.

  • gaffer

    Quite disappointed with the ‘final’ product. The layout looks like a website that was designed 5+ years ago.

    Also: on any given business listing, why is the the location map stuck in the right sidebar? It looks incredibly dislocated & should instead be integrated in the main left-column along with the rest of the business details.

    • Shannon

      We hear you, Gaffer, and respect your opinion. While we have also received many positive comments about the design, we understand it will not please everyone – not sure if any design does. That’s why we are looking forward to offering child themes from third party developers in our upcoming marketplace.

      Regarding the maps…it’s a pretty common practice to put it in the sidebar. Besides, it allowed us more flexibility to make the map a widget. Not everyone that uses Vantage will want a map to accompany listings.

  • customer
    radlam

    Hi Shannon,
    I like the theme a lot, but when I put questions to the forum I don’t expect to be flicked off.
    The problem I have is that you need a child theme with this theme. Is is not a nice to have but essential IMO, because there are so many changes to make,and so many revisions to come. Changes I have already made will have to be redone everytime the theme is released, unless I have a child theme to hold those changes.
    I have asked in the forum how to make a child theme but being sent to WordPress.org. and my other questions trashed. Not good enough.
    Could you please either make a child theme for everyone, as it essential kit, or explain how to make one for vantage assuming a cPanel that includes:
    1. the folder that it goes in.
    2. The style sheet.
    3. The Header file
    4. The footer file
    As these are the places I have changed stuff already, and any other files that I would need to change stuff in the future.
    The theme type is too small. When you have tweenies and 20 somethings, they don’t get what things look like through a 62 year olds eyes. I still have 20:19 vision, but it is irritating to me that you would offer a typesize that you have to squint to read. What is the point of that? [Unlike this text box which is fine.
    And why do you have a WYSIWYG on this site, but not on Vantage? A comsumer would expect something better,not worse than this.
    As for the back end, I have a free theme that has a bigger back end than this, that allows me to change the footer, in the left, in the right, and in the centre, so I can add a bunch of links [live site here as proof my personal site http://rickadlam.com, so this first release is a is pretty sparse effort.]

    • Shannon

      Rick, admittedly our child themes tutorial could be better. Our support team has been rewriting the tutorial. If you ever have questions about child themes, post a comment in the forums and ask for Dubya to help you. He’s the one leading the effort to rewrite the child themes tutorial and is the best person to answer questions that you might have. I will let Dubya know that you will be asking for him.

      Thanks, Rick. You always have very valuable feedback.

  • Matthew O’Gara

    Ok, I know this sort of programming takes time but after waiting so long I’m a bit dissapointed in the product. I can’t see anything that sets it apart from the rest. What are it’s UNIQUE selling points? I’m unsure if I buy this how I can then offer it to a business.

    It’s like 3 other sites in my area.

    I tried to add a business choosing a category that wasn’t listed – no go. No way to do it, I wanted to list a chemist and I had to list it as something else. Surely customers should be able to add their own category and the webmaster be emailed with the new suggestion?

    I also could not “pin-point” the map on the site to visually verify the address. No way to grab the marker and move it.

    Print this listing option? Basic contact info and map?

    Is there any log in? I couldn’t tell from the demo.

    There should be a facebook/twitter login option for the login as well as the traditional email method (this might be there already, not sure.

    Once users create a listing for their business, how can they promote said business from within the directory? Can one import contacts, email them offers?

    The coupon aspect (I know is in the planning) but I believe is essential to set it apart from the rest.

    An events manager, “promote your party-night, art exhibition, steak night” wouldn’t go amiss like-wise a “like” button for each business….

    I think I’ll wait a little longer… shame.

    Good work on everything else though. It is a directory.

    Like
    2 people like this.
    • Shannon

      You certainly make some good points, Matthew. If I can address some of them…

      Adding a category with a listing will likely be added.

      There will be a plugin for pinpointing location on a map.

      There is a log in. With the demo, everyone is already logged in to see all of the features.

      Social log in will be available with the Social Connect plugin. We’re making sure Vantage works well with the plugin.

      Events are definitely coming.

  • customer
    zlaws

    Hi.. Good start of the theme but still waiting for more updates. In the meantime I’m trying to setup the categories and the site so i can get online as soon as we manage to customize the theme to our needs. I need to ask some quick questions but before.

    1. Is it possible to give Unlimited days for listing a business
    1.2 – and is it possible that I give limited Featured / Home Page Listing for an X amount of days? At the moment it looks like that I need to have these two combined to make someone pay for a homepage listing.

    2. I changed the logo but I still have the vantage Icon on the background

    3. Apart from the demo which looks good when listing the “Other Categories” in the search results mine does not. This is because I need to have 100s of categories and sub categories. Is there a way to show only the Main Categories with a [+] sign to make these expandable?

    Thanks so much for your time

    • Shannon

      1. Not yet. It was requested and we are already working on it for 1.1
      1.2. The featured listing lasts as long as the listing itself. It has been requested that featured duration can be set separately. It is something that will be a consideration for a near term release, but not a priority. Right now, an admin can manually deactivate feature on an active listing.
      2. Did you read the “Header” section here? If you still have a problem, probably best to hop in the forum and let one of the support staff help.
      3. That’s a lot of categories. We’ll need to look into this. Sorry I do not have a better answer for you now.

      Thanks, zlaws.

      • customer
        zlaws

        Thanks for your reply Shannon.

        I would have taken the categories issues a basic feature in such a theme. It’s what a Business directory listing website is all about. Making it easier for people to find what they need. For example

        I don’t expect to be looking for a Chinese restaurant listed with Italian, French, Local, Spanish, Mexican and so on.

        I would love to have a section: Restaurants with sub categories of each type of restaurant.

        Same goes for Business Category which has loads of sub categories, Schools which branches out to language schools, Child Care, Primary, Secondary, Private.

        That’s just a small portion of categories and they are already too much to list on the side bar from which you can filter your search.

        Please consider the [+] option for each category which a user can open and close as he pleases. I’m limiting business who want to start listing on our site this way.

        thanks for your time and understanding, look forward for your feedback

        Like
        fscheps likes this.
    • customer
      radlam

      Good suggestions. You want people to list in the directory, but only get a limited time as featured.
      Same with category listings. All three listing types need to be treated and priced and timed independently in my view. You can then change the offers to see which one pulls best.
      The main listing ought to be annual or perpetual, with the Front page Featured and Category featured running between 3 and 60 days as an example.
      Also with charging for the base listing it would be useful in some niches to charge discounted anual fee or a set monthly fee. Just a thought.

  • Alan

    WoW, great theme

  • demonoid

    To the appthemes team: awesome work!

    This is a brilliant theme and while there are a few issues that I would like to see addressed, overall it’s very impressive.

    My wish list:
    > Improvements to the location search – and the ability to tweak the settings for the radius / area searched would be great (E.g. within 2 kilometres of user inputted location).
    > Theming options for the login page.
    > More control panel options… a pretty broad request I know, basically I’m looking for more options to tweak the settings. The more options there are, the less manual code changes I need to do!

    I know this is the V1.0 release… so I expect there is a lot more to come in terms of features.

    Keep up the great work!

  • customer
    crisppx

    Shannon,

    Is there any way to import listings from google maps, yelp, yellow pages, etc.?

    Maybe something like PHP Sugar script where it allows to import videos from many major video sites (YouTube)

    I think this will be really helpful for starters, either way most of the listings are already posted elsewhere.

    Thanks

    • author
      Shannon

      crisppx, Regarding PHP Sugar, video sites make it easy to embed a video. To do something similar with business listings would require a feed from the content source, an exported database, or data scraping.

      If there are business listing feeds out there, we’d consider creating a plugin for those feeds, similar to the Indeed and Simply Hired feeds for JobRoller.

      If You can get an exported database in a spreadsheet formatted for our importer, then you should be able to import it into Vantage.

      Data scraping? Not likely.

  • Darren Ryan

    Just wondering what are the main differences between the developer beta edition and the full released version?

    Thanks,

    • staff
      David

      @Darren, the full released version is the stable one. The development build is a nightly snapshot of the work in progress for the next release. It’s sometimes called the “bleeding edge” version and not stable so we recommended to use the full release version.

Discussion is closed.