Tim Yang’s Weblog


Problogger Clean Theme for Wordpress

Filed under: Blogging, Wordpress — Tim Yang @ 12:56 am

This theme is based on my own blog design. But in many ways, this theme release is better (and with neater mark-up too). It has been tested on Firefox, Safari and Windows IE. Seven things are significant and quite unique about it.

  1. Monetised

    This is one of the first Wordpress themes that comes with Adsense blocks built in. The adsense blocks have been tested to have optimised positions and optimised colours.

  2. Featurised

    Unlike other themes which come sans-features, this one has built-in features using a single functions file that comes with the theme folder. So it does not rely on any plugins.

  3. Corporatised

    It is a bit of a serious theme with a very corporate colour scheme, not usually the kind preferred by personal bloggers.

  4. Search engine optimised

    Heavy interlinking for search bots to easily find pages. And page titles are automatically customised to the post titles.

  5. Promotion optimised

    There are a few features that allow you to promote yourself and allow visitors to the site to share it with others if they find it interesting.

  6. Stickitised

    Ok, that’s not a real word, but it simply means particular attention was paid to the internal navigation. Links to other posts are placed prominently and throughout all the blog pages to invite visitors to click on them.

  7. Prioritised

    The positions of the sections, colours and font sizes have been prioritised to the immediate communication needs of the first time visitor. The theme is space sensitive and is thus very content focused, keeping much of the important details at the top or near the top of the fold.

And those are also the reasons why the theme is called Problogger Clean. If you choose to use this theme, please do email me or leave a comment about it on the support forum. We’d really like to see how you use it so that we can get more ideas on improving themes.

Proceed to download Problogger Clean or view the documentation.


Most of the features in this theme are unique to this theme. If you are a theme developer or interested theme user, please feel free to download the files and grab whatever bits you like. Many of the most important features have been added by Ozh who did the testing and who was very encouraging and supportive despite many of the silly things I screwed up with his code. Thanks, Ozh, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you!

  1. Optimised adsense positions and colours

    The theme comes with adsense ads built in (no client ID specified) and follows optimisation recommendations made by Google Adsense as well as the new section targeting guidelines to ensure that only the actual content gets indexed for adsense context. With the desire for most bloggers to monetize their blogs, I think every theme should come with optimised adsense positions and colours. (For one thing, I’d hate to see theme users messing with really poorly chosen colours with my theme.)

  2. Streamlined adsense code

    This code was supplied by Ozh. It streamlines the code supplied by Google into a single line which affords complete control over the way your ads look. And it also improves out of box experience of the theme by making you insert your adsense user id in only one location for it to be used throughout the them.

  3. Adsense Click Safety

    A cookie-based safety feature was added so that if you accidentally click on your own Adsense ads, the clicks won’t be counted. This is to prevent Google thinking that you attempted click fraud.

  4. Ozh’s Functions File

    Ozh has a great idea for theme development. Both of us would rather prefer it if themes came with some of the features of our favourite plugins built into them. Then we could plan for the code and the positions and the colours of those features before the theme is released instead of having to make contingencies in the layout for optional plugins. So Ozh has included an added-functions file that can be inserted into any theme to make it more full-featured. Mine is the first theme to have it. Right now it holds the adsense-streamlining code and the code for asides. And I reckon Ozh is working on more features to put into the functions file.

  5. Visitor-controlled ads remover

    If your visitors think your blog is too ad-heavy, they can turn them off. The ad remover links work by switching stylesheets between one that makes the ad blocks invisible and one that makes them visible again.

  6. Optimised internal navigation

    Internal linking, internal linking, internal linking. Nothing is more important (besides good content) to maintain site stickiness. Your visitors can scroll between one post and another from the individual post pages using navigation links at both the top AND bottom of each page. And at the end of each post, they are prompted to check out articles that you have categorised as similar and related. Each page has an archive calendar to lead visitors to earlier posts. And included are two important navigation links that are often forgotten in most themes — the Back to the Top and Home buttons at the bottom of each page.

  7. Built-in del.icio.us promoter links

    Social bookmarking sites are a great source of visitors. Each post has two prominent links which insert your post url and post title automatically into the del.icio.us link form — one of those links is at the window of opportunity at the end of each post with an invitational prompt. Unlike the currently available Del.icio.us link plugin, my del.icio.us links are available on the home pages as well as the single post pages. When clicked, the del.icio.us form page does not load into the visitor’s browser window, but opens a pop-up (works even when pop-ups are blocked by Firefox or Safari) so that your visitors don’t lose their position on your pages (I hate it when that happens).

  8. Optimised interlinking for search engine indexing

    Every page on this theme is reachable by search engines (and by your readers) within two clicks. There is a convenient category list on all your pages and the archive page has a complete list of all your posts.

  9. Tell a friend form

    Each post page has a tell-a-friend form that allows your readers to email someone else about your post. Not very popular, but still very handy for post promotion. It has a bit of javascript validation so that all the form bits are filled in before the email is sent. Ozh fixed much of my own code and made it finally work perfectly!

  10. RSS subscription buttons

    Subscription buttons for popular RSS feed reader services with links to your feed are included with this theme. They help improve rapport with your readers who will be more tempted to subscribe, seeing that you have conveniently added support for their favourite reader. There’s even support for third party subscription services — in this case, Feedburner. Just tell the theme control panel your Feedburner ID and it will generate the Feedburner chicklet for you.

  11. Prominent profile

    To connect with your first time visitors, it is good to introduce yourself and make your contact details available. The content of the contact details are controlled from your profile in your admin control panel. The ‘About’ column comes from your user description. This feature works on the assumption that you, the administrator, are the only author of your weblog.

  12. Links for visitors to send a message to your IM

    The links to the IM services in the contact section are based on code from onlinestatus.org. When clicked, the visitor will be automatically taken to their IM client with a window open to send a message to you. A very handy contact method.

  13. Earlier and previous articles lists

    Another way of cross-promoting your posts through heavy internal linking. The sidebar of the index.php pages has a list of posts you made earlier while all the post pages and even the archive and search pages have a list of your most recent posts.

  14. List of highlighted articles

    The theme control panel also provides you to a way to gather your favourite articles and generate links to them in a list of “Highlighted Articles” in the sidebar.

  15. Customised page titles

    On the homepages, the browser title will show your blog’s name. On the individual post pages, it will show your blog name along with the title of the post. Handy for search engine optimisation.

  16. Customised meta tag

    Using the same method as the customised page titles, the description metatag of each post page shows the page’s title too. It isn’t very significant in search engine optimisation, but some search engines like MSN do read the description metatag.

  17. Support for long and short articles

    In other words, this theme supports the more quicktag and the nextpage quicktag. So you can split your longer posts into separate pages or just leave it to run without pagination if were a short post.

  18. Asides support

    This code was supplied by Ozh. Asides are like little blogs within the blog. In this theme, the asides are posted between the main blog posts on the homepages only - just like how Kottke.org does it. They’re often used for interesting but trivial posts like “Did you know” or “Link of the Day”. Hint: If you post an asides after you post an article, the asides will appear above the article. So try to post an asides before or edit the time of the asides if you don’t want them to appear before an article.

  19. Optional calendar

    You can add the calendar (or remove it) to your theme from the theme control panel. No need to mess with the template. The theme control panel does the work for you.

  20. Self-updating copyright year

    This is small but handy. You know that copyright message with the year at the bottom of most websites? There is one included with this theme, but you don’t have to remember to update the year every year. When your server clock turns, so does your theme.


  1. Hey Tim, first time here. Looks like you have an interesting template going here. I think we need something that’s specilized like you have it here. I downloaded it and will test it out. Any issues with Google policies?

    Drop me a line or msn blogvp @ hotmail.com

    Comment by Andy @ blogvp — 18/11/2023 @ 1:14 pm

  2. this looks very nice. I will give it a try.

    Comment by Markus — 18/11/2023 @ 6:39 pm

  3. Great idea, but the design isn’t good. The page all merges together, the columns, ads and posts mix, making reading an uncomfortable experience.

    Very clever but consult with someone that understands design for V3.

    Comment by Jackdaw — 18/11/2023 @ 11:10 pm

  4. We’ve asked Google about an official statement over this issue. We will let people know when they reply.

    Anyway and whatever their answer will be, this feature will probably remain a “use at your own risk” feature :)

    Comment by Ozh — 19/11/2023 @ 12:45 am

  5. [...] Tim Yang and Ozh have released Problogger Clean, a clean 3 columns theme for WordPress. [...]

    Pingback by Caught in the World "Wild" Web » Problogger Clean - Adsense featured Wordpress theme — 19/11/2023 @ 3:09 am

  6. [...] Voit ladata teeman täältä. Tulemme myös kokeilemaan tarkemmin kyseistä teemaa hakukoneoptimointi.comi:ssa lähiaikoina. [...]

    Pingback by Hakukoneoptimointi » Google Adsense optimoitu blogiteema — 19/11/2023 @ 3:28 am

  7. Hi Tim, Great work. I’m the sort that likes to keep everything simple, and this theme fits my needs perfectly, as I prepare to launch my first WordPress blog.

    Yeah, I’m also wondering if there’re any issues with Google policies.

    Also, I’m wonding how to get WP excerpts displayed in the homepage and in the RSS feeds. I’ve nil PHP experience!

    Comment by George — 19/11/2023 @ 1:55 pm

  8. George,

    This template does not support excerpts. But you can add them easily. Go to the Presentation menu then Theme Editor. Edit the Main Template and place this code which I got from the Wordpress Codex and replace the <? php the_content; ?> line:

    <? php if(is_category() || is_archive()) {
    } else {
    } ?>

    That should do it. Any other tips, Ozh?

    Comment by Tim — 19/11/2023 @ 3:24 pm

  9. I just noticed that digitalpoint is doing something similar, they are manipulating google code, and not just copying what google provides.

    Let us know what you hear from google, if anything.

    Comment by andy @ blogvp.com — 19/11/2023 @ 6:42 pm

  10. Hi Tim and Ozh,

    This is a terrific idea! As a non-techie, I love the ease of using it — no mucking around with PHP code!

    I have a question that may be rather dumb.

    I often write several posts at one time and set them to publish on future dates - say, 1 post every 2 days or so. To ensure that wordpress pings pingomatic and other services each time a post appears, I use a plugin called WP-Corn in conjunction with WP-Cron Future Pings. (Plugins authored by Scott Merill, his site is at: http://www.skippy.net/blog/plugins/)

    (These plugins are required because by default, wordpress sends out pings at the time you save a future date post, not when the posts are actually published. In other words, WP sends one single ping for all future posts, not one ping each time a post is published.)

    So my question is: will the above plugins continue to work if I’m using your template? Wondering if there is anything in your theme that will nullify the effect of those plugins.

    Like I said, this may be a dumb question — I don’t know the first thing about any coding! :)

    Thanks and best regards,

    Comment by Sanjeev — 19/11/2023 @ 6:52 pm

  11. [...] Voit ladata teeman täältä. Tulemme myös kokeilemaan tarkemmin kyseistä teemaa hakukoneoptimointia.comi:ssa lähiaikoina. [...]

    Pingback by Hakukoneoptimointi » Google Adsense optimoitu blogiteema — 19/11/2023 @ 8:59 pm

  12. Ozh has had a reply from Google regarding the changing of the Adsense code. The reply is posted here. It looks like they are not giving their blessing, but they are not going to interfere with this usage of their code.

    Comment by Tim — 20/11/2023 @ 12:42 pm

  13. Sanjeev, I shouldn’t think anything would interfere with the use of your plugin. The PHP in the theme doesn’t use cron jobs. All the PHP code as far as I remember is for display-only purposes.

    Comment by Tim — 20/11/2023 @ 12:45 pm

  14. Hi Tim, am currently testing your new Problogger Clean template on my site.

    One problem though: my blogroll doesn’t appear for some reason and I don’t know why and I would like your help.


    Comment by Paul — 20/11/2023 @ 5:27 pm

  15. This new theme is really great. I’ve got a couple of suggestions for improvement (unless its due to the way I implemented it or due to my misunderstanding of how to use it).

    • add WP-ADMIN button on page
    • add EDIT button under individual post
    • hide COMMENT button under post if commenting is disabled
    • add support for PAGES (these appear on the default them, can be used to reference disclaimers, terms of use, facts about blogger, etc)
    • when I use the Del.icio.us button, I can go populate the info but when I click SAVE, it either (i) says page not found or (ii) posts it but hangs (and when I try to close it, it closes all browser windows)

    Comment by AG — 20/11/2023 @ 10:03 pm

  16. sorry about the above. I inserted a dash at the start of each point and it translated that into a font change

    Comment by AG — 20/11/2023 @ 10:04 pm

  17. [...] Some exciting new WordPress theme links for today (all courtesy of Blogging Pro): The purpose of theme (besides putting out something that’s different from the herd) is to promote the use of social networking within Wordpress…Other neat features include an advanced layout, support for multiple plugins, the ability for registered users to add tags, livesearch, ajax commenting and an archives page with support for extended live archives. Squibble . No CSS or graphical showcase here, the theme focuses on the content you are writing. A close attention has been given to internal navigation, internal linking, article promotion and search engine optimization, so that both readers and the Googlebot can easily find everthing they are looking for. Several features of this theme are concerning Adsense. When most (all ?) themes today come ad free and are a blogger’s hell to nicely implement ads in a layout that was not designed for it, Problogger Clean comes with built-in ads, with optimized colors and positions.Problogger Clean . Enable your visitors to recreate their reading experience by customizing your website live with the power of AJAX in the back. Many new built-in plugins with interesting functions included, like “sticky notes”, “global bookmarks” and “off site content aggregation”, to name a few. One of the most innovative functions is the possibility to load your presets on every BP powered website. Bloxpress. Technorati Tags: Blogging Manhattan New York WordPress [...]

    Pingback by Englishman in New York » Sunset in the City — 21/11/2023 @ 1:16 am

  18. [...] No CSS or graphical showcase here, the theme focuses on the content you are writing. A close attention has been given to internal navigation, internal linking, article promotion and search engine optimization, so that both readers and the Googlebot can easily find everthing they are looking for. Several features of this theme are concerning Adsense. When most (all ?) themes today come ad free and are a blogger’s hell to nicely implement ads in a layout that was not designed for it, Problogger Clean comes with built-in ads, with optimized colors and positions.Problogger Clean. [...]

    Pingback by Englishman in New York » Sunset in the City — 21/11/2023 @ 1:17 am

  19. [...] Downloaded a new theme for WordPress last night: Problogger Clean. Only problem that I found with it after implementing it was that there is no link to get to the Admin section of the blog. Makes it a little tough to get back in (now that I have the URL path it wouldn’t be as much of an issue). So, for the moment I’ve gone back to the current theme. Maybe I’ll poke around it a bit more and see if I can configure it a little more for the way that I like. Posted by Rod @ 9:27 am :: CSS, Blogs Comment RSS :: Trackback URI [...]

    Pingback by Rain City Geek » WordPress Theme Issues — 21/11/2023 @ 1:32 am

  20. AG

    The link to the admin control panel from the blog is worth considering. I do believe the edit button on individual posts is already there. The link looks like a little UP-pointing arrow head. The hiding of the comment button is a good suggestion that we’ll put in the next version. The support for the pages is definitely there already because it is needed so the Search and Archive pages on the top menu can be linked. I’m not sure what the issue with the del.icio.us button is — could it be that you are not logged into del.icio.us already before you posted to del.icio.us?

    Comment by Tim — 21/11/2023 @ 2:40 pm

  21. AG

    This theme doesn’t have a link to the Admin Control panel. But because many people have requested for it, it will be in the next version.

    In the meantime, you can add the link to the admin control panel to both the sidebar files using the built in WP theme editor. Edit the two Sidebar files. The WP Codex has information at: http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/wp_register.

    The simplest syntax is <? php wp_register(); ?>

    Comment by Tim — 21/11/2023 @ 4:00 pm

  22. Having issues with the sidebar templates moving over the top of the post when comments are allowed and not logged in as a user. If logged in then everything displays fine. Seems to me the comment box breaks the sidebar…. not sure. Anyway, great theme! So far I dig it! Would like the tags etc. that you have on here to be part of the build but overall a great project.

    Comment by Rick — 21/11/2023 @ 11:48 pm

  23. [...] WP Themes: Problogger Clean. Tim Yang and Ozh made this 3 column Wordpress theme. It has a nice clean simple layout. Optimized Adsense block built in. Search engine optimization. And many more to help you start making money from your blog. Just don’t forget to keep blogging good content, will you? [...]

    Pingback by WP Themes: Problogger Clean at ericsetiawan.com — 23/11/2023 @ 1:28 pm

  24. [...] Tim Yang’s Geek Blog » Problogger Clean Theme for Wordpress [...]

    Pingback by Link Right 2 » Tim Yang’s Geek Blog » Problogger Clean Theme for Wordpress — 23/11/2023 @ 1:33 pm

  25. I am using this theme on my blog. The adsense blocks appear when viewed using MSIE, but do not appear when using Mozilla Firefox 1.5.

    Comment by Arthur — 24/11/2023 @ 1:08 pm

  26. How do I change colors from the built-in adsense blocks?

    Comment by Arthur — 24/11/2023 @ 1:10 pm

  27. I have your theme installed. I love it, and thanks.
    I am trying to find away to have the default adsense set to off. I will want the adsense once I get approved for an account, but do not have an account yet.

    Is there a way to just turn it off or have it default to off?

    Comment by JLT — 26/11/2023 @ 5:17 pm

  28. Tim,
    Another problem I am having and after hours of trying to figure it out I thought I would ask you the pro. I can not get sidebar 2 to be at the top where it needs to be. It is always below sidebar 1.

    Any help here?

    Comment by JLT — 27/11/2023 @ 1:30 am

  29. I found your site searching for wordpress themes optimized for adsense. I downloaded your template and tested it out on one of my blogs using firefox. I noticed some of the stuff on the page overlaps and looks weird. I also think there is too much going on, it needs to be simplified. Great effort though. I’m sure a lot of people will use it.

    Comment by Jeff — 28/11/2023 @ 8:10 am

  30. Arthur, can you try clicking on the “Reload this blog with ads” link on the sidebar? If you clicked on the “Reload this blog without ads” link in any blog page using this theme recently, the cookie may still be active and may be making all the ads disappear.

    Comment by Tim — 28/11/2023 @ 10:58 am

  31. JLT, Jeff

    We are working on the sidebar in IE issue. There seem to be two separate issues in some versions of IE — first the blogposts block stretches too widely, pushing both the sidebars underneath; second, the right sidebar gets pushed underneath the left sidebar, but only in the single post pages. If that is not the case, please let us know.

    Comment by Tim — 28/11/2023 @ 11:00 am

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