GovFresh WP: A Free WordPress Theme For Governments

This week GovFresh, a government and technology blog, launched a new WordPress theme project to help promote the use of open source software among governments.

If you’ve ever visited a local government website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1999, then you understand the problem that the folks at GovFresh are trying to tackle here. Many smaller cities do not have a technology budget to afford website consulting services and therefore get left behind. It’s mind boggling to see how widespread this problem is, given all the user-friendly open source technology available these days.

The deplorable state of government websites inspired Luke Fretwell to develop GovFresh WP, a free WordPress theme for governments.

govfreshwp

GovFresh WP is a starter theme based on Bootstrap and features all the basics for building a modern website:

  • Mobile-friendly and adapts to all devices (PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone)
  • Custom header and background images
  • Homepage, sidebar, footer widgets
  • Data portability – change the design and never lose your content

It also comes with a list of recommended plugins to help those administering government websites to get started, including solutions for performance and caching, workflow, analytics, security, SEO and more.

Calling on WordPress Developers to Help

Luke Fretwell is looking for help from the WordPress developer community and GovFresh WP is now available on github. He wants to improve the theme and incorporate new ideas, which will require some rebuilding of his code.

The project currently has two pilot cities, De Leon, TX and Ferndale, WA, running on the theme, and there are plans in the works to offer support for small city web operations. It would be exciting if the theme had some support for incorporating open data features into the website in the case of cities or agencies. If you can help to further develop GovFresh WP or have suggestions to improve it, get in touch with Luke Fretwell at GovFresh. By contributing to this theme you will be helping smaller governments to more adequately serve their citizens.

13 Comments


  1. The simplicity of this is great. Plus responsive design and a list of recommended plugins for government-type websites. I have a website project for a local Economic Development Commission — I am going to move toward using this theme.

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    1. Hi Scott,

      Keep me posted on your progress.

      We’re still working on the theme and hope to have a stable 1.0 in the near future.

      If you end up using the theme, would love to feature.

      Luke

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  2. Here, in Poland, governments/authorities are spending ridiculously high amounts of money on web development (and IT in general), like $25,000 for a simple personal website or blog, i doubt they would use anything that is free ;)

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  3. In my country Veneuela governments/authorities spend high amounts of money in websites and they share the revenues of job with hired developers. Only the citizens loss money with that type of dirty deals.

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  4. I will install it on my localhost, when it is available on WordPress.org. I won’t go excavate it from github.

    I’m a good subgenius CSS whittler/artist, plug-and-crash PHP coder, and can tease out the presentation & functionality relations of old & modern themes. If GovFresh are shooting for this level of user, then I’d say they have an achievable target in view.

    If it isn’t ready for the Themes repository, though, it’s not sufficiently ready.

    … [R]equire[s] some rebuilding of [the] code.

    While we’re still rebuilding code, is still pretty alpha, isn’t it?

    … But I am intrigued, especially if GovFresh actually has a realitic idea of the kind of clientele & environment they’re looking at, in typical local government contexts.

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    1. Hi Ted,

      Getting it onto wordpress.org is the goal, and the theme is on their radar. Once it’s 1.0 and ‘official,’ they’ll most likely post something on the VIP blog. I’d say follow on GitHub or the VIP blog.

      Definitely a market. We’re getting inquiries already (especially globally) and expect to see decent adoption relatively quickly.

      Luke

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      1. Hi Luke,

        I got it from Github, unZipped it, and am leafing through the CSS. Later today I will move the unpacked Theme Directory over to my localhost and check out the visuals; peek into some of the PHP files. Break a few, temporarily. ;)

        I’m working in the woods lately, and can only participate intermittently. I keep a lot of themes on my work-site, and enjoy comparing different ways of doing things.

        Good luck to GovFresh!

        Ted

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  5. I took a bold step using wp Twenty Fourteen for my local township at http://www.hayestownshipmi.gov
    I waited last year for GovFresh so when I was approached, I decided to go with wp 14. It when live last month. What do you think.

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