How to Instantly Increase the Quality of Your Blog

Filed as Features on October 9, 2007 5:09 am

Tired of combing through pages and pages of themes, looking for something super high quality that will work well for your niche? It might be time to consider purchasing a “premium” WordPress theme. The idea of selling WordPress themes is not a new one, but in the last several months the premium theme business model has taken off, with Brian Gardner’s release of the Revolution theme, which seemed to start the ball rolling, and other designers, such as Michael Pollock, releasing premium themes as well.

Why are designers suddenly selling themes, instead of giving them away for free?

Because theme designers spend many hours designing, coding and supporting their free themes, there is a natural desire to earn some return on the investment of their time and expertise. One way designers have attempted to earn some income from their themes is by selling a “sponsorship”. Because a good theme can provide a large number of backlinks to the sponsor via a link in the footer, it is an attractive offer and has been a decent way to earn a few bucks for each theme design for those who sold these footer links.

However, there was quite a backlash this spring against the proliferation of theme sponsorships and the end result was that many designers stopped selling sponsored link spots on their themes so they could continue to offer them in the main WordPress theme repository. As sponsorship loses it’s appeal for designers, the most obvious option is to create high quality, premium themes and sell them.

So, just what makes a premium theme “premium”?

  • they tend to be targeted to a specific niche, such as sports, news, and magazine sites
  • multiple page layout options
  • special features and functionality
  • some are geared towards using WordPress as more of a content management system than a blog, so while they’re running on WordPress, they don’t “feel” like a blog
  • some have premium support options and tutorials
  • most of them come with a price tag in the range from $49-$99 for a single use license to $149-$249 for a developer’s license. Curiously, Small Potato has chosen to release his premium themes for free, however.

Why would you want to buy a premium theme?

  • if you have more to your site than just the standard blog
  • instantly set your site apart from the myriad of vanilla blogs out there
  • the price tag isn’t that high- much lower than getting a custom theme designed
  • it can make managing your content easier, with multiple options for page layouts already set up for you
  • extra attention to the details which will give your site a sharp, high quality appearance
  • to take advantage of some of the niche specific focus of a premium design

As the popularity of WordPress grows, and owners of more traditional sites realize the value of using it as a content management system, the demand for niche targeted, premium themes is sure to escalate. The price tag is not that high and the benefits are great for both theme designers and users.

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  1. By Iantrepreneur posted on October 9, 2007 at 1:24 pm
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    that is true – I have redesigned my blog in hopes for other articles and post to get better exposure.

    Reply

  2. By Francesca posted on October 9, 2007 at 7:03 pm
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    I don’t want to sound ignorant….but I am fairly new to the blogging world and am self taught….could you explain what a theme is?

    Reply

  3. By Ravi posted on October 9, 2007 at 8:33 pm
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    @Francesca:

    Themes are skins you can apply to your blog. When start with WordPress or Blogger, your blog has a very generic look. When you change the theme, it changes the look of your site, but not the content.

    Essentially, your blog’s theme is the graphical presentation of its content.

    Reply

  4. By Randa Clay posted on October 9, 2007 at 8:37 pm
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    @Francesca – this definition is from the WordPress codex: A theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. A theme modifies the way the weblog is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. Essentially, the WordPress theme system is a way to skin your weblog.

    I hope that helps explain it!

    Reply

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  7. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on October 10, 2007 at 12:59 am
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    Just to clarify things regarding Themes and skins. A skin is just surface changes to the CSS design. A WordPress Theme involves the use of template files, template tags, conditional tags, and other code that changes how a WordPress blog is generated, from the front page to a single post page, to a multi-post page like a category or search results. You can even customize a WordPress Theme so that each post within a specific category has a different design based upon which category it is in.

    This makes WordPress Themes go WAY beyond a “skin”. It changes the inside of how your blog works. It changes the structure, navigation, and way your blog displays content.

    The more complex these code processes, the more time, energy, expertise, and money is spent to create the WordPress Theme, which is why, if you want a top quality, unique, and powerfully flexible WordPress Theme, you can pay for one by a professional WordPress Theme designer and developer.

    Reply

  8. By Jamie posted on October 10, 2007 at 1:45 pm
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    splog post above me! Kill it! Kill it! :)

    Reply

  9. By Randa Clay posted on October 10, 2007 at 11:28 pm
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    Killed… Stupid splogs.

    Reply

  10. By Michael Pollock posted on October 11, 2007 at 7:24 pm
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    Hey Randa:

    Thanks so much for the kind words and link.

    And I will add to your remarks that it’s not only the design of the theme that takes time and effort. I can’t tell you how many emails I get each week from people who also want me to help them with their site just because they are using one of my themes.

    I’m sure you know how that is. I don’t mind helping people, but when it takes away from revenue-generating activities, it violates sound business practice. That’s a big reason why I’ve stopped giving away most of my themes for free.

    Best – Michael

    Reply

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