The future? It’s not looking good. The reason people made free themes was because they wanted to promote their blog. But that promotion just isn’t going to happen any more. So why bother? I believe some themes would do better if they were released as premium themes. And that’s not going to change. Free WordPress themes? Forget it. It’s over.
He paints a very bleak picture, and granted – premium themes take a lot of space and a lot of the free themes released are out there to promote a premium theme. That being said, they are still free even if they are promotional so I’m not sure that really means anything. read more
Darren Rowse has posted the results of a poll he ran on ProBlogger.net asking the readers who designed their blogs. The results are discouraging for theme designers focusing on doing custom work. Only 8% of the ProBlogger.net readers answering the poll (there was 2 513 of them by the way) had paid for a custom design, whereas 13% had paid for a premium theme. Most people run a free theme. Check out the full results.
So 8% of 2 513 people, that’s just over 200 potential clients for someone like me, although the poll doesn’t state how much these people actually paid for their custom theme. On the other hand, let’s say I do two themes per month, then I don’t need more than 24 clients each year, and some clients are recurring ones (obviously). It would be interesting to know what people who do buy custom themes are paying at an average, wouldn’t it?
Why do they do this? In their own words:
1: Technically, we have to. :)
2: It’s important to respect the spirit of WordPress. This is the way it was intended.
There is a page on wordpress.org that promotes a select few premium theme marketplaces, as we reported yesterday. The only criteria is that the themes need to be GPL and provide professional support a well as give a professional impression.
I caught up with Matt Mullenweg for some quick questions about this via email. This is what he had to say. read more
The hub of all things WordPress, as in the kind you install on your own, is wordpress.org. There’s both a plugin and a theme directory there, and the latter has now gotten some commercial (aka premium) themes treatment. However, the new page merely lists some resellers of commercial GPL themes, so this is not the marketplace a lot of people has been waiting for.
Some of them you may pay for access, some of them are membership sites, some may give you the theme for zero-cost and just charge for support. What they all have in common is people behind them who support open source, WordPress, and its GPL license.
If you’re selling GPL themes for WordPress you can get listed, just scroll down to the bottom of the page. Personally, I think the themes should be hosted on wordpress.org so that they got automatic updates and so on, but that’s a whole other story. I do hope this is just the first step of many in this area, but we’ll see. An official blog post has yet to outline this addition, which might or might not have been up for some time, I really can’t tell.
Premium themes marketplace WooThemes are changing things, going GPL on all themes, and launches a theme club, along with the WooCamp blog. There’s a bunch of membership options for the themes club, and the whole site got a makeover. More will follow. It is hip to be GPL these days. read more
StudioPress is growing, and the themes are getting some serious SEO treatment thanks to the latest member of the team: Joost de Valk, of WordPress fame. Brian Gardner and Joost de Valk have their own respective announcement posts up. They are both really happy with the partnership, this from the latters blog post:
So we are partnering up. I’m going to be optimizing all the StudioPress themes, and offering StudioPress customers advice on how to optimize their sites in regular blog posts and in a new blog optimization package we’ll be offering through StudioPress.
I caught up with Brian Gardner for a really quick chat about this latest development for StudioPress. read more
If you’re involved in the WordPress community you have probably heard of Ian Stewart. He’s the fellow running the ThemeShaper blog, home to lots and lots of posts on WordPress and its future. Ian is also responsible for Thematic, a popular WordPress theme that he proposes to be used as a framework for other themes.
And now he’s also responsible for a WordPress link site called Wpazo, and that was what sparked this interview, that also touches on his view of premium themes as well as the GPL and the proposed WordPress admin redesign. read more
Happy Monday, folks! Lots of buzz this week over Six Apart announcing Motion, a new microblogging application built on Movable Type. We had a first look at Motion here, and while it’s still in beta and has some bugs, it has potential to be a very useful social networking application.
Besides Motion, a few other things were released for MT this week: read more
This is turning out to be a busy week in the Movable Type world. On Monday, Six Apart released Motion, their social networking application built on MT. Then on Tuesday, iThemes — maker of premium WordPress themes — announced the opening of their MT themes store. The availability of themes is one area where MT lags way behind WP. This is especially true when it comes to premium themes. That’s why it’s exciting to see vendors move into the MT themes market.
Yesterday I got in touch with Cory Miller, co-founder of iThemes, to ask him a couple of questions about the premium theme business and his company’s jump into the MT market. read more