What is the Future of Premium WordPress Themes?

The premium WordPress themes market has been around now for well over 6 months now, and the number of people willing to buy their blog’s WordPress theme still continues to amaze me.  In addition to bloggers and small businesses wanting to give their sites a professional and unique look, I’ve also noticed that web developers have really embraced using these premium themes as templates to start with when creating a design for someone, saving them a lot of time creating the general layout and code of the theme.

With the success of these premium WordPress themes, more and more theme designers are coming out of the woodwork and taking the time to create and release their own premium themes, because they feel that it is now worth their time due to the potential profit.  Why make a theme for a client for a one time fee when you can spend a little extra time and have a consistent flow of income over the coming months/years that far surpasses it?  This also gives theme authors a chance to generate large numbers of backlinks and increase traffic to their site.

So, how far will premium WordPress themes go? In a recent post at ThemeShaper, this question was asked of several of todays top theme designers. I will warn you that this is a very long post, but definitely worth the read if you have an interest in this sort of stuff.  Now, I know noone asked my opinion, but when have you known me to keep my opinions to myself? 😀

My take seems to be closer to what Nathan Rice is saying in the post above.  With all of the new themes entering into the premium marketplace, we are beginning to see what I feel are a lot of average quality themes that are now being charged for.  These authors may counter the lower value by asking a lower price ($20.00-$49.99 per copy), but really many of them are just charging for a theme that in the past would have been free to the WordPress community.  I’ve even seen a previously few free themes that now have costs associated with them!

Many of the leaders in the premium WordPress themes market charge more because they take it a step further than free themes, with most providing a control panel allowing you to enter your personal information directly from your dashboard and custom widgets. I’ve also found these themes to contain multiple versions of the homepage, the single post template, and/or the page templates.  This adds a tremendous value to the buyer because it allows them to separate themselves from others that have purchased the theme and avoid any manual coding.   I personally own copies of a few premium themes and can say without a doubt that their value can in many ways exceed the price associated with them.

So, what is the future of premium WordPress themes? To be honest, I feel there is a limited number of people that will be willing to purchase a WordPress theme for their site/blog. Many current buyers are small business owners and web developers.  As more bloggers and web developers switch to WordPress, premium WordPress themes will continue to sell, but probably not at the pace that they are right now.  All of the newcomers offering premium themes seem to have missed the rush.

I’m also waiting for some more good premium templates designed specifically for blogs, which I think is a niche some of these designers could really capitalize on right now. Eventually, the market will become saturated causing many bloggers to frown upon using certain premium themes.  At this point, theme designers will have to look for new ways to generate income, so I think at this point (a year or two down the road) we will coin a new term, “elite WordPress themes.” These will be WordPress themes that raise the bar again and go even further than the premium ones.  Just like the internet and pretty much everything else, the industry will continue to evolve and grow, and the competition will continue to drive authors to release some incredible themes.   We’ve got CSS3 coming out soon, a new version of HTML, plus WordPress enhancements to look forward to, all of which may also influence the direction of these WordPress themes.

So, where do you think premium WordPress themes will be a year from now?

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  • Easily Create Redirects With the GoCodes WordPress Plugin

    There are quite a few reasons a blogger may want to create URL redirects. One common reason bloggers create them is in an attempt to hide their affiliate links. Another reason I’ve always liked about URL redirects is that you can easily link to the redirect in your posts. Then if you need to later update your redirect link to point somewhere else, all of your old posts now point to the new spot without any manual editing of those posts. This can go a long way towards helping you to avoid broken links.

    If you don’t have the technical knowledge to easily create redirect links, you may be interested in using a new WordPress plugin called GoCodes. This plugin was created by Webmaster-Source to allow anyone to easily create URL redirects within WordPress. Once uploaded and activated, you will see the following menu in your dashboard:

    GoCodes Dashboard

    In order to use the plugin, you simply need to enter the Key and enter a URL destination where you want the user to be redirected to. You can do this to point people to any location on the internet.

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  • How To: Prevent Google From Indexing Your Images

    For most of us, traffic is the driving force behind our blogs and motivation to blog. Therefore, it may seem silly to think that you would want to prevent a lot of potential traffic from Google’s image search.

    However, some bloggers like to post personal pictures, or custom make their pictures and don’t want others to take them when possible. If you fit into this category, you can easily prevent Google from indexing your pictures by placing the following code into your blog’s header file above the < /head > tag:

    <meta name="robots" content="noimageindex">

    If your site has a problem with people taking your content (including the pictures), then there is a chance Google will still index them when they index that person’s website. Another route you can take is to place images into a folder then add a disallow to your Robots.txt file. For WordPress users, this is fairly easy as by default, we already have pictures in either our Images folder of our theme, or the uploads folder (unless you’ve assigned a custom path for your images). You can add something like the following to your Robots.txt file:

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /images/

    or

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /uploads/

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  • How To: Change the WordPress Author Archive Permalink

    Say you have an author page on your WordPress blog; but what happens when you find that your author archive URL looks like this?

    http://example.com/author/Joe%20Smith/

    Of course, you’d probably want to change your name to a more “URL-friendly” format like this:

    http://example.com/author/joe-smith/

    How do you do it?

    Well, WordPress itself doesn’t let you (probably because the URL is intended to be a permalink), but it can still be accomplished through a simple database modification.

    Here’s how. This is assuming your hosting account is setup with phpMyAdmin. (If you don’t have database editing experience, you might want to make a database backup just in case.)

    1. Go to your hosting account’s cPanel and click on the “phpMyAdmin” icon. If you don’t see it, look for a “MySQL Databases” icon, click it, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and then click the phpMyAdmin link.
    2. Select your WordPress database from the menu on the left.
    3. Select the wp_users table, and then click the “Browse” tab.
    4. Locate the row that has your username in the user_login column. Click the Edit button (the pencil icon) on that row.
    5. Enter the desired URL version of your name into the user_nicename field.
    6. Click “Go” to save your changes.

    And that’s it! Your author archive will now show up at your new URL.

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  • Revolution Releases New Forum Skins

    Not only does Brian Gardner of Revolution fame have some great Revolution themes available for sale, but Brian has also shown a tremendous talent for running and marketing his business. He just seems to get it.

    First Brian decides to promote his products by offering an affiliate contest for this month and offers some amazing prizes, and now Brian has continued to add value to his product by releasing a series of free Revolution forum templates to compliment each of his premium WordPress themes. Currently the forum templates are for the popular free phpBB3 forum software, but it looks like he has plans to do the same for vBulletin users.

    Here is a sample of how a few of these templates look:

    Revolution Pro Media Forum Template

    Rev Pro Forums

    Revolution Magazine Forum Template

    Rev Mag Forums

    So, what does this mean for you as a potential buyer? If you purchase one of Brian’s Revolution themes (or if you have previously purchased one), you can now easily set up a corresponding forum to match the layout of your website, at no additional charge. This is one of the many benefits of purchasing a theme from Brian.

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