WordPress Theme Frameworks

Over a year ago, I was among those that speculated on custom widgets and their role in the future of WordPress themes.   One thing that wasn’t speculated on, however, was the rise of WordPress theme frameworks.  Now, just over a year later, many of the leaders in the premium themes market are building their own internal frameworks which are used as the backbone to design their premium WordPress themes.  For example, Woo Themes now has their own Woo Framework. Brian Gardner of StudioPress also recently informed me that he is also developing a framework for his StudioPress themes.

Premium theme designers are not the only ones using frameworks these days, however, and a few can actually be used by anyone in the development of their own personal themes! As with traditional WordPress themes, WordPress theme frameworks have free options, as well as paid alternatives. In the post below, I’ve collected the five major theme frameworks, and I intend to update this post as I learn of more WordPress theme frameworks.

Note: If these theme frameworks look a little plain, that is intentional.  Frameworks are designed for someone to use as a building point, so they lack a lot of images and design elements.   Once downloaded (or purchased), you can then build upon the framework to make your design.   Many of these frameworks also include child themes, which allow you to quickly convert your framework into a ready to use design.

WP Framework (FREE)

wp-framework

WP Framework is a blank WordPress theme framework by Ptah Dunbar, which aims to cut down on your theme development time. It gives you a solid theme foundation to build your project on top of so you can focus on project-specific features right from the git-go.

WP Framework | Live Demo

Thesis Theme Framework (Single-Use $87.00  | Developer’s Pack $164.00)

thesis-theme

The Thesis theme framework is the most popular theme framework which has a cost associated with it and has built a loyal cult following.   Among those followers are some very high profile WordPress sites built upon the Thesis framework, then customized for their personal needs.  You can look through a list of these clients on their homepage.

Among the reasons people love Thesis is their attention to SEO techniques and the complex control panel:

thesis-options

Thesis Theme | Live Demo

Know of a WordPress theme framework we are missing?  Please leave a comment or let us know about it!

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  • What Makes a WordPress Theme Premium?

    Recently our friend Andrew of WP-Fun.co.uk wrote an interesting post titled A New Name for Premium Themes:  Themes.   In his post, Andrew attempts to define what a premium WordPress theme is, then compares that definition with the most downloaded themes at the Free WordPress Theme Directory.   In my opinion, blog posts like this are great because they really spark some thought on the part of the reader.   After reading his post, I felt that the point Andrew is making is that if you look at the designs, feature sets, and quality of the most downloaded free themes from WordPress.org, they are all comparable to at least a few of the premium WordPress themes being sold on the market today. 

    For those of us that have been using WordPress for at least 2-3 years, the evolution of the WordPress theme is simply amazing.  Back in 2007 themes weren’t necessarily even standards compliant, and the idea of widgets was still new and many themes didn’t support them.   Now the idea of a control panel being included with your theme, having your theme be widget ready, and having several color options included with the theme have almost become standard, (even with the free WordPress themes available).  

    I’m sure there will always be some free themes available, but you have to wonder if at some point premium themes will become the standard.  I suppose if this is the case, then my next question is, if premium themes simply become themes, then what is next?   The top designers begin to release elite themes?  If premium is a fancy word for better, it seems that designers will just come up with a new fancy word for best like “elite” and use that as the word for next level of themes.  It may never end! 

    There are also things like Theme Frameworks to consider as WordPress themes continue to evolve.   Give us your thoughts in the comments!

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  • 150+ Free & Premium WordPress Themes Gallery

    Updated: January 23, 2015

    As WordPress continues to grow in popularity, more and more designers are realizing the potential of building WordPress themes. In addition to the financial benefits, designers can also use WordPress themes to create additional inbound links, improve their reputation as a designer, and of course help generate freelance work.

    Because of the huge size of the WordPress theme market, it has become increasingly difficult to find a good way to browse through the available WordPress themes. Unfortunately I don’t have a solution, but I have spent several hours trying to sort through the available themes and create a gallery to display many of the top designs in both the free and premium WordPress theme markets.  Currently this page has over 150 WordPress themes, plus a few known theme clubs thrown in at the bottom for people that prefer that route.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————–

    Blog WordPress Themes

    Vintage Theme

    vintage-theme

    Source

    Blues Theme

    blues-theme

    Source

    Shades of Blue Theme

    shades-of-blue-theme

    Download | Demo

    PassionDuo Theme (3 Colors)

    Green: Demo | Download, Red: Demo | Download, Blue: Demo | Download

    Evolution Theme

    Source | Download

    GlossyBlue Theme

    GlossyBlue Theme

    Source

    Color Paper Theme

    Source | Demo

    StudioPress Theme

    StudioPress Theme

    Source | Demo

    Mag on Wood Theme

    Source | Download

    Simply Ornate Theme

    Source | Demo

    Agregado Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Daily Press Theme

    Source | Download

    Curious Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Rewire Theme

    rewire-theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Daily32 Theme

    Daily32 Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Digital Statement Theme

    Source | Download

    Maggo Theme

    Maggo Theme

    Download

    Firebug Theme

    Source | Download

    Xplosive Theme

    Xplosive Theme

    Source | Download

    Blog oh Blog Theme

    Blog oh Blog Theme

    Source | Download

    Blue Block Theme

    Source | Download

    Dark Zen Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Blue Dream Theme

    Blue Dream Theme

    Source/Demo | Download

    Simple Red Theme

    Simple Red Theme

    Source | Download (Requires free registration) | Demo

    True Blue Theme

    True Blue Theme

    Source | Download (Requires free registration) | Demo

    Rhea Theme

    Rhea Theme

    Source | Download

    Aspire Theme

    Source | Demo

    Velocity Theme

    Velocity Theme

    Source | Download

    Techicon Theme

    Techicon Theme

    Source | Download

    Lightsource Theme

    lightsource

    Comes with $20.00 subscription to Elegant Themes Club!

    Source/Demo | Download

    Prose Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Canvas Blogging Theme

    Multiple-Use ($70.00), Developer’s Pack ($150.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Glow Blog Theme

    glow-theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($39.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Flexx Blog Theme

    flexx-theme

    • Over 1,000 Possible Layout Combinations!
    • Completely widget based
    • Multiple Styles to choose from

    Multiple-Use ($79.95), Developer’s Pack ($150.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    PersonalPress Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($39.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Social Life Blog Theme

    Multiple-Use ($75.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Thesis Theme Framework

    thesis-theme

    Single-Use ($87.00), Developer’s Pack ($164.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Genesis Theme Framework (by StudioPress)

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), Developer’s Pack ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    ——————————————————————————————————————————–

    Magazine/News CMS WordPress Themes

    Options Theme

    Options Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Structure Theme

    Structure Theme

    Source | Download

    Visionary Theme

    Visionary Theme

    Source

    Mimbo Theme

    mimbo3

    Source | Download

    Morning After Theme

    Morning After Theme

    Source | Download

    Arthemia Free Theme (Premium Version Also Available)

    Download | Demo | Premium Version of Arthemia

    Newsweek Theme

    Source | Download

    Studio WordPress Theme (Available in Blue, Green, & Red)

    Source

    Transparency Theme

    transparency-theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Slick Press Theme

    slick-press-theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Cellar Heat Theme

    Source | Demo

    MonarTech Theme

    monartech-theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Lifestyle Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    WP Smooth Theme

    wp-smooth-theme1

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Zenko Magazine Theme

    zenko-magazine-theme

    Multiple-Use ($69.00), Developer’s Pack ($149.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Magazine WordPress Theme

    magazine-theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Blissful Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Manifesto Magazine Theme

    Multiple-Use ($69.00), Developer’s Pack ($149.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    WP-Chatter Magazine Theme

    wp-chatter-theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    WP Sublime Theme

    wp-sublime-theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Elle Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Boutique Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Legacy Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Vintage Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    WP-Prosper Magazine Theme


    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Modern Blogger Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Minimal Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Mocha Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Tribune News Theme

    Multiple-Use ($69.00), Developer’s Pack ($149.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Polished Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Amped Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Gadget Theme

    gadget-theme

    Multiple-Use ($39.95), All Theme Junkie Themes ($69.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Streamline Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Evertis Magazine Theme

    Single-Use ($69.00), Developer’s Pack ($149.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Serenity Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    NewsTube Theme

    Multiple-Use ($39.95), All Theme Junkie Themes ($69.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    News WordPress Theme

    news-theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Cube Light Theme

    Multiple-Use ($39.95), All Theme Junkie Themes ($69.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    WP Launch Theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    eNews Theme

    enews-theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    WP Ellie Theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    My App WordPress Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Lumin Magazine Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    WP Genius Theme

    wp-genius-theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Bigfoot Theme

    Multiple-Use ($39.95), All Theme Junkie Themes ($69.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Going Green Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Bold Magazine Theme

    bold-theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Arthemia Premium Theme

    arthemia-premium

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), Developer’s Pack ($159.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    The Source Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Memoir Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Crystal Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Newswire Theme

    newswire-theme

    Multiple-Use ($39.95), All Theme Junkie Themes ($69.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Nova Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    My Cuisine Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Fabric Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Yamidoo Magazine Theme

    yamidoo-magazine-theme

    Multiple-Use ($69.00), Developer’s Pack ($149.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Glider Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    WP Media Magazine Theme

    wp-media-mag-theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    In Review Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Outreach Church Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Magnificent Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Chameleon Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Foundation Church Theme

    Included with iThemes Builder Theme ($127.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Pretty Young Thing Kids Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    WP Jazz Theme

    wp-jazz-theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    “On The Go” Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    Aggregate Theme

    Included with Elegant Themes Club Membership! ($69.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase Membership

    WP Clear Theme

    wp-clear-theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    WP-Glide Magazine Theme

    Single-Use ($79.00), Multiple-Use ($179.00), Developer’s Pack ($279.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

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  • Portfolio WordPress Themes Gallery

    Updated: January 23, 2015!

    A couple of weeks ago I received a “request for a future post” from Emma (didn’t provide a website with her request for me to credit) asking for a new WordPress theme gallery.   This time, her request was for a portfolio WordPress theme gallery.

    Although I can’t always fulfill every request I get, this gallery is one that I think will benefit a large number of people, so I’ve decided to throw one together!   The top half will be free portfolio themes and the second half will be premium portfolio themes which are available to purchase.  I’ve also included a feature list whenever one was available.

    Over time, I intend to update this post as both types of portfolio themes become available.   If you know of one that you think should be included on this list, please let us know!

    Free Portfolio WordPress Themes

    Modularity Theme

    modularity-theme

    Source | Download

    Premium Portfolio Themes

    Viz | Biz Portfolio Theme

    viz-biz-theme

    Single-Use License ($79.95), Multiple-Use License ($150.00)

    Source/Demo | Download

    Cassiopeia Theme

    cassiopeia-theme

    Single-Use ($80.00), Developer’s Pack ($150.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    eGallery Theme

    egallery-theme

    Comes with $20.00 subscription to Elegant Themes Club!

    Source/Demo | Download

    eVid Theme

    evid-elegant-themes

    Comes with $20.00 subscription to Elegant Themes Club!

    Source/Demo | Download

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  • iThemes Releases Ultimate Flexx Premium WordPress Theme

    Some of our long time readers may remember last April I wrote about a somewhat revolutionary new WordPress theme, which in my opinion was well ahead of its time, known as the Shifter theme.  Though this theme looked a little plain at first, it was completely built around using the WordPress widget feature, allowing for incredible versatility.

    Since that time no one else has really attacked the widget angle the way Shifter did…..at least until now.   After over 2 months of production and quite a few beta testers (myself included), I am excited to share with our readers that iThemes has released what is probably their best theme yet, the Flexx Theme.

    This theme comes with over 1,000 possible layout combinations!   Other Flexx features include:

    • Rotating Header Images – Easily upload your new header images and set the Flash-like transition effects
    • Contact Form Page Template – The custom image uploader feature allows you to personalize your site with your own logo
    • Plug and Play Graphic Changes – Easily change the look of your site by uploading new background images (setting every different combo with it) and setting the color through a Photoshop-like color picker.
    • Menu Builder – Pick and choose what Pages you want in the menu navigation, including subpages.
    • Search Engine Optimization – As with all our themes, we’ve built it to get you the best exposure in the search engines, and include a SEO panel to tweak some basic settings.
    • Multiple Color Styles – This first series comes in two pre-built color styles (Bold and Canvas), but it has a rockin’ feature that lets you easily upload new background images (setting every different combo with it) and setting the color through a Photoshop-like color picker.
    • Drop down navigation menu

    To get an idea of one of the 1,000+ possibilities available, you can check out the Flexx demo.   Here are a couple screen shots:

    Flexx Homepage

    Flexx Post Page

    The best part about the new Flexx theme is the price!  It falls under the iThemes standard pricing model of $79.95 for a single-use license and $249.95 for the developer’s license.  iThemes 2008 theme club members of course get this theme for free.

    What do you think of this incredible theme?   Anyone else think that widget-based themes might be the future or the premium WordPress themes market?

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  • Download StudioPress/Revolution WordPress Themes!

    Note: As of January 1, 2009, it looks like Revolution/StudioPress themes are no longer free to download.  They are all now available individually for $59.95 or ALL Revolution themes for $249.95.

    Last month we wrote about Brian’s huge announcement that Revolution was going open source.  At that time, the original launch date was scheduled for November 1st, but in the time since then the entire Revolution team has come together and managed to get Revolution 2 ready for an early launch!

    As of today, Revolution is officially available to the WordPress Community.  Included with the Revolution launch are 8 incredible new themes (10 if you count the two blog theme variants) which were designed to fill a large number of different niches.  So far the choices include magazine themes, professional themes, media themes, photo themes, video themes, and even blog themes.  Best of all, they are available to download completely FREE!

    What is the catch?  Well, there isn’t one.  The themes are 100% free, but there is a small fee attached to any extras you may want.  With purchase of either the yearly pro membership, or the pro plus lifetime membership (Revolution all-inclusive package owners already have this), you will get the following benefits:

    • Unlimited support answered by our experts
    • Learn customization techniques with our detailed theme tutorials
    • Professional design services available by our list of recommended designers
    • Discounted general consulting rates
    • Increase your search rankings with a link from the Revolution site directory

    Here are the StudioPress/Revolution themes which are currently available for download:

    StudioPress Revolution Magazine/News Themes

    Lifestyle Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Magazine WordPress Theme

    magazine-theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Delicious Child Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Sleek Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Lexicon Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Mocha Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Amped Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Serenity Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Platinum Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Streamline Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    News WordPress Theme

    news-theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Going Green Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Bee Crafty Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Church Theme

    church-theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Outreach Church Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    StudioPress (Revolution) Business Themes

    Enterprise Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Education Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Executive Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Corporate Theme

    corporate-home

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Metric Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Freelance Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    AgentPress Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Agency Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Family Tree Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    StudioPress (Revolution) Photo/Video Themes

    Landscape Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Pixel Happy Photography Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Expose Theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.95), All StudioPress Themes ($249.95)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    After looking around, I am already very impressed with how the site is setup and can see just how this site will grow in time to be a focal point in the WordPress community.  What do you think of this new business model?  Will it replace the current premium WordPress themes market in your opinion, or will you still be willing to spend your money when themes of this quality are available completely free?

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  • Is This the Future of Premium WordPress Themes?

    Over the past year now, the premium WordPress themes market has really grown from nothing to what we see today, with a record number of authors are either offering premium themes, or selling premium versions of their existing popular free themes.   It truly is amazing to me that this wonderful software that we all love so much is able to help so many people to make money to feed their families while at the same time showing off their design skills.

    This weekend I noticed something new and got me thinking a bit about where the premium WordPress themes market is headed.   As many people have said in the past, there are concerns that the premium themes we see today are becoming so common that people are missing out on that unique feel that many people buy these themes for.   I would of course argue that these themes were designed to be templates to be customized from rather than as an end-user product.   You could also argue that there are so many authors and designs now that buying a theme could still give you that unique look that people crave.

    With that said, there appears to be a new solution.   We’ve seen theme clubs be talked about and eventually surface in a few places, but now it appears that Brian of Revolution has set another trend by offering his first of many exclusive themes:

    What is an Exclusive Theme and How Does it Work?

    In the screenshot above, Brian has released an incredible new theme, which is variation of his popular Revolution theme.   It is available only for a limited time and only a limited number to be sold (I believe in this case only 10 will be sold).    If you’d like a copy, you can get it for $499.95.

    As far as my thoughts on Exclusive themes, I personally am unsure whether this business model will work.   It appears that 10 themes will be sold in total, so it isn’t truly a unique theme to your site, and the price range is getting close to the price that a company like a Unique Blog Designs or Blog Design Studio would charge for a 100% custom theme for your website. If you are going to spend that kind of money on a custom theme, wouldn’t it be better to spend a little extra to get a truly custom theme that you won’t find on 10 other sites?

    With that said, I still haven’t made up my mind yet on this and would love to get your thoughts.  What do you think of this new business model?

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  • What Do You Think of Premium WordPress Themes?

    WordPress Hacks was one of only 3-4 “WordPress” niche blogs that existed prior to the creation of the Premium WordPress themes market. As I sit back and reflect on the early days of the premium WordPress themes market, when Solostream’s themes were first being converted to premium, and Revolution (now StudioPress) was being launched, each existing WordPress blog was faced with a choice. Do we promote these themes? After all, WordPress was founded on open source, and each of us (WordPress founders, plugin/theme authors, and WordPress bloggers) were contributing our time and energy to improving the WordPress community without any compensation. Should these people be paid for what we do for free?

    Some blogs ending up promoting them, while other blogs did not. I personally ended up making the decision that I would promote premium themes on this blog because I felt that they would help improve WordPress, and to this day I really think that they really have. Many of these authors are making so much money that they are able to make (and support) their themes as a full time job, which I think is pretty sweet. It also comes with a lot of responsibility, and the money allows these authors to truly focus, innovate, and make their themes more advanced, which advances WordPress as a whole. The bar gets set and all new themes are measured against them. It forces continued functionality and innovation. I truly believe that if the ability to monetize these themes didn’t exist for most of these authors, the quality of themes out there would be much lower because it wouldn’t be worth their time to try to raise the bar. Would we even have CMS themes for WordPress yet?

    We also need to remember that this isn’t really any different than doing custom WordPress themes for people (such as Unique Blog Designs).  Premium WordPress themes have made it so people can afford a custom quality theme (in most cases) from an affordable price for a blogger or small business.  People with high income blogs can still afford to get there theme custom made.

    One point I would also like to make is that I do think that people with WordPress blogs have an obligation to only promote products they do use or would use if the need for it presented itself. I’ve always made sure to be selective and only promote themes or plugins that I felt were truly of premium quality. I also try to only promote ones that are well supported by their authors. I can think of at least 20 that I’ve chosen not to promote here because of a number of reasons (invalid code, I felt wasn’t premium quality, etc.).

    Anyway, regardless of my opinion of them, over the last 8 months premium WordPress themes have really found a home in the WordPress community, and I’ve even noticed that blogs have been created strictly for the purpose of promoting these themes. From the people I’ve talked to, the opinions of this market are mixed.

    One person firmly against the premium themes market as a whole is Justin Tadlock, who recently wrote a post titled Screw the WordPress Themes Market. Justin is someone that I’ve been following for quite awhile now and have a huge respect for his opinions on all things WordPress. He releases a lot of great free WordPress themes, free WordPress plugins, and also blogs regularly about WordPress. Here is an excerpt from his post:

    WordPress was built from a community of people willing to share freely. Yes, even themes. What? Yes, themes were free at one point. Good Great themes were free at one point.

    I’m not going to beat around the bush here — stop releasing pay-for-use themes.

    Sure, there’s a market there, but I don’t want to see every single mediocre theme have a price tag attached to it. Just because it’s a magazine-type theme doesn’t mean it’s a premium theme, or that it’s worth some form of funds anyway.

    If you’re going to release a theme and call it premium, then you need to — in the words of a high school cheerleader — “bring it.”

    I don’t have a problem with people releasing themes for money. It’s something I’ve considered on several occasions. What I do have a problem with is users getting screwed out of $100, $50, or even $30 because they bought a theme that’s mediocre at best, a theme that has invalid code, or don’t get the support they need for using the theme.

    Reading Justin’s post actually reminded me of what I was saying when I wrote the post Premium WordPress Theme Responsibilities a couple months ago. To many people are releasing average themes and charging for them.

    It seems everyone has an opinion about premium themes, and I’d love to hear yours. What is your opinion of premium WordPress themes?

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  • Premium WordPress Themes: Where Are The Print Stylesheets?

    Although the premium WordPress theme market has only been around for a little over 6 months now, there have already been several trends that have shown up. Each time a new premium theme author steps forward, they innovate and push the other authors to keep up and continue to improve their existing themes. This is why many of the top authors are regularly updating their existing themes to keep up with the competition.

    In the end, the consumers are the ones that win, because they are getting better themes and a larger variety of themes to choose from when they go to make a purchase. So, what is the next trend we can expect with premium WordPress themes?

    One thing I would like to see, though it is actually very basic, is that each theme including a print stylesheet. This of course is a separate stylesheet that is used when someone goes to print a website page. For example, one of the sites I run publishes a lot of recipes (1-2 per day). I needed a good print stylesheet so our readers can print our pages and have them display the recipe correctly on the page.

    I’ll admit I’ve seen a couple premium themes that offer this, but a majority still do not. I personally believe the more you can do to make your theme appeal to more people, the more success a premium theme author will find. I believe a paying customer should expect things like multiple stylesheets available, multiple page and post layouts, an options panel. The more flexible it is, the better.

    Hopefully we’ll start to see more and more of the print stylesheet showing up in the coming months. In the meantime, what trends would you like to see with the next generation premium WordPress themes?

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  • Video & Photo Premium WordPress Themes Gallery

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    Updated: January 23, 2015

    Probably the most recent niche to emerge when it comes to WordPress themes is the market for video and photo WordPress themes.  These types of themes are ideal for a blogger who likes to display a lot of videos, show off their photos, or any type of multimedia.    These themes are designed to allow you to display this type of content while still maintaining the feel of a blog.   Readers will be able to review your latest videos or photos, leave comments, etc.

    If you are interested in this type of premium WordPress theme, we’ve gone out and collected the ones currently available and displayed them in a gallery format, allowing you to weigh your options and make an informed decision.

    Video Elements Theme

    Single-Use ($25.00), Multi-Use ($75.00), Developer ($125.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    TV Elements Theme

    Single-Use ($50.00), Multi-Use ($125.00), Developer ($225.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    On Demand Video Theme

    Single-Use ($75.00), Multi-Use ($150.00), Developer ($250.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Revolution Charred

    • 2-Column Fixed Width Theme
    • Widget Ready

    License for this theme ($59.95), All Themes license ($149.95)

    Source/Demo | Download

    Revolution Chrome

    • 2-Column Fixed Width Theme
    • Widget Ready

    License for this theme ($59.95), All Themes license ($149.95)

    Source/Demo | Download

    eCommerce Theme

    • eCommerce Plugin Compatibility – Easily integrate with the popular eCommerce Plugin from Instinct Entertainment.
    • Easily customizable – Make it your own by tweaking the CSS stylesheet and your own images (includes 6 pre-built color styles)
    • Search engine optimized — We’ve built our themes to get the most search engine benefit for you and your products
    • Manage your store online – WordPress is an online software program; you log in and edit your store from the web
    • Use your own domain name — Most online shops require you to use their domain name, with Ecommerce Themes, you can install the template on your custom domain name and hosting account

    Single-Use ($49.00), Multiple-Use ($199.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    eVideo Theme

    evid-elegant-themes

    Comes with $20.00 subscription to Elegant Themes Club!

    Source/Demo | Download

    Revolution Video

    • Built for embedding videos
    • 2-Column Fixed Width Theme
    • Widget Ready

    License for this theme ($59.95), All Themes license ($149.95)

    Source/Demo | Download

    For a complete list of premium WordPress themes available, check out our premium WordPress themes gallery!

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