Elegant Themes Announces New Custom ePanel

Over the past year the premium themes market has continued to grow and expand, causing designers to search for ways to separate themselves from the competition.   Because many buyers choose to customize the design to meet their personal needs, it only makes sense for the focus of designers to instead turn to building custom settings pages that allow for a ton of flexibility.

These settings pages have become very complex in many cases and can offer a variety of features, including selecting where you want your sidebars placed, how many sidebars, which color/design style sheet should be used, or it can also offer simple things like places to enter your custom RSS feed, twitter feed, and Google Analytics code.    As I’ve watched these control panels evolve over this past year, it has been truly amazing just how much can be changed without changing a single line of code!

Nick Roach, the founder of the popular Elegant Themes theme club, has been offering complex settings panels on his themes for as long as I can remember, but earlier this week I was given a peak at the new revamped settings panel named ePanel.  This new settings panel is extremely complex and will eventually be added to all of the themes included with an Elegant Themes club membership.   As of today’s date, ePanel is already integrated into the following themes and available for download: eBusiness, eNews, ePhoto, PureType, Bold, and CherryTruffle.  Nick promises that the remaining themes will receive the same treatment over the coming month(s) and all themes will include this new ePanel.

So, what exactly is ePanel?   Here is a screen shot of the updated design:

ePanel

As you can see from the screen shot above, there are a few bonus tabs under the General Settings tab alone, and there are a total of 8 tabs down the left sidebar.   The General Settings has the following 3 tabs:  General, Homepage, and Featured Slider.

epanel-settingsAfter loading up the theme to see how the settings panel works, I have to say I am very impressed!   It looks like the General tab (under General Settings) allows you to select the style sheet color you want to use, enable/disable blog formatting on the homepage, Feedburner integration including all your Feedburner settings, and selecting the date format (dates are displayed differently depending on what part of the world you live in).   In the Homepage tab you’ll get access to category display, as well as the ability to exclude certain categories of your choice.  Of course the Featured Slider tab allows you to control how the featured slider works.

That is just the beginning though, as on the left there is also a series of tabs which include a large number of other settings.   You’ll find Navigation options, Layout Settings, Ad Management settings, Colorization, and you’ll even be able to control certain SEO settings on the SEO tab (mostly meta information similar to how All-in-One SEO Pack works).

The best part is that all this new functionality is available for all Elegant Themes club members!   Currently a membership to Elegant Themes is only $19.99 for an entire year, and stays at that price in order to renew your yearly membership.  You can learn more about the Elegant Themes club here.

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  • 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.

    Thematic WordPress Theme (FREE)

    thematic-theme

    Thematic is a free, open-source, highly extensible, search-engine optimized WordPress Theme Framework featuring 13 widget-ready areas, grid-based layout samples, styling for popular plugins, and a whole community behind it. It’s perfect for beginner bloggers and WordPress development professionals.

    Thematic Framework | Live Demo

    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

    WP Unlimited Framework (Single-Use $59.00 | Developer’s Pack $150.00)

    wp-unlimited-theme

    The WP Unlimited theme has a fairly simple design but a very complex control panel, allowing the user to set up their blog without touching any code.    Once the functionality is in place, then you can easily customize the design to meet your personal needs.  Here is a screen shot of the control panel:

    wpunlimited-layout-options

    WP Unlimited | 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

    One Theme Framework + One Panel (Single-Use $60.00 | Multiple-Use $110.00+)

    one-theme

    By default, One Theme offers a variety of styles/looks to choose from and a complex control panel to get your site setup without having to hard code anything.    The One Theme also features several child themes to give the user more customization options.

    In addition to the design, you get their comprehensive control panel which they call One Panel:

    One Panel Control Panel

    one-panel

    One Theme Framework | 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: March 12, 2014

    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 | Demo

    Blues Theme

    blues-theme

    Source | Demo

    Shades of Blue Theme

    shades-of-blue-theme

    Download | Demo

    PassionDuo Theme (3 Colors)

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

    SimpleWP Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Evolution Theme

    Source | Download | Demos: Blue, Green, Red

    GlossyBlue Theme

    GlossyBlue Theme

    Source | Demo

    Color Paper Theme

    Source | Demo

    StudioPress Theme

    StudioPress Theme

    Source | Demo

    Several3 Theme

    Several3 Theme

    Download | Demo

    Mag on Wood Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    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 | Demo

    Firebug Theme

    Source | Download

    Black and White Theme

    Black and White Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Xplosive Theme

    Xplosive Theme

    Source | Download

    Blog oh Blog Theme

    Blog oh Blog Theme

    Source | Download

    Blue Block Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Dark Zen Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Tomodachi 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

    Silveray Theme

    Silveray Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Rhea Theme

    Rhea Theme

    Source | Download

    Aspire Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Velocity Theme

    Velocity Theme

    Source | Download

    Techicon Theme

    Techicon Theme

    Source | Download

    Biz Theme

    Download | Demo

    Quadruple Blue Theme

    Quad Blue Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    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

    Mag.net Blog Theme

    magnet-theme

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

    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

    Hamasaki Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Structure Theme

    Structure Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Visionary Theme

    Visionary Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Mimbo Theme

    mimbo3

    Source | Download | Demo

    Morning After Theme

    Morning After Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Forte Theme

    Forte

    Source | Download | Demo

    The Studio Theme

    Studio Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Arthemia Free Theme (Premium Version Also Available)

    Source | Download | Demo | Premium Version of Arthemia

    Guzel Magazine Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Newsweek Theme

    Source | Download | Demo

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

    Source | Download | Demo

    Transparency Theme

    transparency-theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Slick Press Theme

    slick-press-theme

    Source | Download | Demo

    Cellar Heat Theme

    Source | Download | 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

    Blog Newspaper Theme

    blog-news-theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.00), Developer’s Pack ($179.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    NewsTube Theme

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

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Emporium E-Commerce Theme

    Single-Use ($69.00), Multiple-Use ($99.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Monograph Magazine Theme

    monograph-theme

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

    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 MembershipOutreach 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

    Newspaper Theme

    newspaper-theme

    Multiple-Use ($59.00), Developer’s Pack ($159.00)

    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: March 29, 2013!

    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!

    Featured Portfolio WordPress Theme

    PhotoSquares Portfolio Theme

    • Premium Support
    • Select Thumbnail Sizes
    • Upload your own logo
    • Enable/disable header and footer menus
    • Set custom thumbnails size
    • Add tracking code
    • Change background
    • Change colors of thumbnail boxes, content area. menu, text etc.

    Demo | Review/Purchase

    Free Portfolio WordPress Themes

    Portfolio Press Theme

    portfolio-press-theme

    Source | Demo | Download

    Modularity Theme

    modularity-theme

    Source | Demo | Download

    Snapshot Theme

    snapshot-theme

    Source | Demo | Download

    Premium Portfolio Themes

    Viz | Biz Portfolio Theme

    viz-biz-theme

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

    Source/Demo | Download

    WP Showcase Theme

    wp-showcase

    Single-Use License ($59.00), Multiple-Use License ($99.00), Developer’s Pack ($159.00)

    Source/Demo | Download

    Simple Site Theme

    simple-site

    Single-Use License ($49.00), Multiple-Use License ($149.00)

    Source/Demo | Download

    VibrantCMS Theme

    • Easy-to-use featured scroller to broadcast your business’ most important information;
    • A separate company blog that is tucked away from the homepage; and
    • 20 amazing color schemes that will definitely fit with your corporate branding.
    • Integrated Theme Options (for WordPress) to tweak the layout, color scheme etc. for the theme;
    • Built-in video panel, which you can use to publish any web-based Flash videos;
    • Automatic Image Resizer, which is used to dynamically create the thumbnails and featured images;
    • Custom Page Templates for Archives, Sitemap & Image Gallery;
    • Built-in Gravatar Support for Authors & Comments;
    • Integrated Banner Management script to display randomized banner ads of your choice site-wide;
    • Pretty drop-down navigation everywhere; and
    • Widgetized Sidebars.

    Single-Use ($70.00), Developer’s ($150.00)

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Cassiopeia Theme

    cassiopeia-theme

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

    Source/Demo | Purchase

    Fresh Folio Theme

    • Theme designed to be a portfolio.
    • The template will automatically (visually) separate your blog & portfolio content, making this an amazing theme for aspiring designers, developers, artists, photographers etc.
    • Unique page templates for the portfolio, blog, blog archives, tags & search results.
    • 7 diverse theme styles to choose from.
    • Integrated Theme Options (for WordPress) to tweak the layout, colour scheme etc. for the theme;
    • Optional Automatic Image Resizer, which is used to dynamically create the thumbnails and featured images;
    • Widgetized Sidebars.

    Single-Use ($70.00), Developer’s ($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?

  • Leave a Comment
  • The Ethics Involved With Selling Premium WordPress Themes

    A little over a month ago, Brian Gardner of Revolution Themes made a bold and brave move when he decided to convert his business model to something closer in line with the spirit of open source.   With this change came a lot of questions, with the primary question being what would happen to people who purchased these themes?  Were they screwed?

    After his initial announcement, Brian quickly addressed the concerns of his “clients” by explaining that all existing themes would never be made available for free and would be retired.  The new open source business model will instead contain only 100% new themes.   Brian held true to his word and the 8 themes available at the launch of Revolution Two were all completely new.  The old site was taken down and the old themes are now gone for good.

    In a different, yet similar situation, Woo Themes recently celebrated their first birthday (birthday includes 8 months under the name of Premium News Theme).   In what turned out to be a controversial move, they actually released a copy of their original premium theme for free to the public.   Unfortunately, this is the exact same theme that a large number of people paid $79.95 or $99.95 for (the original price for the first 8 months).   Is this fair to those people?  Should others who bought themes from Woo Themes also be concerned that a theme they had paid for may also later be released for free?

    According to the Blog Herald, here is the official response from Adii of Woo Themes:

    We don’t believe that releasing a year old theme for free infringes on our users’ rights, as they have not only bought a theme from us, but also all the goodies that goes along with that purchase (in terms of support, tutorials, theme-specific customization help etc.). We have also been in touch with all of our users and worked out an acceptable situation internally.

    Now, I have no idea what the workout was (I’d guess buyers got to pick another theme of their choice for free?).  For the sake of this discussion, it doesn’t really matter, as this post is not about Woo Themes or Revolution Two.   It was just inspired by the situations described above.  What I want to know from our readers is what rights should someone have if they purchase a premium WordPress theme?  

    The niche as a whole appears to have taken a significant hit with the launch of Revolution Two, and other theme designers have been stepping up and releasing premium-quality themes for free as well.   I think for the premium WordPress themes market to survive over the long haul, theme authors need to come together and some standards need to be put into place and followed.   If not, there is a good chance that buyers will lose trust in some designers and the niche will suffer as a whole or disappear completely as a result.   That, or it will continue its shift to more of a theme club setup.

    What do you think?  If you pay money for a WordPress theme, what priviledges are you entitled to as a buyer?   Should there be a guarantee that it won’t eventually be free?  Should you get lifetime code updates?    Share your take in the comments below!

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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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  • Developing Premium WordPress Themes

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    When the premium WordPress themes market began to form towards the end of 2007, the entire idea was to provide a customized theme for an affordable price. The targeted audience was to fill the needs of serious bloggers and small businesses.

    You may have also noticed that most premium WordPress themes offer a developers license (or multi-use license). This is because these themes were designed with developers in mind. Developers get the basic skeleton of a developed theme making it easy for them to hack the code and stylesheet to give their clients a custom look.

    Yesterday I found a nice post over at WPZoom designed to showcase some premium WordPress themes that have been hacked to provide a custom look for the website. In fact, most you won’t recognize when lined up with the original premium theme template!

    I think this post did a great job of not just showing some great designs, but also supporting the whole concept of the original intention of the premium themes market.

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