Building WordPress Themes You Can Sell [via SmashingMag]


#1

Just stumbled across this article on Smashing Magazine that I thought others on here might find interesting.

The author makes a good argument about what to leave out of your themes option panel including, Google Analytics and favicon switchers. Looking at it from his point of view I have to say I probably agree.

I never thought about the problems that might occur when a user chooses to switch themes if they have let the themes take care of non-theme functionality. Certainly an eye opener.

There are some other interesting points made in the article. Hope it is useful for some :slight_smile:


#2

Nice link.

I agree with leaving out those things. Then when a buyer asks for the function you can always point them over to a nice plugin. :sunglasses:

But there are some options that are nice to have even when there are plugins for it as an effort to keep your site’s code clean and loading quicker.


#3

How many sales does this guy have on TF? None? Oh. Hm.

There are plugins for literally everything, if a user has to have 1000 plugins to have your theme working as they want, they’re not going to choose you. It’s simple, have a nice set of options, but not too many.


#4
LandonWilson said

How many sales does this guy have on TF? None? Oh. Hm.

There are plugins for literally everything, if a user has to have 1000 plugins to have your theme working as they want, they’re not going to choose you. It’s simple, have a nice set of options, but not too many.

Themeforest isn’t the WordPress theme haven… you can make way more money in themes in your own market than here(its just a ton harder and will have a higher startup cost)

its actually smarter in terms of performance to have a theme with very few options and use plugin’s specific to what “features” you want because if you add 1000 features in your theme and the end-user only uses 5 of those its a waste and to much code gets ran(especially its its poorly coded)… that being said if you really want a site to run well you shouldn’t be using a premium theme at all it should be customized for your needs


#5
OrganicBeeMedia said
LandonWilson said

How many sales does this guy have on TF? None? Oh. Hm.

There are plugins for literally everything, if a user has to have 1000 plugins to have your theme working as they want, they’re not going to choose you. It’s simple, have a nice set of options, but not too many.

Themeforest isn’t the WordPress theme haven… you can make way more money in themes in your own market than here(its just a ton harder and will have a higher startup cost)

its actually smarter in terms of performance to have a theme with very few options and use plugin’s specific to what “features” you want because if you add 1000 features in your theme and the end-user only uses 5 of those its a waste and to much code gets ran(especially its its poorly coded)… that being said if you really want a site to run well you shouldn’t be using a premium theme at all it should be customized for your needs

I agree with this. Partially. We use two plugins : one for breadcrumbs and one for pagination. Rather than that what plugin can add features to a theme? I really do not see any single plugin that will help me with our themes. Care to share?


#6
duotive said
OrganicBeeMedia said
LandonWilson said

How many sales does this guy have on TF? None? Oh. Hm.

There are plugins for literally everything, if a user has to have 1000 plugins to have your theme working as they want, they’re not going to choose you. It’s simple, have a nice set of options, but not too many.

Themeforest isn’t the WordPress theme haven… you can make way more money in themes in your own market than here(its just a ton harder and will have a higher startup cost)

its actually smarter in terms of performance to have a theme with very few options and use plugin’s specific to what “features” you want because if you add 1000 features in your theme and the end-user only uses 5 of those its a waste and to much code gets ran(especially its its poorly coded)… that being said if you really want a site to run well you shouldn’t be using a premium theme at all it should be customized for your needs

I agree with this. Partially. We use two plugins : one for breadcrumbs and one for pagination. Rather than that what plugin can add features to a theme? I really do not see any single plugin that will help me with our themes. Care to share?

see those are two features I could see building into a theme(there “extensions” in my framework)…Themes should “just work” with WordPress as WordPress is intended to be used a blog… not saying features can’t be added/built-in for support(thats why theres the add_theme_support hook and if theme supports)… but like any contact form management, e-commerce, forums, even some slider managers… pretty much anything that controls content shouldn’t be built in to a theme… ideal even stuff that uses custom post types should “always” be done in a plugin… in terms of user experience ideally you should never lock someones content to a specific theme but realistically at least the way this marketplace work it doesn’t make sense have plugins for everything because every author already does things differently most users would be confused from someone doing things properly and having a handful of plugins to install for certain features…

and Im sure most won’t agree with me…


#7
OrganicBeeMedia said
duotive said
OrganicBeeMedia said
LandonWilson said

How many sales does this guy have on TF? None? Oh. Hm.

There are plugins for literally everything, if a user has to have 1000 plugins to have your theme working as they want, they’re not going to choose you. It’s simple, have a nice set of options, but not too many.

Themeforest isn’t the WordPress theme haven… you can make way more money in themes in your own market than here(its just a ton harder and will have a higher startup cost)

its actually smarter in terms of performance to have a theme with very few options and use plugin’s specific to what “features” you want because if you add 1000 features in your theme and the end-user only uses 5 of those its a waste and to much code gets ran(especially its its poorly coded)… that being said if you really want a site to run well you shouldn’t be using a premium theme at all it should be customized for your needs

I agree with this. Partially. We use two plugins : one for breadcrumbs and one for pagination. Rather than that what plugin can add features to a theme? I really do not see any single plugin that will help me with our themes. Care to share?

see those are two features I could see building into a theme(there “extensions” in my framework)…Themes should “just work” with WordPress as WordPress is intended to be used a blog… not saying features can’t be added/built-in for support(thats why theres the add_theme_support hook and if theme supports)… but like any contact form management, e-commerce, forums, even some slider managers… pretty much anything that controls content shouldn’t be built in to a theme… ideal even stuff that uses custom post types should “always” be done in a plugin… in terms of user experience ideally you should never lock someones content to a specific theme but realistically at least the way this marketplace work it doesn’t make sense have plugins for everything because every author already does things differently most users would be confused from someone doing things properly and having a handful of plugins to install for certain features…

and Im sure most won’t agree with me…

Well the reason I don’t is because then you have to deal with customers looking for plugins to do this and that, and they never do a quick google search, they come and ask. It’s a lot more work than you would think.

My theme gives people the option to have options - you’ll see what I mean soon.


#8

i see what you mean but that will mean that my plugin should work with other themes in case the user wants to change the theme and that will not be the case. there are too many solutions to the same problem.


#9
LandonWilson said

My theme gives people the option to have options - you’ll see what I mean soon.

You mean create their own options? Like Option Tree?


#10

Although I haven’t included plugins into my themes, for those that do they should be using an activation class like the below — allowing the theme on activation to download the necessary plugins either from the theme folder or WordPress repository and notify the user to activate each:


#11
LandonWilson said

How many sales does this guy have on TF? None? Oh. Hm.

There are plugins for literally everything, if a user has to have 1000 plugins to have your theme working as they want, they’re not going to choose you. It’s simple, have a nice set of options, but not too many.

Man you beat yourself with arguments…he don’t have sales…do you have? :smiley:


#12
ewizz said
LandonWilson said

How many sales does this guy have on TF? None? Oh. Hm.

There are plugins for literally everything, if a user has to have 1000 plugins to have your theme working as they want, they’re not going to choose you. It’s simple, have a nice set of options, but not too many.

Man you beat yourself with arguments…he don’t have sales…do you have? :smiley:

Not what I was saying. Parallelus themes have all the power you need, but the simplicity to where you don’t need to add 1000 plugins or have 1000 options. Parallelus has more sales than I can shake a stick at. This guy doesn’t.

And duotive - I’ll send you an email in like a week explaining how my theme works so you’ll understand what I mean. ;D


#13
LandonWilson said

And duotive - I’ll send you an email in like a week explaining how my theme works so you’ll understand what I mean. ;D

Thanks. I will wait your email :)

#14
contempoinc said

Although I haven’t included plugins into my themes, for those that do they should be using an activation class like the below — allowing the theme on activation to download the necessary plugins either from the theme folder or WordPress repository and notify the user to activate each:

I’m using this with both SuperSkeleton and Reaction already… highly recommend it, although it’ll get better with time. :slight_smile:

B


#15

The only time a plugin should be included in a theme is when it needs special customization to blend in nicely with the way the theme works and/or looks, keep in mind to always ask the plugin author permission on, if you may or may not make the necessary adjustments the their plugin ;).

You can always build a custom plugin (with all the bells and whistles) and sell it on CC. Making it integrate really well with your theme(s).

Another thing to point out is the amount of jQuery Plugins being used on themes… Most themes tend to abuse jQuery plugins to much! If you can code using jQuery try to drop the plugins, and you’ll start seeing the benefits of doing this, e.g more unique FX on your template(s).

Theme options: People think options sell (perhaps they do, in some cases), but is the amount of headaches that come with all those options really worth the effort? I believe that a unique design sells more then a bazillion options do… Adding to many options puts your design in a box and makes for a VERY limiting creative design.