Hard reject on responsive multi-purpose Wordpress theme, no reason given

After 47 days in the review cue, I got a hard reject on my Wordpress theme.

Guess I don’t have anywhere else to turn for feedback so here goes. I used the Theme Check plugin and didn’t have any errors or notices from it when submitting with exception of 3 warnings/errors that I wouldn’t be able to reconcile without changing my theme framework’s core files. (Theme Customizer boilerplate and the Advanced Custom Fields plugin that are embedded in the theme)

  1. My theme uses the Theme Customizer API which loops through settings in an array, so the theme check pops up a notice about data sanitization, when they really are sanitized
  2. Theme check pops up an error about multiple text domains because I use TGMPA, ACF, (Advanced custom fields) and my theme’s text domain.
  3. There are ‘translation stings’ that don’t have correct number arguments because of one line that comes from my theme framework Advanced Custom Fields. It does have the correct number of arguments though with a min/max argument.
  4. Two info notices about hard coded links from my documentation files (flat HTML files so those aren’t technically part of the theme)

Because I wasn’t given any information besides the theme 'isn’t at the quality standard needed to continue forward with the review process on ThemeForest" I’m sort of at a loss as to what is wrong with it. Maybe some of the demo designs aren’t good enough? (I’ve seen much worse get accepted here recently) Or possibly there some technical thing I’m not seeing? (All the pages W3C validate, they look great on all devices… etc.)

Would love some feedback on it, item is here:

http://cortex.covertnine.com with the theme demos linked from there.

Please be gentle.

Looks like I posted this over a holiday weekend. Bump!

I see spacing issues all over the text, font is somehow strange, “make reservation” button should be more appealing, “the menu” banner has lot of space, text below has small space for headlines, blog is messy, background wall pattern isn’t nice, animation is too much… it looks like one page site but it seems it isn’t, according by menu…

Only looking at one or two of the demos:

  • The typography needs attention for example in this one http://restaurantw.covertnine.com/ there are numerous styles and sizes

  • Footer feels very cramped and a bit uneven with the more spaced icons to the right when other widgets are very close

  • icons top left don’t align or feel relevant

  • generally the design could do with tidying up. Right now it feels like a lot of bits, blogs, animations, shops all piled together without any logical design.

Thanks for the feedback. Gonna have to hone in on my 4 stronger demos and work a bit more on those I think.

Don’t want to disappoint you, but your main mistake is that your first item here is a multipurpose theme. I totally understand that, as I’m also did that mistake few years ago.

Your rejection is not about technical requirements, as they are only checked after design gets approved. Your hard rejection is about a design, and I must say that its far from marketplace standards. You told that you saw items of worse design, but are they wordpress themes or items in some other category? Because WP category has highest requirements (and PSD).

My suggestion for you is to forgot about trying to get this theme accepted, and get a small part of it or try from scratch with a smaller item, like one page or something like that. Believe me, you will save a lot of time and efforts following this advice instead of trying to improve this theme.


I wish I would have known that about 6 months ago.

I’ve BOUGHT items from this marketplace that were of lower quality–maybe it’s that Envato has been shifting their standards up and up so that those themes that I’ve bought in the past wouldn’t get accepted now, but I’ve purchased probably 6-7 themes that I would say design-wise were of lesser quality in some ways.

Yes. Big mistake trying to make a full multi-purpose style template, but if you study the sales of newer themes that are successful, they’re literally ALL multi-purpose.

My mistake (among many) was trying to make an all-in-one that looks totally different from one demo to the next. I think I’ll circle back around one or two of my stronger demos and make that the main focus and abandon the rest.

Thanks for the insight–it still seems weird to me that you’d have to start with PSD, then flat HTML, and then a fully functional WP site when I’m almost positive I’ve seen authors go straight to doing Wordpress like I did and get accepted. This theme was based on the one I used for my own site and I just repurposed it to be useful for other concepts. Oh well.

Back to the drawing board! But honestly, thanks a ton for the feedback.

Yes, its a big mistake trying to compete with elite and power elite authors in multipurpose niche. At least at your first try. You need to have a solid base and experience here to succesfully sell such itmes.

If you create a multipurpose theme (of acceptable aesthetics quality), be also ready to hear that there are a lot of such items already, and its true. As authors copying each other and produce more than enough of such themes.

Fine multipurpose themes may sell well in the beginning, but after 3 months they go in the past, as tens of new available. My advice is to find some good niche and work in it, maybe its seems have a less sales, but in the longer run its much more stable and give the same, if not better results. Of course, if you create something worthy.

And time spent on creating a niche theme is not comparable to multipurpose. And as an end product its much more complete, useful and suitable for a buyer.