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I just read a post arguing “Premium WordPress Themes Are Dead (As We Know It)” (link below), which seems to imply the vast majority of theme developers can no longer realistically hope to compete on Themeforest (and we all already know how hard it is for just about anyone — or anything — to compete ‘with’ ThemeForest). Which led me to begin imagining a world where there’s really only two places for the general masses to get WordPress Themes (the .org listings for free themes and ThemeForest for premium themes)… and then wonder if we’re perhaps already there — or at least not far off? If, generally speaking, there’s now already not enough incentive to allow all but a few top-themeforest-sellers (and half-a-handful of age-old and already-extremely-well-entrenched theme shops, read: WooThemes, StudioPress and Elegant Themes) to continue selling premium WordPress themes, what will be the knock-on effects to WordPress as a whole if this trend continues?

I think there will be a bright future for new themes that are radically different than what we’ve traditionally seen. I think it’s fair to say the current theme market is oversaturated. Change the market and new opportunities arise.

It is often a problem of education. If customers knew better then they’d likely be interested in better themes. So, you have to educate them. That’s no easy task!

Many theme vendors would prefer they remain (a certain amount of) ignorant though so they can continue to sell to them at all / more often. For they may fear once they learn too much, they’ll see them for what they really are and some may actually be able to do for themselves. Can’t have that. Lol.

An informed and empowered customer is not what Envato’s primary target market seems to be. That means this market goes underserved even though there are those that might choose to believe the market doesn’t even exist. I like this enlightened segment best though as they tend to know how to better articulate what they want and support is often much lighter.

The people in the market for off the shelf solutions aren’t my target audience I say all the more power to Envato. That’s one more customer I will get when they complain their website is hard to use and doesn’t communicate well to their users. As a matter of fact I’m redoing a site right now for that very reason. We are selling themes on themeforest and have numerous buyers that are buying every of our future theme as they like support and friendly aproach, and also code quality and easy editing

Maybe if wordpress launched premium theme service with much more strict code rules, it would help wordpress brand in the future, because its not hard to see that what drives envato is profit, and you can find lots of very badly coded themes after which wordpress becames very slow and sometimes unusable. But anyway Themeforest is here to stay, we can only hope that they will introduce more stricktly rules as themeforest has big impact on wordpress industry and bad coded themes are affecting wordpress brand.

You can’t separate presentation from functionality, especially with WP’s anything-goes architecture. Themes aren’t really interchangeable, they’re nothing but trouble for custom work, just extra bureaucracy and bad code. I guess everyone’s finally waking up to all that.

Is there a system you like more ? Since there’s always gonna be a mix of markup/style/content, I mean you pull content X, display it in container(s) Y, styled by CSS Z, and all somehow need to be adjusted to each other..

I am teaching people who have never coded to use CSS and work with Genesis. These are people who would never think that could do it so never tried by themselves. Once they are shown how, they are liberated and Theme Forest is just so much candy floss – they don’t look back. OK – I know it’s not the answer for everyone. I’m just saying, it’s good for more than you think. Not everyone is lured by the lights onto the TF rocks.

Perfect separation in impossible, certainly with anything web-based. Django did a pretty good job of it. Likewise for Rails and many Django/Rails derivatives, presumably. They have cleaner architectures and more structure/guidance than WP. Of course, they generally don’t support themes.

The best free themes are better than the best premium themes. Why would then anyone with a brain buy an off the shelf theme?
Premium themes are dead (they just don’t know it yet), and that is actually a good thing. We all need to start emphasising functionality, usability, semantics, seo, workflow and other things that actually add value as developers rather than designers.

What customers are looking is this shiny stuff with lots of animations moving objects, slider etc…and tons of stuff. they dont care about semantic, clean code etc… And this will probably never change. I tried that and it doesnt sell, what sells is customization, hundreeds of faces blabla, stuff that slow down site.

The main problem I’ve seen is with themes that force users into specific 3rd party dependencies (the Revolution slider debacle), and include things like shortcodes in the Theme’s functions that should exist as separate plugin functionality.

The way I make money with themes is niching down and making a theme that has custom functionality.

For example a theme for preschools where the teacher can plan her calendar and have a downloadables section of materials for each day of class. Or a theme for animal shelters with a custom post type that makes it easier for them to post animals for adoption.

I use ACF for functionality and that is probably my biggest complaint about it, if they change themes that info is still in the db but it won’t be useable.

My job is to make them not want to change themes (leave my service). If I do that well then it doesn’t matter where the functionality resides in my opinion.

clients will care about functionality and (if we explain it) also care about semantics, clean code, and seo.
There are two trends at work here:
1. As everyone’s (including clients) life moves on line the emphasis will shift away towards functionality and clients understanding will increase.
2. Themes and design have been commodified, the best themes are already free, so people buying themes are just suckers to marketing.

The client can be delivered this same functionality without making it impossible difficult for them to change their theme or go with your competitor. Not separating plugin functionality from theme is bad for the client and developer IMO.

I’m thinking that with pulled support of Window’s XP that a lot of old IE browsers have gone the way of the DoDo bird, making CSS overrides obsolete.

Some people still use XP though. I think it would be prudent to continue supporting IE 8 until Win 10 is well established in the marketplace, sometime later this year. That being said, I wouldn’t waste my time creating anything new with IE 8 in mind.

Depends on the userbase of the site .. common stats are crap because maybe the site is for “hipsters” with the latest gadgets (and browsers) or the laggards (the ones that refuse to turn off that damn NT 4.0 machine and still use Netscape Navigator)

For client sites, look at the browser stats and charge more the further back you need to support. Use feature sniffing & progressive enhancement as support doesn’t mean identical/follows the same process flows.

There’s a certain logic to supporting IE8 and later as a rule of thumb, because there are still a lot of users who could be using XP, and IE8 is the most updated version of Internet Explorer that XP will support.

If it renders okay in 8 it’s fine with me, even if I loose some special effects like rounded corners, shadows, and the likes. Text and images must display in an acceptable layout, close to what you see in ‘modern’ browsers! That’s it for me.

Depends on target audience. Technically Microsoft themselves don’t support IE8 any more. The way around all of this is to build sites mobile-first and add in fancy extras as progressive enhancements.

You can add polyfill JS like Modernizr with conditional tags if you need to support some functionality in older browsers

Until, your clients husband (the ultimate critic and self proclaimed knower of all things) views the site you are building on IE8. And grinds the project to a halt. Just know.. Out there, in the wasteland, there are still the relics that will see and critique, sadly, your work. Personally, I think MS should just blow up remotely all computers that don’t use the version that they intend.. Just a thought.

You look at analytics and base your targeting on data, not random guesses.

He basically wants one Shop but with five different site to access it, thise five sites should all feature a independent design and have some other kinds of layouts. but have the same users end same database.

For eample first site features clubwear, second site should feature dance shoes, third site should feature stockings.

So people who enter on the first shop see a theme in clubwear style, but can also order from the other sites.

A visitor of the second site should see a theme in the style of dance shoes, high heels…. also the promo’s ont he second site should be high heels related. the userbase and products shoudl be the same as on the other ones.

How can i have five different front ends, serving the same products, the same userbase, and carts, but different layouts and content on the frontpages. The users want to use one admin panel for all the shops!

Here is the solution:

5 individual sites built on multisite, taking products from an RSS feed, and I think multisite can share users? Really I have no idea and want to see where this goes.

I haven’t done multisite woocommerce. I would assume each site within multisite would have separate product and order tables from each other so in reality you are still managing 5 dashboards. If it were me, I’d probably do the project in magento where multistore is a native feature. Be warned that this is not an easy first project to cut your magento teeth on.

I mean, if it’s just the css that’ll be different, you could put a conditional in functions.php loading a different stylesheet based on URL, and have any images loaded from css. And for limited variations of content (say, different sliders) you could probably use the widget logic plugin.

I’d certainly go MS based on your description, but there is a fair bit of work needed to pull in products other sites.

You “could” keep things single site and then use a theme per category plugin to toggle the them. The thing is the theme wouldn’t follow theme across categories.

I’ve had a customer ask me for a similar thing recently. As mentioned I think the Magento option is probably the best, but expect you could so it with Woo Multisite. 

I’m going to advise my customer against it the more I think about it. It’s not a problem doing it, but he wants the same products on each one so we have the duplicate content issues as previously mentioned. The other issue with this sort of setup I find is that building the websites are the first part of the project. Marketing them is a bigger and ongoing part of it. Having to spread budgets between 5 instead of 1 doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. Although I understand in some cases it might be.

It does seems like more work for not much benefit. Another tip, I just recently heard about running carconical links between duplicate content on different domains to negate the dup content rule, just heard it second hand so don’t take my word for it.

Sounds like a future fail.. It’s not because they ask you and it’s possible, you should do it. 
Why not spend all the effort in building one great brand / site?

I would agree that this sounds more like a Magento solution than WP. But if you’re going to go with WP, definitely look at MultiSite. It’ll take some work to have a single catalog displayed in different sites but I think it’s achievable. Let me know if you’d like some help in working it out.

From a marketing point of view, it’s a field of land mines. For that kind of stunt to work, the client will have to work very closely with a good consultant. If you go into a shoe shop, and start seeing things that don’t really belong there, like stockings, it can disrupt the purchasing experience. A good salesperson can overcome objections raised as a result of oddball merchandise. Online, a person is more likely to click away and look for someplace else. 

On the other hand, if he is targetting clothing for going clubbing, then having the shoes, stockings, etc would be reasonable. However, that ends up being something that you want as a single niche site, not spread out over multiple sites, which will probably confuse the customer. You have to not just get their interest to click through to your site, you have to build some degree of trust, otherwise they are not going to click that last button.

I think the client needs to be re-evaluated before seriously taking on this kind of mixed-marketing mashup.

I worked on a similar store where the store owner was the manufacturer and order processor. They gave partners (e.g. fashion blogs) their own store front to brand and generate income from.

I did a similar thing on Shopify about 5 years ago. I think Multisite and pulling in the products through a feed or API is the way to go with WordPress. 

Make sure you charge considerably more than your normal ecommerce rates for this, it will take more time. It creates convenience for the customer, saves on hosting and SSL, gives them all kinds of value they should pay extra for.


I’m in the process of doing a large news site and the clients is planning to do a lot of sliders. Sure, I could just have them make sliders in the Layer, Rev, Soliloquy, etc, slider area in wp-admin and then copy shortcode to bring it over, but it’s going to create a ton of sliders there and might get messy sorting through it all. Instead, it would be great to create a slider directly on the post area itself inside of it’s own custom area/field.

Sounds like a gallery shortcode with a plugin to style it… JetPack, Envira… FooGalery… etc.. Otherwise, if it’s REALLY, a slider (slides link to other content), I’d use Soliloquy.

you could do it with the gallery custom field from ACF.

The gallery field in ACF generates a gallery — images in a grid. You would need to use additional code to turn that into a real slider. 

The carousel and slider shortcodes in Shortcodes Ultimate will let your client generate sliders within posts pretty easily.

The repeater field in ACF would also be a great option. Pair that with SlickSlider and you’d have a nice little setup that wouldn’t take long to implement.

These days, if you really want to get word out about anything, you are likely doing it digitally. People all over the world are sharing their voices and promoting their businesses and causes by creating their own websites, and WordPress is the tool most rely upon to do this. WordPress has all the features you need to create a beautiful and effective website or blog, but getting started may be daunting. Here are some handy tips and tricks to keep in mind while designing a WordPress website. With a little creativity and these tips, you’ll be blogging with the best of them in no time.


Pay Attention to Permalinks

A permalink is the URL that leads to your WordPress post. Since this is the way your posts will appear in search engine results pages, it’s important that you create a link that is legible and gives potential readers a reason to click on it. When creating a new URL, use only necessary words to keep it short and as legible as possible. Be sure to make use of the Custom URL Structure option in your WordPress settings so that you can direct the text in your URL.

Pick a Great Theme

The theme of your blog is its visual design, and it sets the tone for your blog. WordPress offers a number of default themes for bloggers to choose from, but the truth is that if you select a WordPress default theme, odds are that many other bloggers will have made the same brilliant selection. Instead, browse the web and find a unique theme that really speaks to you. Take some time to find the right theme: you can always change your theme in the future, it’s best to pick the right one from the start to set a consistent brand.

Go Mobile

With so many people using smartphones and tablets such as those offered by Lenovo to do their browsing now, it’s vitally important that you take the time to ensure your new website is mobile-friendly. In fact, according to a recent MediaWhiz article, “one out of every three minutes spent online is spent on a mobile device” and this is only expected to increase, so if your website is not compatible with mobile devices you are essentially thumbing your nose at up to one-third of your potential viewers.

Designing your new site to be mobile-friendly may take a bit more time, but is well worth the investment. WordPress understands the increasing trend towards mobile browsing, so they have created multiple mobile apps to make creating and viewing websites on tablets and smartphones much easier.

Titles and Descriptions

If you plan to share your blog or website on social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, you will need to furnish a title and description to appear with your link. A site’s title and description are often what engages users to click on the link and view the site, so it’s important for humans and robots alike that you take the time to create text that is enticing and descriptive.

Make it Sticky

In most cases, the order in which blog articles appear is dictated by the date upon which they are posted. By making a favorite post sticky, though, you can ensure that it appears at the top of your other posts. To do this, go to the “Visibility” section on your “Edit Posts” page, click “Edit”, then opt to “Stick this post to the front page”.

Pay Attention to your Footer

The footer is the area that appears at the bottom of your WordPress site, and though it often goes unnoticed, it’s very noticeable when a site has no footer at all. You can use this information to share biographical information, a copyright message, or even a link to opt-in to your email. Even if most users don’t actually use your footer, it’s important to use this area to make a more complete look for your website.

If you follow these tips, you will be on your way to being a successful blogger.

Jennifer Thayer is a freelance technology writer who enjoys writing about apps, gadgets and the latest technology news. She loves discovering new tricks and sharing her tips with readers. 

My team is currently working on a number of WordPress instances. We have a very very bad practice which is to work directly on the clients’ server for development.

We are having a couple of designers and developers working on the same project at the same time and pushing changes directly to the client’s server is definitely bad. I would rather have something more like Bedrock from Roots.io.


I use ManageWP. I design and develop on my server then use manage wordpress to move the site to its permanent hosting.  Honestly, I’ve been cowboy coding from the start. I’ve only just begun trying to go down this path too. I have one test site that I am working on sorting out git with right now, but I’ve not made as much progress as I had hoped to.

Bedrock is awesome. But also heavy if you aren’t even using Git yet. Here is my companies boilerplate. Designed to give you environments and a quick base to get started.

Yes, some kind of SCM is definitely in order. Even if you all just dev in your respective environments, and then one person is charged with pulling the repo and uploading it all at once.

Personally I prefer to work locally and deploy via git (I use roots, though I am not sure that I will be working with bedrock, as I haven’t looked at it very much), but depending on what you’re doing it might be quite a hassle to setup.

Personally, I like roots and how it uses grunt, so that’s the extent of the build automation I use. I think that most other folks who need some level of automation are using codekit or similar, as mostly you don’t really need to build much in a php application.

Ok, here’s what I would do. First, every developer should have a full stack dev environment. This is hard on Windows, simple on Linux or Mac so, ideally, they’re working on one of those. Whatever they use, everyone needs to work off a repository so setup a git repository and have everyone install a git client (or learn the command line basics). 

Next, setup a simple, efficient workflow. This is a good starting point:http://scottchacon.com/2011/08/31/github-flow.html

Basically, branch for everything, even small changes, make the change, run tests locally, commit that change. Don’t have long branch checkout times – you’ll get out of synch. 

When the site is done, deploy from staging to live.

You can have long branch checkout times, you just have to be responsible for consistently staying in sync with master/staging. You also should be rebasing and squashing. The master branch should only be working versions of the site, no daisy chain commits.

A startup I was working with a couple years back designated one developer  as the “gitkeeper” (ha); basically it was their job to review pull requests before merging feature branches back into the trunk/main branch. Haven’t worked with a team that large since, but it seemed like a good practice.

There is a bit of a problem with that, especially in larger teams or where you need higher tolerances… for instance, say I have XAMPP and am writing a module in Magento, and I’m still looking for my butt with my flashlight, as far as Magento is concerned. I might write a module that has the wrong case for the auto-loading classes, and then when I commit the work to the staging server, it breaks because OSX doesn’t respect file capitalization in the same way that Linux does. Now, that’s a purely fictitious example, never happened to me, I assure you … but imagine that multiplied by Microsoft.

I’m using Desktop Server, git with bitbucket.org and WP Migrate DB Pro to work with a local, staging and production server. Freaking awesome. Over Christmas I’ll be looking at Root.io Bedrock too.

Honestly, I wouldn’t develop under Windows if I was deploying to a Linux environment and I had a choice. But Desktop Server looks like an interesting product if you have to as does XAMPP. Case sensitive file names are an issue. I worked on a project a while back where some devs were on Windoze and other on Unix. After a few collisions we set a strict policy: ALL FILE NAMES ARE IN LOWER CASE! It solved the problem