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WordPress Slowdown and a Challenge

Warning Rant Below
skip to My Challenge for You for details on the end of June Challenge

After what I consider to be a relatively unsuccessul series of theme contests, and the lackluster response to other people trying to strike up creativity in the WordPress community, I am a bit worried about the future of the WordPress theme and plugin communities.

Theme Recycling
Theme releases lately, all seem to be small changes on already released themes. People are releasing “flavors” of their favourite themes, with a link back to their site in the credits. This is not only a bit shady, but also very boring. While some make perfect sense, like totally shifting a theme from being a black theme, to a white theme, others are silly, like replacing a header graphic, changing a few link and header colors and re-releasing it.

The amount of really new themes being added to the pool, seems to be shrinking every day as people rehash old ideas. Those rehashed themes lacking the same creativity and originality of the original theme creator. Are designers feeling paralyzed by something, making them hold back their ideas? I know the reward that you can get by giving to the WordPress community is insignificant looking at it from a money in your pocket perspective, but imagine seeing your design, or a variation of your design being used by thousands of websites? Seeing that, is definetly its own reward, and it is a very fulfilling experience.

I was really excited when Phu Ly had his theme a day self-imposed challenge, as I hoped it would inspire others to run similar challenges, even if it was more in the theme a week or month realm. Phu’s themes showed that a theme does not have to be overly complex, or rely heavily on dozens of crazy graphics, and actually, I have found that graphically light themes that are easy to edit and modify actually do the best in the WordPress community.

Does everyone feel like they have to re-invent the Kubrick experience? That is honestly not the case. You have to design a theme for a niche that you feel you can fit. Are you good at doing grunge websites? Do a grunge WordPress theme. If you are interested in a certain type of design, no doubt there are atleast one hundred others out there looking for the same type of theme, but without the design or coding talents required to make it happen.

Plugins Not Worth Downloading
Plugins are also hurting lately. It honestly feels like the amount of really revolutionary plugins have dropped considerably over the last four to six months.

Sure, I could be missing many of the great plugins, but I don’t think so. It is at the point where the plugins area of the support forum is filled with support on plugins rather than new plugin releases, where half a year ago, there were new plugins coming out every day.

Plugins are also an area where people are just rehashing old ideas or mixing two plugins together. While many times this produces a better plugin than the originator had, there is almost no new plugins where I think to myself “I have to have that plugin!”

Many of the great things coming out for WordPress mostly seem to be coming from a small circle of people, and many of them are part of Automattic, the company that is WordPress as they continue to add new features to their hosted WordPress service,

My Challenge to You
My challenge to you, the WordPress community, is this.
Create a theme or a plugin. Ignore what you have seen before. Don’t worry about similar themes or plugins. Just sit down in your image editing program or your coding application and hash out something new over this week.

Link to this post in your release, or contact me at [email protected] and let me know about your new development. I want to see what kind of originality you can come up with. Then on the 30th of June, I will feature the five best plugins and the five best themes, and they will each get a post on Blogging Pro. On top of the post the ten “winners” will also get a link in the links area of this site for all of July. That is over 30,000 unique visitors that will see a link to your plugin or theme.

If even 1% of them use what you create, that is 300 people using your theme or plugin. If you don’t think that is rewarding, then you are probably not the type of person I am looking for to take part in this challenge, as this is only supposed to spur on those that are holding back, not line your pockets with money.

For those of you that are not in the top five in each category, I will also have a list of all of the plugins and themes submitted to the challenge in its own post, so you can discover everything that was created in the last week of June for the challenge.

Categories: BloggingPro News, WordPress News

This post was written by . You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.

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  1. James says: 6/23/2006

    I assume multiple submissions is acceptable? I have a few plugins I’ve been thinking about creating lately…


  2. David ) says: 6/23/2006

    Of course multiple submissions are acceptable, but again, they can’t have been released anywhere else. They must be new. Good luck. :)


  3. Viitoria says: 6/23/2006

    And would it be okay to release a theme out of a design of a previous layout for our OWN site (but previously unreleased in any other shape or form)?


  4. David ) says: 6/23/2006

    Personal themes that have not been packaged up and released are totally acceptable as long as they have not been released before unless they are easy to tell that they were strongly based on another theme (like changing the header of Kubrick and calling it your own).

    I will take certain liberties with that though, as I know many two column themes with an image header, and a right or left column navigation look fairly similar.


  5. monkeypup says: 6/24/2006

    Okay. Time for me to stop dicking around and release my first theme. See if I can beat the clock…
    eep…look at the date! Better get working!


  6. David ) says: 6/24/2006

    You can do it, and worst case scenerio, get it working without too many bugs and release it. If its great, you can keep developing it and add any “extra” features it may need. I know this can be done, as I have gone from concept to 0.1 theme release in 3 days. :) And Phu Ly did one theme a day for 6 days. Go WordPress theme makers! :)

    Good luck monkeypup


  7. dandyna says: 6/25/2006

    I mostly agree with you.
    @ David, Phu Ly is a genius!!!!


  8. Scott says: 6/25/2006

    Christ, I am useless.


  9. Scott says: 7/2/2006

    Are there results? Or have I missed them elsewheres?


  10. David ) says: 7/4/2006

    I am going to post the results today. It was a Canadian holiday on the weekend, and my fiance wouldn’t let me touch the computer.


  11. Guru Manager says: 7/4/2006

    Not easily to define but hopefully something along what you had in mind on being different as it provides the ability to be a fully customized Theme without HTML or any PHP knowledge from Sidebar menu after Login,

    Colors (Background, Footer, Title, Navigation Links, Visited Links, Text) Banner Headers (24 Banner Graphics are included to choose from or upload your own) Then Change the colors to match Navigation Links on Top NavBar can be changed Google AdSense – Activate or Deactivate

    Lots of drop down menus to choose from… what can I say?


  12. Diada says: 7/12/2006

    I will take certain liberties with that though, as I know many two column themes with an image header, and a right or left column navigation look fairly similar.


  13. vivalabamba says: 12/23/2006

    Great to have found this article, even if it has been released 6 months ago – it confirms my first impressions. Let me tell you that at the end of 2006, the situation is not better.

    I have just began with Wrodpress, and let me tell you : I am very disappointed. The list of templates is fantastic though – I love it – It seems so professional, but well… coming from beta-blogger (so easy, I can focus on webmastering – and I understand the required level is just not the same), tweaking a code here is just a pain in the neck, makes me losing days about stupid details (am not a professional coder).

    “Permissions” stuff is just horrendous – making a few plugins useless – am not joking about security. These templates are so different – I would rather fewer templates that are developped more in depth. I want support as well.

    Starting off with wordpress is like hell. Their support is not structured (useless tutorials (there is no tutorial) with too many links everywhere (great from a seo point of view, but in order to try to understand sthg, take your week off for simple explanations or better for u to visit third-party websites).
    Forum help support is just inexistant – impossible to find a relevant post (it is not organised). Right I understand a few questions might be redundant – but as there is no pedagogical tutorial and no way to find previous posts… well.

    Maybe wordpress is just for professional coders ! I am seriously thinking about moving to another blog pro platform. If you have any idea, I am interested to know about it.


  14. Menekse ile Halil says: 10/1/2007

    I mostly agree with you.


  15. Marbella Property says: 10/15/2007

    I have just begun with WordPress, Great to have found this article, starting off with wordpress is like hell. Makes me losing days about stupid details (am not a professional coder).” I try to read every one of your article and learn more about wordpress.


  16. Andreas says: 11/19/2007



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