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WordPress Theme: What Would Make You Pay for a Theme?

I am currently working on a paid WordPress theme system, and I was wondering what it would take for people to spend money on a WordPress theme? Does it come down to constant development and updates, support, or some killer feature?

In about a week or so, I’ll be releasing a theme that I think will surprise people, but I am already looking at future versions, and want to offer the best product possible to the WordPress community.

Why is it going to be a paid theme?
The simple fact is that if I want to provide support, continuously develop the theme, and develop a real marketing plan, the theme had to be a paid theme rather than a free one.

That doesn’t mean that I take this lightly though, as the theme will blur the line between themes and plugins. I think you’ll all be very excited.

If there is a feature your favourite theme is missing, now is the time to speak up. If it doesn’t get integrated into the one I am working on, I am sure the Blogging Pro audience is listening and some of them are amazing WordPress theme developers as well.

Categories: WordPress Themes

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  1. Sid W says: 1/23/2009

    There are some seriously awesome LOOKING free themes out there. For me to drop cash on a theme it would have to DO something for me the standard free themes don’t. I don’t know what exactly that is. But there had better be features that make whatever the investment is seem worth it.
    From your vague descriptions (I know you don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon) it seems like it will have some functionality and not just look pretty.
    Looking forward to it.


  2. Vince ) says: 1/23/2009

    I’m looking forward to seeing your theme. As for what would it need for me to pay for it? There are so many free themes out that about anyone should be able to find one that works for them. So saying that it would have to be something that blows my mind.


  3. Stephen M. James says: 1/23/2009

    If it was commissioned and custom to me. :-)


  4. Rick says: 1/23/2009

    It would be unlikely for me to buy a theme. I am able to customize the free ones myself, though only at a basic level. If the paid theme had a high level of customization so that the look could be made to be very different from someone else’s blog that had the same theme then it might be useful. For example, being able to change the colors, choose the number of columns, being able to change the banner image with a refresh (like on my blog), editable footer, etc. And not having to touch the html.

    I guess another approach would be to provide ten or twenty different style themes in the package if customizing is too difficult.

    I wonder though that if a free theme was given out, wouldn’t there be an increase in traffic such that your ad revenue would increase? Especially if there was ongoing support and/or development.


  5. David ) says: 1/23/2009

    Rick – As you can understand, with the decrease in ad revenue due to the economy, anyone that thinks ad revenue will cover all business online are no, unfortunately, dreaming.

    Also, this theme has nothing to do with Blogging Pro or Splashpress media, just a project outside of that I am launching. :)

    As for your customization concerns, they should hopefully be met by what I am working on ;)


  6. Susan says: 1/23/2009

    It would definitely have to incorporate new ideas as far as coding, display and design to purchase a premium theme. More pluses: Being more ‘user-friendly’ with lots of customization, always is a winner. Oh..and of course, beautiful/clean coding!


  7. gestroud says: 1/24/2009

    I agree with some of the other commentors. There are so many customizable free themes available, I think that the only way I would pay for a theme these days would be if it was designed specifically for me.


  8. Calítoe.:. says: 1/24/2009

    I would pay to have an elastic theme, that is, that it’s suitable for several screen resolutions. A “huge” (I honestly think it’s a lot) 10% of my users are still using 800×600 and I owe them respect. I hate having to spend so much time on tweaking themes to adapt them to lower resolutions.


  9. blogmeyers says: 1/25/2009

    Just discovered your blog today but this question caught my attention. I’m a layperson when it comes to coding but even I can do basic customizations. Still, I might consider paying for a theme, if it had CMS functionality built-in with dynamic page layouts and was easily customizable with a crap load of theme options. Even then, I wouldn’t pay much (under $50) but a theme that is extremely versatile and simple to customize (no coding needed) would probably be worth it.


  10. Ron Hager says: 1/25/2009

    I use K2 which is free and well supported. I would be very interested in a feature by feature comparison of it and your theme.


  11. Votre says: 1/26/2009

    As others have noted, the one thing that really tips the balance and inspires someone to put their hand in their pocket is uniqueness.

    More than features, more than support, more than just about anything else, having an exclusive, visually distinctive and well-designed theme is what people are willing to pay for.


  12. Adriana says: 2/25/2012

    thanks for share!