The 2012 calendar year has seen a surge of many things related to WordPress. Theme quality, competition, pricing structures, and features have all improved greatly over premium products that were commercially released only a couple of years ago; resulting in a client base that is more eager than ever to get the most out of the open-source platform.
Mobile Device Consideration
We don’t have to go that far back to a time when catering to the mobile device market was done mostly via WordPress Plugins rather than as an afterthought for newly released themes. When I first began reviewing templates, there were actually separate “child themes” on the market (such as Handheld by Elegant Themes) for website administrators who were interested in giving smartphone and tablet computer users a more organized content reading experience.
However, the times have changed in 2012, with more and more theme companies adding fully responsive designs into all newly released products.
The “Unlimited” Marketing Tool
The word “unlimited” gets pushed rather heavily in WordPress marketplaces, as many companies have really gotten on top of making sure that customers are taken care of in unprecedented fashion. Take StudioPress as an example. This firm offers unlimited support, updates, and even domains, thanks to its unique subscriber plan that does not require individual customers to pay an additional fee to be distinguished as a Developer. Right off the bat, you’ll be able to use any theme you buy from StudioPress on any amount of websites you wish.
Unlimited has also translated into the localization process, with a growing amount of languages becoming a part of premium WordPress theme downloads. Although we’re still a while away from a time when premium templates are by default localized in hundreds of languages and dialects, we can see where this is going as a growing number of cultural regions catch on to WordPress as a whole.
And how about “unlimited” color styles? Remember how difficult changing the overall scheme of your WordPress template used to be? Well, not any more. Some products come with the ability to input your own, custom generated hexadecimal code and have that serve as the overall background of your website. Best of all, this can usually be achieved with just a few convenient clicks of your mouse – without ever having to go into the Editor and manipulate actual code.
Social Media And Beyond
The amalgamation of social media sharing astonishes me, if only because of how easy (and automated) the process of mass-sharing has become. In the old days, a company with many sites may have needed a separate employee for the sole purpose of distributing news and events via sites like Facebook and Twitter. But now, this process can be programmed ahead of time to automatically update your social media pages (practically in real-time) to inform fans and followers immediately; giving website owners access to immediate feedback.
The amount of customization tools currently available (both free and premium) offer a variety of ways to get just about any website off the ground and into the social media realm with as little effort as possible. We’re seeing a revolution when it comes to concentrated worldwide exposure and customer-unique advertisement prompts.
Not too long ago, if you were in the market for a high-end real estate theme that could also carry your company’s blog while offering a responsive design with various portfolio page templates; your best bet would have been getting your hands on multiple themes. That’s not necessarily the case in 2012.
Today, many new premium WordPress themes come standard with flexibility that allow the download to be implemented on a wide range of sites. Some templates can actually pull off everything from serving as a full-fledged photography portfolio to an online retail base; broadening the limits of overall usage to the imagination of a particular developer.
Give Us Your Thoughts
In this week’s WPHub.com Poll, we’d like to know what you feel has been the most important WordPress theme feature of 2012.