Our Readers: Theme Companies Should Improve Functionality, Service For Discontinued Themes

in Blog

In a recent poll that we published here at WPHub.com, we asked our readers to vote on a list of options that theme companies should improve on as we move into the 2013 calendar year. We provided a list of improvements, which included service of discontinued themes, better description of products, features and functionality, customer support, pricing and value, plus an option to vote for something different.

With a dozen total entries, two specifications received more input than others. Those were the desire by our readers to see better features and functionality out of themes along with continued support for themes that have been pulled from the marketplace.

Discontinued Themes

One of the unintended consequences of theme companies’ ability to offer better products on a consistent basis is that older templates can sometimes get overlooked in the process. Some website owners get accustomed to a particular theme and use it for several years without any major updates, which makes keeping up with the times more difficult due to the ever-evolving environment of plugins and enhanced features. The result sometimes means that older themes are no longer relevant to the needs of webmasters.

To compound the issue, theme companies will frequently “discontinue” a particular product even when customers have purchased full support rights. So what happens when a client needs additional features for a theme that is no longer being serviced? The answer varies greatly. Some firms will grant those who are currently using a discontinued theme access to a similar yet newer product, while others will make an exception and help with coding a more relevant theme. Still other companies will simply ignore any request.

For those who are unable to deal with code manipulation, outdated themes can seriously affect how a product lays out on the front-end. This is especially obvious when dealing with non-responsive programming since websites that use older templates cannot adapt to the smaller screen sizes of smart phones and tablet computers. The overall traffic loss that coincides with non-responsive themes can be devastating to one’s chances of generating revenue and keeping a website afloat.

Responsive Theme

The ThemeForest marketplace is a great example of what can happen when independent developers suddenly pulled a popular product from the shelves, and this is something that our readers would like to see improved in upcoming years.

Added Features And Functionality

With so many companies moving toward all-inclusive downloads, the boost provided by premium templates that can serve multiple purposes is something that has been keyed on by developers. What happens if you have a great theme for portfolio and photographic content but don’t have the ability to post much-needed video content? This often means that customers must seek out one or more of thousands of plugins that require additional installation and maintenance.

Poll Results

Having themes with more features can reduce a lot of the legwork involved in maintaining a theme for several years. If you are able to publish a separate blog feed while using a portfolio, promoting products, running an online retail site, providing responsive access to small screen users, posting multimedia content; then that’s all the better.

This is something that WPHub readers would like to see improved upon in 2013, and there are already several firms that specialize in creating effective, time-saving templates that go above and beyond the current norm of premium downloads.

This Week’s Poll

This week, we are asking our readers to participate in a new poll that inquires about the most profitable premium theme type currently being offered. You can select from News/Blog, Online Retail, Photography/Portfolio, Restaurant, Real Estate, Business, or Other. Use the following link to vote in this week’s poll.

Comments (1)

  • Comment by Brian Krogsgard
    Brian Krogsgard
    says:

    I know these are poll results, not opinion, but I can’t help but disagree on the second point :)

    I definitely think developers need to keep their themes up to date over time, and I’m sure much of the reason they don’t is because they utilize a one time sale method. that should improve.

    But most themes do not need more features. They need less.

    In my opinion, themes (or plugins, or any WP product really) need two things big time:

    1) Well written documentation that’s easy and quick to read, and easy and quick to get to.
    2) To be very easy to set up like the demo. Buyers buy the demo, not the theme. If it’s a huge hassle to make it look like the demo, it’s not good at all.

    If I were to add a third, I’d make it flexibility. I shouldn’t have to hack a theme to make some changes. Using filters and hook in themes, and flexible templates that can be easily overridden in child themes, are essentials for good themes, but very difficult to figure out before you actually buy them.