When you’re new to blogging and you see all these free WordPress themes available, you wonder: who are these geeks giving away their themes to people like me? Are they trolls hunched over computers in their parents basements until the day they finally get their big chance to work in a real software company? No.
Theme developers often are the software company and giving away free WordPress theme is not their main occupation. They give away free themes with the intent of possibly selling you a premium theme or plugin once you are ready for it. Theme developers are professionals, not volunteers and as such, it is worthwhile to enlist a theme developer’s help when you have a problem with their theme.
Free Theme Support
As with anything computer related there is a support forum for any need, moderated often by knowledgable geeks and engineers. WordPress has its own support forum for general questions, but when you have a problem with a specific theme, the best thing to do is ask the theme developer. Even with a free theme, it is possible to get help and advice from the developer.
One of the first themes I used was Atahualpa, created by Bytes For All (BTA). It has a vibrant support forum moderated by Paul and Larry who were extremely helpful when I broke the theme. So helpful, in fact, I was moved to donate a few bucks to their efforts. Because when you are sweating bullets over not being able to log into your site, the person who says, “here’s how you do it,” seems like an angel, especially when they are doing it gratis. You want to send them flowers.
Premium Theme Support
When you pay for a theme you naturally expect more. Along with all the bells and whistles of functionality you’re buying, you also expect to receive some amount of service in the package. After all, if you can’t make that theme work, what are you paying for?
When shopping for a premium theme – and free themes, for that matter – it’s a good idea to check out the theme’s support forum. In addition to seeing what kind of issues other users are having, it’s important to see what kind of response they get from the developer. Does the developer respond in a timely manner or does he/she go AWOL for long periods of time? Is the developer answering questions effectively or just obfuscating? Finally, are the users satisfied?
Skyali is better at replying that he’ll reply soon than he is at actually replying soon. In February he was quicker at solving problems, but lately he’s been just too busy.
By contrast, Towfiq I. is quick to reply, will send code for you to lay, and will even, in a pinch, go into the back end of your site to find out what the problem is. I bought his Zenon theme for the BC Travel Writers Association after playing with the free Zenon Lite and he was more than helpful. Through his interactions it is apparent that he cares about how his themes are working in the blogosphere and he endeavors to answer even the most basic “duh” question. He even answers questions on his Facebook page.
The best way to thank a theme developer is by putting a glowing review in their comments section. Or, rave about them in your blog.
So the next time you are considering what theme to use or buy, consider the theme’s developer and what kind of relationship he/she likes to have with users. Because a friend indeed is a theme developer you need.
Please like, share, tweet and pin this post and also leave a comment on some of the theme developers you are a fan of. I’m always keen on knowing who is good.