A Friend Indeed is a Theme Developer You Need

theme developer, blogsitestudio.comWhen 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?

For my TastingRoomConfidential.com blog (which formerly used Atahualpa) I use LondonLive, developed by Skyali and available through Themeforest.

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.

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6 Responses to A Friend Indeed is a Theme Developer You Need

  1. Robert Scheer September 25, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    This is very good advice about WordPress themes. Although it may be obvious to some, the fact that you get what you pay for certainly applies to many free themes. The best one I have found is Flexibility3. I used it to make http://daytripstravelguide.com, and nearly a dozen others, all of which look quite different from one another. I only wish it were a bit more flexible, the way the paid version of it is!

  2. mckane September 25, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Thanks Robert. And Flexibility3 looks great. Maybe I’ll grab it too.

  3. Michael Chylinski September 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi Mary: It’s nice to see there is a fellow Loara Class of ’77 Grad out there making themes for WordPress. I am new to WordPress. I have been using Free Themes and Plug-ins because I don’t have much money or time to invest in my web publishing and the same goes for the few people that I host websites for. I find it frustrating when they put up free plug-ins or templates that don’t really work all that well. Some say “what do you want for nothing”. I say. This is an example of your work. It is up here to attract new clients. Your support of this should be the same. If your free product almost good and your support of it is bad. What does that say about you? I will check your stuff out, I have at least 3 sites I am setting up with WordPress. Good luck with your endevors.

  4. mckane September 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Thanks Mike. What you say is true, and there’s no excuse for bad code. Support is everything with WordPress. It’s challenging, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a pleasure. Keep it up and let me know if you get stuck.
    Cheers!

  5. Janice September 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Very good article! I would add that if you’re thinking of buying a paid theme, you might want to check first if the developer offers a money-back guarantee. I bought a StudioPress theme, which unfortunately didn’t work for me (too complicated for me – and I’m a WordPress newbie) – but they instantly refunded my money, no questions asked. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. That was a nice feature, and one that’s important to me when shopping around for a theme. Thanks for writing this article on this topic…

  6. mckane September 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Thanks Janice. That’s a very good point. If you find you can’t work with the theme, you should get your money back.

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