17 Comments

  1. Jami G
    at

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve been wanting to hear more about how that process works and it sounds like it can be quite challenging. You bring up some good questions about what Automattic’s goals are when it comes to commercial themes. I’m curious to know the answers to these questions as well.

    1. Sami Keijonen
      at

      Thank you for comment Jami. Yes the process can be challenging. But I’m not sure is that the case for everybody. That’s what I’d like to know. Like I said there really isn’t any conversation between theme shops and only a little between .com staff. You’re on your own in there.

  2. Tung Do
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    I’ve never gone through the WordPress.com approval process so the following is from an outsider’s point of view.

    It seems WP.com wants single purpose themes, unlike ThemeForest.net on which multipurpose are preferred. And it looks like they’re moving toward the direction of SquareSpace.com — simple, easy to manage templates.

    Since you already have a relationship with WP.com, how about trying to get feedback on theme concepts first instead of completed themes? I mean mock something up in Photoshop and show that to them. Positive response? Move on with inner templates and coding. That way, you limit your initial investment.

    Or, maybe bring your talent to ThemeForest instead?

    Also, theme users and vendors are visual animals. Accessibility can’t be seen so they don’t see the value in it.

  3. Sami Keijonen
    at

    It seems WP.com wants single purpose themes, unlike ThemeForest.net on which multipurpose are preferred.

    So it seems and I disagree both of them. There is room in the middle way also. For example Toivo is a business theme and have great blogging features. Can’t business site have great blogging features?

    I have a magazine theme and people are using it for blogging, for their business sites, for their pet site and who knows what else.

    Niche themes are different and I totally get that. But you can’t build a eCommerce or Church theme in WP.com.

    how about trying to get feedback on theme concepts first instead of completed themes?

    I have thought about it and sent some feedback how the process could be better. But I’m not gonna sent them mockups and ask feedback for my design. That’s why they have theme wranglers, let them build themes based on their vision. Let me build themes based on my vision. I’m not gonna compromise that.

    Even if it means I’m out of business before it even started.

    Or, maybe bring your talent to ThemeForest instead?

    Yep, already made decision beforehand to try them out. Lot’s of themes get rejected over there also, so let’s wait and see:)

    Also, theme users and vendors are visual animals. Accessibility can’t be seen so they don’t see the value in it.

    But WP.com staff should see the value of it and push harder for it. Accessibility can mean some compromises in the design (color contrast decisions for example) but it’s totally worth it.

    1. Tung Do
      at

      Then I think it’s best you do it on your own through WP.org.

      WP.com and Themeforest.net are both businesses. The only thing they SHOULD do is increase the bottom line. Everything else they choose to do would be nice of them, but not necessary as a business.

      For example, accessibility is a WP.org priority, not a .com priority unless it directly translates to $$$.

      I understand where you’re coming from, but using someone else’s platform to access customers you can’t access on your own requires compromise.

      1. Sami Keijonen
        at

        Well said Tung.

        1. Tung Do
          at

          You’re a talent that simply need the right platform to appreciate you. It’s a lot more fun to partner with people that see things the same way than having to fight for every inch.

          1. Sami Keijonen
            at

            I’ve been actually looking for partners but without luck.

  4. Reinar Svendsen
    at

    I could write a long post about how wrong WordPress.com are, but I won’t. Their focus are probably (as Tung says) single purpose themes and in addition very commercially dominated. So be it – room for everyone.

    I say, be different, be yourself! Keep up your awesome rock solid themes. I really enjoy your work and I love the fact that there are not like 90 per cent other themes.

    So keep thinking different Sami!

    1. Sami Keijonen
      at

      Well, you kind of wrote about it. 🙂

  5. Steven Gliebe
    at

    That’s a bummer. If not ThemeForest, have you thought about going freemium on WordPress.org?

    https://poststatus.com/power-wordpress-org-freemium-products/

    1. Sami Keijonen
      at

      Yes, that’s already done.

      https://wordpress.org/themes/toivo-lite/

      http://wptavern.com/toivo-a-bold-minimalist-wordpress-theme-for-blogs-and-businesses

      I really don’t have any expectations but I do want Toivo Lite to have lot’s of users. Let’s see does it have impact on sales for Toivo (Pro) version.

      And ThemeForest is next on the list with Church and Charity theme:)

      1. Steven Gliebe
        at

        Cool, the download stats are showing a strong start. It looks great! I’ll be curious to know how well the freemium model works for it.

        I’m really looking forward to seeing your church theme on ThemeForest. And churchthemes.guide. 🙂

  6. BadJohnny
    at

    I was thought that going to get ready for submit theme to WP.com, but after I read this article, maybe the best way to continue our theme business is that run our own theme shop, release the free and premium themes in our own way.

    1. Sami Keijonen
      at

      I think you should try to submit theme to WordPress.com if you have a change. But I would not rely my business on their hands meaning that your own shop should be central point.

      But it doesn’t hurt if you can have the same theme in different platforms:)

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