It’s been interesting to compare theme review processes. Now it’s time to take closer look at WordPress.com theme review process. I’m lucky enough to have couple of themes in there and therefore have some insight information.
Let’s talk about how you can get your themes in WordPress.com and what is the theme review process.
WordPress.com staff can pick free themes from the WordPress.org repository. But I don’t think they even ask you if you want your theme in WordPress.com. They most likely pick themes that looks good and seems a good fit.
So all you have to do is create awesome themes, review them first and send them to WordPress.org and hope for the best!
What about commercial themes? There is submit your theme page but it was only open short time period, and the year was 2014. From my understanding new theme shops are only invited at the moment. They most likely check out theme shops from time to time and decide to invite new theme shops if they really really like your work.
Or you can always contact them directly and let them know you’re the best of the best!
By the way there are 181 commercial themes and 39 theme shops in WordPress.com. It means less than five theme average per theme shop at the time I’m writing this (January 2016).
When you get in to WordPress.com that’s only the beginning. There are several steps before your theme is actually live. In short the theme review process looks like this:
From initial review, which takes about 4-14 days, you can get three kind of responses:
Jokes aside, it would actually be nice to know what percentage of themes get approved.
If your theme is accepted, the actual theme review starts. It’s intense, only themereview.co can compete with that. I mean they will rip your theme in pieces, turn it upside down, jump on it, feed it to bears and see if the theme can make it.
Technical part looks like this:
Step 2 can take several weeks or months depending on lot’s of different factors:
I try my best to create accessible WordPress themes. I was so happy to hear that all reviewers make suggestion to improve accessibility:
All the reviewers make suggestions to improve accessibility when doing regular reviews (for things like menu toggles, and keyboard navigation), even if the theme doesn’t have an accessibility-ready tag.
For me there wasn’t any big issues:
Every theme have their own Showcase and Documentation page. They have guidelines how to write good documentation. All I can say that my initial documentation was not very good. I got over ten improvements ideas and reviewer also edited the docs. I’ll thank her in the next chapter. She was amazing.
After our improvements editorial team checked showcase and documentation pages. We got another round of ideas how to make them even better. And we did. Launching the theme was getting closer and closer.
First I want to thank Laurel Fulford for excellent review! I felt like we were on the same page and working hard to polish Sonsa theme. It’s definitely a lot better theme after the review process. And now Sonsa is also available at WordPress.com. High five, we did it!
I really liked her attitude and how she presented the ideas. Compare the following:
Which one would you prefer? For me the helpful review process is really important, not just that I get my theme approved. This was team effort.
Like I said before I really liked the review process. Laurel showed what quality, efficient and friendly review means.
There were couple of major issues I haven’t considered before submitting the theme.
Right to left styles and custom CSS for WordPress.com wasn’t that bad but supporting IE9 and even IE10 was a lot of work. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but Sonsa have unique layout and uses heavily flexbox CSS.
There was 55 tickets to solve and it took about five weeks to complete the review. I hope hard work pays off, even in terms of theme sails. Now it’s time to concentrate building new themes.
Let me know in the comments if you have questions about WordPress.com theme review.