While browsing wordpress.org this evening I thought I’d take a dig around the most recent free themes submitted.
I gotta tell you guys – what I saw wasn’t pretty!
I stopped looking after about the 30th theme going back to late May. I can safely say that of the 3o themes I looked at – I could not see myself using 2 of them – and that was me actively wanting myself to use as many as possible.
What I observed was interesting in itself.
- Most new WordPress free theme submissions from the past few months are quite simply – crap. (sorry to anyone reading this if you’re theme is on that list).
- Of the ones that are of a decent quality – they do appear to be rips of existing popular free themes – therefore these are not really to be considered part of the innovation curve for free WordPress themes.
- The Free WordPress Themes directory does not do a very good job at promoting at presenting new themes. Sure the directory is nice and simple but I think WordPress.org should be much more engaging when it comes to promoting themes that are suitable for business, sport, technology, news sites, magazine sites etc. Sometimes it’s a bit of a needle in a haystack trying to find a certain theme. Sure we have a Most Popular Themes listing but all this really does is show the cream of the crop – it doesn’t show you the themes that YOU need for YOUR requirements. This is something that needs to be thought about and enhanced on wordpress.org.
What this shows us is that the Premium Themes market is playing an increasingly important role in bridging the gap between hobbyists who are producing free but substandard wordpress themes and business/professional WordPress users who need a more professional theme for their website or blog. WordPress needs a vibrant commercial ecosystem that plays nice with it’s core GPL foundations in order to continue to thrive. It’s clear that this can be challenging and alien to some commercial theme/plugin developers as we’ve seen recently. But this is the world we live in folks and we have to find a way for this to work well for the whole community because it’s long term sustained success depends on it.