We’re happy to pay an annual subscription for plugins such as Gravity Forms, so I don’t see why this pricing model can’t be applied to themes and plugins on here.
Basically the theme is sold with 12 months of updates free, and after that customers need to renew their subscription if they want to continue to receive updates.
This would pay authors development costs, provide an incentive for them to keep their themes up to date and compatible, and provide customers with a product they can rely on.
Everyone’s a winner, even Envato as they get more commission.
For idiots that just want a quick, cheap fix they can decide not to pay a subscription when their 12 months expires, or buy a cheap theme from authors that aren’t participating in the subscription model.
I couldn’t really give a monkeys about flash new search features, I’ll just be happy if the basic current search box worked better than it does.
For example, searching for ‘love story’ on the Themeforest site brings up 5 results. None of these are for the theme called ‘LoveStory’, and none of the titles even include the words ‘love’ or ‘story’. You have to enter ‘lovestory’ without the space for the theme to appear in the results.
But as a business you should avoid situations like that. Use themes wihtout big frameworks and 25 premium packed plugins which is an update mess every single month.
That doesn’t always work. There are a few authors on here that promote very straightforward, simple, well coded themes and we’ve been tempted to buy these. However, after watching their performance over a period of time they’ve been dropped in favour of better frameworks and left to die by their authors. If we’d bought one of these themes we’d have been left with a useless product within 12 months of our purchase, just like their unhappy customers.
As a contrast, it seems the best supported themes on here currently are using big frameworks and come bundled with all the bells and whistles you would never need.
When there are maybe paid update options, it would maybe increase the update and support. But it will also bring up other discussions, since there will be people who don’t understand why they have to pay for an update or something.
Customers that don’t understand why they have to pay more aren’t the market you’re looking for anyway. They’ll buy a cheap theme and never update Wordpress until their site gets hacked and their host kicks them off the server.
The market is bigger and more varied than that, and there’s an opportunity to provide an option for customers who are looking for peace of mind and a guarantee of a long term solution. Like me. Like all the customers who have been left with a broken theme and don’t want to go down that route again.
It’s a tricky ‘problem’ – but with some smart thinking as a user/buyer you can avoid a lot of issues.
I’m smart. I’ve avoided these issues by not buying themes and using a framework on which we build our own custom child themes. But we’d still like to buy good commercial themes for clients that have less money to spend. There are authors on here that provide this, but you have to know where to look and that takes practice.
A ‘premium’ theme section would be easy for new customers to find, and provide more profit for authors that are putting more work into their products.
And ‘Buyers’ who use several donzens of themes for customers which they can’t handle themselfs is the ‘Buyers’ own fault: If one can only install themes for their ‘clients’ without having proper basic backend/coding knowlegde of websites, let alone even customize or building a website, well you’ll get caught someday…
We used prebuilt themes as a way to provide clients with a very low budget, a cheap way to get online. But when you’re then forced to unpick code or a framework that no longer works 12 months later, and has in fact been abandoned by its author as even they couldn’t face doing it, that option is no longer commercially viable as a ‘cheap’ solution.
We can ‘handle’ it, but short-term themes are not a cost effective solution for low budget clients or web agencies. As a result we don’t use them now, but as I said before there is a market for guaranteed supported themes.
That’s not to say it can’t exist alongside authors that want to bash out a cheap new theme every month and then abandon it 12 months later for folks that don’t mind changing their website every year.
There are a few authors on here who have long-term, well supported themes that are properly updated on a regular basis. I just think they should be better rewarded for doing such a good job for their customers, and their products made easier to find against the constant avalanche of new releases.
And this is why I’m off from WordPress sticking to real CMS without all that plugin-theme-glitches…
We tend to use frameworks for client Wordpress sites as they handle the functionality, which is where the problems usually occur when updating. They’re also regularly updated so we can keep our clients happy and their sites keep working. Styling’s handled by child themes which are pretty robust to change and additional functionality by plugins. We love Wordpress so would rather find a workable solution than abandoning it for a dull CMS.
The theme we bought last week was the first for over a year, as we’d found the lack of updates with most themes on here unsuitable for client work, and clients want their site to last longer than a year before breaking. However this was for a super low budget ‘mates rates’ job so we thought we’d have another go. The theme we’ve picked is a good one, well supported, and we think they’ll get at least a few years use out of it.
There’s definitely a market on here that’s being ignored – that of agency/design companies who need a reliable, robust framework for client jobs with guaranteed updates. And yes we’d be prepared to pay for it, and yes we’d also purchase multiple copies.
Think we’re on the same page. My best customers are repeat buyers, and the top reasons they keep buying are high-quality and consistent updates. I think most buyers in that situation wouldn’t mind paying for updates as long as they’re still making use of them. It helps everyone do better work.
Definitely, and looking at your portfolio if we were looking for a Magento theme we’d certainly feel confident in buying your theme as it’s exceptionally well supported.
I think for an ecom theme a subscription should be mandatory considering the importance of regular upgrades and amount of work involved for authors.
There’s a brand new WYSIWYG editor that is not compatible with the old one. None of the shortcode buttons work etc. We’ll have to fix it and then release an update to all 40+ themes.
Maybe there’s a lesson there for authors that continually release new themes rather than build new functionality into existing products. I guess it’s swings and roundabouts – you make extra sales by releasing new themes on a regular basis, but due to the continually changing nature of Wordpress and associated plugins there is a price to pay in keeping these working and compatible.
The theme purchase we made last week was for one that’s a year old. It’s from a top selling author who only has three items in their portfolio due to the fact they’re continually improving their existing products. The theme we’ve purchased is due a major upgrade, and this is why the theme continues to be one of the top selling themes on this site. Maybe they don’t sell as many items as the more prolific authors, but when there’s a major compatibility issue to fix they only have three products to change.
And because the theme has been so well supported, and continues to be completely overhauled on a regular basis, it’s exceptionally attractive to purchasers like us who need a long term solution for a client. We don’t want them coming back a year later complaining their site no longer works.
The problem on here is you have to get to know the sellers (one of the reasons I frequent these forums is to get a feel for the authors as well as their products) as well as the products when making an informed purchase that’ll last longer than a year. I think a new section for long-term subscription based products would help new customers make that choice with greater confidence and accuracy.
Yea that’s exactly what I had in mind. Large theme updates and support are currently being done free of charge. What’s even worse that customers expect you to implement all changes from your newer themes to your older ones and yes – for free
I’d be happy to pay a subscription (or larger ‘lifetime’ one-off fee) for themes that are regularly updated with new frameworks/features/functionality. It’s a lot of extra work for authors and I expect to pay for that, and it’d give me peace of mind when using it for client work.
For general small compatibility fixes, if the author is advertising ‘free lifetime updates’ then I’d expect these to be free, as advertised. Obviously if this isn’t offered at the point of sale then I have no right to expect it.
Yea, that’s one option, but removing them from the marketplace will make:
Introducing small fees will allow:
- Existing customer unhappy
- Author unhappy as there will be many complaints
- Envato unhappy as customer and author are unhappy
- Customer to use their existing website longer
- Author to cover maintenance and support costs
- Envato profit from recurring payments
We have a number of themes in our account that have been removed as the authors have decided to abandon them in favour of new themes. As a customer, we’re left in the lurch as they’re no longer fully compatible, and we have no option but to replace them. We now only buy themes that have a long history of updates.
Here’s a secret: they’re not the kind of customer you want anyway. They don’t grow your business because their lifetime customer value is likely capped by the initial sale. If they never buy another product from you, every interaction they make with you decreases their value as a customer. Just how much support and goodwill does a $45 WordPress theme buy?
It can buy multiple sales from agencies looking for reliable, regularly updated themes for their clients. We spent over $1000 dollars last year on one particular theme.
Weird…just tried to log me out again: ‘Sign in failed, please try again’ while I was browsing the site.
I’ve just had problems accessing my account – I was asked to enter a CAPTCHA, which has never happened before, then sent to an error page with the following info:
“It looks like something went wrong on the page you were accessing. Our development team will be notified of the issue automatically, however if you require assistance please contact the support team who will be happy to help. (Quote reference number ‘25999e1a05b5b29bc28957f5d3d619fb’).”