March 9th, 2007 - by Golgotha

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I have received several e-mails in the last month asking me if

8 Responses to “Question – To Theme or Not?”

1 Ben Partch

I think it’s up to you Mark. The theme is your work and only you know what is best for it. It could lead to some traffic doing so though.

2 cpradio

The only downside, is you have a lot of custom sidebar “widgets”. These are more oriented for this site and not something for every site.


3 Golgotha

That’s true Matt, if I were to decide to distribute it as a theme I would have to make it more generic. That would not be hard to do.

But, I just don’t think I want other websites looking like this one…


I shall play devil’s advocate and say YES, do share your theme! Why?

1) Sharing is the way of the world. By sharing ideas, you give other people the ability to improve on and learn from your theme & help them conquer obstacles that they have encountered when trying to find a fluid 3 or 4 column theme for their WordPress blog. And don’t worry about sites looking the same, take a look at my blog then scroll to the bottom and visit the original theme where it came from – there are similarities but still have their own personality.

2) When you create a theme, you get the opportunity to distribute something that you made AND still get credit for it. If someone sees your theme on another blog, then at the bottom of the theme is a nice little link back to your page. It’s like having someone wear a shirt with your name on it.

There are hundreds of individuals like myself that do not have the knowledge or skill to create a theme for themselves, and any help is a blessing.

*Of course, you might be presented with requests for support when something goes awry or someone wants to make a change to your theme & is having trouble, but who knows what may evolve from it given a chance.

Just my 2 cents.

5 ses5909

Let me give you my experience with sharing and you can take it for what it’s worth. About 2 years ago I wrote a custom script for my personal blog called Ask Me, where visitors can ask me random questions rather than me just telling people what I THINK they should know. I had so many requests to write a plugin and I finally did. I released it about 2 months ago and since then I’ve had over 1200 downloads and my traffic has increased to my website since then.

It was alot harder to make it a plugin than just a script for my site. So a lot of time went into it. But, In the end it was worth it. You just need to weigh the benefits with the drawbacks and see which is greater.

6 Dan Schulz

It’s up to you. I know I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak for this, but you might even want to consider selling it. If you’re getting a lot of demand for use of the theme, you might want to consider selling licenses for use of the theme on other sites. I wouldn’t charge $2,000 for it or anything, but make it small. $10-20 should be a good starting point for a “generic” version of the Search-This theme, and on top of that, you can also sell your services to those who are looking to customize the theme to suit their particular sites as well. Of course, that would require them to spend more money, but if it helps to pay the hosting bill (and others) then definately consider it. Just bear in mind that it could back-fire as well.

7 vinnie

I think it depends on how much you value this design and how well you think it would work as a generic theme. As someone who did build a few WP themes that ended up packaged and given away, I can say a few things about it:

1. It is very weird to see the types of sites that end up using your theme. A theme I originally used on my personal site ended up on a weight loss blog and an addiction recovery/rehab site for example. Your theme could be used by anyone, from the next big rock band to some guy whose opinions you find completely repulsive.

2. Expect support emails if you give it away for free, regardless of what kind of licensing terms or whatever you include with the theme. It’s up to you whether or not you want to answer them, but if you do and your theme gets popular it could take up a good chunk of time.

3. How do you feel about something you custom-built for this site being available to everyone and their mom? Can you stand to see this theme powering Sandy’s Cookie Blog? Will it make this site feel less unique or somehow cheaper to you? Does that even matter? These are the important questions you need to answer before considering release.

8 Golgotha

That’s a good post vinnie… something to really think about.

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