ThemeTrust are a commercial theme provider that was founded in 2010 by Henry Jones and have since gone on to sell themes to over 85,000 customers in that period.
I have long been a fan of their lovely clean theme designs and they have just launched my personal favourite to date: named "Create", it is their take on a complete multi-purpose theme which allows you to create different types of websites with built-in support for the Site Origin Page builder for constructing pages visually.
I caught up with Henry to find out some of the history behind ThemeTrust so check out the interview with him below, I will also be taking a detailed look at his latest theme.
Could you tell us a little about yourself and history with WordPress?
I'm 38 years old and live in northeast Tennessee here in the US. God has blessed me with a beautiful wife and two amazing children.
After working for several years in corporate environments as a web developer, I had had enough and in 2008 I left to become a full time freelancer. This is when I discovered WordPress and that I could make a living from it. Over the course of two years I completed numerous client projects. I also created, maintained, and sold several popular blogs - all built with WordPress.
Could you tell us about ThemeTrust and it's history ?
I started ThemeTrust in 2010 after seeing that many WordPress developers were having success selling premium themes. I launched the site with three themes, and had modest results in the beginning. But things really started to pick up in early 2011 when I started focusing on creating portfolio themes.
ThemeTrust currently offers 25 themes and 3 plugins. The company is made up of 2 developers including myself and 2 support team members.
What does a typical day look like for you ?
I normally wake up around 5:30 a.m. and go to the gym to workout. After that, I eat breakfast and help get the kids off to school. Then I'm able to sit down at my desk and get to work. I start by replying to emails and answering support questions on WordPress.com (we have three themes in their premium theme marketplace). The rest of my day is filled with various tasks such as new theme design and development, bug fixes, and always more email.
What is your process for creating a new theme ?
I always start the process by looking at what has and hadn't worked with our current themes. I look at feedback from our customers to find out what specific features they have been requesting. Then I look at the theme marketplace as a whole to research and learn what is working and what isn't working. You can discover a lot by browsing the sales numbers and reading customer comments on big marketplaces like ThemeForest.
Once I have a solid idea for a new theme, I start doing design mockups in Photoshop. Then I jump right into coding once I start feeling good about the design. The more themes I develop, the less I seem to spend in the Photoshop stage.
Which tools do you use ?
I try to keep things as lean as possible.
- Photoshop for design.
- Textmate for coding.
- MAMP for local server management.
- Github to manage our code repositories.
- Wunderlist for task assignment and tracking.
How are you finding the theme market at the moment and where do you see it headed?
It's been discussed before, but I think the market has become very saturated. There has also been a major shift to "mega themes", but I do think that there will always be customers that are not looking for a gazillion features. There will always be customers that have a very specific need and are looking for a theme that fits only that need. So I think there will continue to be room for the niche theme even as the mega theme grows in popularity.
Do you have any tips for marketing WordPress products?
To be honest, I'm probably not qualified to be giving out marketing tips - mainly because I have never really done any real marketing for ThemeTrust. But here are two things that we have done that I believe has helped ThemeTrust tremendously:
- Go above and beyond to be good to your customers. If a customer is happy with your product and service, they will tell other people and most importantly they will come back and buy more themes. I can't count the number of customers who have went out of their way to tell me that they have purchased every one our themes.
- Embrace your affiliate program. If you don't have one, get one set up. Make sure to always pay them on time and when you can, offer increased percentages. I'm convinced that without our affiliates, ThemeTrust would be nowhere close to what it is today.
Create Theme Features
- Page Builder - Create comes with a page builder that allows you to create pages exactly how you want.
- Responsive Layout - Create is a responsive theme. Its layout adjusts to look great on any screen size or device.
- Retina Ready - Built with the latest technology in mind, rest assured that your site will look crisp on retina displays.
- Multiple Headers - Three different header layouts plus color and other options give you plenty of flexibility.
- Powerful Options - Create comes with tons of options built right into the WordPress Customizer. So you can give your site a unique look.
- Built-in Mega Menu - There is a mega menu built in for those sites that have a lot of pages. You can easily add icons to menu items.
- Google Maps - Easily add a Google Map anywhere you want, and give it a unique style.
- 1400+ Icons - Create comes with several font based icon libraries for you to choose from. Customize the size and color. They'll look great on any display.
- Google Fonts - Take control of the typography by selecting your favorite Google font from the built-in typography customizer.
- Parallax Backgrounds - Easily create sections that have a parallax background using the Page Builder. Upload your image and select "Parallax" from the drop down. It's that easy!
- Slider Revolution - Create comes bundled with the amazing Slider Revolution plugin, an $18 value. Use the intuitive interface to create stunning and engaging slideshows.
- One-click Demo Import - Want to get a jump start on building your content? Use the one-click demo import to start with the beautiful layouts you see here in the demo.
- Woocommerce Ready - Need a shop? Create has seamless Woocommerce support built-in for easy online store setup.
- Boxed or Wide Layout - Choose between a boxed or wide site layout, giving you the flexibility to create many unique websites with just one theme.
- Portfolios - Multiple layout options, hover effects, filtering animations, lightbox, and ajax loading will make your projects look amazing.
- Video Backgrounds - Easily add video backgrounds, making your site even more engaging to your visitors.
- One Page Navigation - Set up your main navigation to scroll to different sections on a single page. Includes navigation highlighting as you scroll.
- Unlimited Widget Areas - Create custom widget areas and assign them to footers or sidebars on individual pages.
- Pricing Tables - Create beautiful pricing tables and easily set the style like colors, icons, and more.
- Contact Forms - Full compatibility with the awesome Contact Form 7 plugin is baked right in to Create.
- Custom Colors - You can set custom colors for just about every aspect of the Create theme, giving you the ability to create truly unique websites.
- WPML Ready - Create is set up to work with the awesome WordPress Multilingual Plugin, making it easy to translate your site into different languages.
- Multiple Blog Layouts - There are several blog layouts to choose from, including standard, masonry, and more.
- Page Options - Create allows you to set a number of options on individual pages, posts, and projects. You can do things like disable the header and footer, or even set a custom menu...and much more.
Installing the Theme
Once the theme is activated you are taken to a required and recommended plugins list where you can install the following in bulk : TinyMCE Widget, Page Builder Widgets Bundle, Page Builder by Site Origin, Slider Revolution, Contact Form 7, WooCommerce.
Once that's done, you can import the demo content for the theme under "Settings" > "Demo Import"
Once that has completed, you can now pick a homepage by visiting "Settings" > "Reading" and choosing one of the options, you can also choose from different blog layouts here.
Customizing The Theme
There is no options panel with this theme - everything is handled by the native WordPress Customizer which is a big plus point for me, it means you get a live preview of the changes you are making in real-time and can tweak them till you are happy before saving the changes to your site.
There is a good range of options for you to tweak here, you can choose a boxed or full width layout, choose different header layouts, custom logos and colors.
There is a very comprehensive selection of typography options for all the type on the site, letting you choose from all the Google fonts, enter a custom size and line height and a weight for the font.
You can also tweak the colors for many different elements of your site using a color-picker.
Using the Page Builder
As mentioned, the Create theme uses the free Site Origin page builder to let you customize pages visually. Using this feature is quite simple, if you edit a page you will see the Page Builder adds content via Widgets and you can define rows to place these widgets.
If you click the "Add Widget" button you are presented with a large number of available options for things like buttons, maps, images, portfolio, pricing tables and so on.
You can also edit the page with a live view by clicking the "Live Editor" button which will load the page up in a frame the same as the customizer. All the sections are listed on the left hand pane.
Clicking on an item from this pane, will load up that specific widget in a regular post editing area where you can change the content, colors and so on.
Im used to seeing the Visual Composer plugin used for themes of this type and I'm absolutely not a fan of it it works - it jams your content up with lots of nonsensical short codes tying you into using the plugin forever for fear of losing your layout and content if you deactivate it.
The Site Origin page builder functions in a much better way by inserting regular HTML and CSS for styling. It also uses WordPress native styling and a Customizer window for live previews making it feel a lot more integrated with WordPress and not so much of a stand alone product. It also makes use of standard WordPress widgets so again, it feels more part of WordPress itself.
How The Theme Looks
This is a very well designed theme, I love the look of the default Agency homepage:
There are also a number of different homepages such as a portfolio style :
A nice eCommerce homepage which works with the WooCommerce plugin :
Take a look through the theme demo to see all the page templates and styling on offer.
The cost of the Create theme is $59 for one year of free support and updates.
"Your subscription will renew after the first year at the original purchase price. There is no obligation to continue your subscription after the first year. It can be canceled at anytime. You can continue to use the theme after your subscription ends."
This is a great theme - it looks very nice and modern and functions beautifully, it packs in quite a few features but is not a bloated theme with millions of features that you wont use and will slow your site down. The inclusion of the Site Origin Page builder is a welcome addition, I hadn't used it before but found it very easy to use compared to other page builders out there, with the bonus that it integrates nicely with WordPress and doesn't rely on shortcodes to customize your site content and layout.
Customization options were well though-out and comprehensive enough for anyone to be able to change the look of their theme using the Customizer in real-time.
If you are looking for a well designed and modern looking multi-purpose theme which has been coded well to WordPress standards then I definitely recommend you take a look at Create - this is a good examples of how sites like this should be done.