35 Comments

  1. Jeff Chandler

    Interesting, I wonder if his approach to start out small (just himself) will help it to gain some traction. Hopefully, his experience with reviewing themes for the official directory helps him gain prospecting clients.

    I remember Devpress offered a type of code review service but it never seemed to take off. Does anyone know of a WordPress code review person or business which actually makes a sustainable amount of revenue?

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    • Tung Do

      When DevPress did it, it was really just Justin Tadlock throwing an idea out there to bring in revenue for the team. In hindsight, it was one of the better ideas with wrong timing and no promotion behind it at all. I wonder what it could’ve turned into.

      There are even more people in the themes market than now. It’d be interesting to see how Emil does. I’ve personally paid $100 for an hour of review before so $90 is a steal =).

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    • Justin Tadlock

      I’m interested in seeing where this goes. We (DevPress when I was there) were going to offer this service. It never took off because the business itself didn’t.

      I also do paid theme reviews privately for a few commercial theme vendors. The starting rate is $100 for themes built on my framework and $200 for others. This price range generally keeps me at a $50 – $75/hour rate. For themes with options, I’m usually doubling the price because that’s where issues get more complex. I imagine if I ever went public, I think Emil’s $90 is a good first hour rate.

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    • Gary Jones

      I did this for Genesis Framework child themes for a long while – probably had about 20 clients with one or two themes each. I was doing it at $100 per hour, and most audits took 2-3 hours. I’d share my screen on a Skype call, and go through every file, line by line, addressing everything I could find – security, lack of documentation, code standards, bad practices, accessibility, i18n, lack of RTL support, abstraction of code into plugins etc. The client made lots of notes, and then they could implement whichever ones they agreed with in their own time.

      Like Emil, I wanted to educate my clients – but that then kills off repeat business somewhat. They now know what they should have done, and they can apply it to their next theme to sell or for their client, which means they don’t necessarily feel the need to come back for other themes.

      I still do a few audits, but not as many now. I’ve tried to find the angles and way to promote the *value* out of it, since for the majority, this is a lifetime worth of value to them and their clients, yet I’m only getting $200-300 in return?! A better price (and why I think $90 per hour is far too low for someone with Emil’s provable experience) would be $500 or more, but that’s hard to sell to client’s with new sites or developers who haven’t accounted for it in their client’s budget.

      There’s definitely a market for Emil’s service and I think it’s ripe for value-based fees if it’s marketed well. He should automate what he can, and promote the value that his observations / fixes can provide to the recipient.

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      • Benjamin Intal

        Good point on that. If I had a theme reviewed and had the wrong stuff pointed out for me, I’d correct and learn from those and that would definitely lessen my chances of being a repeat customer.

        I’d maybe go for another theme review if the next one costs less.. mainly because I’d think that I’d get things less wrong the second time around.

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    • Emil Uzelac

      Thank you Sarah for another fantastic post, it is very much appreciated!

      @Jeff, tried doing a direct reply, but for some weird reason “Reply” didn’t work for me :(

      Tung, Justin and Gary pretty much covered your question. Like they all said, the price is fair and market is large enough. I also would like to add an advantage of being an exclusive service.

      Service will also provide theme authors with a “review seal” as well, still not sure how to facilitate that properly. This will benefit commercial themes and provide additional assurance to their users.

      Thanks all!

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  2. tweaknee

    I loved Emil’s theme (Responsive)! If I were developing themes I’d use his service.

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  3. Jacob Share

    Will the reviews be made public? I’d be much more inclined to use/buy a theme that got a great review. As it is, if anyone has a theme recommendation service, I’m interested to know.

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  4. Sami Keijonen

    I will definitely buy theme review from Emil if Justin is not available.

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  5. Piet

    Awesome, I just submitted my theme :)

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  6. Justin Tadlock

    @Emil – I’ve seen a lot of great ideas mentioned in the comments like a review seal, public reviews, and quotes. While all those ideas are great, it’s sometimes best not to take too much on at once. Take some time to incrementally build these things. Let the business and feedback from your clients help steer the direction. Ultimately, the business should probably be about giving your clients peace of mind when shipping their code. They want to ship good code, and you’re the guy that’s going to get them there.

    Anyways, I have a couple of other ideas:

    1) Have a reduced price for version upgrades. Repeat clients are probably going to be a big deal in sustaining the business. It’d be nice if everyone in the theme community would use Semantic Versioning. It’d make pricing upgrade reviews easier.

    2) Utilize GitHub in the review process if possible. It makes things so much easier.

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  7. Angus McKinnon

    I will book a service for a theme I am having made for me and happy to have before and after results posted… I think its a great idea to find out how good my coder really is :) but more genuinely interested in how my theme can be made better from a technical implementation and not just how pretty the GUI is.

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  8. Angus McKinnon

    Hi Emil, I booked it a couple of weeks ago under a different name and Justin has already completed the task. I was VERY happy with the feedback. Lots of tips and insights that improved things, but more importantly he identified and helped patch a few security gaps I had missed. The theme was a complete custom from loop-up (no starter themes / frameworks etc) one I had made for myself so this was the best way I could get some expert feedback without submitting via a theme review. Had run it through the various w3c tests, wp-debug, and a couple of theme check plugins first with all passing and Justin still found things to improve. The biggest insight for me was that a lot of the wordpress developers probably come from a general coding / php type background who can technically make things work, but the big difference with what you guys provide is knowing how to do things the WordPress way and knowing the codex backwards and being able to better leverage what comes out of the box so to speak. Great service, thoroughly recommend it.

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  9. Alessandro Tesoro (@ThemesDepot)

    I was wondering whether there’s a service like this but for plugins?

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