I’ve made it a habit to read WordPress related Press Releases despite how boring most of them are. Occasionally, I’ll come across something that is pretty interesting such as TeslaThemes. TeslaThemes is a brand new theme club with the goal of producing one theme per month. In particular, I thought their Cool Stuff theme introduced a unique way of displaying content via Post Formats and a timeline. After browsing around the site, I decided to get in touch with TeslaThemes to find out how they plan on surviving the WordPress theme market, especially as a theme club.
In an ever growing crowd of companies, what do you think will set TeslaThemes apart from the competition?
We are aware of this very fast growing market, and especially this makes us very confident in what we do and how we do. At this moment income is not a priority, we’re mainly focused on delivering really useful themes to end-users, we do not want to create this “plastic”, “industrial”, “copy paste” WordPress templates as so many do. The market is over saturated with themes and templates and they all look the same. People need something unique, that can stand out of the crowd. We have a very loyal group of followers that give us the boost and confidence for what we have planned.
In your opinion, what makes a good WordPress theme?
Depends on who is asked. For many, they say 90% is design and 10% code, for others vice versa. We want to merge it to a golden middle, creating handcrafted design interface plus very intuitive customization process for the user, so that he enjoys personalizing his own website, without headache or paying additional developers for that. At the end of the day, when everything is done, what the rest see the design, its usability and navigation, how clean and understandable is it. For sure everyone appreciates it. No one has time to search on the page, our eyes must catch everything from a single glance. To resume, important is the design, the concept, perfect code and very intelligent and user friendly framework that will guide anyone.
Why have you chosen to develop commercial themes for WordPress instead of Joomla, or Drupal?
Frankly, we do not stop on WordPress, at this very minute we have 5 templates in the queue, where 1 is ecommerce. However, the main course is WordPress indeed. Our research shows that more and more people are opting for a simple yet complex blog or website based on WordPress, this is already both a trend and necessity. If at the beginning WordPress was meant for blogs, now it’s escalated to pretty big web applications that are using it. At TeslaThemes we can adapt any theme to any needs.
What is the Tesla Framework?
Tesla Framework is another one of our proud products. The decision to develop it was unanimous and instant. There are many reason why, first of all we were thinking about our customers who are purchasing our Premium Templates. We’ve noticed that not very many have any technical background, the tickets we were receiving at the time were related rather to lack of technical experience and WordPress knowledge than some technical problems of the theme. At a certain point we had a huge data base of Q&A and decided to build our own Framework, adapting and combining all the issues we’ve got during our daily activity. The end result, without modesty is a brilliant tool that helps anyone to customize its template in a very simple and fun way. We noticed an 85% drop for tickets, since we launched it and all the feedback we get from our customers is just great. Another strong reason to make it was the technical aspect, it increased our theme development up to 40%. Now any Tesla developer can work on any of our themes without any problem, switching whenever is needed, it is a unique platform that saves time and development costs. At the end of the day Tesla Framework was a very inspired decision both for end-users and our developers.
Theme clubs are a tough way to do business. Many have come and gone. Why have you decided to go with the club route instead of charging $60-$70 per theme?
That’s correct, Jeff. For sure we will not go for too long with club way. The reason we have so affordable prices for single themes and annual subscription, is lack of financial priority at the moment. Of course we are not Red Cross, we also have bills and want to drive nice cars and nice vacations. All the prices for sure will go up in the next few months. Our design and development department are working now on 5 templates that must come up by middle of July, 2013. The 24/7 support we have, the handcrafted design, uniqueness, they all cost money and I am sure, people want to have really the best and they will buy our themes.
One of my favorite designs from TeslaThemes is the Cool Stuff theme. What was the inspiration behind the timeline display of content?
That’s right, Cool Stuff is one of our best sellers. It is very simple and has a modern layout. The idea behind it was very simple, inspired by flat design trend we decided to create our first flat design theme. It was rather from fun, but turned out to be a success. As a matter of fact, 4 out of 5 themes we have in the queue, are flat. The timeline display gives a faster navigation thru the page, saves user’s time and keeps a higher focus on the content. And content is king!
Do you have any opinions on themes bundling plugins whether they are commercial or free?
I think that bundling plugins (whether they are commercial or free) is not good for the end user. By nature, plugins need to be detached from the framework, because in case something goes wrong the plugin can be deactivated and the user can maintain a working website without losing traffic. On the other side, bundling plugins with a theme means to compel a user to use only one plugin for a given enhancement, when the user could have used another plugin, giving the same functionality, but which the user knows better how to use.
Why did you decide to license the themes under the same license WordPress has? (GPL V2)
Because adopting this kind of license for our themes is better than writing our own, and limit what our users can do with their themes. GPL gives a sense of freedom, and clients love to hear that they have the freedom to do whatever they want with their themes after they buy it. In addition, having this license gives us some advantages, like the opportunity to promote our marketplace on WordPress.org
Anything you would like to say to the WordPress Community?
To keep up and continue to innovate. Inspiration and satisfaction. The tough market is a risk indeed but let’s see it rather as an opportunity to stand out of the crowd with great service and products. The competition develops and brings real value for everyone.