So Many Commercial Themes – So Many Theme Sorters

I’m not sure if you noticed as much as I have but there seems to be a commercial theme sorter popping up on every corner. At least, that’s the impression I get as I’ve routinely been receiving emails lately from people letting me know about the launch of their theme sorter. The newest one to launch which has over 500 themes from 19 sellers listed with a goal to reach over 1,000 by this summer is called ThemeSorter. ThemeSorter provides different ways to browse through their listing such as color, specific niche, ratings, styles, etc.

Talk about an easy business model. There are so many commercial themes being developed by established companies with brand new commercial theme businesses opening shop every week that it makes sense to create a directory of sorts to try and make sense of everything. The directory has to be easy to browse, contain affiliate links to their respective theme authors and hope people go through you to purchase the theme. Special deals from those sellers wouldn’t hurt either.

The question I have about all these different theme sorters is which one will gain critical mass? That is, which one will end up having a community of people or users that rate and review themes similar to customers reviewing items that have purchased from Amazon? Which one will be the go-to place that has the largest and most legit listing? I’ve heard many people request that there be a place similar to the theme repository but for commercial themes and these theme sorters seem to fit the bill although they don’t contain any files to download. They are informative only.

If nothing else, these commercial theme aggregation sites make for a good place to get inspiration or find out what the latest designs are from the commercial theme ecosystem surrounding WordPress. How many of you have actually used one of these sites to purchase a commercial theme?


8 responses to “So Many Commercial Themes – So Many Theme Sorters”

  1. Thanks for mentioning ThemeSorter. Right now our focus is to get “all” themes/sellers indexed in detail (while keeping up with new releases). I have figured that means about 1,500 themes from 50+ reputable sellers at the moment. A lot of work, but we’re committed to this project (it has nearly become my full-time job).

    After that we will focus on improving the features of TS, starting with reviews. And you bring up a good point with Amazon-style reviews. Along with strong search capabilities, that is of huge interest to users. The challenge will be how to get people to voluntarily spend time writing reviews. That can be tricky. ;)

  2. Theme sorter?

    You mean redundancy sites.
    ixquick, or google if you want all of your information shared with the federal government (and worse), is all the theme sorting one needs.

    Who uses these redundant sites? Probably only users who are only window shopping.

    If one is looking for premium WP themes, they should find the author’s page and investigate from there. (Learn to search.)

    Cloners foul the web for everyone. Don’t patronize sorter sites/redundancy pages. Even affiliates shave well-earned profits from the plethora of great WP coders.

    Disclaimer: I am not a commercial theme coder… yet.

  3. I’d love it if even one of them were worth using. Right now, I’m in the market for two commercial themes – hoping for WP plus BBP or Buddypress… can I find any way to find what I’m looking for? No, I cannot.

    I’m more than capable of customising (or indeed, writing my own theme – I just don’t have time), so the way these themes are categorised is crazy. Why would Theme Sorter sort by “church”, or “mummy blog” or colours, when a simple tweak of some images or CSS would change that?

  4. Hi Jeffro,

    Back when I started this was one of the first things on my hitlist to build. By the time I actually got around to looking at a few had popped up so I held off to see how they turned out – and since then a few more have popped up. Part of the reason I didn’t jump on the bandwagon and throw yet another sorter/finder tool into the mix is because I think while it’s easy enough to build one of these it’s not very to build a really high quality one. And of what I’ve seen thus far, I don’t think anyone has come really close to how is visualise a really good theme finder working.

    I really think that the best place for such a tool would be on itself. is definitely going to down this route with the launch of commercial themes over there. You can already see the start of it on the themes showcase –

    If they added a few more rating/commenting features to that and extended this to .org then I think the community would have the best possible home for such a tool. I ultimately think this will happen as the community will trust WP far quicker than an external site directing users to commercial theme shops with affiliate links. I also think that community contributions are essential for these tools to work and that central curation/control will not provide the transparency needed for success.

    Another big problem is knowing what users want from a theme finder. I think 75% of the community use these tools just to find themes that look ‘nice’. I think there’s then a minority (but very vocal) who are aware of things like GPL, malware, security etc. who know not just to grab the first theme they think looks nice. I think there needs to be more awareness created about the potential pitfalls of crap/dodgy themes within these kind of tools so that users make better informed decisions about their themes while looking for them.

    On the surface it looks like an easy business model, but I think it’s going to be very hard for anyone to really do well when inevitably goes this route eventually.


  5. I thought about creating one of these a while ago but there’s a lot of other people building them right now and I don’t think any of them are really doing that well business-wise. I like this particular on covered here the best so far actually – its easy to select options and narrow down on a search. I think theme sorters/finders solve a real need after spending an endless amount of time browsing the fragmented theme market. Having said that none of the current sorters make it that that attractive to use them if all they do is aggregate and sort. I think that’s why some feel hesitant to click on affiliate links from one of these sites.

    I think these kind of sites can provide a more tangible experience by addressing some of the other needs people have when looking for a right theme. For example, I often have to hunt for a theme for a client, a friend or myself. I’d love to be able to save themes I liked in a list that I can share and comment on.

    Another perk for consultants/designers looking to recommend a theme would be to get an affiliate sale without having to register for all the different theme shops and using a theme sorter service as the middleman.

    It would also be interesting to have a weekly updated Theme Chart with the best themes like they do for music charts. Designers might find it fun to see their theme topping a chart, increasing the competitive fire (which I think is a good thing).

    Those were some of the features I was thinking about at least…hope someone picks ‘m up.

  6. @Peter Knight – You have some good ideas. I like what you said about a weekly music-style chart. I agree a “Save” feature is necessary and we have that in the ThemeSorter To Do. The plan is to first get the bulk of existing commercial themes indexed then focus on implementing useful new features. It’s so good for me to hear what people would find useful.

    BTW, I don’t want anybody to think that ThemeSorter is some kind of cheap scrape site. Every theme, seller, framework and deal is manually entered and summarized by humans – all original content. We blog every few days, check coupons for validity weekly, etc. The goal of this site is to be useful. Yes, we will be implementing affiliate links when more established since it is the most logical way to monetize the site (although I’m open to ideas).

  7. Hi, im developer of another theme directory called I have to credit Steve because he as grown rapidly so large. although i started mine before. is not just a directory it is a wordpress theme gallery and my goal is not to become the largest or to make any kind on review systems. I like to develop it and make it quickest place to search wp themes. To me most important is simplicity and speed. All themes are handpicked by few parameters, like up to date, developer support etc. I will keep my gallery open for a inspiration seekers and for a theme hunters. My goal is to keep there arround 500 themes, if some theme will go out to date i will delete it or but to archive for inspiration seekers. Also a more simpler and easier search and site is coming up soon…


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