Earlier this month, TeslaThemes announced that it was rebranding to WPRealEstate. The company wanted to focus its efforts on a single niche in the theming market and cut back on the library of projects it was maintaining.
In 2017, Imagely acquired TeslaThemes. The shop was created in 2013 and had grown its library to 68 themes. Last year, Imagely was acquired, and Nathan Singh was named CEO of the company.
Eric Danzer, the founder and former CEO of Imagely, continued running TeslaThemes and its sister site ShowThemes since the acquisition. He is now ready to turn the page and jump into the next chapter of running a successful WordPress business.
“I’ve decided that, as a business, we’ll do better focusing our energy on a specific niche rather than trying to be all things to all people,” he said.
After several years of running a generic theme shop, the company ran into a brick wall that so many others in the industry I have talked to had hit. It is the realization that maintaining so many disparate projects puts an almost insurmountable burden on the development and support teams.
“TeslaThemes has historically tried hard to serve a lot of small niches,” wrote Danzer in the announcement post. “We’ve had themes for real estate, recipes, musicians, eCommerce stores, photographers, event management, local business listings, and many other use cases. For each of those, we were embedding plugin-level functionality in each separate theme. That created a highly complicated product line that’s difficult to maintain and keep up to date.”
The team had run into the Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none problem. Tightening the focus would allow the company to focus on and become one of the best in a specific niche. Thus, the shift to real estate.
“As I move on from Imagely, I wanted another big project to focus on,” Danzer added in a personal note. “I wanted it to be something I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about nearly every aspect of real estate. I own multiple rental properties, and I’m working toward a real estate license.”
The company had already been doing well in the real estate market with its previous Realtor theme. It was one of its most popular options.
“On the market side, the real estate market is large enough to sustain a great theme shop,” wrote Danzer. “Yet, it’s also a unique niche — real estate professionals have specific, challenging, hard-to-solve needs.”
Existing TeslaThemes customers will continue receiving support and have access to any products purchased in the past. They will also be able to get the new real estate plugin and theme.
The legacy themes, those created before the 2017 acquisition, are no longer under active development. The company replaced those in November 2020 with the Tesla Pro framework, which Danzer said his team plans to maintain and support for at least another year.
WPRealEstate Plugin and Theme
The team built the plugin on top of the block editor. They also created it alongside the RESO Web API, a modern standard for transporting data in the real estate world.
While there is no public demo of the backend or even any editor screenshots, a peek under the hood reveals several custom blocks. The theme previews showcase map, search, and listings solutions. They also seem to blend the output with the Kadence Blocks plugin.
Instead of launching multiple themes, the company will focus on building a single project with several design options out of the box. Users can import prebuilt content and data as part of the onboarding process.
Danzer said that the new WPRealEstate theme is still a traditional, customizer-based theme. “We’ll start working on a new FSE theme almost immediately though. Between the work needed and waiting for FSE core functionality to mature, I don’t think we’d release that until sometime in 2022.”
As far as I am aware, there are few, if any, robust block-based real estate solutions for WordPress at the moment. Custom post types and metadata serve as the foundation. However, a well-designed layer of blocks on top of that system could make it far easier for agents to build their sites.
I remember when TeslaThemes launched. That theme shop had some of the best/unique theme designs in the market at the time. I was a big fan. Focusing on one niche is a smart idea and if their previous theme designs are anything to go off of, their Real Estate designs are going to be great.