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Envato Continues to Rake in the Cash from WordPress Themes Packaged as Complete Website Solutions

wptavern.com | Feb. 26, 2015 | 6 min read

Envato’s dominance and loose product standards with themes packaged as complete website solutions

35 votes   Flag
Vladimir Prelovac

What a remarkable discussion in the comments there.

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Ryan Love

Indeed, it seems to have sparked quite the debate!

My thoughts, as I said in the comment section,

There's clearly a "need" in the market and that's why so many people are buying these themes... me included!

Rather then being annoyed about, what's seen as a poor offering, why not create something better, after all, buyers are already saying they want/need something like a BeTheme, X Theme, Bridge, The7, etc.

This seems more like an opportunity rather then a problem.

In just over a year, the x theme has sold over, 43,229.

How is that not something that excites a developer...

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Vladimir Prelovac

I agree it is an opportunity. But not sure you could replicate it with premium standards, the appeal apears to be everything is so cheap and if you dont like it you throw it away.

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Ryan Love

Well as someone who's never developed a theme/plugin, I'm probably not best qualified to talk!

But as someone who buys themes like betheme, bridge, the7, etc, my reason is simply because it's easier to customize and create a site that LOOKS better.
(Even though I know the theme isn't coded as well as something like say the genesis framework, and that it's going to mean my site doesn't load as fast, or may break on some browsers etc).

It's why I think the visual editors are so popular.

I think companies/themes like thrivethemes.com or divi from elegant themes are starting to catch on.

I know I'd happy pay $99 or $199 (and each year) for a theme with just some of the options like bridge, the 7 etc. And would much prefer it if those options where outside of the theme and in a plugin, so I could choose exactly what I want.

Or another option for a theme developer to go, would be to offer a fully hosted platform for an industry, with 3-4 themes people could pick from, hosting and then industry specific plugins, so if it's for resturants, a plugin to show menus, a plugin to take reservations, etc.
So I mean something like story.am (managewp.org/articles/9122/story-am) or resturant engine (restaurantengine.com/) or www.webchalet.com/ (Although the last one isn't on WordPress)

Yes the hosted platform is MUCH more work, it's also a more premium product, i,e, resturant engine charge $199 initial setup and then $50 a month.

But like I say, I'm not a dev (just starting to learn!) and that's probably a LOTTTTT of work!!!

I just feel there's a lot of complaining from people, when all I see is massive opportunities... (But again, not dev! Easy to see solutions when you don't have to do the work!!)

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Vladimir Prelovac

Out of curiosity what kind of sites you build with those themes that you buy from theme forest?

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Ryan Love

Well, my main site at createmarketgrow.com is built on - "Brandon" which is another one of those "Multi-Purpose" type themes, (by the same people who built BEtheme), and I choose that, at the time because I just wanted to create something quickly. (But I have added my own child theme to that, to make it look/act a bit better!)

Then I brought the bridge theme for a not for profit association who wanted to "modenize" their site (they have a very 1995 type site... think frames, and animgifs etc!!) and they didn't have anyone else who could update their site for them. I didn't have the time to create a site, so I just wanted something that would be quick, easy and better then what they already have.

So I showed them the bridge theme and explained it wasn't a perfect solution, but would mean with a few hours they could have a mobile responsive theme, which would look 100 times better and they would be able to use WordPress to update their content, so it would be easy for them. (Luckily for me they found a designer to create a site for them!)

I brought the 7 theme at the same time as the bridge theme, for the reason you said above, "everything is so cheap and if you dont like it you throw it away", I tried it, and didn't really like it!!

And then I brought the BE theme, as a friend of mine is a plumber and wanted a site, again I didn't have the time to create something for him, and so we just wanted something quick and easy, which he could then maintain with WordPress.

We got the whole site setup in an afternoon and a few months later he was getting an extra 5-6 inquires a week and an extra $500 or so a month, from this simple theme. It's now at the point where he actually hired a developer to create a custom theme for him, because he can see it's worth the money to pay for it!

Which I think is the solution these themes offer, quick, easy, somewhat customizable, perfect for a beginner to WordPress and of cause cheap!

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Vladimir Prelovac

This actually seems the way for WordPress to beat SquareSpace (which offers exactly what you describe). Interesting.

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Eric Karkovack

Full disclosure - Envato pays me to write for their blog. I will say that I have worked with themes from some well-known "high quality" theme markets that I wouldn't give you a penny for. They've been no better or worse than anything I found at Themeforest over the years. I think overall themes trying to be everything to everyone is just not a great idea. Niche themes that serve a specific purpose seem to be a better way to go.

That said, I think there's room for everyone out there in the market. If you don't like a particular company, then work with someone else. If you don't like the way a particular theme is coded, there are tens of thousands of other options. No reason to have hard feelings over it IMO.

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David McCan

My two cents. I haven't bought anything from Envato but:

* It is simplistic to say that all products are badly coded. Like everything else, some are and some are not.

* Customers very clearly want an entire solution. They don't want to have to research and piece together a solution from lots of sources. We would do well to take that into account and adapt and make it work in a good way, rather than fight it.

* I suspect that the niches that were described in the original article are ones where small to medium sized companies plan on redoing their sites for scratch every 3-5 years. A car dealership or construction company is not regularly publishing content that they expect will be around for years, so the problem of lock-in doesn't apply as it might to a blogger, magazine, community site, etc.

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