WordPress, code, design, business

Eight Things I Would Kill On Every Theme Shop

There’s a story about a young woman who, like her mother, cut the end of her ham off before baking it. She wondered why this trick produced such a good result so she asked her mother. Her mother didn’t know why, exactly. She then asked her grandmother why it helped to remove the end of the ham before baking it. Her grandmother eventually responded by saying, “Well, dear, the ham just wouldn’t fit into my little oven otherwise.”

A couple generations of WordPress theme shops have been blindly copying each other too.

I like to watch what theme shops do, both new and old. If I can figure out what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong then I can learn from them and make my own shop, churchthemes.com, better from both a business and customer standpoint. Here are some bad practices I still observe with theme shops that I would like to see killed off.

Helping WordPress Users Avoid the Theme Lock-in Effect

My guess is that most WordPress theme users do not know what the lock-in effect is. That is, until they try to switch themes one or two years later. It’s something theme user need to know about so they can choose the right theme today. Many have targeted their writing about the lock-in effect at theme developers, urging them not to register post types or shortcodes in themes. Few have written to the user, though. Here’s my attempt on the churchthemes.com blog.

WordPress Theme Users: Avoid the Lock-in Effect

How to Build a Church Website with WordPress

AJ Clarke gave me the opportunity to write on WPExplorer about using WordPress to build a church website. I wanted to lay it all out with the assumption that the reader is a total beginner. I listed the benefits of using WordPress then showed how to install WordPress, setup a theme and publish content. Included are some tips on choosing a good church WordPress theme and recommendations for a few that avoid the lock-in effect by using functionality provided by plugins.

WPExplorer: How to Build a Church Website with WordPress

Becoming Efficient at Support Before Hiring Help

Every serious WordPress theme and plugin seller provides support for their product. The product itself is made up of files that can be automatically distributed thousands of times with no increase in labor. Support on the other hand requires human effort which is constrained by time. What happens when a theme seller starts spending so much time on support that their development time is hindered?

They have to hire help with support or their product offerings will suffer.

Things Often Overlooked When Launching a New WordPress Site

I’ve been blogging on the new churchthemes.com blog lately. My goal is to make one new post there every week or two. I just published a general WordPress article with my thoughts on things every WordPress site owner should check before they consider their site done. It touches on security, backups, spam and more.

I’ve noticed that many people overlook these things, though they are relatively simple to do. Maybe some awareness is in order? Please read the article and post a comment with your thoughts.

Eight Things You Should Do After Building Your WordPress Site

An Alternative to Google Alerts and Mention That’s Better and Free

When we launched churchthemes.com I wanted to stay on top of what people were saying about the business, our WordPress themes and about building church websites in general. That way I could chime in with my own thoughts when helpful. The Internet is huge so it would be impossible to track all this blog, forum and social media chatter manually. I quickly found Google Alerts and Mention but neither satisfied.

You might be surprised that I found the best solution to be a regular Google search with one little known option switched on.

Offer Refunds for Your WordPress Themes and Plugins

I prefer stores with refund policies that give me peace of mind before buying. Amazon, Target, Home Depot — they’ll take back pretty much anything without a hassle. This not only benefits the customer but it benefits the store as well. Any loss from refunds is built into the cost of doing business so their is no real loss. They don’t just break even either. They make more money by maintaining happy customers. Happy customers come back to buy different things and often share with others how much they like a store.

I believe every commercial WordPress theme and plugin seller should have a money back guarantee and offer easy refunds because it benefits both the buyer and seller.

Bootstrap Marketing: Ask Blogs to Write About You

Several years ago my bank gave me a hard time with my business credit card. Paying my bill online became impossible. You know how it goes. Dial an 800 number, listen to jazz music and advertisements, talk to a couple people then get assurance that tomorrow things will work. Repeat seven more times! Finally, tiring of spending my life on the phone, I sent an online message saying if they don’t get this fixed, I’m leaving.

Your account has been closed. We’re sorry to see you go.

What!? I didn’t say to close my account. Don’t you people understand a thinly veiled threat? Moments later I was done being upset and felt absolutely liberated. My wife and I were in the midst of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at this time. This guy suggests cutting up your credit cards and even running your business on cash. Hey, that’s what “I” just did. Fantastic! Business just became more frugal.