Community, Self-Respect, and Free WordPress Themes

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I’m convinced the worst feeling in the world is when you know you could have done something, yet you chose to do nothing. Over the last several months, it has become increasingly clear that my self-respect was waning, and an intense desire to do something special was overwhelming me.

You see, I’m grateful for the community that supports free software like WordPress.  It’s that community that has given me the ability to work full-time from home, enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, and make some of the best friends I’ve ever had. WordPress has dominated my life for the better part of two years, which is shocking conisdering WordPress is just blogging software.  The fact that it supports hundreds, if not thousands, of people is shocking as well.

And to that end, I’ve been feeling dissatisfied with ONLY releasing themes that cost money.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no zealot.  I’m as capitalist as they come. But something has been bothering me lately — it just didn’t seem right that a free program, supported by a team of volunteers, was severely lacking in quality themes that were also available for free.  It seems wrong — you can get a great piece of blogging softare for free, but almost all the good themes cost money. Read More

An Easy Way To Get the Contents of a Custom Field

If you do any hardcore WordPress coding, then you’re probably aware of Custom Fields and the unlimited possibilities they offer you as a WordPress designer or developer.  For instance, I use custom fields as a means of attaching a feature image and thumbnail to posts in my Proximity News Theme.

But, they can be a bit cumbersome to use throughout your theme because of the ridiculous amount of code that it takes just to pull the data out and display it. Read More

Premium or Freemium?

Quite a few months ago, I made a proposition to my readers. I put a call out for great designers, loyal to the idea of Open Source software, to contact me and collaborate on an idea that I thought would make many users in the WordPress community very happy.

Today, I want to put out a similar call for your input, and (in a roundabout way) give you more details about the upcoming project.

This idea of mine, which has been stewing since February, 2008, is very similar to the idea that my good friend Brian Gardner just announced over at his site.

So, I want to know from you, my loyal readers … what makes you lay down your hard earned cash when it comes to WordPress themes?

  • Is it the theme itself, features, innovation?
  • Is it the support that comes with a premium theme?
  • Is it the Documentation?
  • Is it the exclusivity (since popular free themes tend to be overused)?

I want to know! Premium themes are very popular right now … more so than they ever have been.  But there must be some reason we pay for a theme.  Are all premium themes really that much better than their free alternatives?

Second question, what if themes — good themes, great themes! — were available for free? Would you be inclined to send the author a “thank you donation”? Would you be willing to pay for support, documentation, tutorials, add-ons, etc.? What about people you know?  Would they be willing to pay for the added support, or would they be perfectly happy with just downloading the theme and nothing else?

I want your feedback! Either reply here in the comments, or hit me up on twitter with an @nathanrice reply.

Thanks!

Creating a “Blog Page” — With Paging

If there was one question I get asked the most about WordPress themes, it’s this one: how do I make a custom static homepage at the root of my blog’s address (e.g. http://example.com/) and have my blog posts go into a /blog section (http://example.com/blog)?

WordPress is becoming more and more usable as a Content Management System, so naturally the question comes up.

But they don’t want to abandon the idea of a blog either. Blogs can be an integral part of a business website, and it makes sense that businesses and individuals would want the site and the blog managed from the same WordPress installation. Read More