If you would like to know more about Elevate Themes, or would like to stay up to date with the launch schedule and FREE theme releases, please follow @elevatethemes on twitter
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.
Introducing My Newest Project
ElevateThemes.com (not live) has been stewing for almost a year now. I distinctly remember running the unnamed idea by some folks at WordCamp Dallas for feedback. I purchased the elevatetheme.com domain back in January. I’ve wanted to launch this site for a VERY long time — and now, I’m finally about to do it.
ElevateThemes.com is a major contribution to the WordPress community. Not only because of the themes that will be available, but because of the ideal that it stands for — quality and free don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You CAN have both.
An Innovative Business Model
Ever since I first conceived the idea, I’ve wanted to toy with the idea of a “freemium” model theme release site. I wanted to figure out a way to give away free themes, yet build a sustainable income from the site as well. In my opinion, unless an idea can indirectly monetize, eventually the project leader will burnout.
Elevate will be monetized in three ways:
- Premium Membership
- Theme Sponsorship
- Community Job Openings
The Premium Membership will cost $97 per year, and will provide you access to theme documentation, tutorials, and support support forum. This way you, as the user of the theme, will only have to pay for the things you want or need. If you get stuck during installation, you can become a member and download the theme documentation or watch the video tutorials. And if that doesn’t help, I (along with others) will be there to help you in the forums.
Theme Sponsorship is much different than the “theme sponsorship” of old. No more spammy links in the footer. That’s not cool.
I’m talking about a way for companies to directly target the user of the theme, without exposing the user’s readers to any ads at all. When you, as the user, download and install the theme, you’ll see a sponsor ad when you set up the theme options. These sponsors are going to help drive the design and development of new themes, and the ads will only be exposed to the administrator of the site when he sets up the theme.
My estimates are that the ad will be exposed to tens of thousands of bloggers through Elevate. That’s targeted traffic, and would be well worth it for any advertiser that has a product that would be beneficial to bloggers.
Finally, a community Job Board that will allow users of the themes we release at Elevate to find customization help if/when they need it. Premium Members will have access to post to the Job Board as much as they want, and non-members can purchase Job Board posting access for just $47.00 per year. Yep, an entire year for just $47.
I’m currently developing the first two themes for release, and I expect to launch within the next week. If you want to see a sneek-peek at the first theme, check this tweet out.
Are You Leaving iThemes?
Absolutely Not! iThemes is still the place to get some of the best WordPress themes available. With a team like the one we have at iThemes, there’s no way I’d leave a place like that. We have some of the best talent together in one company, and we plan on continuing to raise the bar when it comes to WordPress themes, and build a very successful business out of it.
ElevateThemes.com is just my way of contributing back to the community in my spare time by bringing premium-quality themes to the table for people who would otherwise not consider buying a theme.
Are You Just Copying Revolution
Abslutely not! I want to be very clear about this … Elevate was conceptualized long before Brian announced Revolution’s move to the GPL. And while I applaude his move, it was in no way whatsoever the inspiration for Elevate. Also, although his business model has yet to be completely uncovered, it seems that our models are both different in concept and execution.
I believe that our two projects will prove to be complimentary rather than competitive.
The best way to stay updated with the progress and launch schedule is to follow @elevatethemes on twitter. I’ll be releasing screenshots of themes, and maybe even posing pre-launch download links for some themes.
I’m waiting on the comps to come back from the designer for the new look for NathanRice.net. After I launch ElevateThemes.com, this blog is the next thing on my list for giving a facelift. And once this blog is a lot prettier than she is now, you’re going to see a whole slew of new posts, news, and more of those awesome WordPress tutorials that everybody here loves so much!!!
So I hope you’re ready for an action-packed month. It’s going to be quite a ride, so you’ll definitely want to hold on tight!