This is the first in a series of posts documenting the creation of Theme Friendly.
A short history
I’ve been thinking about building a commercial WordPress theme directory for a number of years now. I even tried (and failed) to get one off the ground a few years ago. During that time, a number of other sites sprung up with similar goals and I gradually abandoned my project. However, the idea never left. I kept thinking about what could be done to ease the process of finding the perfect WordPress theme for any particular project. I decided to see if I could build a working solution in just one week.
Defining the problem
In order to build a solution in just a week, I had to focus on only the most important aspects of finding a theme. When looking for a theme, there are really just three things I care about (in order):
If I could create a theme directory that would address those three aspects, I would consider my project a success.
Planing a solution
Quality is the most difficult aspect to determine before a purchase. I realized that I would need to implement some sort of review process in order to determine quality. The WordPress Theme Review Team has a set of guidelines for all themes accepted to the WordPress.org repository, but their guidelines are quite involved and I don’t have a team of people to review themes for me. In the end, I decided to check each theme with the Theme Check plugin and then manually check a handful of things that the plugin can’t cover. From these results I would generate a quality score between 1 and 10.
Features would need to be entered manually, so I chose to break features into various logical groupings and use custom taxonomies to specify which features applied to each theme.
Price seemed simple enough. Just a custom meta field would be needed to record the price.
Finally a method to search through the repository would be needed. Users should be able to filter themes by any combination of quality, features, and price.
Documenting the process
At the end of each day, I took a screenshot of what I had built that day. Over the coming weeks, I will document here on this blog what I built each day, the difficulties I faced, and the solutions I found. To follow along with this process (and be notified when the directory opens) please sign up for the newsletter.
I still need to polish some things up and add content to the directory. I have access to a number of commercial themes, but I will be looking for more. If you develop commercial themes, or hold licenses to commercial themes, I would love to review them and add them to the Theme Friendly directory. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments about this project, or leave a comment here on this post. Thanks!