Today, Friday the 13th of May 2011, at 13:00 I finally opened up the WonderThemes WordPress theme marketplace for open registration, yey!
Shipping my first major product
Over the past 12 months I’ve worked on WonderThemes in my free time so this is a major project to finally push into the real world. I really should be ready to party right now but over the past couple of days I’ve pulled far too many late night sessions leaving me a little drained and run-down but inside I’m dancing!!!
There were times when I didn’t think the project would ever be finished. The evolution of the site from its original conception to final product is quite a story, one I may tell one day, but not today, today I’m just glad its launched and SO happy everything has come together.
The summer of ’09
WonderThemes may seem like a new project as I’ve kept it under wraps for quite some time but its rooted WAY back in the summer of 2009 at my first ever WordCamp. In fact some of the illustration work like the mascot and landscape images were finalised way back in June last year – its taken that long to knit the other pieces together.
Under the bonnet
The entire system is built on a WordPress Multisite configuration hosted by the great guys at Site5 with a heavily modified e-Commernce package origionally develped by WPMUDev.
The bulk of the design and build work was done by yours truly with more specialised tasks such as the e-Commerce modifications and PayPal and the forum integration being farmed out a few valuable freelance consultants.
I’ve kept everything inside the WordPress-sphere where possible, even using the current version of the buggy/temperamental bbPress system for our support forums (thankfully the new more stable plug-in version is out soon).
In fact, and this is not a moan – just a fact, one of the major cause of delay was the constant upgrades to the WordPress core and the changes we had to keep up with. When I started building WonderThemes WPMU was still a separate product which I had little to no experience with and keeping track on top of this and its merger into the WordPress core was one of the major learning curves in the project development.
The hundreds of dedicated core contributors who develop WordPress deserve a lot of gratitude for their silent work on this project and I suspect many others.
BIG thanks to
Other than the vast team of WordPress developers I have a lot of people to thank for helping out on WonderThemes and also inspiring me to continue when I almost gave up:
Jonny Allbut – for being an inspiration to continue and a great sounding post. Jonny is the lead developer of the Wonderflux WordPress theme framework and my partner in the WonderThemes project. Although he has taken a back seat up to now we plan to move forward with some cool in-house themes as soon as the dust has settled.
Lee Willis – for developing the impossible and going the extra mile. Lee is the brains behind all of the e-Commerce and PayPal modifications in the WonderThemes system and a true gent.
Scott Jackson – for making my vision a reality. Scott is an expert illustrator and did the artwork on the WonderThemes site as well as my own avatar on this site.
Ryan Imel at WPCandy – for the extra push. Ryan has featured our little site a few times on WPCandy and its been a big boost to the project. His little unexpected kicks like featuring us in Theme Madness really helped.
Jordan Hatch – for giving a 2nd opinion. Jordan helped out with our support forum integration and is also stepping forward to be one of our first support team when the site matures. He’s done similar work before for WooThemes and is an expert coder and WordCamper.
The wife, AKA Mrs Jones (no website available) – for putting up with me without really knowing why. My wife doesn’t really understand the WonderThemes project, all she knows is I’ve been working hard and doing a lot of late nights and she’s been very understanding. She lets me know when its 2am and time for bed, she lets me know that I worked last weekend so this weekend I should have a couple of days off and she lets me know that even if nothing comes from all of this work everything will be OK. Out of everyone I thank her the most (sorry guys!).
If I’ve missed anyone, sorry, its been a rough week!
David Coveney says
Well done! I know from experience that it’s not easy to build something like this. There are so many elements, things to test, interactions to work out.
Best of luck with it!
Jonny Allbut says
It’s a pleasure working along side someone that holds a very similar philosophy on open source, GPL and the WordPress community as a whole, thanks for your kind words Kimb;)
For me, Wonder Themes and Wonderflux represent a significant move forward in the WordPress ecosystem. With an emphasis on top quality coding standards, flexible design and GPL licensing, it’s set to develop into something very exciting for us all to use.
Sounds like a wonderful marketplace! I’ve very happy to read about the pricing rates, since that is one of my biggest gripes about Themeforest. How dare they take so much!
How is your marketing and traffic / buyer outlook coming along? It’d be nice to know if a theme goes up for sale that enough potential buyers will be seeing it.
Great job and thanks for the post!
Hi Mark, details of rates can be found here: http://wonderthemes.com/about/payment-rates/
We offer a maximum 95% which is unmatched by any other marketplace 🙂
Our current marketing strategy is yet to mature, we’d like to get a few quality products on sale before pushing the site to a wider audience.
If you think you’d like to be a vendor get in touch direct: http://wonderthemes.com/contact/