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What’s a premium WordPress theme worth?

by Drew Strojny on May 8, 2012 / 13 comments

Over the years we’ve had questions and feedback from customers about our theme pricing. Recently this prompted some thinking about what a premium WordPress theme is worth and why our themes cost what they do.

What is value

Merriam-Webster defines value as “a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged.” The modern world most of us live in is predicated on value and exchange of goods. For example, I buy some food supplies from my local grocery store — the grocery delivers value, and I provide money in exchange for that value. This allows the grocery to deliver value to other customers, pay their employees, pay their vendors, and sometimes realize a profit for the business itself. The circular nature of this system allows everyone to provide value in their own way, and receive a widely accepted currency in return for this value. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

Value of a premium WordPress theme

The value of a premium WordPress theme, like any digital good, is easily misunderstood. After all, you can’t hold it your hand, taste it, or physically try it on. This makes it difficult to understand the “what you get” side of the equation.

When you purchase a theme here at the The Theme Foundry you’re buying months of hard work in the form of a beautiful hand coded theme to represent you or your business, access to the friendly and dedicated team that actually built your theme (not a part time support staffer), and regular maintenance updates and improvements. We feel this represents a boatload of value delivered to you in exchange for $68 ($51 if you’re an existing customer). Most importantly, thousands of our new customers each year feel it represents a fair value. They tell us this when they decide to purchase one of our themes, and if they don’t feel that way after buying a theme, we give them their money back.

Cheaper options

Like most things in life, there are usually cheaper options. You could purchase a theme from a theme marketplace or another theme shop for a cheaper price.

Theme marketplaces

The likelihood you will receive the same level of design, code quality, support, and maintenance from your average theme marketplace seller is small. There are a few exceptions of course, but a marketplace theme is not usually going to deliver the same level of quality. Most sellers are freelancers trying to make some extra cash. You have to weigh saving a few bucks against buying a top quality WordPress theme with a dedicated team to support and maintain it for you.

Other (cheaper) shops

Some other theme shops might be cheaper, but it’s important to pay attention to the hidden costs. Some questions to consider: How sustainable is the business model? Are they charging enough to operate the business and grow over the long haul? Do they have a team or is it a one man show? How long have they been selling themes? Will they be around if you need help with something a year from now? Do they regularly fix bugs and release maintenance updates? Are they in touch with what’s happening in the WordPress community? Is it quality code? Are they outsourcing support?

Do what’s right for you

If you’ve done your research, and you still find a cheaper option that meets your needs, go for it! When we first started selling WordPress themes we were a “one man show” and priced our themes more agressively to take advantage of our size. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that approach, and some of our first customers will agree they got quite a bargain in those early days. Now we have a dedicated team working together to build even better themes and provide top notch service and support. This means we have to charge a bit more, but we feel it more than makes up for the difference in theme quality and customer experience.

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13 Comments

  1. Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    Having been an extremely happy customer of The Theme Foundry for almost two years, I can honestly say that I would – knowing what I know now – happily pay twice the current price. The level of quality, professionalism and service that your team provides belies the relatively low price of your product.

    You create great work and deliver outstanding service – you deserve to be compensated fairly for it.

  2. Marcus Lauri

    I may have been critical (in the blog) about the pro-badge – my bad :)

    Guys/Ladies you do tremendous work !!! I read your support forums regularly – stellar if I may say so.

    Keep going and as Caanan wrote – credit where credit is due – you guys deserve it.

    Best, Marcus

  3. Drew Strojny

    Thanks for the support Marcus! Don’t worry about your questions on Foundry Pro, you weren’t be critical at all. They were good questions :-)

  4. Craig Brown

    The support I have received has been worth far more than the initial cost of the template – so does the The Theme Foundry present good value for money? Yes, no doubt about that.

    Craig

  5. Beth Anderson

    I’ve spent years trying to customize “free” themes, usually with some very awkward results. It was always hard for me to justify spending money on a theme when I knew that they could be had for free, and especially knowing that my websites were more of a hobby and didn’t generate any money. But since I decided to purchase some of your beautifully designed themes, I was able to start concentrating on the content, and that to me is where the value is. You guys do great work!

  6. Drew Strojny

    Craig: Thanks! Glad to hear it :-)

    Beth: Thanks so much for sharing some of your story. It’s great to know our themes have helped you focus on the content. Not only that, we really appreciate the kind words. Thanks!

  7. Marc

    The Theme Foundry is very good, but not cheap in pricing. If I compare it with elmastudio.de´s pricing and themes … I like both, The Theme Foundry and elmastudio, but I bought more of elmastudio´s themes because of the pricing-policy.

  8. Terry Griffin

    No need to explain your “value proposition” to me…I’m already there! Being a full-time freelancer–a job that involves a lot of providing (and explaining) value–has given me a new appreciation for the “value” of services and products. That’s why I appreciate the work you guys put into your themes, and have no problem paying what they cost.

    Beyond that, this post provides a great explanation to clients in general, on the reasons why high-quality, professionally crafted design costs what it does–and why they should be willing to pay for it. Thanks…

    Terry

  9. Drew Strojny

    Thanks for the support Terry! I remember freelancing, and I certainly know it can be challenging to help clients better understand the value of design :-)

  10. Billy Walker

    Purchased a theme last evening and ended up with my share of questions. Somewhat literate with coding but far more dangerous because of it frequently.

    Don’t mind paying for a product as long as there is a company that is willing to stand behind it. I’m an old guy at 58 years old and have always appreciated how back in the old days you could actually get people on the telephone.

    Well, that’s changed substantially through the course of time. I didn’t mind paying for my theme; I just was hoping the tech support folks would be there for me without unusually long waiting periods.

    I had the opportunity to use support a few times today. Now I’m a Type A so if I can’t get to someone on the phone immediately I’m getting annoyed. I have to say every instance of support today was returned in a timely manner. On top of that, the responses were accurate! 100% every time!!

    I can’t tell you how pleased I am with The Theme Foundry after my multiple dealings with them today. You guy’s rock!!

    By the way Drew… impressive backstory! Alway’s nice to see someone making it after having gone through their share of struggles.

    Billy Walker

  11. Drew Strojny

    Thanks so much for sharing your appreciation with us Billy. It really means the world to the whole team :-)

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