Hi Henry. Could you please introduce yourself and ThemeREX to our audience?
Hey, guys. I’m Henry Rise, the ‘commander-in-chief’ of ThemeREX, the power elite author on ThemeForest, which is specialising in producing niche-oriented WordPress themes.
For how long have you been online and do you have any side projects that you’re currently involved in?
It all started 7 years ago, when we decided that it’s time to create something of our own. Envato was gaining popularity back then, and it was a perfect time for collaboration. We launched our first shop ThemeREX in 2013, and after some time managed to launch two more – Ancora Themes and Axiom. Now ThemeREX and Ancora Themes have already gained the power elite status, while Axiom is almost there. By the way, we’re building our own site themerex.net, you might want to check it out too. You can find there some exclusive designs that are not available on ThemeForest or anywhere else.
There are many CMSes available nowadays. Could you explain to our readers why did you find WordPress as the most suitable CMS for your business?
When we started out, the main contenders to WordPress were Joomla and Drupal. Although they were good, they were mostly oriented to technical folks out there. If you were a developer building a really secure and complex project, you would probably stick with Drupal. Joomla had some interesting features that non-techies could use, but it still was not easy for beginners to start using it.
WordPress, however, was just the opposite. The entrance level was unbelievably low, and the people who knew nothing about web development could build a website of their own. It was really exciting. The main selling feature of WordPress at that time was the famous 5 minute install, and it really did wonders.
And although the engine that would help people launch their websites was there, it was still lacking features. With our products, we wanted to help people move past the default blogging theme the WordPress was offering, and take their business to a new level with beautiful design.
Would you also recommend it to bloggers who are just getting started?
Absolutely. Although you would need to invest into domain name, hosting, and design, all the necessary components for a successful blog are there – SEO, analytics, lead generation, etc. By having a WordPress blog, you in a way ‘own your audience’ – you can analyze their behavior, offer them discounts and free content. When running a blog on an outside platform, many of these things are not accessible to you.
According to you, what would be top three WordPress themes for blogging beginners?
Today when selecting a theme, we have a choice to pick between a one-size-fits-all multipurpose theme, such as Avada, or a more narrow-oriented theme suitable for a specific type of users.
Although, big themes can definitely serve their purposes, we think that choosing a niche theme would be a better choice, since many of the design decisions (color choices, layout, overall aesthetics, etc.) and functionality are tailored to a specific use case. An example can be Bazinga, our latest theme for viral bloggers and online magazines.
We all love WordPress because it’s easy to add extra features by using plugins. Would you share with our audience your top choices and explain why do you prefer those over others?
Indeed, another reason why WordPress is so popular is because of its plugins. They allow you to extend the default features of WordPress, and tailor your website to various purposes. We believe some of the great choices are WooCommerce, Yoast SEO, Contact Form 7, WPBackery Builder, Slider Revolution.
WooCommerce can help you to get started with an online store for free. You only need to make sure your theme is compatible with it. We make most of our themes compatible with WooCommerce where it’s necessary, an example can be our latest theme Crypton:
Yoast SEO is a great tool for making sure your content ranks well on search engine results. Contact Form 7 is probably the best free contact form plugin out there with a great set of features. If we go to the premium plugin realm, then WPBackery Builder (aka Visual Composer) and Slider Revolution are the must for many websites. WPBackery is a flexible tool for building and customizing pages, while Slider Revolution is great for creating beautiful hero areas with animation and interaction effects. Many of our themes are bundled with WPBackery and Slider Revolution (which means you get them for free), and support the rest of the plugins mentioned.
Any thoughts about Gutenberg project? Do you think it’s a game changer?
Gutenberg is definitely going to influence the WordPress ecosystem, however we believe it will be mostly for the good. WordPress needs some drastic changes in the way users create content, and hopefully Gutenberg will manage to follow through on the promises.
Let’s assume we’re not omniscient…what’s the one question you have an awesome answer for, but we didn’t think to ask?
You forgot about the main question, what’s the recipe of creating our themes? First, it all starts with a business need, which we can fulfill by one of our themes. We narrow that need down to a specific niche, and start doing research by analyzing real life examples. After detailed analysis and writing down every feature we want to implement in our new theme, our designers begin putting their vision on the digital canvas. After several iterations, the final version of the design is sent to our developers, who turn a static image into a living and breathing thing. Buttons click, images scale, mouse hovers and triggers animation, and many other beautiful things start happening. With all these wonders come little nasty bugs, which we then exterminate by our meticulous quality assurance team. After that, the final and polished product is placed on digital shelves of ThemeForest. That’s how our workflow looks like, nothing magical.
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