George Ortiz, a member of the Storefront Themes team, has been working on a new project since WordCamp San Francisco called PressTrends. In short, PressTrends is a new service for tracking how and where your WordPress themes are being used, ideally to improve your themes in the future. It is currently in closed beta, but you can request access via the email signup on the site.
Despite the closed beta status, Ortiz was nice enough to give me a tour of the service last week and walk me through the sort of statistics PressTrends can currently collect.
Once tracked by PressTrends, a WordPress theme will report back a number of statistics about the site that it’s running on: number of posts, number of comments, and number of plugins used. PressTrends also tracks the total number of sites running the tracked theme, and charts the results over a monthly timeline. Developers can see specifically which sites are currently running their theme. It also gathers the version number of themes that are running, and presents the percentages to the developer in a nifty graph.
For a quick video tour of PressTrends, and more about the creation of the new service, see the embed just after the jump.
PressTrends works via a simple function call within the
functions.php of a theme. Once signed up, PressTrends provides developers the code to be copied into their theme. Any site running the PressTrends-enabled theme will be trackable and report stats back to PressTrends.
Currently only one theme can be tracked at a time, though this seems to be more of an early resource requirement than any sort of long term plan. Eventually any number of themes will be trackable, Ortiz said, though the precise account options and pricing are not yet decided.
Ortiz said he was interested in this sort of statistical information for his own themes at Storefront, and was particularly inspired by the simple statistical reporting Automattic offers on their WordPress.com service (see the stats in the sidebar of their page for Twenty Eleven, for instance). As any clever entrepreneurial developer would, Ortiz simply built out what he wanted to use in his own themes.
Ortiz recognizes that additional terms and privacy policies will likely be needed for any themes that integrate with PressTrends, and is looking into providing terms that theme developers can incorporate into their theme documentation.
Ortiz has plans for the future as well. He plans to eventually deliver real time WordPress theme trends as more and more themes are tracked by PressTrends. Tracking plugin statistics may also be in the cards.
PressTrends is an interesting new service, particularly as a WordPress project that isn’t just about selling more themes or plugins. For the developers reading this: is this the sort of service you could see yourself integrating into your themes? And for the users: would you mind basic statistical tracking via a service like PressTrends, assuming you had the ability to opt out if you chose to?