Pro Theme Design launches true testing bed for themes, new blog devoted to Elemental


This piece of news falls under the “cool news we didn’t quite get to right when it happened” category. Ben Gillbanks of Pro Theme Design (which survived Round 1 of Theme Madness and will play again next week) launched a new testing ground for their paid WordPress themes.

Instead of a demo filled with example content, potential customers can now create a site using WordPress Multisite and apply a theme they would like to test out. Then, the theme can be used in just about every which way (aside from modifying its files, of course) to give the user a solid idea of what to expect when they purchase and install it.

What about all of the extra demonstration sites cluttering up Pro Theme Design’s world wide home? They thought of that: all created sites are cleared out every 36 hours.Β What do you think of this method, and have you seen any other theme developers or services using it?

While you’re digging into noteworthy Pro Theme Design activity, have a look at their blog for Elemental theme users and developers called Elemental Hub.

11 thoughts on “Pro Theme Design launches true testing bed for themes, new blog devoted to Elemental

  1. This is awesome and I’m glad they’re doing it…it should be a great way to give prospective buyers an idea of what they’re getting.

    If other theme developers can’t set something like this up, can I make one small simple suggestion? Post screenshots of all the theme’s admin panels! I know anything’s possible with WordPress because we have access to the code underneath, but there’s a big difference between “it’s possible after I spend an hour digging through code on the back-end, tweaking, and refreshing” and “it’s possible by flipping a toggle on the admin panel.”

    This so headsmackingly obvious and vital addition to your theme’s sales pitch that it drives me bonkers to see that it’s only done about half the time. It’s easy! Command-Shift-3! Let me know what I’m getting into when I buy your theme.

    • Hey Marie – glad you like the idea of the site πŸ™‚

      The reason I did this was because I didn’t want to have to create screenshots of all of the admin panels πŸ™‚ I am constantly tweaking and updating my themes so I would have to keep on updating the screenshots. This seemed like a simpler solution.

      • Great thinking Ben – in fact, we did the very same thing at StudioPress a while back. We don’t have it up now – as we had a spam signup problem that at the time I didn’t want to deal with. But it is a GREAT way to let folks test out the backend – and to see all of our child themes.

        +1 for making it happen. πŸ™‚

        • I didn’t realise Studiopress had a preview site as well. I did consider spam might be an issue but since the sites are deleted within 36 hours, and they are never linked anywhere on my site, I figured it wouldn’t be a problem. I guess time will tell πŸ™‚

          • We didn’t promote it actively on our site, rather sent people there who filled out our contact form when asking about checking out theme options or test driving prior to purchase.

    • Yes – WooThemes did this before I did. I’m not aware of any other themes house that do it though.

      To be honest I actually emailed them and asked for advice before I made my version πŸ™‚

  2. I like it myself, with the addition of the cleaning up behind too! πŸ™‚ It’s a great way for potential customers to see if it’s going to be the theme for them, in theory it should cut down on customer service requests and/or people maybe asking for a refund because ”they didn’t realise it worked like it did” and all that! πŸ˜›

  3. I think it’s a great idea, provides plenty of transparency. I’d love to be able to do something like this too, just no clue how πŸ™‚ All in good time I guess. Great job, hope that works out for you!

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