Realizing not every theme needs a layout editor

PixelGrade, a premium theme shop, has raised eyebrows by increasing the price of one of their themes to $225. But I’m not (quite) going to be talking about that today.

As I followed the story, I stumbled across the comments on the theme’s ThemeForest listing. One comment in particular caught my eye:

Hey there
Gotta give you mad props, theme looks amazing, and you know that.
But why can’t I find any screenshots of the dashboard and the layout editor? There’s only one video showcasing the Customizer.
Thanks

While PixelGrade responded cordially, they missed an opportunity to educate other potential customers on why there are no screenshots showcasing the layout editor.

There is no layout editor.

And that’s okay.

A Genuine Misunderstanding

I didn’t paraphrase the quote above, because the “hey there” and “thanks” are important in illustrating this person’s attitude.

This wasn’t an angry complaint about the price, like many of the other comments discussing this particular theme. The comment was very complimentary, delivered in a friendly tone.

While I can’t say for sure what this person was thinking, I believe they genuinely could not imagine a theme sold on ThemeForest without a built-in layout editor.

On a marketplace that contains well over 2,000 themes “compatible with Visual Composer” (in many cases, bundled with the theme download itself) it’s not difficult to imagine why.

Reconditioning Theme Buyers

While this article was prompted by a comment about layout editors, it’s not just about layout editors. It’s about theme buyers being conditioned to value themes by low pricing and excessive features.

This article could’ve just as easily been titled “not every theme needs bundled slider plugins” or “not every theme needs to cost $39” or “not every theme needs an elaborate theme options panel.”

While articles like this help, reconditioning buyers is best accomplished by sellers in the marketplace.

  • Show buyers that less is more: Themes should look beautiful out of the box, without configuring a ton of options.
  • Recommend plugins, don’t bundle: Bundling plugins is bad practice. Check compatibility, recommend, and demonstrate how plugins interact with your theme instead
  • Experiment with higher prices: While you don’t want to price so expensively that nobody ever buys anything, you should also be compensated accordingly for the value provided.
  • Have stellar support: Ideally, your theme is so intuitive and well-documented that support isn’t needed, but when support tickets do trickle in, go above and beyond.

The sooner theme authors start doing that, the less we’ll be asked where the screenshots of our non-existent layout editors are.

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