ThemesKingdom Review: Fantastic Value, Plugins and Support
When it comes to commercial WordPress themes, you’re going to be hard-pressed to beat the value offered by ThemesKingdom.
They offer both high quality themes and plugins for a very affordable membership price of $50/year. Their designs keep pace with modern trends and they release a minimum of two new themes every month. The theme options panel is not overly-complicated and everything related to your account is easily accessible on their website. It’s all about the product.
Overall, ThemesKingdom is awesome value for a developer who needs themes for a variety of different websites.
Headquarters: Novi Sad, Serbia
ThemesKingdom was founded by Zeljko Gudelj and Sinisa Komlenic in 2010 and they launched with just one blog/portfolio theme and plans for many more. Everything went gangbusters from there and ThemesKingdom has grown to be a major player in the WordPress commercial themes market.
In the beginning you could get a membership for just $19. After one year the team at ThemesKingdom was able to sign on 20,000 new members. Their success prompted a massive redesign and increase in price, as they continued to grow their collection of high quality themes.
ThemesKingdom now boasts more than 48,000 customers with 51 themes available for purchase. They employ a small group of development and support staff known as the “Knights” who are working around the clock to create exceptional WordPress products.
ThemesKingdom has a couple of different pricing options which include a different set of features and access:
Single Theme – starts at $25
- Premium support access
- Regular theme updates
- Unlimited concurrent domain uses
Club Subscription – $50 – includes everything from the single option plus:
- Access to 51 WordPress themes
- Access to all plugins
- Access to all extensions
- Minimum 2 new themes per month
Besides selling themes, ThemesKingdom is now branching out into the plugin marketplace and their plugins are included in the Club Subscription option. They also have several free themes available for download, some of which we’ve featured at WPMU.org over the years. For our review I made use an existing club subscription.
As far as pricing goes, $50 for access to 51 themes is quite a steal, compared to other theme providers. This price puts each theme at around $1 apiece – a fantastic value.
Most of the newer themes offered at ThemesKingdom come with a variety of page templates, a theme customizer and fully responsive design. They don’t seem to be updating the very old themes to be responsive. If they weren’t originally released as such, it’s unlikely that they will be updated to be responsive. The newest themes are featured on the first several pages, all of which appear to have a uniform set of features with a few unique items here and there.
Many of the newer themes include several features useful for business:
- White labeled theme administration
- Support for Post Formats
- Google maps integration
- Translation options with included .PO files
- MailChimp integration
- Custom widgets
Standard theme features include:
- Custom Theme Administration – white labeled admin panel for customizing themes
- Page Templates Included – standard templates such as portfolio, blog, contact page, etc.
- Shortcode Generator – for common design items such as columns, buttons, quotes, headlinees
- Photoshop Files Included – included with developer license
- Multiple Support Resources and theme documentation
- Contact Form Included – no plugin required
These features are on par with what other theme companies are offering. All the basic page templates and contact form make each of the themes very versatile for use in in many different types of websites.
In addition to themes, the Club Membership offers plugins as well. Their first release is Scebo, a powerful support ticketing system with three premium extensions. The plugins can be purchased separately but they are also included with the themes subscription, adding value to the membership.
ThemesKingdom is definitely keeping pace with modern design trends. The newer themes respond nicely to mobile devices and reflect an attention to typography and harmonious color palettes. Some of the themes include fancy jQuery effects without being too overloaded or starkly minimalistic. The ThemesKingdom knights are also aware of the unique needs of WordPress publishers, providing different types of posts views, post carousel sliders, category highlighting and advertising.
In December of 2012 ThemesKingdom retired five themes because they were outdated in both design and functionality and probably not worth updating. This is an admirable move, allowing them to present more high quality products and focus on creating new themes and plugins. Retiring old themes is a smart move on their part and keeps them from getting spread too thin on support and updates.
During my review I tested the Cosily theme and found the documentation to be straightforward, adequate and easily accessible. It would be very helpful if themes had a link to the documentation from within the WordPress dashboard, but it was easy enough to find after logging into ThemesKingdom.
The theme settings were very straightforward. Instead of having to dig through documentation on accompanying extensions, there is a prompt to install any necessary plugins after you’ve activated the theme.
When you log into your account at ThemesKingdom, you’re instantly taken to the Downloads page. From there you can easily access documentation, theme changelogs, XML demo data for each theme.
It’s easy to change your account details, access your recent support requests and even check on your affiliate earnings within the membership dashboard. However, one thing is conspicuously missing – the ability to cancel your account. The only way to do so is to notify ThemesKingdom via email at least 7 days prior to the end of your membership. This is fairly inconvenient, especially since you’ve paid for an entire year but can only cancel your account 7 days before it expires. It seems that many members have searched for a way to cancel their accounts, as there are several support tickets asking about how to do this. They certainly don’t make it easy.
Aside from the difficulty in cancelling, ThemesKingdom account and product usability is fairly top notch. Overall, the theme’s options panel is not overly complicated and almost everything related to your account is available immediately upon signing into the site.
The main hub for support is a searchable ticketing system where each ticket is assigned a status. Clicking on the support tab will immediately take you to your open tickets.
ThemesKingdom has a very unique approach to support. They will answer all requests, whether they come through via email, the support system, Twitter or Facebook. This makes it very convenient for the customer to communicate in whatever way he feels comfortable. This is very unusual for a company to encourage customers to get support through so many different routes.
During my review I tested support requests through both the support system and Facebook. In both scenarios I received a reply within 24 hours, which is more than reasonable. The answers were satisfactory and the support crew provided additional helpful information above and beyond the original question.
Though not especially speedy, support responses were adequate, polite and helpful.
I tested the Cosily theme and didn’t find any major issues with page speed as related to the theme and its assets. A quick analysis of the fully loaded demo shows the page speed is a bit slow, but that probably has far more to do with caching and other server and script optimizations.
When you purchase a commercial theme you also then have the responsibility to get caching in place, if necessary, get hooked up with a CDN, and minimize your scripts. That’s not something your theme can do for you. A quick test of other ThemesKingdom themes shows that they all load up fairly quickly, although their demo site could use some optimization. However, there’s nothing that should bar you from using their themes and expecting decent performance after you’ve optimized your WordPress site.
Fans of ThemesKingdom – what do you think are the best selling points of this membership? Share your experiences in the comments below.
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- Fantastic value - membership is very affordable for access to a large collection of high quality themes
- Multiple avenues for Support - including help via social networks
- Membership includes access to professionally-developed plugins
- Themes are varied for use on many different types of websites
- Support response times are just adequate - not very speedy
- No easy way to cancel your account