State of the Crop 2014

Theme of the Crop began a year ago today when I released CafeCultura. It’s been one hell of a year. I thought I’d take a moment to tell you a little about what I’ve learned and where I want to take Theme of the Crop next year.

Business is hard

One year ago, I would have told you that by this time I would have at least twice as many themes and products out. Boy was I wrong. Getting a theme shop up and running has taken a lot more work than I expected. Driving traffic to my site, supporting my free plugins, updating my commercial products and doing all that while juggling freelance work on the side has really slowed down development.

I have barely begun to do the kinds of things I want to do with Theme of the Crop.

Building the best WordPress products for restaurants

This year has been an incredible learning experience. Releasing my free plugins has taught me a lot of things I didn’t learn during years of client work. Having a truly international customer base for my commercial themes and plugins has also been a great learning experience.

This year I plan to build these lessons into my existing products, improving them across the board for a better user experience and more powerful business platform. But I also need to put that learning into building new products — more themes and plugin addons — to make Theme of the Crop financially sustainable.

I’ve learned one thing about myself: I like making plugins more than I like making themes. My strengths as a designer and developer lie in the often under-appreciated realms of user interaction and experience.

I still make damn good themes. But it’s harder to stand out in a theme marketplace that rewards style over substance. Most buyers won’t know when the theme they choose is hard to use on mobile, loads slowly on bad internet connections or doesn’t play nicely with other plugins.

My challenge for 2015 is to find better ways to stand out in the crowd and to make the unique strengths of my themes more visible to visitors.

Thanks!

This year has been a great ride. I am grateful to everyone who has decided to purchase a product with me, try out my free plugin, and generally give it a go. The WordPress ecosystem is very big and very crowded. I know you always have a lot of choice. I hope you’ll continue to choose me the next time you’re building a restaurant website with WordPress.

Now go enjoy the holiday season.

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