Note: This article was originally published on my personal blog. It has since been archived here on the churchthemes.com blog. Read our newer About Us page.
We launched churchthemes.com and the Resurrect WordPress theme earlier this week.
There is not yet a blog at churchthemes.com (it was a greater priority to launch ASAP). If we did have one, I would have made an official-looking launch post. Instead, I want to share here on my personal blog about what’s behind the project. In short, I want to speak my mind about starting a business, development philosophy, pricing models, web hosting and marketing. And I want to tell it a bit like a tale.
It all started about one and a half years ago…
Beginning with Risen
In early 2012 I was trying to decide what my second WordPress theme would be. The first was for portfolio sites but that didn’t attract too much attention on ThemeForest so I was thinking of tackling an underexploited niche. I’m a Christian and have seen first-hand the challenges churches sometimes face in getting a useful website online. So the idea of making a church theme was interesting to me. I was very excited to find that at the time there were few options, yet a seemingly significant demand.
I did some research, found out what features churches commonly need, and set out to make a WordPress theme that I hoped would fit the bill. Now, I’m not always the fastest worker. I tend to get stuck polishing the details and maximizing features (for better or worse). So after a few months I was almost done but starting to feeling a little discouraged and very ready to move onto the next project. I managed to get it done and submitted it to ThemeForest.
But ThemeForest knocked me to the ground with a hard rejection! The design didn’t meet their standards. Okay, don’t panic, just do what they want. Rejections are common on ThemeForest and so unless the design is fundamentally flawed, you can make some changes and they’ll approve you. After a few tweaks, they approved Risen! One year later it has been used by more than 4,000 churches and organizations. The Lord is my Benefactor!
Within a few months, the success of Risen had me thinking about making another church theme. Obviously there was a market for church WordPress themes. Maybe I’d make a series of church themes, I thought. So what’s the first thing you do when you have a big idea for a new venture on the Internet? You check if the domain name is available!
It usually goes like this: You know the very best name is probably already registered. You check anyway, just in case. Sure enough, it’s registered. You then start thinking of names that don’t totally satisfy. Those are registered too! You then start thinking so hard that the names you come up with are pretty much ridiculous. Finally, if you’re hasty, the name of your new business ends up being something like SuperDuperChurchThemesForWP.cc.
But it didn’t happen that way for me. It turns out churchthemes.com was being used for an old affiliate marketing blog that hadn’t been updated for some time. I emailed the owner and he responded, saying he was interest in selling. We agreed on a price and it became mine. This is not usually how things go! If it was, there would not be millions upon millions of unused domains up for sale.
I had prayed about this before buying the domain and concluded that if the Lord wanted me to undertake this venture, He would the open doors. That was happening with the success of Risen and acquisition of the ideal domain name for a church theme shop.
Moving away from ThemeForest
I have mixed feelings about ThemeForest. In short, they bring you customers. They can bring you a TON of customers. The fact is Risen’s sales have exceeded my expectations. How often does a venture exceed your expectations? I am grateful that Risen has done so well on their marketplace. With that said, we’ll be selling all future themes directly on churchthemes.com and here’s why.
- Control. We need to be able to control every aspect of our own business. This includes pricing, licensing, updates, support, documentation and more.
- Branding. When I send someone to ThemeForest to buy my theme, that user may return to ThemeForest in the future. Shouldn’t they return to churchthemes.com instead? My competitors are on ThemeForest.
- Reputation. Due to historically low coding standards, ThemeForest authors as a whole get a bad wrap.
- Half-naked women. This is common on ThemeForest demos. Some of us don’t like this, but it’s not likely to change.
The downside? Going it alone means we have to exert some serious marketing strength. The line of customers ThemeForest currently provides for Risen will not be available for our future themes. I’m ready to learn how to effectively market a theme shop.
Doing it right
When I made Risen, I did some things wrong. I don’t mean it’s a terrible product. It’s the highest rated of 25 church themes on ThemeForest so it’s clearly useful to churches and that makes me very glad. I want to make things that are useful. But I could have done better if I paid more attention to the right people.
What I’m talking about is development philosophy. Specifically, I am speaking of placing functionality in a plugin instead of a theme. Post types and shortcodes do not belong in a theme. If the user switches themes, the new theme will not support those things, so the shortcodes will work and sermons, for example, will not show up. I had some idea of not placing shortcodes in Risen but gave into pressure and added them. This was a mistake.
Enter Justin Tadlock. He’s a wordpress.org plugin reviewer and operates Theme Hybrid. He’s known for his sensical development philosophy and excellent tutorials. One year ago he began an experiment involving the release of a well-coded theme on ThemeForest and getting involved on the ThemeForest forum. He caused quite a stir there simply by speaking about responsible WordPress development practices (read this). You can read the result of his year-long experiment.
I was inspired by Tadlock and others to start doing things right to the best of my ability.
Church Content Plugin
All themes sold at churchthemes.com will use our new Church Content plugin. What this plugin does is provide post types, taxonomies and custom fields for sermons, events, staff and locations. This means is that users can switch between any theme that supports this plugin without their content disappearing. Re-entering content after switching a theme is not fun.
This plugin is not just for us and our customers, though. It’s for any developer of church themes or church sites powered by WordPress. We’ve put the code on GitHub and prepared a Developer Guide for the plugin to assist other adopters. Time will tell how many developers start taking advantage of shared plugins like this and Justin Tadlock’s Custom Content Portfolio plugin.
Getting a tweet like this from a man with more than 2,000 wordpress.org theme reviews under his belt was certainly encouraging:
@stevengliebe @churchthemes Hey, that Plugin is awesome! Way to lead by example. I'd love to see more of that.
— Chip Bennett (@chip_bennett) July 18, 2013
Taking this approach really delayed the launch of churchthemes.com but I feel great knowing we have a strong and responsible foundation to build this business upon.
Making it sustainable
We want churchthemes.com to be useful for a long time. In order for that to happen we not only need to make good products but price and support them accordingly. This is something I’ve thought a lot about in the last year. It is very common for theme shops to make their offering attractive with lifetime updates and support for unlimited sites. I’m not comfortable doing any of this because when there is no limit, you can’t actually know if you can provide what you promise!
With that said, we’ve settled on a pricing model for churchthemes.com that I am almost certain no other theme shop is doing. I do predict theme shops will begin moving towards a model that resembles this in at least some way, especially after seeing that bigger shops are now doing away with “lifetime” and in some cases (with plugins, atleast) updates/support for unlimited sites.
- One low price
- Includes one theme
- Updates and support for that theme
- Updates and support for one website
- Renew license for updates/support at 50% discount (optional)
In other words, every church pays once then half that amount each year. They get a nice WordPress site with updates and support, just as they would if we offered “unlimited” and “lifetime”. This is fair and sustainable. The only difference is we aren’t offering what we cannot guarantee. The door is not open for a large agency, web host or denomination to take us up on an unrealistic offer.
Now what about freelancers who want a bulk discount? There is no discount. They simply pass the cost onto each church they build a site for. This amount is what we calculate is necessary to provide a high level of service. A discount would lower the level of service we are able to provide. Further, the cost is a reasonable price for each church to pay.
The customer is first
Complicated is difficult. We want our customers to have a good experience. There are sometimes things that can be done that may seem to benefit a business but at the same time make life harder for the customer. But that’s not actually good for the business. What’s good for the customer is good for the business. What’s good for the customer is what’s easy.
- Support by email. We use Help Scout and will eventually tie it into our database to verify customers in order to prevent pirated support. This is not something the customer has to worry about. Logging in for help is just a pain.
- Public searchable guides. Why protect the help? Let the pirates have the guides too if it’s good for the paying customers! Prospective customers also like evaluating documentation before buying.
- 45-day refunds for any reason. Because why not? Unhappy customers should get their money back. Plus, this motivates us even more to do our best.
Easy Digital Downloads
We needed a system to handle payments and licensing in a way that meshes well with our unconventional pricing and support model.
Easy Digital Downloads by Pippin Williamson turned out to be the solution. At first, I wasn’t totally convinced. I heard good things then tinkered with it a bit and ended up looking for other solutions. Nothing else came close so I gave it a more serious go. I dug deeper and ended up being very happy with it. It’s not perfect (nothing is), but it is worthy of the 4.8 out of 5 stars it receives on wordpress.org. I’m also confident in its direction because Pippin and others actively work on it on a near-daily basis.
We use the Software Licensing addon for generating keys that enable one-click updates for our themes. What’s great is that this works well with our limitation of updates for one theme on one site. We simply allow one activation per key. I’ve done a lot of testing and found it to be reliable. So far so good with our first customers and first update as well. There is also a feature for license renewals which we’ll end up using. This limits updates to one year periods, renewable at the discounted rate.
Some more peace of mind for me is that the Software Licensing addon is what Easy Digital Downloads itself uses. Like us, they limit licenses based on number of sites and for one year. Certainly this feature will be made sure to work for the maker, and so it should work fine for us as well.
Finding the right host
I thought I would try WP Engine since I’ve heard good things. Being serious about this business, we’re prepared to pay for premium hosting. We have our main site and a multisite network for our demos. We also need SSL for the checkout process. These things mean we’d need the $99/mo plan plus $5/mo for a dedicated IP. We’re in Texas (which is bigger than France) with WP Engine so there’s tax on that as well, bringing the total over $110/mo. They also don’t host email so that ends up being another expense or inconvenience.
Yes, that’s a steep bill for hosting. You can get a low-end dedicated server or a very good VPS for that price. But WP Engine advertises some neat things like enhanced security, automatic updates, backup/restore (although it excludes uploads), automatic optimization and knowledgeable WordPress support staff. Typically you get what you pay for.
Long story short, I was disappointed. I probably opened more tickets in one month than I’ve had in 5 years with another host. Resolution of tickets was slower than I’m accustomed to with other hosts as well. They were polite and did help me with some things. I just expected less issues and more flexibility with a $100/mo managed service. I decided this was not for me when I was told the max execution time could not be increased in order for me to complete large imports.
Though I give them a “C” grade, WP Engine does have a generous 60 day trial period so they quickly returned everything I paid them.
I have one very hands-off dedicated server for a specific purpose with another business and have managed others in the past. I can get by but I’m no pro so it can take up too much of my time. I sometimes make mistakes and that’s no fun. I don’t enjoy babysitting a server. I was hesitant to go the VPS route, but decided to try it because what I wanted was flexibility and speed. I didn’t get flexibility with WP Engine and speed is not likely to come from other types of hosting.
Finding good hosting is hard because nearly all ratings and reviews are affiliate-driven shams. After doing some research on Web Hosting Talk, I decided to try WiredTree. They are a “fully” managed provider with proactive monitoring which basically means if I break something or something goes nuts at 2 am on Saturday morning, they’ve got my back. That peace of mind is good for me.
I have been very happy with WiredTree. Thus far, their support has been immediate and they have solved the few issues I’ve had. I am also getting more speed out of this Pure SSD VPS + LightSpeed + APC + W3 Total Cache + MaxCDN setup than I was getting from WP Engine. I’m not sure why, but it is the case. I also enjoy having my email hosted, being able to SSH tunnel MySQL via Navicat for managing databases securely without phpMyAdmin and having the ability to up my max execution time in order for imports to complete. The cost is less than WP Engine as well.
Hopefully WiredTree will remain a host worthy of our patronage. So far, so good. And no, I don’t get paid a dime from them for saying this. The fact is I’ve received payments in the past for WP Engine referrals and I no longer recommend them after having tried them myself. Hopefully with time they will improve in the areas I was disappointed with.
If you build it, they will come?
Marketing. Yes, that’s going to be necessary for churchthemes.com without ThemeForest’s help. So far we’ve had sales from people mostly familiar with the Risen theme. They had joined our newsletter or followed us on social media during the last year and liked the new Resurrect theme. This is good, but it’s not enough. We need new customers. We need customers from outside our current sphere.
Marketing has never been my strong point (it’s tiring). I started as a designer. Now I’m a developer. Next I must become a marketer? I like making things, not… pushing things. But it’s necessary. If you build it, they probably will not come — unless you do some marketing! Right? So please, give me your recommendations. How does one become a master at this new skill? We’re bootstrapping this thing so for now I am the marketer we have.
The future will mainly be made up of more church themes, of course! That’s our product. After finishing an update to Risen to keep my current customers up to date with the latest goodness, I’ll turn back to making the second theme for churchthemes.com. Videos will be added to our guides as well. Lots of videos. I found that users of Risen really liked the videos. People told me the videos played a role in their decision to buy as well.
I could say more about plans for churchthemes.com but it’s not good to get ahead of oneself. Let’s just focus on what needs to be done right now, then we’ll get to the future…
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Lord willing, churchthemes.com will be a success.
Sounds exciting for you! Does this also mean that there will be no more updates for Risen? I recently added a retina logo and font awesome icons to make it look great on Hi-Dpi screens but really it is in a pretty good shape!
Also while you feel bad for your coding practices it is what we as users wanted. One thing to install and not to have to worry about.
Hi Eric, thanks for your comment.
There will be updates for Risen. Version 2.0 will be out later this year and include podcasting and recurring events, two very requested features. Retina graphics is something I have in mind too but not sure if that’ll make it into the next release.
It sounds like ThemeForest wants to eventually have older themes updated to use functionality plugins (new themes will have this requirement sooner). I have my doubts about them ever requiring that old themes be updated since it will mess with existing customers, but if they do, we’ll update it to use the Church Theme Content plugin like Resurrect.
It only takes a few clicks to install and activate since it’s hosted in the WordPress plugin directory. No more effort than what Risen requires with the Theme Options plugin (not used by Resurrect since it uses the new Theme Customizer feature).
Sounds good and thanks for the reply, i really appreciate that you will continue to update it!
Thank you for sharing your journey into launching churchthemes.com, its very educational even for someone like myself who is not a developer. Browsing through churchthemes.com I noticed you don’t have an affiliate program which will be your lifesaver into marketing your themes.
As you’ve clearly stated that marketing is not your strong point…introducing an affiliate program will help you push more sales without investing heavily on marketing budget.
The wordpress community is blessed with hardcore marketers…so you can continue to create more themes.
Hi Muzi. Thank you for sharing your insight.
You do have a point as far as that being a good bootstrap marketing method, although I’m very hesitant to do it based on the experience of other theme shops having closing their affiliate programs after long runs (WooThemes, The Theme Foundry, Press75, others…). They concluded it just wasn’t worth the trouble.
What we’d really like is for people to recommend our products based on actual usefulness and not based on the hope of a referral. Spammy blog posts, fake coupon codes and so on… There’s just so much shady marketing that goes on with affiliate programs and we don’t want to be associated with that kind of thing.
I know there are some very good and honest affiliate marketers. I just wish they all were of that type. Invite only could be an option but then the army is severely reduced and so you’d wonder if it’s worth the effort in the end. Press75 was invite only for a period, then they shut it down altogether.
Well, I’ll be one of the people who happily recommends your themes to others just because I’m impressed. I bought a license of Risen for a friend’s church earlier this year and it’s been a joy to use. I will be buying more for other churches – from your new website.
Thanks SJ, we appreciate your support of our project.
We might have to reconsider some type of affiliate program. I’ve been making the rounds and it’s not surprising that bloggers want a piece of the pie for spending time talking about you.
There must some good resources out there on running a clean affiliate program. Boy, this would be a strict one. We’d really only have to accept people that have an established site that offers value to their audience and not just a bunch of affiliate junk.
“Boy, this would be a strict one. We’d really only have to accept people that have an established site that offers value to their audience and not just a bunch of affiliate junk.”
That’s the key right there. And anybody that is likely to do shady stuff will show traces of that on their web presence. So be sure to ask them out beyond just the site they give you for the affiliate program.
I haven’t used any affiliate software or plugins but I would look for one that limits activity to specific sites so they know they can’t scatter links about.
Thanks for breaking down your process. I’ve been thinking about doing this in a totally unrelated arts niche and I appreciate your thought process and product tips.
If you feel you need some help on marketing and would consider a trade for future WordPress coding/design, I’d be up for discussing that. I’m not an official expert but I know a few things!
We ended up choosing ShareASale. I’ve been keeping an eye on them for the last few years and gather the general consensus is that they’re a good network. Could be a bit prettier, but a good network.
The program will be set to always require manual approval and people will have to have an established website that is about WordPress or church and have content that is actually useful to people. No coupon sites, no deal sites, incentive sites, etc. Nothing off topic.
I just finished a few dozen banners and will set this thing live next week most likely.
Cool. It will be interesting to hear how that goes for you!
As a happy user of your Risen theme, I’m a little confused about it going forward. How will it be distributed in the future? I’ve become accustomed to checking for updates via the Envato toolkit plugin and updating it that way. As a small church, and as a webmaster who built and hosts the site for free for my church, I’m just concerned about updates going forward. We don’t use a lot of the built in stuff (audio or video sermons, photo gallery, etc.), but I do want to keep the theme’s overall look going forward and keep it up to date with new releases of WordPress. Will updates still come through Envato Toolkit for the current version of Risen to keep it current? Just trying to plan ahead here. While I don’t mind your change of business model at all, and completely understand your reasoning, I also feel as though since so many of us bought through Themeforest, that this particular theme should be maintained the way it currently is done. Doing otherwise could severely impact a lot of churches out there.
Thank you for using Risen. That theme will remain on ThemeForest. Nothing will change (updates, support, documentation, etc.)
Resurrect and future themes using the new Church Theme Content plugin will be sold on the churchthemes.com website.
Nice write-up, Steve. You and I are on the same wavelength, on a lot of things. If i were to get into the commercial Theme market, I’d use a very similar approach.
I’m a developer, not a designer or a marketer; so I don’t have much in the way of advice there. One thing you could consider: release a free Theme in the WordPress Theme directory, then apply to be listed in the commercial Theme directory. Beyond that: we can both learn from people who are much smarter about marketing. :)
Thanks Chip. That’s a good idea. I had noticed there isn’t one church theme on wordpress.org and it’d also be a good example of the plugin in action.
It’s a new requirement to have a free theme in the directory in order to get listed on the commercial page, isn’t it? Still, it’s probably less work than composing a good haiku! ;) A worthwhile requirement.
I appreciate your encouragement.
I do quite a bit of work for churches and ministries so this post is very interesting to me. I’ll definitely be checking out your themes and the plugin. I’ve got a couple of church sites I’m working on right now and you may be just the thing I was waiting on.
Wonderful, thank you for considering us. Please let me know if you have any questions.
“Now what about freelancers who want a bulk discount? There is no discount.” Thank you! I can’t figure out why people can’t seem to justify a whopping $50 / $25 for a HUGE time saver! They’ll ask to have something “fixed” on their site, and I look at it and think, “Wait. You’ve got some bootlegged theme w/ horrific code in here. And you’re wanting ‘ME’ to fix this? …and you’re willing to ‘pay’ to have it fixed? …but you apparently were NOT willing to pay for the right theme in the first place?” It bothers me ZERO to call ’em on the carpet, tell them to actually BUY THE THEME, and then see if that doesn’t fix their [insert overtly blatant cough here] “problem”!
I’ve happily paid TF more than once for the same theme, and I’ll do it again!
So please, give me your recommendations. How does one become a master at this new skill?
http://faithvillage.com (email them directly)
[I’ll send more in an email]
Google Adwords (grab bottle of Tylenol first) has tools that will allow you to see suggested sites that you should target. …or…
Open Google. Now add the term “related:” to a url that you find interesting.
Fb adds work, and… my post is getting long, so I’ll sum it up… get a blog up on churchthemes.com FIRST, share url on Fb, set Fb adds to “latest post”.
SEO: the one’s I’m seeing here are great. Now, they need to be on the blog over on CT. Add ‘social sharing’ options. This makes your content and main url ‘churchthemes.com’ /blog, /themes, /news, /whatever-you-want, indexed from hundreds of IP’s when people click on your link from all those other social sharing services.
….ugh… I’d LOVE to go on and On and ON about how much I’d LOVE to help w/ marketing someone’s product who !!!GET’S IT!!! …but the comment box is now out the top of my window so I should probably stop.
Hey Brad, thanks for the marketing tips.
I’ve just found your blogpost, and was very useful and inspirating to read your story.
You wrote about your experience wich are very valuable so I try to share my experience, perhaps you can use it.
01. I saw you already use Youtube. That is fine. You can do study case videos: interview with a church (or with the programmer who works for the church) which uses your site. How did they set up the site, how do they use it etc?
I found that people like real experience from real people.
02. As I see You sold for thousands of people. If you have their contacts, you can ask them to recommend your WP theme to their colleagues etc. If you find this “too pushy” you can ask them when you have the next theme update and you will send your “upgrade your theme” message.
03. You can help to your affiliate partner with articles about you, your story, your theme(s), your work. So they can publish well written articles (or videos) related to your product and not software generated bullsh@t.
04. WP themes are visual, so you can build a Pinterest wall, with the picture/screenshot of great, interesting church sites.
05. You help for churches to communicate on the internet, so why not to publish a “best practice guide for churches to have their own website”. (e.g.how to plan their content, what kind of free but useful plugins to use in WP etc.) So you can give real value.
06. You can advertise (adwords, facebook) this guide ebook and ask for their e-mail on a landing page.
07. You can do some keyword research. You can use it for your seo and you will see what you should write about in your wp church theme blog.
I hope I could help.
This is some handy info, some things I hadn’t considered. Thank you.
It’s such a pleasure to read about your experience. Thank you for taking the time to write it up.
I’m on your mailing list for churchthemes.com, but when I read about the site and Resurrect recently, as excited as I was to see it (beautiful!) and possibly use it for an upcoming project, I was looking around the site to see who is behind it. It wasn’t until I read someone else’s post (WPtavern I believe) that I found this personal site with the details of your journey. I’d recommend putting some “about us” information on the churchthemes.com site. Who you are, how you built the theme and your use of a plugin for data is extremely important to me.
This post is the one that sold me on churchthemes.com.
Thank you for telling me this. It’s very helpful information!
We’re going to get an About page and Blog up in the coming weeks. Right now it’s a real game of priorities. You know, bootstrapping it and all. You’re helping me understand what’s important though.
Much appreciated. Thanks also for considering Resurrect for your project.
Steven, this is a great story. I heard about churchthemes.com the other day, then right after I first checked out the site, I was on a church website and noticed it was using the Resurrect theme! I didn’t realize until reading this that you are also behind the Risen theme.
Finally, I think the pricing model you have for churchthemes.com is brilliant. My hesitation in recommending WordPress to churches has been that I’m afraid they’ll hit some little snag and not be able to get support, so I think your offering of both the theme and reasonably priced support is brilliant.
Thank you for your feedback. Yes, that’s one concern with WordPress versus a totally hosted church CMS. Most reputable theme providers will provide support and one year renewal is becoming a common thing. I personally was skeptical about churches with no experience being able to handle WordPress from scratch but after several thousand sales I understand that was an unfounded fear.
I don’t remember any emails saying “this is just too hard, I give up” and there have been several thousand users of Risen. Some need more guidance than others but that’s what we provide. I’d say at least half never have a question — the documentation/videos are enough. It’s no wonder WordPress powers 60,000,000 websites! Those people are not all geeks, probably mostly regular Joes.
I really appreciate you taking the time to write this blog. I have seen your work and admired it. I like the layout of your stuff and the plug in. What I really appreciate about this post is hearing your heart in all of this, so thanks for sharing. I love your pricing model. haven’t had a chance to purchase the theme or implement it on a new church site yet, but plan to do so soon and do a review of it too!
Thank you for your kind words and for being willing to review Resurrect.
I am in the UK and Just found your site whilst looking for a church theme (it was featured on Godsweb.co.uk and I had also found it doing a search on themeforest, which I have used for other themes).
I really like what you are doing and the Christian ethos behind it; for the current site I am working on “Risen” looks to be more suitable theme for me than “Resurrected” – can I only buy “Risen” at Themeforest , or will you have it on churchthemes.com in due course?
Thank you for your interest in Risen and for telling me where you saw it. It’s always nice to know how people hear about it.
Risen is only available via ThemeForest since I have an exclusive agreement with them and since it does not use the Church Theme Content plugin or our new framework. Resurrect and all new themes will use these and be sold directly on churchthemes.com
If you have any other questions, feel free to send a message and we can use email: http://stevengliebe.com/contact/
Steven, I’ve set up Risen for our church and they are enjoying it!
However, never one to leave well enough alone, I like the plugin concept, allowing you to move from theme to theme, keeping the site fresh and appealing.
The big question – how much difficulty would it be to switch from Risen to Resurrected? I have sermons (lots) hosted on YouTube, and that’s about it,not using too many other features – maybe a few shortcodes. I use a few other plugins, mainly the promotion slider and updraft plus, but nothing I can’t move over. However, how would my sermons fare? I have almost a year’s worth along with bulletins in PDFs – would I have to build new pages for each of them?
Thanks for your work and your dedication to serving Christ through churches beyond your own. Keep up the good work!
I’ve thought of making a Risen to Church Theme Content converter but am so busy with other things that I’m not sure if or when that’ll be done.
For now, none of the church-related content (sermons, events, etc.) will transfer over seamlessly since the post types, fields and taxonomies are different. Pages, blog posts and menu items will be kept. You will need to do some manual work in re-adding things, although a plugin like these may go some way to help: http://www.google.com/search?q=wordpress+post+type+converter+plugins (backup first)
Ideally, the site would be built from scratch with a fresh install of the new theme and the Church Theme Content plugin. One of the reasons we put content management into a plugin for our future themes is to make switching themes easier (https://churchthemes.com/guides/user/maintenance/switching-themes/). We’re hoping other church theme developers will adopt it as a standard.
Thanks, Steven – as soon as I get some time free I’ll probably buy and try it!
My pleasure, let me know if you have other questions before or after buying.
Just wondering if you’d had any more thoughts on the idea of the Risen to Church Theme Content converter … We’re in the market for a new theme and really like Risen 2.0 but it would be great to know the data could be hung onto subsequently when we move on again.
In all likelihood, it probably won’t happen. There was a decent demand for a converter when we launched last year but that has dwindled and other things have taken priority.
If you’re considering Risen, also consider our new Exodus theme. It has a similar homepage layout but it uses Church Theme Content so switching in the future will be much easier.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks Steven – Exodus is also on my shortlist… still like Risen, mind.
I am so excited when reading your post, I have plan to build my own selling theme system, but to be honest, I don’t know where to start. This is really really helpful for me.
I have a question that is there any change between now and the time you wrote this post? Could you share some more details about your system now?
What you feel good, what you feel not so good about selling system, affiliate system, marketing system, hosting or VPS..etc
That will be even more helpful for me as a startup.
Thank you again for your sharing!
Hi Linh. I’ve pretty much continued on the same track. I initially launched a “lite” version of the site with plans to beef it up over time so that’s what I’ve been doing. I found I was spending more time on support than I needed to so I’ve been improving support resources lately.
Easy Digital Downloads + Software Licensing has been exceptional and is continually improved. I’m still happy with Help Scout and the affiliate program has worked well (but you’ve got to find them; very few come to you).
Google Search traffic has picked up with time. Other forms of marketing have been trickier. Buying ads has not been a positive experience for me. I’m learning and experimenting with content marketing now. http://www.copyblogger.com/content-marketing/
I’ve been satisfied with WiredTree’s VPS. They have fast support and overall I’d say they’re better than average. I haven’t seen any need whatsoever to switch back to a “WordPress only” host.
I hope your endeavor goes well.
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