It has been more than a year since churchthemes.com launched. We have had the privilege of helping many churches build a new website, for which we are very grateful. We have learned a lot.
Theme pricing has remained the same since launching. Our themes are not at the bottom of the pricing barrel nor are they the most expensive, but they are on the lower end ($30 to $100 being the general range for professional WordPress themes). It has been clear for several months that a price increase is necessary in order to continue meeting the needs of our customers while running a sustainable business.
Our theme pricing will increase from $50 to $79 on January 19, 2015.
We know that churches are making plans based on our current price. That is why the increase will take place in one month, giving our customers plenty of time to purchase at the old price.
Renewal pricing for one year of theme updates and support is currently $25. This will be adjusted from a flat amount to 50% of the current price. In other words, a $79 theme will cost $39.50 to renew.
If you are a current customer, your next renewal will be at the old price (this includes customers who already paid for their first renewal). We are grandfathering in all current customers for one year to help churches plan for the $15 annual increase.
We are thankful to you and do not take your business for granted. We want to make this as easy as possible.
Evaluating Pricing Annually
We will evaluate our pricing annually with consideration for market conditions, expenses, inflation and other factors that affect our ability to run a sustainable business and meet the needs of our customers.
Some of you know that I have been vocal in the WordPress community about running a sustainable business. churchthemes.com has had the benefit of learning from the struggles and successes of older WordPress product businesses. My intention is to continue into the future in a way that best ensures that we will be here tomorrow to provide support, improvements, new themes and new features to churches.
Reasons for Pricing Adjustment
Transparency is part of churchthemes.com’s core philosophy so in addition to a notice in advance of the price increase, I would like to share some reasons for the adjustment.
More Than Themes
In order to be competitive when I launched churchthemes.com, I chose a price just below mid-range for professional WordPress themes. In retrospect, this price did not realistically consider everything involved in offering niche themes and the Church Theme Content plugin. While the plugin is distributed on WordPress.org for free, there are costs associated with it on our end. The new pricing considers that we provide more than themes and that the themes we develop are specialized for a specific market with specific needs.
Good support is a priority. In order to continue with a high level of service while growing, it will be necessary to hire support staff. Hiring expert support staff is a significant expense. The new pricing will ensure that each customer receives the service they deserve, no matter how many churches we serve.
Our practice is not to make, sell and abandon. More than 40 updates to our plugin, themes and framework have been released since launching last year. Our third theme will add some new features that will also be added to our older themes for the benefit of those who already use them. Our new pricing will help strengthen this practice.
I would like 2015 to be Year of the Themes in order to create a selection wide enough that every church finds a match. Something else I would like to do is work with professional designers to help roll out new and better themes faster. Our profit margin has prevented this from being a realistic possibility.
The reason for the price increase is to help ensure that we can do our best for churches now and in the future.
New Features Soon
I talked about the dozens of updates to our products and shared our philosophy of improving old themes with new features (versus including new features only in new themes). There is a lot more we want to do. We have had more requests for new event features than any other. We have been working on these:
- Monthly Event Calendar
- Event Categories
- Time Fields (for more accurate ordering)
- Custom Recurring Events (e.g. “every third Sunday” and bi-weekly)
The first three features will be made available in theme and plugin updates.
Custom Recurring Events will be the first add-on for our Church Theme Content plugin. New features relating to the presentation of content are included in themes. Essential and minor features for managing content will be added in updates to our free plugin. Non-essential and complex features for managing content will be sold as add-ons.
We Are Grateful
The Lord has blessed this business by bringing us customers — really good customers. I am grateful to Him for that and grateful to you for using one of our themes for your church’s website. Many of you as our earliest customers have renewed your updates and support after we passed the one year mark. Thank you for continuing to support us as we continue to do our best for you.
Please post a comment or send a message if you have any questions about the pricing adjustment or the direction we are going.