In this post I want share some behind-the-scenes details about our new Presence theme, released last week, and how in only 2 months we managed to create a multipurpose & powerful theme… which is something we never planned to do.
Let’s start the story:
It was the beginning of August when someone asked us to recommend him a Music theme, and the first thing that came to my mind was to send him immediately to a different theme shop specialized only in Music theme – AudioTheme.
— Pavel Ciorici (@ciorici) August 11, 2016
I’ll recognize that it’s not easy to recommend a competing theme shop to someone who was ready to buy something from our website, but looking at AudioTheme’s products, I knew at that time that this was the right thing to do.
And when I say AudioTheme’s products, I’m not talking only about their themes, but also about their great (and free) WordPress plugins.
See this cool-looking playlist?
It can be created easily using the free Cue plugin by AudioTheme and works great with any theme.
Inspired by the smooth integration of well coded plugins, I came to the idea to create our own Music theme.
Initially I planned to make a new theme that works great with popular music-related plugins, which would offer users access to many useful features. But later when we discovered how easy the design of the theme can be adapted for different niches, we knew that this theme has all the criteria to become our first ever multipurpose theme.
Extending functionality with plugins
Like the example above of building a theme around the functionality found in Cue, we started to look for other popular and actively maintained plugins which can add extra features to our theme.
This is how we ended up making Presence compatible with a large number of popular plugins like WooCommerce, The Events Calendar, IMPress Listings and even features like Portfolio from Jetpack.
Multipurpose Theme Done Right
We created 10 demo sites with different content and features for Presence to show how easily a theme with a flexible design can be adapted for different niches.
You may be asking yourself why did we choose examples, like Music, Real Estate, Portfolio or Fitness?
These examples have nothing in common, we just wanted to show the extent of the customizations which can be made when you find the perfect balance between theme and plugins, to make a great website.
There’s a plugin for that!
Looking at the examples from our demo, you’d think Presence is limited only to the niches we displayed, but a little imagination can spark a totally different site when utilizing functionalities from different plugins.
Want to create a Church website? Just search for “sermons” and you’ll find many great and free plugins that can easily extend your theme’s functionalities.
Use your Imagination
Sometimes it may be difficult to find a good plugin which does the exact thing you need.
But, often if you widen your search to something more general you’ll find the plugin you’re looking for. Instead of searching for a plugin to help add a list of teachers or trainers to your site, search for something more general like “team members“.
A good example is the way we use the integration of Jetpack’s Portfolio feature in different demos of Presence theme:
Let’s change the way we categorize themes
Back to our story. The tale of how we started out with a music theme, but ended up creating a multipurpose theme that works across different niches, shows just how quickly we can find the right tools if we know what we need.
We should change the way we look at or categorize WordPress themes. Instead of searching for travel or music themes, focus on design an customization possibilities. Because that’s what a theme is responsible for. Everything else is plugin territory.
Don’t lock yourself in themes that bundle custom functionalities instead of relying on plugins that work with any theme.
That’s what we tried to do with Presence. We’re excited to release it to you and are sure you’ll agree we’ve succeeded here.