As some people may already know, each WordPress theme I design has a free version that is often designated with the added term “Lite” which represents the theme as being free and basic or limited features. The “Lite” versions give the end-user the option of using it for their website, or as a testing stage before purchasing the pro version…or any other premium WordPress themes I offer.
You are probably wondering where are they because you don’t see them on this website. Technically they are, it’s just that they are not accessible from the main menu since Shaped Pixels has been online since 2015. The themes in question are available on the wordpress.org website. Of course, it really depends on when the Theme Review Team releases a theme, then it becomes available for download.
Most people will probably know that the WordPress website has a theme directory (sometimes called a Repository) where theme developers, such as myself, can submit ours for inclusion into the directory as a free download. Right now I believe there are over 4000 themes listed there…which is a lot!
When I come up with a new theme concept, I design two versions, one is fully featured while the other is a basic limited featured version. It’s this one that gets submitted to the WordPress.org website and waits to get reviewed by their Theme Review Team. When submitted, it gets added to a waiting list (a queue) where one of the reviewers will pick it up and perform a code review of the theme; making sure it passes the rules and guidelines of WordPress code standards.
Once the theme is reviewed and passes 100%, it goes into another waiting list (queue) where an Administrator will give a final check and approval. If it passes, the theme goes live!
A Very Long Waiting List
Just over a year ago, it took about 2 months from the point of submission to the point it goes live. Since then, the theme queue has grown dramatically to where it now takes up to six(6) months! This means that you and the developer must wait up to half a year for it to go live and be made available for download, a time period that is much too long. I also know some theme authors have left in frustration having to wait so long. I will admit I’ve been tempted. However, I still plan to submit themes to the directory, but rather than make people wait, I am giving serious consideration to make the theme available for download from the Shaped Pixels website.
My Morphology Lite theme was finally approved and it went live just a few days ago, but there are still three(3) themes in the queue that I’ve submitted. The last one submitted for inclusion into the theme directory was my Prelude Lite (the free version of Prelude) theme when it was uploaded on June 19, 2016 (7 weeks ago as of the time of writing this article). Based on the number of themes in the queue — approximately 1200 — Prelude Lite won’t get reviewed until around the end of December and more likely won’t go live until the end of January.
However, you still can get my free themes and support with the ones that are live at wordpress.org
Changes I am Considering
As I mentioned, waiting 6 months to get a theme is absolutely crazy because by the time it goes live, the theme is already half a year old which is why I am giving consideration to make my free themes available from the Shaped Pixels website. I would also setup a “Free Support” membership to allow users to get access to the support forum, although this would be basic support compared to support that comes with the premium theme version.
Ultimately what this means is that you will not have to wait 6 months for a free theme from Shaped Pixels.
Free Theme Development Changes
I am planning to make some decisions as to what free themes will be made available. I’m not sure if I will be able to maintain a free version for every premium theme I release, but I will make sure I have the best choices available to you. One possibility is to design a small portfolio of free themes with no premium version but are unique and can stand on their own. This would ensure that premium theme development and support is not affected as Shaped Pixels continues to grow in popularity.
So there you have it….the possibility I will be adding free themes to the Shaped Pixels website with the addition of a free support membership. I will give this more thought over the next few days, so stay tuned.
UPDATE After a couple of days, I’ve decided that I “will” be adding free themes and support to the Shaped Pixels website. I will begin setting this up next week,