The most effective method I’ve found is asking the user to rate the theme after I resolve any issues the they have in my support forum. Happy customers tend to give happy ratings
This works absolutely, and I’m embarrassed to say that 99% of the time that’s when I take the time to rate. When themes work solidly and there are no issues I just do my thing and move on. Unfortunately it means I hardly rate good themes that truly deserve it.
I suggested in the badges thread a while ago to Envato to issue ratings badges to encourage rating.
There’s already several authors who offer paid support vs free support. ‘Premium Support’ in their cases means you get responded to as a priority and also you get a little more hand-holding. Seems to be working for them as we are looking at possibly offering this. We already offer theme installation and customization services so seems natural to us, also just received an email this morning from a potential buyer asking if we provide premium support moving forward they can pay for.
As a buyer of themes for clients I see this as a good option in general. Not for the priority support and handholding, as in my experience most themes work the way they should and good authors tend to be helpful with simple customization tips. Larger customization services, keeping the theme updated and playing well with plug-ins etc., is something I wouldn’t mind packaging as part of ongoing maintenance for clients and ‘outsourcing’ to the very author I bought the theme from. I think I can sell such a service to my clients for both Wordpress and Magento themes that I buy right here on TF.
Tiered buyer rating badges (rated 1 item, rated 10+ items, etc.) might be a good idea to raise awareness and give some kind of incentive for buyers to rate items
I agree with tommusrhodus and greenline as I’m guilty of this. I rarely rate unless the theme is really outstanding, yet I only look at themes with rating stars and only buy 4 and 5 star themes.
The other instances I may move to rate a theme is right after a good support experience where the author replies ‘don’t forget to rate…’ and I feel compelled to return the favor (as free support is such). This means that great themes that work properly remain unrated in my download section. So again +1 for a buyer rating badge.
If I may as well, I recall a similar system on a now defunct site called Helium for amateur writers where stars were awarded for rating other writers’ submissions. In addition to writing stars, the rating stars right next to it was always a glaring comparison that sort of finger-wagged at the persons apparent selfishness, i.e. loved to write and have fellow writers rate his work but won’t spare the time to do the same for others. Some sort of similar concept here can be entertained.
Again I’m totally guilty of this selfishness as I use the ratings of others to aid my purchase decisions, yet I rarely rate, which means that perhaps very good themes (since I buy mostly WP themes), are getting overlooked.
Loss of stars because of un-deserved low rating affects an item more than realized. I don’t EVER look at an item that’s 3 stars or less, and I only purchase rated items.
Crusader12 saidI totally agree with this and would support such a ‘sister market’. [ speaking as a buyer ]
... However, there’s a whole sister market for services with many capable developers that would probably love to make an income customizing and supporting plugins and themes. Seems like everyone would win and any support / update issues would at least be isolated to a single section of one market. Serious authors will continue to write clean code and keep their items current. [ speaking as an author ]
My broken record answer: paid updates would solve this.
Buyers should receive all updates as part of their purchase for a fixed period (ex: 12 months), then afterward had to renew their license to continue getting updates. This would give authors an incentive to maintain old items because they could legitimately earn from their existing customers…The real question is whether you (as a buyer) get business value from those updates, and would pay that renewal cost versus maintaining it yourself. Otherwise this situation will not change.
I don’t mind paying for updates after a fixed period, I’ll simply pass it to the client but making them aware first that the project terms for updates after initial project delivery is additional $. I can’t do it as I’m not a coder so I have to have it done by a third party. I’ll always prefer keeping everything in the Envato system whether updated by the author or some other ‘Envato Approved’ update department even for a price.
Envato has to bear in mind that not all buyers are one-off do-it-yourselfers, but are in the website configuring as a business. Last I checked I’ve done at least 100 websites since 2011 of which 75% are still active sites and some themes have been removed by the authors and I can’t even find them for support.
If I may add my 2 cents as a buyer and ‘website configurer’ who does so for clients, about 85% of my purchases have been WP themes and lately I’ve been gravitating towards themes with Visual Composer. But my process is different as I choose themes based on look and feel and suitability for a client’s business FIRST, then by rating, then by author badge (I tend towards Elite authors and higher sales badges).
I always look for two features to set my mind at ease- Visual Composer and Woo Commerce. I’ve observed that most of the themes that catch my eye (for at least this year so far), usually have these as standard so I usually don’t have to make a choice.
If Visual Composer is not there and some other page builder, I don’t mind as my experience gives me the ability to work with any, though some are a nuisance to work with. VC just makes my job easier as I can focus on creatively configuring my client’s content for inbound marketing with the power to quickly move things around.
In summary, if I had to choose between 2 themes that are ‘equal’ for my client’s needs, one with VC and one without, I’ll choose the one with VC.
- who are seasoned buyers with ‘theme configuration’ businesses as well
- who, contrary to popular belief, are not laughing all the way to the bank
- who ask for support for legitimate support issues
- who search the comments first for answers before posting (so post rarely- searchable comments as been a huge blessing)
- who sometimes ask for simple customization requests, i.e. where author says go to CSS and do so and so (not go in and do it for me)
- who relies on a certain amount of goodwill with great authors and keep buying their themes or recommending first for clients
- who doesn’t take advantage of the support system and play by the rules
- who continues to purchase as prices continue to rise
I think a buyer like myself, who’s been around a while and consistently buys themes (TF accounts for 85% of my purchases), I’m being unfairly lumped with newbies and one-off buyers and being penalized because of them. Is there any scenario where I get a fair shake? The current system works fine for me as is.
If the author feels my request is a ‘customization’ he tells me, I tell my client, and this has never happened. Once I have a good rapport with an author, I keep buying his themes and he knows when to indulge me as is his choice. I always seek out Elite authors first, and 4-5 star items but I rarely rate even though I depend on the ratings of others.
I rarely rate because most themes work the way they should so I never have to go back. I rate only when an author asks me in a reply to a support question after they provided good support… “please take the time to rate…” so that’s when I take the time.
I don’t rate immediately because I give clients a 4-6 week delivery date with a max 8 weeks, so I don’t get to use the theme thoroughly enough to give a rating. By then it’s not at the front of my mind.
Most themes are very customizable nowadays, you shouldn’t have any trouble. Specific questions are best answered by the theme author.