What happens when two people start a conversation about everything that sucks about WordPress themes today? If they’re average folks, not much. However, if one provides support to thousands of WordPress site owners and the other is a talented developer with a boatload of SEO experience, things start to get interesting.
View from the Trenches
The company Ryan Sullivan founded and runs, WP Site Care, has handled over 10,000 support tickets for WordPress sites in the last year. When you’re providing that volume of WordPress support, themes emerge. Themes around..themes. People were struggling with themes that were unwieldy and complicated, themes they couldn’t make resemble the demo they initially saw, and themes that were just ill suited to their true business objectives. Hundreds of customers simply needed help uploading their logo! Ryan thought there had to be a better way.
As I worked with customers at WP Site Care, so many theme buyers felt like they were abandoned after their theme purchase. I wanted to create a company that started the relationship after the first transaction, not ended it there. I thought about how great it would be to incorporate some simple and helpful services with an amazing product, and that’s where the journey to building Flagship began.
As a WordPress developer and SEO expert, Rob Neu has had the opportunity to see some of the best and worst WordPress implementations around. An admitted perfectionist, Rob wants to see the WordPress theme space evolve and include widespread adoption of WordPress coding standards and best practices, and Rob is personally ready to focus on sophisticated details like fully internationalized multilingual support, detailed and exacting schema.org implementations, and support for the Theme Hook Alliance. As he’s audited sites for SEO, he’s developed a pretty solid checklist of opportunities to improve themes.
Since I started working with WordPress, themes have always been a pain point. When I was first getting started, I worked with themes from many sources and it didn’t take long for me to realize that most people making themes cared more about getting the sale with flashy designs than building something that was actually useful. This has always bothered me and I’ve wanted to do something to help balance the scales for quite some time.
A Fateful Tweet
Ryan and Rob first connected when Ryan was tweeting about some SEO problems with his site, and Rob offered to lend a hand. According to Ryan, Rob’s help made such a remarkable difference, it was clear that Rob was someone he’d want to work with again an again.
As they worked together on various projects, they found that they shared many of the same thoughts and frustrations around WordPress themes. After saying “Clearly we could do a better job” one too many times, they decided to do just that. The Flagship mission was born. They jotted down some basic ideas and started building some themes.
No. Wait. Stop.
That’s not even close to what happened. Nobody jumped in and built any themes. Instead, they did some careful research with the goal of understanding what could really benefit site owners in a theme. They distilled their research into five clear priorities and one overarching motto.
Match users with appropriate themes. What if, instead of randomly choosing a theme, they could guide users to their best choices based on their industry or goals?
Help users get to a finished functional website as quickly and easily as possible. What if, instead of wading through 50 options and 7 layouts, instead of choosing from 100 fonts and endless colors, these decisions were streamlined into the best possible combinations? Decisions, not options.
Make high quality, best practice themes. Quality is effortless to say and difficult to do, and Flagship’s strength here is Rob’s involvement. Rob’s earned a great deal of respect in the WordPress community for his development skills and SEO knowledge. Expect themes that have been refined at every level.
Create continuity between themes and support. Flagship has the unique opportunity to offer theme support and customization through its sister company, WP Site Care. Most theme companies focus on themes, and develop support infrastructure as needed, if they offer support at all. The WP Site Care team will be trained and ready to help, and offer the support experience of a successful, established company.
We’re in this together. Obviously we want to create a successful, profitable business, but we also aspire to more. We want feedback and input from our customers. We want to support the WordPress community, and inspire each other to new levels of excellence.
In two shorts weeks (yikes!) we’ll be able to share with you what we’ve spent the last several months planning for and creating. We’re excited for you to see it and put it to the test. We’ve got a feeling you’re going to love it!
To celebrate our maiden voyage, and as a thank you to our early supporters, we’re excited to announce what we’re so creating calling THE GREAT BIG SUPER HUGE GIVEAWAY. Because really, that’s what it is. It’s a prize package that includes a Macbook Air, as well as over $3,500 dollars in additional software and services. You don’t want to miss it, so please go and enter now.
Thank you again for all of your support as we embark on this new adventure. We’re excited to bring you along with us!