So far, I design and develop my themes with these standards in mind:

  1. Minimalist, easy to use, and developed with one specific archetype.
  2. Responsive design using mobile first approach.
  3. Automatically generated color scheme. There is an option for selecting custom color but this should be made as few as possible.
  4. Translation ready.
  5. Third party plugins compatibility. They at least support Jetpack’s infinite scroll module, Civil Footnotes, Subtitles, and WP-IG.

I personally like my themes but I made the themes to solve people’s problem and judging from the themes’ stats, it appears that their adoption is a bit slow. My first thoughts were:

  1. I can be wrong about what to add and what to remove to a theme
  2. What needs to be improved?
  3. What issue I need to focus on?
  4. What makes a widely used WordPress theme which is released in wordpress.org1?

Themers, please share me your opinion. I really appreciate your thought on this.


  1. I’m currently focusing on releasing theme on WordPress.org. A theme for premium market might have different characteristic 

5 thoughts on “What Makes A Widely Used WordPress.org Themes?

  1. You can try to focus on business niche theme, why? The ‘world’ on WPROG changed significantly since WordPress become one of the most popular ‘CMS’. Yes, CMS not a blogging platform 😀

    https://selademo.wordpress.com/ example of simple business theme.

    1. I see. As far as I know, most theme at TF is business theme, too, isn’t it?

      Thank you for your feedback, Sat 😀

  2. I personally like how Cinnamon looks but I think it lack some of the key features for a blog theme.

    1. It doesn’t have a featured image on homepage and archives pages
    2. It doesn’t show excerpt or post content on homepage and archive pages

    I also think a bigger margin between the header and the main content could make the theme look better http://note.io/1DYXwZq plus there’s a small gap on the header, not sure if it was intentional or not http://note.io/1CUn7w0.

    1. Hi Yogi, thank you for your feedback 😀

      1. It actually have featured image. However, it is being used as decorative background for entry instead as “content”. You can see some posts here have “different background”: http://cinnamon.fikrirasy.id/. It is actually a featured image being used as background
      2. It is design decision I made. I want it to list post title so it can be skimmed faster

      Small gap on the header is actually 5px border for “color accent”. It can be customized to user’s liking.

      Based on your feedback / concerns, I think I should’ve made it more clear. Thanks yog 😀

  3. Another thing you could do is to corner some niche use cases (photographers, artists, journalists) while supplying enough flexibility to customize (colors/typography/other) so that each one can be different/unique from the others.

    I would also think that supporting future facing web standards like microformats (v1 and v2) and schema.org markup which many personal bloggers and even businesses would make use of, but don’t have the technical expertise to implement or know they need to implement. (They’re also generally easy since you’re primarily adding additional classes for semantic mark up in addition to pre-existing classes for styling.) One of the few themes I’m aware that supports these is SemPress [https://github.com/pfefferle/SemPress] which you could use as a guide. If you’re interested you could find more details at http://indieweb.org.

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