Ok, so I do a lot of different stuff with WordPress. I have at least 50 personal websites right now, all running on WordPress. I’ve skinned WordPress blogs for static HTML and Joomla sites, I’ve created client sites using WordPress. I’m really not the type of person to even bother with premium themes. I have a few here and there from websites I’ve bought off of Digital Point, but I’ve never actually gone to the trouble of buying a premium WordPress theme. Nevertheless, I was always a little curious about the WP Remix theme. For one thing, I was already a fan of R.Bhavesh’s work. His WP Premium theme, which is free, is a very high quality theme and I have used it quite a few times in the past. He has also done a great job of setting up www.wpremix.com.I had a project I was working on and decided to pull the trigger and purchase WP Remix to take the project to the next level. I was almost considering buying the full developer license. Thank god I didn’t. Anyway, I’m going to start with a few reasons why I bought WP Remix, and what I like about it, then go into my beef.
First of all, the thing that really stuck out to me above and beyond was the fact that he has created a matching skin for BBPress. I was really excited for the possibility of integrating my blog with a BBpress forum and keeping the design 100% consistent. He has also hinted at future e-commerce compatibility, which is interesting to say the least. The only thing I can think of that i actually liked after trying the theme for myself was the fact that you could pull up a template in the WordPress editor. Definitely a really cool feature, although I don’t know how much it matters, and I don’t even know if it’s an advantage for everyone using the theme.
That’s it for the good. Now on to what I absolutely hated about the theme.
WP Remix doesn’t integrate easily with an existing blog, fully populated with content and using a regular WordPress theme. In my opinion at least. My blog was composed of almost 100 posts, probably 75% videos, and a handfull of random pages. What I originally wanted to do was change my blog into a regular looking website with a variety of differnet pages besides the blog. I found this very difficult to do. For one thing, the template system is actually a little confusing, and it seemed to me that it didn’t work 100% properly. To make a long story short, I did not even get close to what my original intention was. I think, if I had set everything up like this for a brand new site, before actually adding content, it would be a lot easier, but I found that it was taking so much time to try and get everything formatted properly, I was losing money by having my site offline.
So I decided to totally scrap that idea. As part of the deal Bhavesh also includes several different “Magazine” style blog themes with the WP Remix package, so I thought I would give that a try instead. Again, not only did it seem overcomplicated, I really don’t feel that there is anything particularly special about the look and feel of the magazine style remix themes he includes. These days themes like that are a dime a dozen, and the main problem with Magazine themes in general is they are a pain in the ass to set up, many of them take longer to post to, and they still don’t look that much better than regular free WordPress themes.
The last thing that really bothers me about the theme is that he puts a WP Remix favicon in there. I’m really not a fan of putting a branded favicon into a theme package. I do a ton of work with Joomla and it’s one thing I just can’t stand about it. Now I can remove a favicon in 10 seconds, but not everyone knows how to do it, and I think it’s just a little bit shameless – especially for a theme that someone has to pay $75.00 for.
Ok so that’s mainly what I hated about it (keep in mind that all this took place about 3 months ago, which is why it is difficult to get into too much detail). In a nutshell, I spend a good percentage of my week working with WordPress and I found it to be difficult to use. Not impossible, but if you’re not WordPress savvy, or you have plans to migrate an existing blog which is already well established into the WP Remix platform, it may not be a breeze. I also think it lacks creativity overall as far as the design goes. At first I was intrigued by the “WordPress as a CMS” line they tout over there. Especially considering I am in the business of selling people websites. Unfortunately, the reality is, if you’re in the web development business, or planning on starting a web development company, and the premise of your business is to use WP Remix as a platform for all of your client sites, I don’t think you’ve really thought the idea through very well. In my opinion it would be a lot harder to develop all your sites using WP Remix and try to make them all look 100% unique than it would be to simply learn how to code PSD to WordPress.
The Interesting Side Note
I’ve always had the idea to start WP Contempo – a site where I can share my WordPress themes and give away WordPress pointers. I create themes for myself, to use on my own blogs, and ultimately I have no reason not to share them with others. I run into problems and need to research solutions to things all the time – no reason not to post my solutions for others who have the same problem. Before I even started this blog, I sent an email to R.Bhavesh. I already knew full well that WP Remix was not refundable before I bought it. I told Bhavesh that I had purchased the theme, given it a try, and found that it was not something I would be able to use. I asked him if he would allow me to give away my license in a contest on my blog. It took quite a while to get a response back, but of course the answer is no. So instead of giving away a free WP Remix license which would have given both he and I free promotion, and been a win win situation, I’m writing this review, and I have a copy of WP Remix sitting in a folder collecting dust on my computer.
I don’t think WP Remix is necessarily awful, and it has a lot of features, updates and support for only $75.00. On the other hand, I think Elegant themes has some of the nicest premium themes out there and Woo Themes also has great stuff if you can afford it. If you must use a premium theme, that’s probably what I would recommend checking out.
Really, I don’t endorse any kind of premium WordPress themes other than the free ones. That’s why you don’t see any 125×125 banners for Woo Themes in my sidebar like every other WordPress site has. I only endorse products I actually use myself. If you want something really cool and original, make it yourself. If you don’t know how to make a WordPress theme, make up for it by spending a lot of time to find the right free theme for you. Your site is actually going to be a lot less original if you use a premium theme because there are a ton of people using the same thing. There’s probably 10’s of thousands of Free wordpress themes sitting out there right now that nobody at all is using.