Darren Hoyt is most easily associated with being the creator of the free wordpress theme Mimbo. This simple magazine style wordpress theme really raised the standards of quality for free wordpress themes. The Mimbo theme was so good and so popular that it quickly had people asking when they would see more work from Darren.
The popularity of the Mimbo theme led Darren to develop the Mimbo Pro theme and start a small business that was focused on the premium wordpress theme market. I had a chance to talk to Darren about what it was like starting a premium wordpress theme business and this is what he had to say…
Here are some questions we asked ourselves before launching Mimbo Pro (I’m just brainstorming, you may want to re-phrase):
How would support be handled?
We decided to set up a blog, a forum (bbPress), a help-desk (Mojo)
for special issues, and lots of documentation. Ben and I also split up the number of days per week we assist people on the forum. In extreme cases, we help via email.
How would upgrades be handled?
We set up a password-protected Google Groups for upgrades and member news.
How would documentation work?
We wrote as much as we could beforehand, then continued evolving it based on user feedback after the launch.
How would we handle licensing issues?
We spoke with some experienced software folks and got a better handle on the phrasing for Single and Multi license terms. We also included a license.txt file.
In rare cases where the code wasn’t ours (ex: DomTab), we got
explicit permission from the author and made sure to credit them.
How would we distinguish the theme and make it worth charging for?
In addition to quality design and features, we went as far as we could to bake in all the functionality we could without the need for plugins. We included: an image gallery, contact form, recent comments module, author-highlighting of comments, thumbnail-resizing and so forth.
How else should we make it easy on users?
We built a full-featured control panel to handle as many options as we could, and included multiple color schemes that can be switched on or off.
How should we test it?
We gave the theme to 4-5 friends without explaining anything and told them to install it and read the documentation. Lots of good feedback came out of that.
How should we code it?
We validated all the code, included comments in the PHP, and checked it on all browsers/platform. We’ve also written some tutorials so that even folks who haven’t bought the theme will understand how it works. In short, we employed all the Best Practices that a web firm would prior to launching a site.
What about non-English speakers?
We’ve solicited translations in 10 different languages and provided documentation for each.