Issues Generally Not Covered in a Free WordPress Theme Release

After more than 30 free WordPress theme releases to the public (aka community), I’m starting to see a trend in the comments I get in the support posts from users of my free themes.

So I thought I’d take the time — ala this post — to inform my users in particular of what typical issues are included in a free WordPress theme release.

I have written this post for two primary reasons:

1. I need a place to point people to for my future releases so I don’t have to reiterate everything I’ve already done. I’ve seen other designers get so frustrated with the community because of some of the issues I’m going to explain here and I don’t want that burnout to happen to me.

2. I do want to help free theme users get the best help possible. This isn’t just a rant. With new bloggers using WordPress every day, the education process must be continual. Thus, I offer this up to the community as well.

OK, so on to the issues not covered and this post …

ISSUES GENERALLY COVERED IN A FREE THEME RELEASE

Here are a list of things that theme authors, namely me, will usually fix “for free.”

  • The theme breaks during normal operations in Internet 6, Internet 7 or Firefox
  • A major theme file is missing, like the comments file, or footer file
  • WordPress PHP code isn’t working properly or fails

NOTE: Most everything else — i.e. outside of this list — is something you will need to pay me, or another designer to do for you if you can’t do it yourself.

EXAMPLES ISSUES NOT COVERED IN A FREE THEME RELEASE

  • The header is text and you want an image logo in its place. Or vice versa. The theme was created with that particular design in mind. If you want more, please pay the designer to do that for you.
  • You tinkered with the code and messed it up. That’s outside the free theme release parameters.
  • Plugins that you’ve installed but don’t work in the theme. There are literally thousands of free plugins out there. And there is no way a designer can provide a style for them all.
  • You don’t like a particular style element and want it changed. Like a blockquote, or a headline color.

NOTE: Yet again, In all of these cases, you should hire the designer to do this work for you if you can’t ….

TWO COMMON ISSUES NOT COVERED

  • You import a photo into a post that is bigger than the content container. Solution: Resize the image and make it smaller.
  • You install a new plugin or widget and the theme break — not all plugins or widgets, or themes for that matter are created the same. Remember: This is an open source environment. Solution: Don’t use 500 free plugins and expect them all to work simultaneously in your theme.

HOW TO GET THE BEST THEME SUPPORT

To get the best support for a theme-related problem, please include as much detail as possible in the comment post, including the website address where the problem exists and the web browser where the problem is seen.

ONE BIG KEY PIECE OF ADVICE FOR ALL FREE THEME USERS

If you have a theme-related problem … but you have taken off the author/credit links on the bottom of the theme on your site … don’t expect the designer to help you. This has happened to me several times.

Someone asks for help, then I visit the site to see what the problem is … only to find out they have done me the disservice of taking off the only thing I ask them to keep — credit for the work I’ve done.

OK, that’s it so far … I’ll continue to update this post as I run into more issues.

COACHING VIA CHAT

Do you just need someone to help walk you through some of the harder issues of tweaking your theme? Try our coaching via chat service. Contact us today to find out rates for this service.

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