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WP Theme Generator – The Voodoo Review

Well, this is a first here on VoodooPress! Now we’ve given some pretty brief reviews of products before, but those were simply things I was using – and felt obliged to mention. I figure if I’m using something and it works, or doesn’t work, it’s my job to let all you WordPress peeps know about it! It’s best for the community when we all share what we learn! This time I was approached by WP Theme Generator and asked if I would check out their product. I thought, why not? It looked like a cool product, so I figured we should all check it out together! Just a note, this isn’t a paid review – I was given access to the product so I could thoroughly test, but was not paid. So these opinions are completely my own! Let’s dive in!

So, before we get into the nitty gritty, what do I think? Well, I definitely had fun! WP Theme Generator is a web interface product, you log on to the site, you make a theme, and then you can download it! All the pointing and clicking is pretty fun in my book. There are some points where this producst is still a bit rough around the edges, but it is brand new. I think the product will improve over time, and I think some people will really enjoy it. Also, you can get a pretty cool looking theme out of it! Now I’ll tell you about my experience!

When you head over to the WP Theme Generator webite, take a look at their home page. See how that looks? If you like it, this product may be for you. You can make thousands of variations in your theme with tonnes of graphical elements and colour options, and all sorts of sidebar combos, and layout choices, etc. But ultimately, your site will always have the ‘feel’ of that main page. That’s not a bad thing really, the layout is a pretty common blog layout – and it works. You just won’t be able to radically shift away from that baseline.

When you log in to the site, you begin to create your theme. You can alter layouts, and change just about everything. Each little graphical element you see on the page – social icons, post and widget wrappers, backgrounds, menus, search bar, even highlights and shadows. These all have myriad options for you. If the provided options aren’t enough you can also upload your own graphical elements for certain features. There is even a font selector to alter your headings and body text. I like that, as I like my heading to be serif, and body to be sans. I appreciate the choices!

Besides being able to change out all the colours, the layout, and the graphical elements, you can alter some of the functionality. You have slider options here – Featured slider, Nivo, Accordion, and Piece maker sliders. You can also add a variety of ‘sidebars’ or widget areas to the top and bottom, left and right. The cool thing about this is that you aren’t locking yourself in here. The changes you make to the fonts, colours, and graphical elements are, for the most part, permanent for this theme. But the sliders and sidebars are really just to help you envision your site at this point, they can be changed later on – once the theme is on your site, from the admin option panel.

Let’s talk about the admin side of things. If you are a paid user, you can download your creation as a WordPress theme, all packaged up into a zip file and ready to install. Once installed and activated, you can explore the features. I”m going to touch on what I noticed here, I guarantee these themes offer more than what I discovered.

A pleasent surprise once installed is that the admin panel doesn’t fight with WordPress. So often, themes try to wedge in their own admin panels – trying to get over-fancy, and not using the tools provided by WordPress. The backend on this theme uses the tools provided. It looks like a piece of WordPress, not some other bizarre program shoved in there trying to be fancy. Besides the theme’s own menu, it utilizes some of the built in theme customization options – headers and backgrounds. Thats always nice.

In the backend you are given the opportunity to customize a variety of options. You can upload a logo, alter the header text, create and remove sidebars, pick your social icons, and add in the links, change your slider, and pick the slider content, add in you analytics code, customize your footer text, etc. There are a good deal of options, but not too many. The theme does balance functionality and options. Some themes present hundreds of options in the admin panel, and that’s just silly! With a WP Theme Generator theme, you just get the essential things you need.

The theme presents a couple of other things you might like. You get a variety of custom taxonomies pre-installed, including Gallery Items, Portfolio Items, Product Items, Services, and Testimonials. These can be used to offer up various content and serve it in a custom manner using the provided templates, or through shortcodes. Speaking of shortcodes, you get plenty. You get shortcodes to frame images, style quotes, dividers, buttons, popovers, modal windows, tooltips, etc. Some people love these things, some don’t. I’m not a huge fan, but for very specific personal reasons. Having shortcodes and custom post types or taxonomies built into a theme locks you into the theme. You can’t switch themes without losing the functionality and breaking your content – hence, my repeated focus on a functionality plugin. Usage of some of the cool additional features may not be apparent at first, but their website has some pretty good documentation which will help you learn how to use your new theme! Definitely read the docs, there nothing worse than finding out you’ve had a feature available that you haven’t been using.

I mentioned previously that this is a new product, and will no doubt evolve over time. I’m going to look at a few oversights I found that would block this theme from being a daily driver for me. I threw my generated theme up on my test site where I try everything out (NOTE: the theme is active there now, and I’ll leave it up for a bit. If you wish to see the theme, and it’s not up, just ask me and I’ll turn it on for you).  and ran into some issues.

One of the features noticeable lacking, is post format support. On all of my sites I rely heavily on the various post formats. They are not included in the theme currently. You can’t assign posts to a format, and there is no styling included for individual formats. A few other things I noticed using the WordPress theme unit test are as follows. On a post which has been split into multiple pages, the links are absent which allow me to navigate through the posts subpages.  Centered images did not center. Sometimes on a post with many categories, the categories overlapped the content. On a menu many top level items, the contents will break out of the menu and display plain text below the graphical menu. And I also ran into problems with my social icons getting mixed up, they were pointing at the wrong services. As far as styling text within posts, all of the alignments, tables, lists, headings, etc. were all styled well, I didn’t find anything that got missed.

Also, when you download your theme, it is named WP Theme Generator. Not too much of a problem, but I would prefer it to be custom named whatever I would like. While I’m looking at the code, let’s talk about that. In general, the code wasn’t hard to read through. It would be complicated if you wanted to customize it directly, many divs are used to be able to position the graphical elements. Also, in the header a meta description was hard coded in discussing WP Theme Generator. This would not be hard to fix for anyone who knows code, but for the average user trying to use an SEO plugin, this would be frustrating. Also in the header is a hardcoded link to a Google hosted jQuery. The off-site resource isn’t a bad thing, I do it on my sites. However, this brings up a couple of issues. We’ve discussed earlier not hardcoding jQuery into the header, but rather, we enqueue it using the provided tools WordPress has like this. Also, relying on a particular jQuery which is not bundled with WP can be dangerous. ON the last upgrade of WP, many peolpe’s admin panels broke due to conflicting jQuery. WP wanted one, but a theme/plugin used a different one.

Now, here’s a cool feature. When you create a theme on WP Theme Generator, it is basically a layer built on top of their framework. And of course, you can save your theme on their site. This means that as they upgrade their framework to provide improvements, or to implement future WordPress features, your theme can be downloaded again from where it is saved, and it will bring in the new features that have been put into the framework.

One final thing to mention, the theme is pretty resource heavy. The zip file for my theme was 8MB. To put that into perspective, the zip for all of WordPress (with 2 themes included) is less than half of that! The themes rely heavily on graphics, which is really going to hit your load times pretty hard. Caching can definitely help you with this. If you really loved the theme you created, you could manually combine scripts, css files, and sprite the graphics if you’d like. That would be a fair amount of work though.

So, my bottom line? I think WP Theme Generator is a lot of fun to play with. I made a few themes, and had a good time doing it. The results come out pretty – there are so many graphical elements to play with it’s crazy! All of the graphical elements are high quality, nothing looks fuzzy or pixelated. You can do a lot of neat things, and you are given a variety of options. You also get a variety of custom posting options, shortcodes, sidebar options, layout options, etc. You can definitely go crazy with setting up some good looking custom themes. And the theme is built on a framework that can be easily upgraded.

The flip side of this is that the themes are huge, and resource heavy. Using some of the features will lock you in to the theme, you can’t change away from a WP Theme Generator theme without losing or breaking content. Some of the coding presents some issues that I’m not happy with, and the template structure can be confusing. The lack of post format support was a big shortcoming for me personally.

I feel WP Theme Generator has an interesting product, definitely one to play with. You can head over there now and play around with what is offered. GIve it a go and see what you come up with! Of course, the things that were shortcomings to me may not be such a big deal to you. Themes are a highly personal thing, and I’m pretty particular about mine. While you can play with the theme generator for free, you’ll have to pony up some loot if you want your actual theme for your site. Right now it’ll cost you $29 nucks to make and doanload as many themes as you want for 6 months. I’d say, if you like what you see, that price is pretty reasonable.

27 thoughts on “WP Theme Generator – The Voodoo Review”

  1. I’m glad you reviewed this. I saw CatsWhoCode post it the other day, and I’ve been curious since. My main concern is indeed the coding though and I wish you would of gone further into it. What’s the skill level required to make a simple edit? The themes I was looking at all seemed like had at least one thing I’d need to edit on my own but alot of Framework seemed un-editable for me (out of my scope).

    I’m also curious on the comment section. I’ve yet to see a FW theme that really let’s you play with the comments.

    The file size review is huge for me though. I idealy wanted to use one of these for a Buddypress theme so with that much resource I may stray somewhere else. I’m sure the images can be “smushed” saving some space though.

    1. I didn’t want to bog the review down with a detailed code review. The code is indeed a bit complicated though. It would take a fair bit of knowledge to go in there and make edits. A lot of little pieces depend on each other from a display standpoint, since the divs are used to put the little graphical elements in place. There are also a fair amount of custom hooks and calls used. You would really have to dig into the theme to be able to link it all together.
      The comments aren’t hugely customizeable. You can tweak icons, buttons, colours, fonts – but it looks like a fairly standard comment box. Don’t get me wrong… it looks niice.
      The buddypress thing would probably be a headache. With all the custom templates in use here, you would need to craft your own buddypress pack basically, I would think.

  2. Hi Rev, I built a theme with wpthemegenerator.com – I payed the $29 via PayPal for premium access and the ability to download my theme for WordPress. The “Premium” service was never linked to my account and there’s no contact info on the site. It only links to their YouTube page. User support only comes with the “Premium” package. Long story short… did I get scammed? Do you have a direct contact at the company? I can provide any account info needed. Thanks!

    1. I definitely do not think you got scammed, in my dealings with the WP Theme Generator folks, they have been nothing but professional. I just went to the site, right at the very top of the page is a contect form link. Were you able to use that?
      http://www.wpthemegenerator.com/contact-form-wts/
      Is the direct link. Give that a try and see if that helps. If not, I can send them an email and point them to this comment to assist you – but I think they will get back to you quickly!

      1. Thanks for the response. I found the contact form and have provided by PayPal purchase ID. I also contacted the email address associated with the PayPal account. If I get this situation resolved, I’ll make sure to update on my above comment. If I don’t hear back by mid-week, I may have you attempt to reach out. It’s a great builder and I hope it was just a small technical error with the account upgrade. Thanks for your help. Appreciated.

        1. I’m hopeful it will be fixed quickly! But yes, please keep me informed. As with any new product, there is an occasional technical glitch. So by reporting the issue, you can get things fixed for yourself, and also help them to try to resolve the issue from happening to anyone else!

  3. I have written several emails and filled in contact forms since last week and not getting replies! I am having errors with templates installed and now my top menu no longer displays. As much as I love the Theme Generator the support should be improved upon! I have now sent an email stating should I not get support I’ll make a claim back with PayPal. I had hihg hopes!

    1. Hi there. I will forward your message along to the Theme Generator folks – not sure that will help, I don’t know them personally or anything. I’m sorry you are having such a tough time with the service. Did your problems start with the WP 3.4 upgrade, do you know? I’m wondering if they’ve run in to some compatibility issues?

  4. I too am having problems with this product. The themes are buggy and i have sent 3 emails requesting a refund, no response yet. I will start a paypal dispute if i don’t here back soon.

  5. I purchased wp theme generator premium and found it to be buggy and not as good as its made out to be.I made request for a full refund the same day i purchased it which was days ago now and still no reply to any of my emails or messages through the contact us link at the top of there page.
    There direct email gets bounced back as unknown.
    Not the way to do business at all.I am going to have to file complaint with paypal now to claim the money back through them.
    Would definitely not recommend this Wptheme generator or company to anyone after not even replying to one message even if it is to say it is being dealt with.Take your money and run people the wp theme generator team are for sure.And it looks like i am not the only one having the same issue reading through these posts.
    Will be opening paypal dispute against them today

    1. I am sorry that you are having such a bad experience with them. But thank you for reporting your issue here, for all the VoodooPress readers to see! I hope everything gets resolved!

  6. after i’ve played a little with wp theme generator today,which is really cool, i searched about testimonials, reviews etc. I read your very useful review here, but as i see in the comments (which could easily be find in ither websites reviews and comments) there are a lot of bugs and no support. Is this still the fact?
    May there is further info about wpthemegnerator products and support?

  7. UNfortunately I can’t comment any further than I have above. I only tested the product and haven’t tried it any further. Any communication I sent to them was immediately addressed, but, they knew I was doing a review at the time. I do not know anything further than what I wrote about.

  8. BEWARE OF WPTHEMEGENERATOR.COM

    All the comments are correct. They suck. Seems like it works until you sign up and try to download the templates and find out they don’t download properly, missing files and wrong images. Sometimes templates works and other times won’t even install at all. When it does the installation is horrific, adds pages and modifies your site. You don’t want to install their templates on a live site because it will screw it up and you’ll spend about two hours trying to figure out why your site is all messed up.

    I’m on day five of trying to get a refund with no luck. They keep e-mailing me back bullcrap messages offering me more crap or offering support. How about just giving back my money? Basically the last message they sent me more said they will get back to me when they have time.

    I’ll be opeing a paypal dispute tommorow if I don’t get my money back and I will be spending my free time warning as many people as possible about them.

  9. I tried the generator and wasn´t happy at all with it, for several reasons:

    • No layout support for categories. This is the major reason for my unhappyness.

    • When I update the design, I have to make all the CSS variations again. A seperate personal file would be helpful

    • No background image in JPG possible except individually in style.css. No good for my customer, they need to be able to change that picture every month

    • No wider pages than 1000p possible, except CSS again. This is funny since it is fully responsible

    1. Thanks for your input on the Theme Generator. I had several issues with it myself, it is not an ideal situation to me. There are folks out there who would like it I’m sure, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

  10. wpthemegenerator have too many limitations, and the owners are colombian scammers, i request a refund and they dissappear, i send a several emails and no respond, i put a dispute in paypal, they have false advertising about 60 days money guarantee, this a lot of BS, poor customer support.

  11. I spent the $199.00 for the complete package only to find out that it was garbage. I emailed them less than 24 hours after the purchase requesting a full refund. Received an email from them that same day asking me if there was anything they could do to change my mind? I replied in a kind manner but said no, the software has too many problems. That was the last I ever heard from them even though I sent several more emails. I created a dispute with PayPal which gave them 10 days to respond which of course they never did so PayPal refunded the full $199.00 to my credit card. Bottom line is that I should have tried to find a support number they could be reached at first. If a vendor doesn’t provide a support phone number then someone looking for a certain product should ignore them and keep on looking. I have been using Artisteer for a couple years now and it is light years ahead of these dolts and their software isn’t web based. Stay away from WP Theme Generator or you’ll be sorry!

  12. I am not very tech oriented, so I thought I’d try them, out. I actually kind of liked the look of the theme I designed with them. But, after downloading it, there were tons of issues with it and it caused multiple issues with my site.
    As a company, they are HORRIBLE. Their support is a joke, if they bother replying to you at all! Like the others, I am in the process of trying to get a refund and have filed a claim with my Credit Card Company.
    Stay FAR away from this company!

  13. I appreciate you folks coming here with your honest opinions. The problem with writing a review is that the company knows I am writing a review so they are very responsive to my questions and as helpful as they can be. So while I can test the product, I can’t really test the support. Thanks again for leaving your comments and hopefully helping future people avoid some hassles.

    1. You’re welcome. PayPal just closed my claim, in my favor, since they never responded. So, at least I got my money back.

  14. Well i have to say this has definitely helped me. A few days ago i was a few clicks away from believing the hype on their site then decided to find reviews but most were paid ones. Finding this ‘unpaid’ one made up my mind. Thanks!

  15. I too have had problems with the folks at wpthemegenerator, starting with files missing and updates not taking on generated themes, I queried their support and got nowhere other than them requesting access to my WP Account (not a chance!), I’ve asked 3 times for a refund and been ignored so I’ve had to raise a paypal dispute to get my money back. If they need people to test what could only be described as an alpha release they shouldn’t be charging for it. For now I’d advise everybody to avoid them like the plague.

  16. Is there any update on their support? I’m looking at various theme options, but the bundle with the icons is compelling. But I really don’t want the hassle and buy into a dud.
    Ta

  17. Thanks to all for the honest comments! I really was considering a purchase but it somehow sounded to good to be real. Now I know why. They are not interested in making a good product, they are just interested in making money.

  18. Many thanks for the comments.
    I was at a point to buy a full “lifetime” subscription but changed my mind right after reading your serious problems with this company. I wrote them asked “can I pay with PayPal?” and got a simple email (gmail!!) address where to send the supscription fee. The RED FLAGS: No telephone, No live chat, No domain meneged email. Columbia is so far… From 2012 to 2014 nothing changed as I see the comments above. Do you know a WP theme generator program similar to this? I mean an alternative to. Would be great.

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