Over this past summer, we examined how best to improve our products and services for Solostream customers. We reviewed all aspects of our company including products, development, marketing, technical support, custom work support, communications, etc.
This self-examination led us to conclude that – while we’re doing a good job – there is definitely room for improvement. Therefore, as of today, we’re implementing some exciting changes that we hope will deliver overwhelming value and the highest possible level of support. Here’s a summary of the changes.
1. Solostream Premium Themes Membership
All our premium WordPress themes are now available exclusively via this membership option. This means that for one low price – starting at $59 – you can have access to all our premium themes. We consider this an overwhelming value because you can get all 20 of our premium themes for less than the previous price of a single theme. In fact, if you do the math, it works out to less than $2.00 per theme.
While your membership is active, you’ll have unlimited access to all premium themes, free theme upgrades and free access to our excellent support community. There are additional benefits available for customers who choose the Silver (6-month) and Gold (12-month) memberships. These benefits include:
- Free access to new themes (at least 1 new theme per month).
- Access to Photoshop PSD files.
- Special tutorials.
- 20% discount on Solostream services, such as custom design work.
2. Solostream Themes Are Now Fully Licensed Under GPL
If you’re not familiar with the GPL (GNU General Public License), the biggest benefit to you as a customer is that you’ll be free to use your Solostream themes on an unlimited numbers of sites/projects. From our perspective, it brings our company and products more in line with WordPress – which is licensed under GPL – and we believe this will enable us to create new and more meaningful relationships within the WordPress community.
3. Support Forum Overhaul
While the present system has served our active community well, we’ve been searching for a tool that can provide our customers with better answers and faster delivery. Through our search, we discovered a relatively new tool called Zendesk, which we have been testing for several months with our custom work customers. The biggest benefits of Zendesk for you will be:
- When you type a question in the forums, this tool will search our knowledgebase/forums automatically and pull up related topics to help you find your answer as soon as possible.
- As part of Zendesk, there is a ticketing system that will enable streamlined communications so you will be able to better track the resolution of your support requests and custom work orders.
Options for Existing Solostream Theme Owners
First, take a deep breath and have confidence that we’ve thought with deep concern about your situation. You will have the opportunity to choose from two options going forward.
Option 1 – Convert Your Existing License to a Membership
If you’ve purchased a Solostream theme in the past, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade to the new Solostream Premium Themes Membership at a greatly reduced rate. We’ll be sending you a special Gold (12-Month) Membership upgrade offer via email later today, so watch your inbox for it.
Option 2 – Keep Your Existing License As It Is
If you prefer to keep your existing license with unlimited upgrades and lifetime support, you’re free to do so. The only difference that you’ll notice is that you will now need to use the new support system. A major plus will be the ability to login to the Solostream Member’s Area, and download the latest copy of a theme without having to make a request to the support team. We’ll send your login information via email later today.
We’ve provided a lot of important information to you today. We’ll continue to do our best to provide more details as we move forward, but we didn’t want it to be overwhelming at this time.
I was recently in a hotel undergoing a renovation that posted the usual “Please Pardon Our Appearance” signs in the lobby. As cliche as it sounds, we’re going to ask the same of you today. I hate doing it, but it accurately reflects the reality. We’re making all these changes to improve your experience with Solostream and WordPress, and we’re doing everything we can to mesh our new tools into a smooth running operation. We have made our best efforts to get it right from the start, but inevitably there will be a few bumps in the road. Please be patient.
Finally, if you want to get a sense of what this has all felt like for our team, pull out a copy of the movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and remember to “be excellent to each other.”
We recently launched WP-Mystique as the newest addition to our collection of premium WordPress themes. Like all of our recent themes, WP-Mystique is built on the WP-DaVinci platform, so it’s complete with all the cool, little options you’ve come to expect – stuff like:
- two different featured content sliders
- alternate home page template and featured page slider for business sites
- featured videos slider
- featured photo galleries slider
- multiple page layouts
- a slick theme settings page
- and much, much more.
Heck, we even threw in 12 different color options for you. All-in-all, we think you’ll find it a flexible and elegant little package to power your WordPress site. Check out the demo site here.
We recently received some nice accolades and would like to share it with you.
We’re pleased to inform everyone that Solostream has been awarded and recommended as a Best Web Tool provider by WebHostingSearch.com and these are the words of recognition directly from them. As part of this recommendation, Solostream has been added to their directory of recommended product and service providers.
“Solostream has been awarded and recommended as a Best Web Tool and Development resource for providing outstanding Premium WordPress Themes in building your WordPress Powered website. This award is given by Web Hosting Search, a leading company in providing best reviews for top web hosting sites and reliable resource for web development.”
If you’re looking for the perfect theme to power your WordPress business site, we just put the finishing touches on some great new features that make WP-Elegance (demo site) the perfect choice. Here’s a screenshot showing the (new) Widgetized Home Page Template with the (new) Featured Pages slider (see description below screenshot).
New WP-Elegance Features
Featured Pages Slider - this feature allows you to select specific WordPress pages (rather than posts) via the Theme Settings Page, and display them in a slider on your home page, a single post page or a static page.
Featured Page Widget - This is a simple widget that allows you to place a featured page in any of the widgetized areas, such as the sidebars, footer or the new widgetized home page template (see below). The widget gives you controls to add a thumbnail, page title, page content/excerpt and a “read more” link. Thumbnails can be aligned left, right or at the top of the excerpt.
Widgetized Home Page Template – Maybe you want your home page to look more like a business website instead of a blog. If so, this alternate home page template gives you 3 widgetized columns where you’re free to display whatever content you like via widgets. Add the Featured Pages slider to the top, and you’ve got yourself a slick looking business home page.
Image Attachment Template/Photo Gallery – If you like to show photo galleries on your WordPress site, you’ll love this new addition. See here for an example.
WP-Elegance is the latest addition to our collection of Premium WordPress Themes. With this latest offering, our mission was to give you the power and flexibility of our popular WP-DaVinci framework all wrapped up in a sexy design that exudes style, grace and beauty. Time will tell how well we did of course, but we’re very happy with the result, and the initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
As I said, WP-Elegance is more than just a pretty face. You also get a powerful theme settings panel (click thumbnail to the right) that makes it simple to customize the look and feel with the click of your mouse. Not to mention the multiple post and page layouts that can be controlled on a post-by-post or page-by-page basis. That’s not all, of course. Among the many other options, you also get:
- 10 built-in color options (that are easy to modify via the theme setting page).
- Multiple featured content modules.
- Multiple built-in banner ad spaces.
Go ahead, and check out the full list of options here. We think you’ll be impressed.
WP-DaVinci is out latest offering to the premium WordPress themes world, and although it may not appear so on the surface, it’s far beyond anything we’ve put out in the past. WP-Davinci is our first attempt at creating a WordPress theme framework.
A theme framework is similar to a standard WordPress theme, except a framework is designed to be a flexible foundation to speed up theme development. It also makes it easier to update your theme whenever the need arises, such as when a core WordPress update impacts theme functionality. With a framework, updates can be done without messing up any custom modifications you may have made to the theme.
As I said, this is our first attempt at a theme framework, and we’re clear we have some work to do before WP-DaVinci can be considered a full-fledged theme framework. In the meantime, we want to get it into the hands of folks like you, and get some feedback on it as we continue to develop it over the coming months.
As it stands right now, what you have is a simple and elegant premium WordPress theme designed with efficiency and flexibility in mind. We’ve built in a few more options beyond what’s been offered in our previous themes, and here are some of the high points:
Multiple Page Layouts
If you take a look at the demo site, you’ll see there are 7 different page layouts, including 2-column, 3-column and full-width layouts. An added twist is that you can select your page layout site-wide via the theme settings page, or you can select it on a per-post or per-page basis from a drop-down box on the Add Post/Add Page console.
Featured Content Options
We’ve given you 3 different featured content options; a Featured Article slider, a Featured Videos slider and a Photo Galleries slider. You can add any or all the featured content to you home page (as shown on demo site), and you can also add it to an individual page or post via the Add Post/Add Page screen.
Banner Ad Integration and Management
There are several built-in banner ad sections that can be managed via the theme settings page. You can also manage the various ads on the Add Post/Add Page screen. That way, if you want a specific advertisement (different than the one set on your theme settings page) to appear on a specific post or page, you can simply add your banner ad code on the Add Post/Add Page screen when you create the post/page.
Yes, the standard Solostream theme settings page was due for a face-lift, and we gave it one. The new theme settings page is created with a jQuery tabbed navigation script to help shorten the height of the page, and it looks a whole lot prettier too (click the thumbnail to the right to get a shot of it).
Four Built-in Styles and Style Modifications via Theme Settings Page
You can see the four different built-in style on the demo site. In addition to that, on the theme settings page, you’re able to modify the look of the theme yourself. In particular, you can change the following items:
- Body background (color or image)
- Body font and link color
- Custom logo
- Navigation bars background color and link color
- Post title font and link color
That’s a brief rundown. Now head on over to the demo site and take a look for yourself. We hope you like it.
WP-Inspired is the latest premium WordPress theme to roll off the production lines here at Solostream. If you take a gander at the screenshot (and demo site) you’ll notice WP-Inspired offers a few more splashes of color than some of our other recent themes like WP-Prosper and WP-Glide. In fact, we’ve given you ten different color options with this theme, and they’re all easily accessible via the theme settings page.
Like most of our recent themes, WP-Inspired is loaded with options. Multiple home page layouts, two featured content gliders, social networking account integration, recent photos galleries and a YouTube videos widget are just a few of the little nuggets you’ll have to play with. Be sure to take a peek at demo video on the WP-Inspired sales page to get the full run-down. Go ahead. Get Inspired.
All Solostream premium WordPress themes now use the Custom Menu Management function that shipped with WordPress 3.0. If you don’t have the latest version of your theme, you can download the necessary files from the Members Area (you’ll have to log in to access the files for download).
I also did a short screencast (below) to show you how the menu management system works. It’s fairly intuitive, but I’ve already had a few questions on it, so here ya go.
Why you should upgrade to WordPress 3.0 – In a word, security. The added functionality in WP 3.0 is great, but some people are happy with their current version of WP and prefer not to upgrade. It’s fine if you don’t upgrade, but it leaves you at greater risk of having your site get hacked. And I can tell you from experience, it’s no fun when your WordPress site gets hacked. So, for that reason, you should always run the most recent version of WordPress on your sites.
Now, here’s the tutorial I promised …
WP-Prosper is the latest and greatest offering to join our growing stable of WordPress themes. Like all of our recent themes, WP-Prosper is a flexible theme that’s loaded with options and multiple home page layouts, as well as a clean, professional design to make your WordPress site really pop.
Here are just a few of the options. First, we’ve given you not one but two different featured content gliders; a narrow one and a wide one. We also added a nice little YouTube videos widget that you can simply drag and drop into your sidebar or footer. The the other addition is a simple Sales Page template that you can use to create a sales page or squeeze page. You can see all these options displayed on the demo site.
And of course, with the recent release of WordPress 3.0, we have integrated support for the slick, new WordPress menu system. I just posted a demo video on YouTube, so pop on over to the WP-Prosper sales page and check it out if you want to get a closer look.
We just launched WP-Glide, the latest premium WordPress theme from Solostream HQ. In WP-Glide, we wanted to provide a clean, professional platform for the business website publisher as well as bloggers and online magazine publishers. So, we incorporated several different home page options, including a couple of options with some widgets positioned just under the top navigation bar. And like most of our previous themes, WP-Glide offers a built-in theme settings page that makes it snap to use.