Are These WordPress Themes Really Revolutionary?

Talk about trying to get the most bang for you buck. When most folks order a ReviewMe on John Chow dot Com, they have a single product or a single website that they would like to promote. But not this guy. When he forked up a hefty $400 to get some backlinks and feedback in this space, he wanted to get his money’s worth. That’s why this ReviewMe is for two products (but they’re pretty related): the Revolution WordPress Theme and the Revolution News Theme. I told you they were related.

Revolution Premium WordPress Theme

Let’s start with the Revolution premium WordPress theme. Upon first inspection, you’ll immediately recognize that this WordPress theme was not created with individuals and personal journals in mind. Instead, it’s a theme that is catered to online magazines, newspapers, and other professional websites. Check out the live demo to see what I mean.


The theme is designed to have a relatively static-looking homepage. There’s a welcome message, followed by links to three featured pages. This provides a good level of consistency for visitors, because they’ll know what to expect when they visit your site.

Looking at the Revolution Theme, it very much feels like an online magazine and I feel this is its best application. These magazines need not necessarily have “featured articles” on a daily basis, so this system works quite well.


I should also note, however, that there is a somewhat separate blog layout contained within this theme and this has a more conventional WordPress feel to it.

Overall, I’d say that the Revolution premium WordPress theme is quite attractive and definitely looks professional. On the downside, it’s terribly boring with its monochrome color scheme. The main page looks like it could be challenging to monetize as well. The blog might look nice with a more creative header image.

Start Spreading the News

Related to the theme described above is the Revolution News Theme. It too is being targeted at mostly professional blogs, online magazines, and online newspapers. I personally find this layout to be much more attractive for several reasons, but before I get to them, you might want to take a gander yourself through the live demo.


No, it’s not a blog in the traditional sense. Instead, the Revolution News Theme would be a great fit for sites like the New York Times and other online news outlets. The posts are broken down into sections, much like a newspaper, and the latest news story is highlighted with a picture and a link. In the demo, the breaking news has something to do with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Unlike the Revolution Theme with its drab grays, the Revolution News Theme brings some color and it’s the Internet’s most popular color: blue. You’ll also notice in the demo that there is a premium advertising spot (standard 300 box) above the fold, in the far right column. Use this for Adsense or a private ad sale. The RSS subscribe button also features quite prominently near the top, just underneath the search tool.

At first glance, the Revolution News Theme looks like a three-column layout, but when you scroll a little further down the page, you’ll discover that it’s really a four-column layout.


The far right column splits in two to provide extra link space. This is well suited for short blurbs of text, like the sections and related sites. I’d personally ditch the admin links if you want to maintain a professional appearance though. All in all, the Revolution News Theme is quite the looker and all it really needs is a better header image. But you’re going to do that anyways.

How Much Does It Cost?

Ah, there’s the rub. You knew that with all this professionalism, the Revolution Premium WordPress Theme and the Revolution News WordPress Theme couldn’t possibly be free.

The main Revolution theme is available in three packages. The cheapest ($60) forces you to keep the credits in the footer intact. To remove the credits, you’ll have to move up to the $200 advanced package. The developer package, for $250, lets you use the theme as a basis for other clients, but you need to pony up an extra $50 (“licensing fee”) each time you do it. Ouch.

The Revolution News Theme comes in two packages: $100 and $250 for single- and multi-use, respectively. If you purchased the Revolution Theme, you can receive a 25% discount on the News theme by contacting the owner. Payment, in any case, is done through Paypal. (Even though the links on the site point toward, they redirect to a Paypal purchase page. It is a little disconcerting that the payment is being sent to a Hotmail address though.)

Now where’s the affiliate program?

109 thoughts on “Are These WordPress Themes Really Revolutionary?”

  1. Very nice review and I too like the News theme. I don’t think that I have a blog to use it on though

    1. DO note that after checking out the site that the $200 package includes removing the credits and 1 Hour of consulting.

      taken from the purchase page
      Advanced Package – $199.95
      This package is for the individual blogger who intends on using the theme as a CMS on their own website(s). With the purchase of this package, you can use the theme as many times as you want for personal use, and the credits in the footer may be removed. (This package also includes one hour of free consulting which can be used for customization, site development or blog strategy.)

    2. More than a nice theme, i would say this is more like a nice idea.

  2. YellowFans says:

    nice looking theme thou.. layout are well set and placed. Headline image and news are hit. Man… i’m loving it.

  3. Shawn Knight says:

    I’ve been thinking about a new blog design for a while now, but paying that kind of money for a pre-designed theme isn’t really what I am looking for… that, and neither of those themes are what I’m looking for, design-wise.

    1. Googlelady says:

      Nate will be a good choice if you want a unique design. I can confess that checking his designs it really impressed me.

  4. Shaun Kester says:

    I’ve used another one of his themes on my blog. I like them for the clean layout, being easy to read, and versatility.

    1. Shaun C says:

      Cool name. πŸ˜›

      I looked at them closer. I have to admit, the top one is … attractive. I just don’t have any cash. :-/

  5. DerekBeau says:

    It looks very attractive, but I don’t think I would pay the $200 for the version without credit links. That just seems like too much cash for a theme that other sites can use too. The $60 price tag is a pretty good deal though, especially since it seems very polished, unlike a lot of the free themes which seem rushed.

    1. Derek, please note that Michelle forgot to mention this, taken from the purchase page:
      (This package also includes one hour of free consulting which can be used for customization, site development or blog strategy.)

  6. Extremely thorough review! Both of these themes are quite attractive. Not sure about the pricetag w/o the credits. $200 seems kinda steep.

    1. The $200 pricing includes an hour of consulting, so the removal of credits isn’t the only difference between packages.

  7. mariam says:

    Yeah, I’ve been looking at a new theme too but as a new blogger, these themes scare me. It’s like they are too corporate.
    Still, very professional and probably not for the masses.

  8. Bryce says:

    I could see an affiliate program working very well here.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Or maybe a special on Dealdotcom?

    2. Googlelady says:

      I think in every blog will work affiliate programs πŸ˜‰

    3. Shaun C says:

      Why do you think an affiliate program would work well here?

  9. Eli says:

    Well these are both certainly beautiful themes, very professional. And I agree with you about the News theme, it’s much nicer (blue does it)


  10. Click Input says:

    They look cool, I like them.

  11. KingJacob says:

    They are very nice themes though If I wanted one of them Id just give my own coder 100 to code me a clone.

    1. Googlelady says:

      The problem will be if some of us don’t have any coder. But nowadays, if you have time to spend on forums digital point will be a good option, just take care for the scammers.

      1. KingJacob says:

        If you dont have a coder invest the time to learn it yourself or host like a 50 design contest on sitepoint and you’ll have tons of coders to choose from.

    2. GregK says:

      I think they look nice & clean & are spot on for their intended use.
      A good, clean design takes 10 times the amount of dev work too, any ‘ol hack can throw together some cluttered mess.
      @KingJacob: Better get your “coder” to fix your server! πŸ™„

      Words of Wisdom…
      Perfection is not achieved when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away!

      Learn it. Know it. Live it!

      1. KingJacob says:

        :mrgreen: Yah, on of my other sites wa killing my host but they are now on a dedicated box so my blogs running alot better now.

  12. Kiley says:

    Brain is a great guy, however his designs tend to be a bit bland.

    1. I prefer to call them conservative and simple. πŸ˜†

      1. Shaun C says:

        Lol, I actually appreciate the conservative/simple approach more than the complex/busy style. Keep it up. πŸ™‚

  13. Budi S says:

    Nice wordpress theme …
    I like it very much ….
    If it’s free i will use it πŸ˜€

  14. I find those the themes a bit on the drab side…for 60 bucks !!!

  15. Serge Frolov says:

    I personally find monochrome color scheme very comfortable for the eye but there are problems arise when it comes to ads placing because of their diversity of colours… it’s gonna distort the main design idea and it will be probably difficult keeping all ads on the website in black and white combination.

  16. Good design. The only drawback, that it has a monochrome color scheme.

  17. Great themes for a very specialised market. I’m sure the sort of people who’d want these could afford that price no problem.

  18. lyricsreg says:

    Nothing interesting … I would not pay for such a theme, I would design my own

  19. Jauhari says:

    Another Nice Review John πŸ˜‰

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Try having a look at the “Written by” line.

      I wonder when comments like this are finally going to stop (if ever).

      1. Anraiki says:

        Your credibility has been stolen!

    2. Kanute says:

      Do you really think so. I’ll say just a review. The theme is too costly

  20. Sander says:

    I like the theme very much and used it on my blog. The flexibility of the page layouts with the theme is great, within wordpress you can easily access the templates. Works easy. IMO US60 is a great start, I agree with removing the links for an additional US140 is a bit much.

  21. CKacey says:

    I just purchased the Revolution theme and I like it. If you want to ad color you can. See http://www.revolutiontheme/ for a color example. You also get a 2 for 1 deal here with the addition of the blog and the website included for just under $60.00. That is not a bad deal. The owner (Brian) is easy to do business with and very helpful.
    I think this look is classy, clean and professional. I don’t see how the lack of color (if you choose to leave it that way) could do anything but enhance your colored ads. I should think it would make them stand out more. In fact, I have a feeling that this format, to one degree or another will proove to be a popular direction to go in. Blogs are meant to be non-static, flexible and dare we say creative?

    1. Serge Frolov says:

      it says:
      Not Found, Error 404
      The page you are looking for no longer exists.

        1. Serge Frolov says:

          lol, thank you
          it was stupid to miss this simple thing from my side.

    2. CKacey says:

      Sorry. My fault.
      Try or and select (click on) “Showcase” in the top navigation bar.

      1. CKacey says:

        Something just occured to me. I would assume that the majority of the people who read and comment on John’s blog do so with the intent of making money. Why then is anyone else who attempts to make a living, judged so quickly and harshley? ( Good things take time and money.
        Buying the Revolution theme saved me a lot of time. I don’t care if I paid a few bucks more for it. I’ve been looking at blog themes for months and his was one of the very,very few that was truly unique, flexible, affordable and time-saving.
        I don’t know about you guys but I’m in it for the money! 😈

        1. KingJacob says:

          Im not knocking the the themes or those who bought them because they are very high quality and essentially you are buying a full featured web site not just a blog theme, I just personally would have my coder do it, but I understand not everyone has a coder and thus buying this theme is a great investment.

  22. The themes are really looking great. But the price is way too high. If you check other “premium templates” that are being sold online you will see that they are around $50 each.

    1. Googlelady says:

      Yes that’s true but this theme is unique and is really a good idea. In the past I had some new projects that this can work but right now are on hold. May be if I came back with those projects will buy the $60 package, I don’t care about the footer πŸ™‚

  23. Joel Rivera says:

    Very nice theme very clean but looks more like a regular website and not a blog. πŸ˜‰

  24. Tim says:

    Very nice theme review. But I think my theme is better πŸ™‚
    My new theme of web 2.0 has been launched !!

    –blog for dream–

  25. David says:

    thanks for sharing. this is really a great template. i’m going to buy it for one of my other sites …

  26. Hey everyone, thanks for all the feedback regarding my themes! The primary reason for the “boringness” of the Revolution theme, and it’s “dreary” black and white appearance was to keep things simple – the theme was design to be customized, so I thought that using neutral colors on in would inspire people to make it their own design, by changing the CSS to suit their needs.

    One important thing about the $199 package, it’s NOT just the removal of credits – in bold print on the purchase page, I offer a free hour of consulting as well with the purchase of that package. That can be used to customize the theme, further site development or anything else.

  27. Kanute says:

    My theme is better and I did it myself. Didn’t spend a dime. πŸ™‚

    1. CKacey says:

      Nice…clean, classic, clutterfree, etc. (great J.Chow plug to… timely, germaine, sneaky, etc., and I say that without any sarcasm at all. It is a compliment.)

      How long did it take you to do it?

      (I’m a blog critic now. Dontcha love it. Only on the Net.) πŸ™„

      1. Kanute says:

        It could be tedious if you want something great, the big problem is with IE, you know they have their own fucking standards. What a mess πŸ˜•

  28. CKacey says:

    Dear John πŸ˜•
    I love you to death BUT….if this guy paid you a “hefty” (your words not mine) $400 to review his theme/site…whatever… and in your opinion, the major drawback is lack of color, which isn’t a technically correct assesment, shouldn’t you correct that? It’s O’dark thirty in Florida…there’s still time. πŸ˜€

    But then what do I know. I’m just a dot com mogul wannabe! :mrgreen:

    1. Serge Frolov says:

      Look at the β€œwritten by” line.
      It’s not John’s review…

      1. CKacey says:

        Oh…I was going to ask you where the “written by” line is but since I’ve been monopolozing the comments, thought better of it.
        If you pay John for the Review shouldn’t John do the review? It would seem to me that whoever did the review hasn’t done all their homework…correct me if I’m wrong.
        I’m obviously having trouble letting go of this. Kinda reminds me of a Pitt Bull I used to know. But fair is fair…

  29. Wayne Liew says:

    I think that the template is not that nice and it don’t make a blog a blog any more… 😈

    I like what John Chow is using now… πŸ˜€

    1. That’s the main reason I created these themes – because people are looking to use WordPress for something other than a blog. Glad I accomplished my goal – to make it not look like a blog anymore.

      1. Wayne Liew says:

        I see… Anyway, second look at it I saw the professional look of it, like what all those newspaper sites are using… Good attempt!

  30. i love brian works! the news theme I definitely want fo rmy blog!!

  31. I too like the News theme.

  32. Mindanao Bob says:

    I just finished developing a web magazine, and we started with a public theme, but modified it to fit our needs, giving it the “magazine feel” as well. You can have a look at what we did by clicking the link in my name.

  33. mblair says:

    I’ve been eyeing both of these for some projects — the thing to remember is that these really aren’t designed to be blog templates per se. They are for online magazines and newsletters respectively. I think they’d both work great for many niche websites. WordPress is a nice CMS for all of these types of sites. There aren’t really that many decent themes in this category and Brian has a great eye for clean, professional design. I think the pricing is pretty fair.

  34. Shaun C says:

    Eh, it looks okay. Nothing to write home about.

  35. I could get an awesome custom design for $200.

    1. Where, I’m thinking about a new template?

    2. where as i would also like to know. Most NICE custom blog designs are minimum 600 to as much as 3K. I would say these themes are definitely a step up from the “free” wordpresses out there and well worth the money.

  36. whydowork says:

    I noticed this template on
    looks like its working for them! I’m surprised so many people are saying its overpriced or not suitable for a site geared towards making money. Its a one time cost so I don’t think the price is unreasonable πŸ˜€

  37. I am not so sure this will have a happy ending. No many people are willing to pay for these thing nowadays. Nice templates btw!

    1. CKacey says:

      I think you’re wrong. Blogs are just now starting to trickle down to the rather, how shall I say it ,”technically clueless masses.” like myself, who want a quick and easy but unique and affordable, monetized blog.
      Today’s blog standard will not stay the same. Nothing stays the same in this medium for longer than a nano second. What will tommorrow’s blog look like? I think they will morph into website/blog combo’s that are extremely flexible and easily manipulated in design and layout.
      What do you think?

  38. Pingback: adii
    1. Small Potato’s theme and my News theme are for two completely different niches. I haven’t received much in the way of negative feedback regarding the price of the news theme.

      Your mockup is great, and obviously styled to appeal to the Web 2.0/tech type crowd, and that’s totally cool. My design was aimed for small newspapers, or those wanted a more conservative (yet customizable) design.

      I admire your perseverance and just want to point out that you are comparing apples to oranges. And if you end up coding and releasing your theme, more power to you. It only adds to the number of great resources for WordPress users!

  39. Eric says:

    Hey John,

    Well, you have done it again…what a great revolutionary idea and post! Though, I found it interested this whole word “revolutionary”!

    Very interesting!


  40. Howie hanson says:

    I’m using Brian Gardner’s Revolution theme to operate our online daily community newspaper, at I’m very, very pleased with the product, and as a career newspaper editor & publisher, I can assure others in my industry that this product is solid, solid, solid and very user-friendly. Even for traditional newsprint guys such as myself.

  41. chap says:

    i am not a subscriber of wordpress but it’s a nice theme but it doesnt like a blog ????!!! 😐

    have a look at my blog

  42. Lis says:

    I’ve been a fan of Brian’s themes for over a year now. I find the designs classy and uncluttered. The coding is also very easy to follow. Anyone with just a hint of html coding can customize Brian’s themes. IMO it’s refreshing to be able to see the content of a website.

  43. Cory Miller says:

    I’ll just add my two cents … and two thoughts to this conversation:

    1. Whenever someone labels a template design as “bland” that typically translates into being high customizable. You can make it your own. And yes, look at the showcase and see how others have “made it their own.”

    2. And just because some people won’t pay his prices (which typically means they want something for nothing), doesn’t mean a whole bunch of others don’t realize its value. Especially when you look at all its features … and the cost of the theme compared to what it would take to do a custom job from a quality designer.

  44. They’re nice designs, but why pay for a nice design when you can get an OK design for free? That’s not how to make money!! πŸ‘Ώ

    1. If you went to a client, would you rather drive up in a Lexus or a Toyota?

    2. CKacey says:

      Why would you ever settle for less than the best you can afford to give your clients?

  45. Think I’m gonna buy the Revolution News Theme for an upcoming site.

    Does anyone know how good it is with SEO?

    And does it trump the Adminded Wide Theme?

  46. Jason says:

    I’ve got the wordpress theme and am very happy with it and the service Brian provided too. It’s very easy to customise and looks pretty cool once you’ve put your own stamp on it too.

    The other themes Brian does are also excellent – and it’s via one of those themes on another blog that I ended up on his site.


  47. Aditya says:

    Total bullshit theme. I dont like it πŸ™

    1. Well gee, why don’t you tell us how you really feel. So what exactly don’t you like about it?

  48. Alex says:

    I like the themes. Can’t complain about the price either: in an ocean of ugly wordpress themes, something mildly unique and professional-looking will cost you.

    1. mblair says:

      You highlight a great point actually — just the fact that these are nice themes and cost money to use is going to keep them much more unique. A great, unique look makes a wonderful first impression. If these were free, there’d be a lot of niche sites that would snap these up and you’d see it all over the place like Cutline (nothing against Cutline — its a great theme too).

  49. The price is pretty high and I am also missing affiliate program.

  50. I do digg their themes though!

  51. Business says:

    Some people like, some people don’t..

  52. soccer video says:

    Nice ones , no so expensive for the quality.


  53. soccer video says:

    Damn , Nice look πŸ˜€


  54. chriscnation says:

    gonna make my old wordpress Theme to a free Download Theme.
    Little preview here

    the content looks a bit different to what is it like in action πŸ˜‰

  55. Dwain says:

    We went to this theme for our blog and happy we did.

    It’s front page allows for post previews and it is very stable and easy to work with- need a bit of css and php knowledge, but not at an advanced level.

    The blog has helped traffic and the reader feedback has been very positive.

    Trying to figure out a good strategy for the news version next.

    1. Dwain, very glad to hear you guys are happy with the theme! Let me know if I can help you out in anyway, or if you have any questions!

  56. Bill says:

    I bought the Revolution theme and it works “out of the box”, just like Brian said it would. I’ve asked him a few questions and he answered, promptly. The price is right and we all know in this life “you get what you pay for”. Point me to a “freebie” that equals either of these two themes.

    Brian’s a great designer, who does what he says he will do and he does it fast!

    Not only does he deserve recognition for his themes in the WordPress community, but he also deserves the opportunity to make a living from doing so.

    Brian, there are a few folks on here that are leveling. That’s a sure sign of success. Keep them coming!

  57. HMTKSteve says:

    I picked up the theme for my site and I am very happy with it.

  58. Very nice theme and would say it is well worth the price based on all the different sites that have it installed.

  59. Lisa says:

    This theme is simply marvelous! I’d buy it for 60 bucks, but would rather, for this amount, to have the credits removed. Pleeease Brian, be nice … I’ll skip the phone consult since I’m not in the U.S. An hour (long distance) would cost too much!

    And guys, the theme should not jump out at you and overwhelm the content. Good photos and good copy will make this theme absolutely work for you! And I suppose you can edit the colors if you wanted to.

    Did anyone notice that the reason he’s selling it is because it will not look like a blog-like-2000-others? You can have different page layouts! Now try coding that yourselves! πŸ™‚

  60. Wahlau.NET says:

    news site is great with this theme, but for blogging, i think too much words is cramp into a page.

    if you have no words, it will look empty…either way it is weird

  61. Josh Bowers says:

    Colors too drab? Change it.
    Don’t like the layout? Change it.
    Brian made the Legos, it’s up to the buyers to create whatever it is they want.
    Sure some people out there could manufacture their own Legos, but some of use rather use simple, well designed building blocks someone else created, so we can spend our time doing other things.

  62. Davinder says:

    Themes are cool, would love to use… just make them free.. hehehe

  63. I’m glad Brian made this theme, and even got some positive reactions about it from readers. Nice looking them for a news blog!

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