When most people order a review on John Chow dot Com, they are looking to highlight a single product or get some feedback on their up and coming blog. The focus is typically singular. Theme Spinner, on the other hand, is trying to extract maximum value from their review, getting me to take a look at no fewer than four of their premium WordPress themes. Talk about getting your money’s worth!
Spinning out the WordPress Themes
As you’ve undoubtedly already figured out, Theme Spinner produces a series of premium WordPress themes that are supposed to be a step above the innumerable free themes that are available on the Internet. If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, having a unique theme can go a long way. Interestingly, Theme Spinner has some free WordPress themes for you to consider as well.
When you purchase a premium theme from Theme Spinner (prices range from $29 to $69), you are typically also given all the required PhotoShop files, fonts, images and so on, in case you want to further customize the pre-defined theme. It’s also helpful that Theme Spinner has set up a series of FAQs to help you with this process.
Tauren: The Most Advanced Theme
The WordPress theme that is featured right at the top of Theme Spinner’s homepage is Tauren. Instead of looking like a personal blog, the Tauren theme appears best suited for an online magazine of some kind. Tauren Pro ($69) comes with a professional-looking Flash slideshow near the top that will help you feature a number of your most important articles. This is similar to the style that you would find on websites in the IGN network. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t even know that Tauren is built on the WordPress framework.
I’m not a fan of the sales copy featured at the top of the Theme Spinner homepage. It reads: “Tauren is our most advanced theme, hence the price!” This comes off sounding cocky and not customer-oriented at all.
There is also Tauren Standard, which sells for $49. It lacks the Flash Slideshow and looks more like a conventional blog. I found that this was the general theme, no pun intended, of all four premium WordPress themes.
Chimera: The Best Seller
Like Tauren, Chimera comes in two versions: Chimera Pro ($59) and Chimera Standard ($39). The former has the same Flash slideshow near the top of the page and then the main content follows after that. The two sidebars on the right provide space for advertising and widgets. Chimera Pro, like Tauren Pro, is best suited for online magazines and similar websites. I can totally see a news site running this theme.
Chimera Standard, with its lack of a Flash slideshow and dual featured story boxes underneath, looks much more conventional by comparison. I’m not personally a big fan of three-column layouts, so despite the fact that I like the black, red, and grey color scheme, I don’t like the overall feel of Chimera Standard.
Shade: Keeping It Clean and Simple
For something a little less bold and a little less in your face, you might want to consider Shade Pro ($49). The default color scheme is much softer with its light blue “featured home” banner at the top. Shade Pro looks like it might be suitable for something like my freelance writing business, because it would let me feature recent work, testimonials from recent clients, and so on. Shade Standard ($29) keeps things very simple and uncluttered too, if that’s your thing.
Neko: Five Dynamic Color Schemes
Last but not least, we have Neko Pro ($49) and Neko Standard ($29). The former has a nice online magazine feel to it and visitors to your blog can dynamically swap between five different color schemes by clicking on the color boxes near the top right. Because the articles are broken up into different sections, Neko Pro could work quite well for newspaper-like sites. Neko Standard does not have this color swapper.
Discounts and Affiliates
Without a doubt, I prefer the “Pro” versions of the premium WordPress themes from Theme Spinner over their “Standard” counterparts. The Flash slideshows in the Tauren Pro and Chimera Pro themes are particularly attractive.
The prices for all the themes sound pretty fair to me, but maybe you’d be interested in a discount. If you use the coupon code “JOHNCHOW” (without the quotes), Theme Spinner will knock 10% off of the price. Furthermore, you can recoup the entire cost of your WordPress theme purchase by promoting Theme Spinner through their affiliate program. You get 50% of every sale, either via check or PayPal. You do not need to buy a theme to join the affiliate program.