TemplateMonster have been actively selling website designs since 2002.
The company have always been known for selling a high quantity of products on their website. As I write this, they have a total of 1,768 WordPress themes for sale in their store.
Maintaining such a high volume of designs is close to impossible since WordPress is updated so frequently so the quality of themes inevitably suffers. Even large WordPress theme stores such as Elegant Themes have struggled to maintain less than one hundred themes and have started releasing less designs.
Thankfully, TemplateMonster have been taking steps to address this issue and focus more on quality. The release of the Cherry Framework in 2014 and Monstroid in 2015 shows that they are moving in the right direction.
TemplateMonster Embraces GPL
One area where TemplateMonster behind the competition is usage. Despite charging around $75 per WordPress theme, customers were only permitted to use a theme they purchased on one domain. This is a problem that ThemeForest gives customers too even though the vast majority of WordPress theme stores accepted GPL many years ago.
Thankfully, TemplateMonster has recognised there is a problem and started releasing themes under the GNU General Public License the WordPress platform is released on.
So far they have released ten GPL WordPress themes. Most of the designs are priced at $45 or $55.
Collectively these themes sell for $225 but until Friday 8th April 2016 they can be picked up for only $45.
A Closer Look at TemplateMonster's GPL Themes
Style Park is one of the most colourful designs that has been released as a GPL theme. It offers three different styles of home page, three different headers, and three different footers.
The theme has a magazine structure that lists blog posts and post categories in different box sizes. All WordPress post formats are supported so you can easily display videos and quotes in posts.
Style Park is a bit of a quirky design that you will either love or hate, but it is good to see something like this being released by TemplateMonster.
KingNews is one of my favourite designs. It is a minimal WordPress theme that can be used for a blog or magazine website.
It offers four different home page layouts, three different headers, and three different footers. Blog posts can be listed in either two or three columns and social media is integrated into the theme so that visitors can follow you on social media and share your content.
The theme is translation ready and comes with a collection of unique widgets. This includes an Instagram widget and newsletter subscription widget.
I recommend checking the theme out if you are looking for a clean blog or magazine design.
If you are looking for a more traditional blog design, you may want to consider Fitnesys. It is marketed as being a solution for fitness blogs but could be used for any topic.
The design is not too different to the Genesis framework design I am using on this blog right now (which is a big plus in my eyes). It has a large slider on the home page and blog posts are displayed underneath with in big boxes that have social media sharing buttons embedded in the meta area.
Fairy Style is an online shopping theme that works with WooCommerce. It's a responsive design that has full support for the WordPress theme customizer and you can choose from hundreds of Google fonts.
WooCommerce is a mature shopping solution for WordPress that gives you complete control over your online shop. It can be used to sell physical items and digital items. Local taxes and shipping can be defined and the plugin can be used to manage stock.
Everything that you have come to expect with WooCommerce is available in Fairy Style so you will not be disappointed.
With the total number of WordPress themes available from TemplateMonster totalling 1,768 and with only ten of those being GPL friendly, it is clear that TemplateMonster have a long way to go before they can call themselves a GPL friendly theme store.
They also have a long way to go to shake their reputation as being bloated as last year's flagship design Monstroid was an adventurous all-in-one WordPress theme that was buggy and not as streamline as one would have hoped.
Despite this, I think they taking their company in the right direction. Change comes slower in bigger companies so I understand that the changes that are necessary are not going to happen overnight.
All TemplateMonster themes are built upon their Cherry Framework. The framework is free to download so you can download and test it yourself if you want an idea of what the theme options area will look like in TemplateMonster designs.
Newer TemplateMonster designs also have fantastic support for the WordPress theme customizer; which means that you can modify your website's design in real-time. This is a feature that many other WordPress theme stores are not supporting so it is great to see TemplateMonster make it a priority.
Embracing the general public license is another positive step that TemplateMonster has taken. I am pleased they are not restricting usage of their themes anymore.
If the company can continue in this direction then I believe they will start grabbing a bigger piece of the WordPress theme pie. They do, however, need to remember that quality is more important than quantity.
Win One of Three GPL WordPress Theme Packages
TemplateMonster have kindled donated three of their GPL blogging bundles to readers of KevinMuldoon.com. Each bundle contains five WordPress themes.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this article explaining why you would like to win the bundle. At the end of the week the three best answers will be chosen and the winners will be contacted using the email address they used to leave a comment.
Best of luck to everyone who takes part.