A couple of days ago I was approached to write a product review. However, the offer I got was kind of unusual. Particularly, the co-funder of ThemeFuse reached out to me and asked me to check out their new service, purchase it with my own money(!), write a review and then send it back to him. Since I’m not what you’d call “money-smart,” I’ve decided that it’s the perfect offer for me! Now, the service in question is offered together by ThemeFuse and WebHostingBuzz (disclosure: we use WHB for more than two years and we’re very happy with their services). It doesn’t have a particular name, but it’s all about providing a truly easy way of launching a WordPress site from the ground up, even if you’re a complete beginner and have 0 (zero) experience in this area.
What is it exactly?
Just to give you a quick summary of the whole service, here’s a short elevator pitch: It allows you to pick a theme from ThemeFuse’s gallery and have it installed by their team, on an optimized hosting platform, and under a new domain (of your choosing). From a client’s point of view, this is great because the only thing you have to do is choose a theme and your work is done. Then after a while, you end up with a fully functional WordPress site. Cool, isn’t it?
Who is this for?
The official press release says that it’s for beginners in the WordPress world who don’t want to deal with all the hassle that’s usually involved when building a site. That is true. However, I’d say that it’s also for anyone who simply can’t be bothered to set everything up on their own and would rather have it done by someone else. Hence it’s also a good deal for pro developers and designers.
Does it work?
Here’s the thing, creating a product for beginners is actually really really really hard due to something called the curse of knowledge. The curse of knowledge is, for example, what prevents you from explaining a basic concept of an area that you are an expert in to a complete beginner. In other words, it’s when the scope of your knowledge makes it impossible for you to switch to a beginner state of mind and be able to deliver value in an easy to grasp way. This is ultimately the reason why no one understands university professors when they try to explain things… And sometimes, it’s also a problem with many “beginner” products in various niches. So today, I want to check if this new service has similar issues or not. This is how I’m going to do this – my original testing method:
- The service gets a credit of 10 points to start with.
- I’m going to go through the entire setup process and try acting like I’m completely new.
- If something isn’t clear, that’s -1 point.
- At the end of the test, we’ll have the final score.
The test begins
To take advantage of this new offer, all you have to do is go to the ThemeFuse website:
Quite a long page, but it explains the main idea behind the service pretty clearly, so it’s surely worth a read. There’s a signup button at the bottom.
After clicking it, you’ll end up straight in the theme gallery, where you can choose whatever theme you like (every theme is included in this new service). After browsing around for a while I’ve decided to go with Conexus.
The sales page for every theme itself is very clear with a visible buy button. But the next step – after clicking this buy button – can cause some problems. It’s an order customization page, and unfortunately, I’m going to have to call “-1″ on that (yeah, let’s keep this review honest). Here’s the problem, this is what this order customization page looks like:
Since I’m interested in the “theme-domain-hosting” package, I clicked the big blue box at the bottom of the screen, which led straight back to the page where I started this whole journey. Not a serious issue, but still a little misleading. Anyway, the thing you should click here is either the BUY STANDARD version button or the BUY DEVELOPER version button (in most cases it’s the former). Okay, let’s do that and see what happens.
Everything is back on track in this step. There’s a very clear confirmation page where you can click the orange button and get started with the new service. The next screen:
This is where you have the possibility to get a new domain along with your package (the domain is optional; you can skip it if you already have one). By the way, if you decide to get a domain, it’s free for the first year. You get to choose from domains under .com, .net, .org, .biz, and .info. After clicking the Review Order button you’ll see the final confirmation page.
This is where you can check if everything is alright, pick a payment method, input a discount code if you have one, and finally proceed to checkout. One more step you have to take care of before the checkout itself is the signup page for a client account at ThemeFuse.
What follows next is a standard PayPal payment procedure (if you’ve selected PayPal as your payment method). I don’t think any screenshots are necessary here… It’s a pretty standard PayPal transaction. Lastly, after successfully completing the transaction you can go back to ThemeFuse (through the link provided inside PayPal). Well, apparently, that’s it for the whole purchase process. All that follows now is an email from ThemeFuse informing you that the site is up and running. Now here’s the best part. Literally 15 minutes after completing my purchase, my new domain was live, and I could access the site’s Dashboard via the client panel at ThemeFuse.com. Again, that’s 15 minutes. (Note. This is a fully functional WordPress site. So you get unlimited access to the Dashboard, where you can publish posts, pages, create new user accounts, install plugins and so on.)
To be honest, I love everything about this service. It’s clear, the signup form is impressively simple, and the whole idea itself is superb. The main element where this service stands out is its ease of use. You really don’t need any experience in order to handle the signup process. Everyone can do it.
If you’ve read this closely then you’ve noticed there’s only one “-1″ moment. And to be honest, it wasn’t even that serious. Just a single, little misleading message for people landing on the order page. The signup process itself is so simple that it’s really hard for me to find anything else wrong with it. And believe me, I tried. I even waited for the session to invalidate and did other similarly strange things, but nothing bad happened. More than that, I made my test on Saturday, and even despite this the site was live within 15 minutes.
Plans and pricing
ThemeFuse sells their themes for a variety of price points. The standard range is $49 to $99 for a standard license (there’s also one free theme). The hosting package is $69 a year. In the end, to get started, you need $128 in total, and that’s exactly what I paid during the test.
The bottom line
Let’s compare this service to the traditional way of launching a WordPress site. Usually, you have to do the following things:
- Get a domain.
- Choose and buy a hosting account.
- Connect the two together (not always that simple).
- Install WordPress (either by hand or through an auto-installer).
- Get a theme and upload it to your hosting account.
- Install the theme itself.
With this new service, on the other hand, there’s just one step:
- Pick a theme at ThemeFuse and tell them to handle the setup process for you.
I mean, you can’t beat that. I believe that this service truly is the perfect solution for every beginner to get a site as quickly and effortlessly as possible. What do you think? If you decide to take advantage of this service, don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know how it went.