One of the promising newer theme providers around is Wpzoom. The company started as a blog about WordPress themes in 2008. Almost a year later, the very first theme was released under the Wpzoom name. From then, the company changed its direction towards commercially providing themes for various websites.
As a relatively new provider, their portfolio of themes is not as extensive as those companies who have been around longer. With more than 50 themes to offer, it is arguably big enough a selection that a significant number of people will find a few designs suited to their tastes or needs. These themes are divided into four main categories: Business, Magazine/News, Portfolio, and Multimedia.
In terms of what the company provides, it is acceptable. There are areas that might be attractive to some customers such as the monthly cost for subscription. The framework they use is a good and stable one but not superlative in any sense. The company has potential, however. With continued growth, they may become an excellent option for larger scale web designers.
The way their products are priced appears as if they are trying to compete with their more established competitor WooThemes. For instance, buying a single theme from Wpzoom will cost $69 compared to $70 for a WooThemes theme. The customer will get a better deal with the latter because they may select two additional bonus themes to Wpzooms one bonus theme per single purchase.
Those seeking a bargain will find their $99 price tag for two themes somewhat attractive. Additionally, the customer will also get one bonus theme for each of the themes purchased, making a total of four themes acquired. On the other hand, a would-be customer can obtain the same number of themes from ThemeForest at the same price, or possibly even lower. When taken in this light, its appeal as a bargain becomes is lessened.
Their Developer theme package is also priced a dollar less than the comparable WooThemes product. It also provides one less bonus theme. Both companies provide Photoshop document (PSD) files access with their Developer packages whether it is single theme or club subscription. This further substantiates the suspicion that they are trying to compete directly with WooThemes or at least consider them the competition to beat.
In terms of Club subscription, Wpzooms monthly fee is one of the lowest around. Their Standard membership in particular, which provides access to all 50+ themes, has a monthly fee of only $9. The Developer membership is more expensive at $19. This, though, is still lower than other companies with similar offers.
The sign-up fee for these subscriptions is too high when weighed against the limited number of themes that goes with full access. Customers pay $199 for Standard membership and $299 for the Developer equivalent. This makes the first year of membership rather expensive. In the succeeding years, however, the drop in cost is attractive. Web designers who really like the themes they provide and plan to have a long-term relationship from the company will gain in the long run.
At the moment, the club membership cost is too high for a measly 50+ themes. There is potential though because the company continues to release new themes every now and then. There may be a point in the future where they will really be capable of giving WooThemes, or some of the more popular theme companies, real competition.
Functionality And Framework
The designs offered are geared towards four areas. These are business, magazines (and news), portfolio, and multimedia. Several features are common to all themes that they offer, with the exception of the free themes. These features include customizable menus, custom widgets, search engine optimization options, custom page templates, automatic image resizing, a facility for adding a logo into the theme, threaded comments, and an options panel called Zoom Framework. These options are more or less standard with other theme providers as well.
The Zoom Framework they provide enables their themes to be easily updated with a click of a button. Its update page shows the current version being used and the newer version available for download. This gives the customer a choice of whether to go with the update or to keep the older framework.
Wpzoom has made customizing color considerably easier. They provide each theme with a very user-friendly color picker. All the customer has to do is move the cursor to the specific hue and shade desired and the code is edited accordingly. This removes the hassle of having to edit the actual code itself for every color change.
Each theme is also ready for translation into other languages. Support for the different alphabet styles of several countries use is already integrated into the themes themselves. This is very attractive for those who are designing their websites to cater not only to English speaking countries but other countries as well.
Aside from the facilitated color customization, translation-readiness, and the ease with which their framework can be updated, there is nothing that really stands out in terms of features and functionality. This does not make it a bad tool. It does make it good enough although not really something special to brag about comparatively speaking.
Forums, tutorials and theme documentation are the support Wpzoom provides for their customers. They do not give assistance in customizing the themes they provide. Those who would like to discuss specific customizations not covered by the basics are referred to other developers whom they acknowledge as having sufficient familiarity with their themes. Of course, the customer will then have to pay these other developers for the customization they require.
Their response time to each query or issue voiced in their Support Forum is a maximum of ten hours. There are instances when they do take longer than this. There is a mixed response regarding how good they are at solving problems with their themes. This is expected considering they have only a handful of staff who can work on these problems. Most of the time, if the problem is more related to customization, they refer the client to either Root Design Works or WerkPress. This means additional cost to the customer and has made quite a number of them unhappy.
Wpzoom is a somewhat better than average theme provider in terms of pricing and theme features. Many, however, are dissatisfied with their theme support “but that goes with having too few staff to solve such problems. Their referring of customization issues to other developers has had a mixed response but it appears to be an acceptable compromise. However, the additional cost to the customer will not make them happy unless their problem was solved spectacularly. It is an acceptable choice overall with the potential of becoming a better one in the future.
Company Website: http://www.wpzoom.com