Naming Your WordPress Theme For WPORG

So you spent a lot of time on developing your theme, carefully crafted all the Pro features, cleaned up code to meet review rules on wp.org and all popular markets. You published Pro version on your own online shop, did a lot of SEO work, went to upload your free version to wp.org and you got:

ERROR: {THEME-NAME} currently has 50+ active installations. Please check for name collisions outside of WordPress.org before approval.

This happens at least once a week. The only thing you can do in this situation is to rename you free version and throw away all the SEO and marketing work you did. How frustrating! I’ll repeat: this happens at least once a week.

How did we come to this?

Let’s say John and his 50 cousins bought a beautiful theme, called “Beautiful Theme” on theme market. When theme author update theme, John and his family get notifications to update theme and they did this joyfully for the last several months.

Meanwhile, Mark was developing a beautiful theme, called “Beautiful Theme” with idea to upload it to wp.org repository. He did a good job and crafted a really beautiful code. He didn’t have a time to check every new theme on every market, no one does. As there was no theme with this name in wp.org repository, Mark uploaded his theme and, after few months of review process, “Beautiful Theme” got approved and published.

When Mark’s theme got to version higher than that John’s is, John and his cousins got notifications to update theme and they did. And they were not happy any more because now they have a theme they didn’t want (even though it was a beautiful theme). They wished WordPress had some system to check unique theme names.

And There Was System

To prevent these sorts of frustrations, a good people contributed to wp.org and created a system which will check if a theme with the same name already exists and have more than 50 active installs. It’s a good system. Play along. It’s not good just for Johns, it’s good for Marks too. You don’t want to do the SEO work for someone else’s theme, do you?

I’ll repeat: It is a good system. Play along.

The Solution

Some points should be obvious by now:

  • before releasing theme anywhere, lookup theme name on Google
  • before releasing theme anywhere, submit your free version to wp.org (you’ll have few months to work on SEO and marketing before it goes live)
  • if your name is taken, well, just go ahead and rename it, no harm done, no wasted time, work or money
  • when you have the name reserved you are free to release, advertise, SEOise, go wild

Really, it is simple as that. Do yourself a favor and just tweak your workflow a bit. You’ll love yourself for that. Good luck.

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