My first theme

After months of waiting in the WordPress theme review queue, I’m stoked to finally release my first WordPress theme on the Theme Directory. Introducing York Lite, a lovely WordPress theme for bloggers and photographers.

I originally released York Lite on my theme shop as a lead generator for the theme’s Pro version. Over the past year, it has been quite a successful campaign, having recorded just over 10,000 downloads. There’s no doubt that freemium WordPress themes are a big chunk of the WordPress theme industry. York Lite & York Pro have been two of my most successful WordPress themes to date. And since I’m all about maximizing the profitability of free WordPress themes, I decided to release my first WordPress them, York Lite, on the official theme directory. I’m curious to see how the theme fares on the directory, and I’m excited about the potential York Lite holds. The “discovery factor” offered by the directory is a huge plus. In fact, there’s already just over 200 active users of the theme!

Reviewing York Lite for

While the plugin queue is a few days long at most, be prepared to wait around six weeks before your WordPress theme is glanced at by the theme review team. I’m fine with waiting, but what’s not cool is being tossed to the back of the six-week-long queue if you have more than five issues with the theme. And while I do believe a quality threshold should exist, a cold rejection certainly doesn’t play well—especially among budding developers. There should be at least one attempt for the developer to resolve issues, instead of forcing them to the back of the line. Once they’ve had a chance to ask questions and submit changes, it’s fair game from that point on. Other than that minor snafu, it’s really not a bad process at all.

The reviewers were informative and helpful. I did however learn that Unsplash images are officially no longer allowed within WordPress themes uploaded to the official directory. It’s not that Unsplash fails to comply with the GPL, but that the platform restricts image usage and distribution. That’s sad, as Unsplash is inarguably the best source for free photos.


Uploading a first WordPress theme to the theme directory was one of my personal goals for 2017. I don’t know if I’ll ever upload another theme, but it was a good experience overall. Really, I am most excited about having my work into more hands and onto more websites. On a side-note, I didn’t realize how awful the previewing experience is for WordPress themes uploaded to the repository. It’s really bad

It’s hard to tell what any WordPress theme, aside from very basic blogs, actually looks like. I’m honestly surprised that even starter content doesn’t render. Shouldn’t it? As a WordPress theme developer with a few years behind me, I know the value of building a beautiful theme demo. It’s arguably more important than the actual theme itself! You may download York Lite from Let me know if you end up using the theme. I enjoy checking out the themes in live-action.


  1. Faisal Khurshid Avatar

    The preview experience of themes on is really sub-par, I wonder why? It is really hard to understand theme actual potential this way. Cannot we provide a separate link, in theme description, maybe, for a better preview demo?

    1. Rich Tabor Avatar

      I agree, it’s a mess. It seems like is not built for downloading themes to upload to your site (after previewing/test) – more-so for previewing and applying themes to your site on the fly. ?

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