Iron Templates recently released FWRD, their fourth WordPress theme for musicians on Envato. ThemeSupport spoke with Iron Templates to learn more about what went into the release.
Q: You have done two other WordPress themes for bands in the past. What made you decide to do a third?
A: Iron Templates is located in Montreal, Canada where we can find a very powerful international art scene. Over the last 15 years we have worked with great artists such as Marie Mai, Les Cowboys Fringants, les Trois Accords and the biggest independent classical label in Canada, Analekta. We learned a lot from these experiences and as such, we have a good understanding of what people in the music industry are looking for in terms of web strategy. In 2013, we launched IronBand, a WordPress theme that has become very popular. In 2014, this motivated us to launch Lush, a second theme dedicated to music lovers. Lush has become one of the most popular music themes in the world. We are so impressed with what people have managed to create using this theme. Following this, we tried, like many of us, to enter the major leagues of the multi-purpose theme in order to compete with the giants of that category who, in turn, had spent thousands of hours on their products which they have been refined for years! Drivr didn’t meet our sales expectations and we learned a lot from that. As an entrepreneur, I quickly realized that it’s better to focus on our strengths, improve our weaknesses and more importantly, find a niche that you specialize in rather than going around taking non-calculated risks. That said, in the last six months we’ve been thinking and looking at our best attributes, hired experienced and creative people and finally launched a third product dedicated to artists and musicians which we called FWRD.
Q: What is unique and different about this theme than others?
A: Design quality and flexibility make FWRD truly unique. FWRD has 4 demos available so it’s like 4 themes in 1. We put a lot of energy into building these different demos because we believe that the main reason people buy WordPress themes is because it saves so much time when creating a site. By offering different demos, artists already have a good idea of what their next site might look like. To make our offer even better, we have developed a plugin which allows you to automatically import the demo of your choice and be operational in less than 5 minutes. The theme comes with 2 different menu types (Classic Menu and 3D Pushed Menu). Finally, the design is probably what is most striking about FWRD when compared to the competition. The design and functionality really emphasize the artist, their brand and their music.
Q: When creating this theme, did you seek specific feedback from bands or musicians on what to include in the theme?
A: We have been thinking a lot about what the artist’s target audience (fans) look for when visiting a website. Based on our past experiences and feedback from our users, we created FWRD which is the most powerful music theme we have created so far. We knew that an event countdown was highly anticipated. In addition, our customers are from all over the world. That said, we had to provide a theme that can be easily translated. Finally, the integration of third parties such as SoundCloud, BandCamp, YouTube and Vimeo is easy to implement with FWRD.
Q: How hard is it for bands to add their music to their site with this theme?
A: It is relatively easy. First we install the theme and its plugins such as Iron Music, a plugin we have developed for bands to add their music. All you have to do is to go into the Discographies menu, add an album with its title and cover photo and mp3s and voila. Of course, you can also add optional links for online purchase through iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, as well as adding video clips and lyrics, etc.
Q: If a band is building a website specifically to drive music sales, why would they want to use FWRD?
A: Certainly for its flexibility. We know that the sale of merchandise for an artist is very important. This often represents a large portion of revenues. So we made sure that FWRD is 100% compatible with WooCommerce, the most popular eCommerce plugin in WordPress. FWRD allows selling music online, tickets to events and related products such as t-shirts, hoodies, caps, and posters among others. With WooCommerce, one can easily add other plugins (free or paid) that can do pretty much everything you could want, such as shipping fees calculator, connecting with an accounting system and managing stock availabilities.
Q: What was the hardest part of building and releasing the theme?
A: The most difficult was probably adjusting the theme to meet the requirements of ThemeForest.net. It was the fourth theme that we had submitted and each time, the review process was pretty fast. When we submitted FWRD to review, we were very confident that it would be accepted without too much issues. We had already spent thousands of hours working on it. The biggest problem with ThemeForest is that their requirements are ever-changing and as authors, we’re not always clearly informed. Following the first refusal, we had to change hundreds of lines of code and the theme’s structure to meet the new criteria. We therefore adjusted the theme accordingly and three months later, everything made more sense. The theme is much more efficient. We applied the best WordPress development practices and we learned a lot. This is a big accomplishment for our team and we are proud of it.
About IronTemplates :
Iron Templates is a division of Motion In Design, an agency of 10 creative people that specialize in WordPress development. Over the past 15 years, we have successfully delivered on hundreds of engagements. Our mission is to provide effective web solutions that will bring projects to the next level.