A Chat With Ben Ritner At Kadence Themes

Way back, creating a website has always been so difficult. You had to code, create your own graphics, and set up everything. It was a total mess! Especially if you don’t have any experience at all!

But we’re not stuck in the stone ages anymore! Creating your dream website doesn’t have to be the hardest task there is! Not only that, we can create these sites without taking forever to finish! How is that for technological advancement!

Now you don’t have to do everything alone! There are experts out there willing to help you. The themes are already there so you don’t have to worry about your design and layout. Just put in your content and poof!

Everything is done.

Now, we have a lot of people in this line of business. But there are always companies who stand out. We have Ben from Kadence Themes.

Ready to explain how easy it is to create the website you’ve always wanted.

Let us welcome today’s guest Ben Ritner from Kadence Themes. Without further ado, let us start with our first question. Ben, we would like to ask for a quick introduction of your company.

What is Kadence Themes as a whole? Who are the people who made this company possible?

Kadence Themes is a WordPress Theme and Plugin development company. We are out to create clean professional class WordPress themes and plugins that help everyday people create beautiful websites. We are a small team that resides in the beautiful city of Missoula, Montana. We find ourselves everyday grateful to live in the heart of Big Sky Country. It’s an everyday inspiration. As a business we focus largely on outstanding support and making our few products stand out. We pride ourselves in not outsourcing any support so we can provide above and beyond what our users need. As the lead developer I am actively involved in support and often help other developers using our products with tricky client needs. I’ve always thought that offering the best service and focusing on making a few great themes is more useful than having a lot of themes that only do one thing well and support that is not personal and not helpful.

Wow! That surely is impressive. What inspired you to create such a brilliant business though? And how did you guys start?

Kadence Themes launched in 2013 but in some ways really started in 2012. I was freelancing for local businesses, designing and developing sites for them. WordPress was (and is) the best platform for these businesses so I was pretty much exclusively using it. Because of that I was working to find a theme that I could use as a base for client sites, something that was built well and easy to adjust to my clients needs without having to learn a new theme with each client only to end up with huge child themes just to make all the needs of my clients work. In the end I built my own theme to do just that and started using it for my client sites. I was able to build always thinking about how my clients would interact with the theme and how I as their developer would build in the functionality and design they needed. A year and a half later Virtue Theme came out of that. Both a free and premium version. I had launched Kadence Themes at the time to be more of a side project to my freelancing. But after only a couple months Virtue was getting a lot of attention and a lot of people seemed to love it so I stopped all freelancing and started working to expand Kadence Themes. A few years later and as a brand we’ve come a long way and have a lot of great things coming in the future.


What are your basic offerings? What does subscribing to Kadence Themes offer to their customers?

We offer themes and plugins for WordPress and more recently we’ve created a Membership option where you get all of our products for a low price. Our pricing structure is subscription based and customers can use the products in as many site as they like.

The subscription is just for support and updates. Customers get updates and support for one year with each purchase. After that year they can choose to re-subscribe, to continue getting support and updates, or they can cancel their subscription and still use the product for as long as they like they would just not receive any further updates and premium support.

We went with this pricing model because it’s very developer friendly since customers can use our themes and plugins on as many client sites as they like. The renewal allows us to focus on the heart of what we want to do which is offer outstanding support and continually upgrade our products to always be the best. We didn’t want to fall into a structure that required us to output as many themes as possible to generate sales all the while sacrificing theme quality and our support.

If a newbie entrepreneur would pay for your services, what does he get that can help him setup his online presence? How newbie friendly is Kadence Themes?

We offer products for WordPress so if you’re new to WordPress there is a learning curve just like anything on the web or computer, but it’s really minimal. The WordPress admin is very user friendly and because of its popularity there are tons of free tutorials so you can find help at any step. We see (and help) people who are new to the web have great success on WordPress.

For our part this is an area where we believe our themes and plugins stand out in giving users powerful tools that really empower new users to take a hand in making their sites specific to their needs all in a beginner friendly, no code needed environment. When you purchase a theme or plugin from us you not only get great support, but a product that stands out in how it adds to the tools in WordPress to give users greater control over their sites content and design.

kadence_pluginsWe’ve seen that you actually offer free themes. Are your free themes able to create fully functional websites? What does upgrading to a paid plan get you?

This is a big part of who we are. We approached our free themes with an attitude of adding more features than other free themes we’ve seen. Many comment that our free themes feel like premium themes because of how powerful they are. You can build any kind of site with our free themes and there is nothing in them that requires a person to upgrade. We even have separate documentation for our free themes because in many ways they stand on their own.

In terms of what users get if they update it’s hard to list all the features. To give an overview our premium themes offer more features that can really make a site stand out. Things like our pro slider where you can animate in text, images or buttons on by one and control how and where each layer shows on a slide. Or our advanced gallery options that give you many creative ways to show off your images in mosaic or masonry style grids. Or for online shops our exclusive WooCommerce functions that help you connect and show off your products with your potential customers. And still this is not even a far overview. There are so many features and we work to add more all the time. Plus customers who purchase have access to our premium support forms where they can find fast help and advanced help with customizations.

What makes a website builder excel? What are the most common features you can find in popular website builders?

Matching ease of adding content and how easy a person can make that content look good and be responsive for all devices are some big things that can make certain themes and plugins excel above others.

This is why one of the more exciting features that is very popular for Kadence Themes and for anyone using WordPress is page builders. Basically it is a tool that gives users a more advanced control over a specific page’s layout in an interface that is both easy to use and gives a user total control to add any kind of content in any kind of layout. We have a bundled page builder in our premium products that we’ve added some extra options and features to. In it you can work in live view and get instant feedback for the changes you make. For many of our users it’s a very popular feature.

What kind of support do you offer your new customers? Are your tutorial videos for free?

We think support should be the number one focus and as a company it has been our first priority every day of the week. We want to make sure our customers feel like they didn’t just purchase a product, but they joined with a community of people working to help them make the best sites possible. As I’ve said, we do all in house support so it’s easy for you to talk to me about some custom functionality that you’re wanting to implement. We have extensive documentation and tutorials (videos tutorials as well) for each theme and they are free to access anytime.

kadence_tutorialsHow does appearance affect a site’s performance? What are your tips in designing a good looking and professional looking website?

The appearance of a site says a lot and in a very short time. When a person clicks on to a new site they make internal judgements about the sites brand as a whole a lot of times just from the “feeling” they get from the site. If your site doesn’t represent your brand well it’s going to leave people with a feeling about you that you probably don’t want. And that can play a huge part in how effective your site is.

There a couple tips that I think are important for anyone designing a website. The first is to consider your sites purpose. What’s the goal? For example, are you trying to create sales or increase your followers? Knowing and having an outline of your goals and subgoals allows you to make design decisions that direct your viewers to your goals. Design without direction can look cool (mostly just looks bad), but not lead to the results you want.

The second is to consider your target audience. Understanding who you are targeting lets you make design decisions based on what is going to be most effective for the people you are wanting to connect with. The imagery, colors and of course content should all come from knowing the “who” that you are trying to attract.

From there you begin the real designing and this is where it’s important to have the right tools available to you to create and customize for the best possible performance. This is where Kadence Themes can really stand out because with any of our themes you’re not locked into one design, but instead you are given tools to create and customize specific and unique to your needs.

Do you optimize your themes for smartphones and tablets as well?kadence_site_optimization

Yes, everything we develop comes with a mindset of connecting sites with users on any type of device. We take responsive design seriously and are always working with the newest devices to make sure users sites look great with any screen size.

Lastly, do you offer webhosting as well? Or do you have a partner company for that? Who are your recommendations.

We don’t offer hosting, and we don’t have a partner company that we specifically recommend. My personal advice is usually more based on the needs of the customer.

We thank you for the opportunity to interview you Ben. It was a very informative interview and we hope it will help our audience in preparing for their dream website.

So there you have it folks! Be Ritner from Kadence Themes. We wish them the best of luck in their line of business. Any questions and suggestions? Post them here!

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