Backlink on premium themes


After purchasing themes from TheThemeFoundry I m confused little bit that all premium themes there contain backlink in footer. Some themes offer option in customizer to hide this (just with CSS) so backlink is still there.
Its not hard to remove/change few lines of code in footer, but still … I m “surprised” that paid premium themes contain this at all.

Is this common practice for premium themes and what you do you think about this?

(Ben) #2

It’s pretty common practice to include a link in your theme - premium or otherwise.

From a business perspective it makes sense to try and advertise your products in any way possible and I’d be surprised if there are any theme shops that don’t include the link.

Since the customer has purchased the theme then they have the ability to edit it and remove the link (through css, a child theme, editing the theme directly, or sometimes a theme option).

I know it’s not quite the same but on including the link is a requirement (including for premium themes) - and removing the link with css is against the T’s and C’s.

(Gerasimos) #3

Yes, it’s a common practice for any kind of theme actually. Free or premium. It should be really easy to remove it though. In our case, most people need an area in the footer to add their own backlinks (small agencies using our themes for client work) and we just populate this with a sample backlink. Users can change it through a theme option. Haven’t received any complaints so far.

(Leland Fiegel) #4

I think it’s fine to include a backlink in the theme, as long as there isn’t any obfuscation of the footer code. I remember back in the day people used to “encrypt” their footer code. Even if you emptied out the file, many times the layout would break or otherwise make the theme unusable. This was done on purpose by sketchy theme authors to discourage users from removing their ever so precious footer links.

From a theme developer’s perspective, I’d consider nofollowing backlinks to your own site in your themes, and/or not using any spammy anchor text like “WordPress themes” but rather your brand name only.

Google’s algorithms don’t take very kindly any more to a flood of footer links on a bunch of random sites, something that can happen very easily after releasing a popular theme. Nowadays, it should be seen as a traffic/marketing/branding tool, not as a way to influence search rankings.

Eh, I don’t like the sound of that. Which themes offer that option? Could be seen as spammy by search engines if you’re display: none'ing random links in your footer. Luckily a ton of themes are 100% GPL now so you’re free to remove backlinks in the markup as well, manually.

I don’t think it’s really necessary to provide an easy-to-use option to edit the footer link. An “agency” should be skilled enough to make a simple child theme to modify it. Although it would be nice to have, I’d consider it a bonus feature or something to cover in a supplemental tutorial.

(Ahsan Parwez) #5

Hiding the backlink through CSS is a bad practice, though linking back to company website or author profile is a general practice, one should keep that backlink or remove the code. Else you risk of being penalized by search engines.

(Scott Wyden Kivowitz) #6

We include it in the Photocrati Theme with an option to turn it off. I’d say it gets used 50% of the time. So roughly half of our customers leave it on.

(John Parris) #7

Anyone creating products should ask what value something brings to the customer of their products before adding it to the product. In the case of adding an advertising link in the footer, this brings virtually zero value to the customer. So why add it?

Links coming in from a bunch of unrelated sites can put a ding in SEO. Nofollow links don’t give any SEO benefits, and visitors of the site running the theme probably don’t care who created the design. The number of questions a theme shop gets for removing the footer credit likely outweighs any sales made from adding them, especially if there’s no an option to change the text there.


… for me its some kind of cheap practice and it show that, WP theme business is still not mature enough and also I don’t understand why this crap customers accept.

I was really surprised with this and also with answers from ThemeFoundry support about this issue.
Why if developer is good enough need to take advantage of their customers, bc. they don’t have enough knowledge about technical or SEO things …

I hope WP business will become more mature quick instead of selling pop up and fancy gallery crap.

@scottwyden @tsiger why you do this? how it helps to your customers - paid customers?

(Scott Wyden Kivowitz) #9

Branding is basically why. 50% of customers leave it on, which means that their site visitors see what theme they’re using. Which in turns sells more themes.

(Gerasimos) #10

IMHO a footer link has nothing to do with business maturity or anything. In our case, our clients will replace our link with their link (Developed by ) so it basically acts as a placeholder. Nobody has ever complaint about it, nobody ever wasted our time in the support forum, so it’s all good.

(Gerasimos) #11

This is just lame. Can’t find a reason why someone would do this.

(DerpPress) #12

i couldn’t agree more.
I’d bet most people who buy themes have no idea how to remove the link much less change it. I know someone who kept replacing it with their own info it but of course it would keep coming back every time they updated the theme (they didn’t know what a child theme was). If you look at the support forums for places like WPZoom (when they had forums), Theme Foundry, Organic Themes etc. one of the most common questions they get is how to remove it. Why would you add something that results in the most common thing they want removed? Plus you’re just giving me more work to do. If it’s a free theme I’ll give you that.

(Leo) #13

Indeed. The problem with auto backlinks by Theme shops/developers is that they risk being penalised by Google for unnatural/low quality links.