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EngineThemes Review

The thing which first stood out to me when browsing Engine’s wares was the fact that they had a forum theme. Hopefully social media hasn’t killed off the need for forums, because back in the day they used to be brilliant; far better than social media nowadays. Or maybe I’m just being nostalgic.

ForumEngine is just $49, which is a small price for something which looks and feels like a proper forum, something I’d love to browse. My tiniest problem is that it isn’t bland enough. I might be a bit difficult to please, or just spend too long on the computer, but little squares of colours next to text is a bit visually confusing. I’m sure you could get rid of it with the customization options though, which seem powerful and easy to use.

The features which Engine grants buyers across its range of themes include fluid layouts for mobile optimization, a pledge to not ‘give you bells and whistles you’ll never use’ (I’m truly thankful), weekly updates and frontend controls, to save you time fiddling around in the WordPress settings. Everything can be done from the homepage; nice and easy.

As well as a forum theme, they also provide plenty of other ‘engines’, such as HotelEngine, ClassifiedEngine and JobEngine. There’s no confusion as to their purpose when you read the names. This sets them up to have a great no-nonsense attitude. Naming themes as if they were Fantasy Role-Playing Games should be a thing of the past.

As well as their premium themes, which range between affordable ($49) and silly ($129), they also offer an all-purpose theme, OneEngine. This has had almost 1500 downloads so far and has an amazing amount of features for a free theme. Features like a drag-and-drop layout builder, 60+ animation effects (to generate headaches?), parallax backgrounds, contact forms and more. This is the sort of thing you would end up paying a lot of money for on sites like iThemes. There’s no way of telling if it’s any good though, apart from the number of downloads which is a healthy sum for any company.

Similar to AppThemes’ marketplace, Engine also offer an array of extensions, each costing around $20 on average. They do things like integrate Paypal Express into your site and display your classified ads on other sites. There are also some nice options for the ForumEngine theme, such as the addition of ‘idea threads’ to your forum, where users can rate the ideas and see the results of the ratings. Unfortunately that is the only extension for my favourite forum theme and the rest are predictably engineered towards eCommerce, business and all that kind of anti-social stuff.

Judging by their blog posts and their weekly update vow, they seem to be a very active bunch. There is news coming through very regularly about planned features, new extensions and lists of updates that are going to happen. In addition to this, they are monitoring and responding to feedback via the forum, meaning that they hear the words of the customers whether they are happy or not, and strive to make the problem better. This is a great sort of attitude for a company to take! Some theme vendors don’t bother putting forums up at all, in case it ruins their flawless image when people don’t know how to work the themes. Engine knows better than that – it looks great when you work to make the customer happy. Surely happy customers pay more money, so it’s a smart moving in the long-run when you think about it.

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