If you’ve spent any amount of time reading about or using WordPress, WPExplorer is a name you should be familiar with. As well as running one of the biggest blogs about WordPress, they’ve also created one of the most popular multipurpose WordPress themes on the market.
Total is the name of that theme, and in this WPExplorer review we’ll both explore the theme and look at the backstory of WPExplorer in general. We’ll also cover what else they have to offer, including their other themes and templates for creating blogs and ecommerce stores with WordPress.
Let’s get started…
The WPExplorer blog was started by a chap called AJ Clarke, back when he was still in college and had just begun creating websites with WordPress. After publishing various WordPress tips, news, and reviews on the site’s blog, AJ increased his coding skills and started producing and selling his own WordPress themes on sites like Mojo Marketplace and later on ThemeForest (note: for more info, check out our Guide to Buying Themes on ThemeForest).
After a few early theme releases, AJ launched the multi-purpose Total WordPress theme in 2013 which has since gone on to become an industry best-seller. As well as regularly updating Total – including adding new features and website demos – other purpose-built themes, such as blogging, magazine, and ecommerce options, have also been released by WPExplorer over the intervening period.
Over the years, the WPExplorer blog has grown to become one of the biggest and most popular websites about WordPress around. Working with multiple writers (including myself) to publish a steady stream of content, AJ and his wife Kyla have built one of the most well-known brands in the WordPress ecosystem.
And according to the team, “there are a few cool projects WPExplorer has in the works”, making them ones to watch in 2018.
- ThemeForest member since 2009.
- ThemeForest author rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 3736 ratings.
- 21 WordPress themes for sale.
- 56,040 theme sales to date on the ThemeForest marketplace.
As a large portion of those sales was generated by Total, let’s take a look at this popular theme to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your website.
As mentioned, Total is the most popular WordPress theme from the WPExplorer team. In fact, it’s a theme we’ve reviewed in detail befomre on the blog. In that review, Kevin Muldoon found Total to be “user-friendly and well designed”. While you can find out everything there is to know about Total in his review if you want a quick overview of what this theme can do, here’s a brief summary.
With over 31,000 sales and a 4.85 out of 5-star average rating from users, Total is definitely a tried and tested WordPress theme with a positive reputation. It’s also been regularly updated since its initial release back in 2013 and continues to be the main focus of the WPExplorer team, with more new features and improvements scheduled for this year.
What typically separates a multi-purpose theme from a regular theme is its selection and variety of website demos and Total is no exception. With 46 demos to choose from, covering agency websites and corporate homepages to gym and fitness sites and online portfolios, Total really can be used to quickly create almost any type of website with WordPress.
The main Total demo does a great job of showing off everything this theme has to offer. Ideal for agency or business websites, the main Total demo includes a full-width slider as well as portfolio and ecommerce store excerpts on the homepage. It’s also packed with templates for all the pages your site is likely to need, including services, testimonials, and contact pages.
If you want to create a gym website with WordPress, Total has a demo that’s ready to go. Suitable for gym, personal trainer, and other fitness-related websites, this Total demo has useful features like a pricing package comparison table, contact form, team member profiles, and a full-screen slider on the homepage.
With a full-screen slider that’s ideal for promoting your best dishes or highlighting the atmosphere of your venue, the Total café demo delivers a quick way to create a website for your bar, café, or restaurant. Photographs of your signature dishes, as well as details of your opening hours, can be displayed in the homepage slider, while the rest of the default café homepage layout has sections for your menu, photo gallery, location, and company information.
Total has a few stylish blog demos including this design for travel bloggers. The optional homepage slider works well for promoting your latest blog posts, while the custom widgets can be used to display content from your social media accounts, links to other content from your blog, and your author profile.
The fashion store demo makes it easy to launch a certain type of ecommerce store with WordPress. However, as Total has full support for the WooCommerce online store builder plugin, any of the demos can be used to sell physical and digital products as well as services online.
Thankfully importing the demo content is very straightforward with Total. So whether you’re new to WordPress or just looking for a quick way to launch your website, Total and its pre-built demos work really well. Also, as Total is a highly flexible WordPress theme, the pre-built demos can be easily customized to work for a range of other projects.
As well as the pre-built content, Total has lots of impressive features to help you create a website with WordPress.
Among the features, you’ll find a front-end drag-and-drop content editor that’s powered by the popular WPBakery Page Builder – previously known as Visual Composer – WordPress plugin. Thanks to this impressive tool, you can customize all of the Total demo content through an intuitive interface.
You can also use the page builder and its library of elements, including the custom Total elements, to create your own unique content designs from scratch.
In addition to the WPBakery Page Builder plugin, the premium Templatera, Slider Revolution, and Layer Slider plugins are included in the Total package. Not only does this save you money, but it also gives you the ability to create your own advanced slideshows and edit the pre-built sliders, as well as manage your WPBakery Page Builder content designs more efficiently.
Total has also been built to work with all the best third-party WordPress plugins too, enabling you to add as many extra features to your site as needed.
Other notable Total theme features include:
- WordPress Customizer support.
- Under construction mode.
- Boxed and full-width layout options.
- Multiple header styles.
- Built-in social sharing.
- Fully mobile-friendly design.
- Library of developer-friendly code snippets and theme filters.
- Plus many more.
If you want to see what else this theme can do, or get some inspiration for your own projects, be sure to check out this collection of live examples of Total in action.
Based on the positive feedback from Total users, it’s fair to conclude that WPExplorer does a good job of supporting their flagship theme. In fact, the WPExplorer team have recognized that “having a solid support team is one of the most important” lessons learned from running their business. The team keeps in contact with customers, checking to see if they’ve spotted any bugs, or have suggestions for how the theme can be improved.
At the time of writing this WPExplorer review, Total is available from the ThemeForest marketplace for just $29. This is around half the price of the other best-selling multi-purpose themes making it a great value for money product.
This price includes lifetime access to future theme updates and six months of support from WPExplorer. For a small fee, the support period can be extended to 12 months. An additional purchase option is to sign up with the Envato Hosted service (read our review of Envato Hosted) and get access to Total, the theme setup service, and premium WordPress hosting for $19 per month. If you’ve yet to choose a WordPress web host, this could be a convenient way to get your site online as quickly as possible.
As mentioned, WPExplorer has 21 WordPress themes in their portfolio at ThemeForest. Here are some of the highlights.
Fashionista has been regularly updated since its release in 2012 and has generated a small but steady stream of sales over the years. The theme has a classic look which has been designed primarily for blogging and listings products for sale. The ecommerce functionality is provided via the support for the leading WooCommerce online store builder plugin, giving you full control over how your shop works.
Described as a classy and stylish WordPress theme, Chic is another option aimed at bloggers and online store owners. Whether you want to simply share your latest thoughts or sell products online, Chic could be a good choice. Like many of the other WPExplorer themes, Chic is compatible with the Envato Hosted service which includes WordPress website hosting from the ThemeForest parent company.
Noir is another flexible blogging theme with good ecommerce support. The ad spots offer an extra way to generate money from your WordPress website, while the customization options give you a good amount of control over the design of your site. Social media integration comes as standard, with features like social logins, Facebook commenting, and custom Instagram feed widgets among the options.
New York is the newest theme from WPExplorer and was released in late 2016 but has been recently updated. With a minimal design aimed at blogs and ecommerce stores, New York has a full-width layout that can be easily customized through the theme options control panel. Custom widgets, multiple homepage layouts, and a fully responsive design are all on the New York theme feature list.
Total is certainly the most popular theme from WPExplorer and after checking out the feature list and selection of pre-built website demos, it’s easy to see why. However, if you’re looking for a theme built for a specific purpose, rather than a multi-purpose option, that’s comparative lack of features helps deliver a more simplified user experience, one of the other WPExplorer themes could be a good choice.
WPExplorer has done an impressive job of running a successful theme business alongside managing a busy multi-author blog, that’s well-read and well-ranked by the search engines.
By recognizing the potential of the ThemeForest marketplace and releasing a few single-purpose themes, before finding huge success with the powerful multi-purpose Total theme, WPExplorer was able to ride the wave of popularity that the WordPress software and its ecosystem has enjoyed.
With more projects planned for this year, WPExplorer is certainly here for the long haul. So if you’re looking for a theme for almost any type of WordPress website, you’re sure to find what you need with Total, and to a lesser extent, their other themes, while the content on the blog will help you launch your site and take it to the next level.
Thoughts on WPExplorer and/or Total?