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The iThemes Story

From Cory Miller, co-founder of iThemes…

I wanted to take a moment to help explain the back story of iThemes … and how we got to where we are today … so here’s the iTheme story, which is also my story too:

After editing my personal website for several years using Dreamweaver and dealing with the hassle of updating each individual page on my site when I added new content (this was before I found out what a CMS really was), I found this cool free online software called WordPress.

I started using it for my first blog almost two years ago now and found it made it so incredibly easy to manage my blog that I decided to use it for my website and every new website or blog I started.

With WordPress, I could write new posts, or static pages in minutes … and tweak my site anytime I wanted. And when I needed to change things, like a copyright date in my footer, I made one change in that theme file, and click “Update” and viola, done … on every page on my site!

Because I’ve always considered myself a guerrilla, bootstrapping type of marketer, I naturally began to see the value of using WordPress as a simple, easy and cheap (free) content management system for every new website I created too.

At the time, I was working for an organization (a church in fact) with a limited, nonexistence web budget, so I converted our organization’s website into WordPress so I could manage it online from anywhere in the world (or maybe just my home on a Saturday morning), provided I had a web connection. Then when each new unit started asking for new websites, I created them in WordPress and gave them the keys to manage it themselves online.

What a relief!

After all this, I began to think: “Small businesses could use WordPress to create and manage their sites too.”

And after seeing the search engine value for using WordPress, with a few optimization tips I learned along the way, and a good Theme … I knew they could leverage all this to develop new prospects for their business through online marketing, while also putting the power to update their websites in their hands.

Eventually, we started iThemes so we could focus on all this full-time.

And from the beginning at iThemes, we wanted to produce high-quality, search engine optimized WordPress web templates for small businesses, professionals and organizations — from real estate agents to churches to photographers, and thousands of niche industries in between — to help them create and manage websites in an affordable way.

Hopefully, if we’ve done our job, it saves you time, money and hassle!

If you look through our Theme Store, our Themes are not built strictly for blogs or to even be blogs. They are built to be and run entire small business websites that might want integrated blogs to develop an interactive community around their products and services and find new customers via the search engines. Of course, you don’t have to use the blog function, but it can certainly become a great marketing tool in your arsenal.

One thing we’ve focused on as well is investing in high-end, professionally-designed templates. We’ve sought out and hired the best web designers to build themes that would normally cost well over $2,000 for a comparable custom design. In fact, it costs between $3,000-$5,000 on average for us to build just one of our theme series.

If you do the math, when you purchase one of our iThemes, you’re paying a small fraction of that cost.

On the backend, we aspire to produce the best, most well-designed code — the CSS stylesheets, XHTML and WordPress options — into our themes. Neatly organized, so you, the do-it-yourselfers, can find and tweak your designs to get them exactly the way you like it.

We’re also improving and adding features to our themes so you don’t have to touch the code either — like being able to upload a custom logo straight from WordPress.

In addition to building an extensive WordPress video tutorial section, to help you with your questions, we’ve also got an active user-to-user support forum, with two moderators who peruse the boards each day to help answer your questions or point you in the right direction to find them.

We’re doing all this simply because … we want to build the best WordPress themes for small businesses.

So that’s it … the iThemes story in a nutshell!


  1. “I knew they could leverage all this to develop new prospects for their business through online marketing, while also putting the power to update their websites in their hands”… And you certainly have done just that Cory. Thanks for all your hard work, I look forward to getting your RSS updates daily. You are actually my favourite site.

  2. Joanna and Frances, as iThemes customers, I appreciate and value your comments more than you know! It’s affirmation that the vision we started out to do is being noticed our work valued and probably more importantly, helping other businesses grow. Thanks for taking the time to comment here.

  3. Cory and Team, you are doing great work at iThemes, and I am one of your ‘typein traffic’. Your free themes are very good and I have never used a paid theme as I never felt the need for it, but some of your new themes like the e-commerce and photo-album themes are looking great, and I will aim to try one of them later this year. Please keep up the great work!!

  4. Truly found your site helpful bought some themes as well. Found wordpress makes life a lot more easier. It greatly increased my productivity in terns of getting my sites up and live, and managing content.

  5. Have to say nice site and themes, I think I know where I’ll be looking when I want more of a CMS type solution, we hope to integrate our blogs and eBay and other stuff in one location.

  6. Wow it’s great to see how quickly your business has grown over the last couple of years. I don’t remember how long ago you released a theme with Michel Fortin but I’ve been following your themes since then and they are totally top quality (and easy to customize which I love)! Thanks Cory and everyone at iThemes:)

  7. Thanks for the encouragement, Angela … yes, it seems like yesterday that we did the Fortin themes. He was instrumental in my early success as a freelancer and also my introduction into Internet Marketing.

  8. I am going in this direction as well. It just makes more sense for me and the customer to use WordPress. I’ll probably be purchasing Architect this week for a client. Thanks for offering such great themes and service!

  9. My husband and I both love ithemes. It’s great to know the story behind it. We use your themes for several of our businesses and yes some CMS is like finding gold. I can imagine how excited you were to learn there was an easier way to go about updating and making changes to your site.

  10. Get over the fear of using your last bucks to buy the solutions iTheme’s and crew are offering.

    (this is NOT a paid comment, just a very, very satisfied customer…!!!)

    If you’re financially so down, like my family and I are at the moment, taking the amazing decision to spend 50% of our last money to buy a theme/plugin,
    (not knowing what you’re buying sometimes, WordPress Theme Designers are developing promising WP design plugins, and when you are using them, they are full of bugs! Not here!)

    and I have to say….
    It feels like I stepped in Apple shares when they were on the lowest position on the stock market, and can cash in now….

    So many issue’s and worries are taking away, with using the iTheme’s Builder…
    I use it for a dumb reason (not even to build websites, but to research the influence of content positing in targeted groups) but serious to everybody…
    So far, it worked great! No problems, No issue’s, fast to Handle, and easy to understand. (maybe I’m borderline and having a wave or so)


  11. I must say that this is a really great story and wish you guys all the best with iThemes. Keep up the great work and I hope to see you add even more themes and stuff to the “Builder theme”.

  12. Dear ithemes!

    As a college journalism professor, I find your site an invaluable resource for my students learning WordPress. It is extremely well-organized, easy to navigate, and it contains excellent free videos to get the “novice” blogger off and running. I appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge with those who seek it…especially the free stuff!


    Dr. Richard Gaspar
    Professor of Journalism
    Hillsborough Community College
    Tampa, Florida

  13. Cory, I was contacted by your grandfather, Leo, and he is wanting me to do a feature story about you and your company for the Lone Grove Ledger. If you would be willing to do this, please let me know and we’ll get it started. Thank you, LA



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