If you are a WordPress theme developer, with themes uploaded and available on WordPress.org, then tracking how popular your theme is, can be super-addictive. Seeing it on the first few rows of the popular themes page on WordPress.org’s popular themes section can give you a real high. The algorithm that determines where you rank on the popularity chart though, is not just directly related to the number of active installs – it factors in the age of your theme too. Which is why even though CyberChimps’ Responsive Theme has 90k+ active installs, it shows up below themes with much fewer installs. Up until the end of 2015, the theme directory used to mention the number of downloads for each theme. In November 2015, the download count was replaced with the number of active installs. ‘Active Installs’ are beyond doubt a valid and credible way to measure the popularity of a WordPress theme. Because quite often, users may download a whole bunch of themes to try them out, but may end up activating / selecting only one. There was a lot of debate and discussion when this was rolled out, but I believe this is a very robust metric – that keeps theme developers like
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