You can sell WordPress Themes on different marketplaces and earn a few bucks on every purchase. This can be a new passive income stream for WordPress website designers or freelance developers, which is fairly simple if you have some technical and creative background.
In this blog, I will lay out the basic steps that you need to follow to learn how to sell WordPress plugins on your website. This blog covers both the technical side and also the Blueprint of the process you should follow.
You’ll also get ways to market your theme and platforms where you can sell it by the end of this blog.
Table of Contents
WordPress Theme Development Process
If you are already familiar with staging environments, and You have a basic understanding of CSS and PHP (For editing), this will be a really easy process for you. If you don’t know about it, don’t worry because I will cover every detail here.
To get started, You will need a starter theme, to begin with. And I know you must be wondering what it is.
A starter theme is a pre-made theme that you can customize to create the site you want. Using a starter theme can be helpful because it gives you a solid framework to work with, and it can help you understand how WordPress works.
This means that a WordPress starter theme will have all of the basic files and code needed for a WordPress theme, but none of the extras that make a theme look nice or fancy.
Step 1: Set Up a Local Environment
There are multiple options available to set up a local environment but for the sake of keeping it very simple, we will use DesktopServer by ServerPress.
Here are some of the most popular options for WordPress users:
- Local – a WordPress-specific tool from Flywheel/WP Engine. Works with Apache or Nginx.
- DevKinsta – a WordPress-specific tool from Kinsta. Only supports Nginx.
- DesktopServer – another popular WordPress-specific tool.
- XAMPP – a cross-platform tool to use a LAMP stack (Apache)
- MAMP – a tool to use a LAMP or LEMP stack.
- Docker – for advanced users as it requires the command line.
- VCCW – a Vagrant-based local solution for advanced users.
To follow along, register on their website for free and download the DesktopServer installer from there. It is available on both Windows and macOS.
Once you have the installer file downloaded, double-click on it and follow the on-screen instructions to install DesktopServer on your computer.
Once DesktopServer is installed, launch it and you will see the following screen. On the main screen, you will see two options;
Create a New WordPress Site and Import an Existing WordPress Site.
For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be creating a new WordPress site. Click on the Create a New WordPress Site button and you will be taken to the next screen where you will need to enter some information about your new WordPress site.
The first thing you will need to do is give your site a name. This can be anything you want and will be used to identify your site.
Next, you will need to choose where you want your site to be located. By default, DesktopServer will create a subfolder in the Sites folder on your computer, but you can choose to have it stored anywhere you want.
The next thing you need to do is choose the domain name you want to use for your site. This can be anything you want, but it is generally a good idea to use something that is related to your site’s name.
Step 2: Download and Install Your Starter Theme
Like most starter themes, Underscores is very easy to get started with. In fact, all you need to do is to go to e website and name your theme.
The most important thing about Underscores is that it’s lightweight. It doesn’t have any additional features that would make it more complicated to customize. Instead, it only contains the bare minimum that you need to get started with a new WordPress theme. Apart from that, Underscores also follows the coding standards and best practices. This means that it can be easily extended and improved.
Download the Underscore Theme from the official website and install it in the local environment you just created.
Here is how to install the underscoring theme in your local WordPress environment:
- Log in to your WordPress administration panel.
- Go to Appearance > Themes.
- Click the “Install Themes” tab at the top of the screen.
- Type “underscore” into the search field at the top of the screen.
- Click the “Search” button.
- Click the “Install” button next to the Underscore theme.
- Click the “Activate” button.
Step 3: Understand How WordPress Works Behind the Scenes
WordPress uses a template hierarchy to determine which template files to use on each page. WordPress will look for the following template files in this order when a page on your site is loaded:
Index.php file is required by all themes, it’s the default if no other file can be found.
Step 4: Configure Your Theme
Most people from the old school would refer to technical aspects like adding hook functions, adding custom CSS and PHP code changes to edit and design your new WordPress theme
Luckily, I know how to easily simplify this process even further for you.
So here is what you do:
- Install Elementor, Happy Add-Ons, Elementor Header and Footer Plugins, and lastly Elementor Kit. These are all the front-end design plugins that you will design to create an amazing page design.
You can easily learn how to use Elementor within 60 minutes if you simply see some basic video tutorials on Youtube. I am sure they will teach you all the basics you need.
- Design Header and footer sections first using the header and footer editor for elementor.
- Create Pages and design them as per your requirements of theme. Make sure to create some reusable sections that you can use over and over in the pages as well. E.g: CTAs.
Step 5: Export the Theme and Upload It to Your Site
Once you are done with complete design sections, now it’s time to wrap up the theme files and start some QA before you start selling your WordPress theme online.
Use the Theme Unit Test data for a quick QA. This is a set of dummy data you can upload to your site, containing many different variations of styles and content. It will show you some data on how your theme copes with unpredictable data.
- After testing is done, go to the folder where you have installed your website.
- Access /wp-content/themes/, where you’ll find your theme.
- Zipp the folder
Now, you have a ready upload zip file of your theme ready to be marketed and sold.
3 Reasons to Create WordPress Themes to Sell
WordPress is one of the biggest website hosting platforms with hundreds of theme and plugin options but they don’t always relate to your custom specifications. So if you are not sure about how to create WordPress themes to sell, the best way to cope with it is to learn and create a theme of your own.
Yet, there are a few other reasons too.
- Although WordPress has a good collection of themes and plugins, there is still a great potential to add something new by mixing and matching different tools and features.
- If you create a custom WordPress theme, you are saving other developers’ time and effort.
- For businesses, you add the pinch of personalization that will connect a brand to its customers or users. You can go for the preferred custom coding, color scheme, hyperlink color, and the overall layout of the blog or website.
Knowing what you do will contribute to other people’s journeys is a source of motivation. It keeps you going.
Can WordPress Theme Selling Make Money?
Yes. You can make good money by selling custom-made WordPress themes. The business will reward you from $100 to $5000 dollars depending on the task, theme features, and clean coding. The data is extracted from ThemeForest which is one of the top theme-selling sites.
With that in focus, let’s dive in and learn to create WordPress themes that sell.
The BluePrint To Create WordPress Themes To Sell
Anybody can create a theme but to make it worth a purchase, your theme should have these qualities.
1. Pick a Specific Niche
No matter if you are starting a blog, an online business, or offering a creative service like WordPress theme building, focusing on a particular niche is recommended. It saves you from being all over the place.
Some niches that need high personalization but have good earning potential:
- SaaS products
Every business requires a niche-fit WordPress theme. A salon’s theme will not go with an entrepreneurial website selling house cleaning products. This is why narrowing down to a specific theme not only boosts your productivity but it also increases your chances to land good clients and sell better.
2. Create Original Themes
Copying another’s work is lame and your theme will eventually give the ‘plagiarism’ away. So what you have to do when you are about to create WordPress themes to sell is do your research. Staying original and exploring your creativity is among the quickest ways that make your themes stand out and sell faster.
When you have sorted out the theme’s niche, look for what can help you outperform competitors. Study similar businesses and their ideas to excel at the job. By this time, you’ll have a dozen new things that others lack. Write down whatever can help you, define your theme in words and then begin working on it.
3. Aim at an Amazing Layout
Since there are so many similar designs in the industry, you must draw web traffic’s interest for a brief moment. The WordPress marketplace becomes more competitive so it will be tough for you to reach the top without a visually appealing design. The layout depends hugely on your demographic and what your niche is.
Here’s What a Good Design Must Have:
- Good contrast
- Perfect alignment
- Aesthetic layout
- Detailed business demonstration
- Cohesive throughout
When displaying the prototype implementation of your theme, you can use attractive graphics and intriguing content to give your theme the best possible impression. Don’t miss saving the adjustment options for the preview to fix color preference, design relevance, and font size as your client may want.
4. Follow Responsive Standards in Theme Design
People used to prefer desktop computers to laptops to check their emails or do some online shopping. But now, if you are struggling with how to sell WordPress themes, you should know that people are increasingly adopting cell phones instead of desktop computers. This suggests that we should focus more on theme cross-device adaptability.
Designing a theme mainly for smartphones is a noticeable trend in the WordPress theme for various reasons. A benefit of the technique is that you need to build one variant of a project that will work across several platforms.
Here’s What Makes a Theme Design Responsive:
- Media Queries
- Fitting text sizes
- Grid and image fluids
- Screen-friendly keyboards and Dropout menus
You’ll have to build your theme with responsive design concepts in mind to accomplish this. This includes considering aspects like fonts, image sizes and menu, navigation, and choosing styles that will adequately meet phone devices’ standards.
5. Adaptable Coding and Design
Because WordPress is an interactive, open-source system, your clients or other programmers have access to modify or build add-ons into your theme design.
You must stick to the simple WordPress coding requirements for how to sell WordPress themes for fairly obvious reasons. You must follow standardized coding practices so that other programmers can access and adjust the code or design if the need be. Optimize your WordPress theme as much as possible.
If your design or theme is too difficult to edit, it will not yield positive outcomes. So, the best thing you can do is design a solid customizable theme page. You should create complete reports so that developers may use them.
6. Market Your Themes
Because the theme creation market is saturated with too many players, you will need to develop your business strategy to compete and expand globally. All the tips work differently, and their effectiveness varies as well. It’s time to assign a monetary value to your masterpiece and (ideally) stream the money.
According to market research, there is a happy medium for paid themes about USD 59. There is, however, the option to charge a premium price for niche themes. If you intend to be productive with your theme and plugin development, you can consider promoting a theme club or membership business.
Ways to Advertise Your Theme:
- Upload a free version of your theme to WordPress.org, along with a link to your website and a description of the paid version’s perks.
- Publish your WordPress theme to well-known sites such as Theme Forest, Mojo Themes, and others.
- Create a Genesis-style framework with a store or sample galleries.
- Use affiliate advertising to build your theme sales.
- To gain widespread visibility, contact an influencer to examine your WordPress theme and advertise it.
Influencer marketing and product submission on several marketplaces, for example, perform better than advertising directly. So, to attain the greatest potential result, we recommend that you do all of the above.
Where To Sell Your WordPress Theme? Try these Platforms!
There is no clear and true solution when selecting which platform is best for selling your themes. You’ll call the shots to be an exclusive vendor in a specific marketplace or if you want to be able to offer your products and services somewhere else.
Now you know how to create WordPress themes to sell and you’re prepared to sell your custom themes, followed by your marketing journey.
Here are some top WordPress theme outlets, along with a description of how each will help you.
- Creative Market
You will not be restricted to one marketplace because you will have the freedom to offer your goods on your website or somewhere else. You’ll also get 70% of the revenues from your themes and can sell at the price you want.
Non-exclusive sales commissions might go up to 55%. If you opt to be an exclusive seller with Envato, your fees will decrease as you sell more. This market has incredible positive stories and can be a great area to earn your first victory.
When you use TemplateMonster as your exclusive theme vendor, you will receive 70% of all sales. If you leave your choices open by selling your products on more than one platform, you will earn 40%.
The nicest aspect about Codester is the usual, all-around profit split of 70% for everyone. There are no exclusivity limitations, and you do not need to be a professional seller to benefit from this deal. Codester does have a submission approval process. However, it has a simpler and less scary ‘get started’ webpage than other platforms.
Customer delight ought to be the topmost priority when you are creating WordPress themes to sell. All of the techniques and tricks stated here apply to you if you wish to design WordPress themes that sell well in the market.