Developing your own WordPress themes and selling them to web site owners can be a great side hustle or even full-time business for an entrepreneur, especially if you own and operate your own reseller hosting business as well.
Around 810 million websites use WordPress as of 2023. This represents around 43% of all websites, and no competitors such as Shopify or Squarespace even come close to market share.
All WordPress sites rely on WordPress themes, creating a large market for WordPress theme sales. High-quality WordPress themes, also referred to as templates, are particularly sought after by site owners as they heavily influence the look and design of a website.
Users are willing to pay a premium for great looking WordPress themes and plugins that make getting their business website up and running quickly.
However, launching and promoting WordPress themes can be an overwhelming task. There is so much to consider, from how to develop a theme to how to market and promote it. Developing and marketing a WordPress theme may seem daunting, but it’s quite easy with the right guidance.
In this article, we’ll provide you with some valuable insights on how to promote and sell your WordPress theme. Read on to learn how you may start selling WordPress themes yourself.
How do you develop a WordPress theme?
It’s crucial to have a basic understanding of the development process if you want to sell WordPress themes. If you’re new to WordPress theme development, there are many resources available online to get you started.
Websites like Udemy or Skillshare offer lots of courses on WordPress theme development that can help you get started. It could take some time before you’re able to build your own premium WordPress theme if you starting from square one.
The faster route? You can hire experienced theme developers through freelancing platforms such as Upwork. It’s essential to work with someone who has experience with WordPress development. Also, make sure they have good reviews from previous clients.
Here are a few tips to look out for when hiring someone to develop WordPress themes:
- Don’t go for the lowest hourly rate – you may find a diamond in the rough but projects like developing a WordPress theme are complicated. You may find it takes a more junior developer a lot more time to build stuff so you will end up buying more hours at a lower rate and it may cost you more in the long run.
- Look for a candidate with a lot of reviews and hours worked – chances are they will have a better understanding of how your partnership would work and have more of a process vs. a greener candidate. Again, there’s always the chance you could strike gold here and get the perfect WordPress theme built so trust your gut.
- Ask for an example (or a few) – see if the candidate can provide an example of their own WordPress site where they built the theme. Do a speed test, test it on multiple devices. Is it really a good example? Can they prove they in fact built it?
How much does it cost to develop WordPress themes?
This is a very hard question to answer because it depends entirely on the scope of what you would like the WordPress theme to do, who you select to develop the WordPress theme, or if you choose to develop it yourself. However, I would expect to spend around $1,200 in order to get a true premium WordPress theme built. If it were to be any cheaper, I would be suspicious that a theme developer is ripping off code from another theme or cutting corners.
This isn’t a hard and fast number, you can certainly do it cheaper by finding the right developer, and if you would like for your WordPress theme super advanced then it may be more expensive.
However, if you do the math on your sale price at let’s say, $20 per theme, then it really doesn’t take that many customers to break even. Remember, there’s no operating cost besides web hosting for a theme and regular maintenance, so it can be very profitable after the initial expense.
How do you figure out what type of theme to develop?
Choosing the right niche for your theme is crucial if you want to attract potential buyers. Conduct some research on your niche in the WordPress theme marketplaces such as Themeforest and identify a gap that you can fill.
For example, if you notice that there aren’t many WordPress themes available targeting pet groomers or pet spas, you can consider creating one. This way, you can target a specific audience and provide them with a solution that meets their needs.
Next, you need to understand the specific requirements of such a website. For example, my theme will need a menu offering pet spa treatments, a page for testimonials from pet owners, a booking system for orders, and a contact form for customers.
It can go long way for a user if the demo WordPress website showcasing your theme already has the right icons, stock images and more. That will make it much more likely for them not to just go with a free WordPress theme or have to use their imagination for what their own WordPress site could look like.
How do you price a WordPress Theme?
Generally, themes can range from $20 to $200, depending on their complexity, functionality, and usability. Pricing your theme is an important decision that will determine its success in the marketplace.
Research your competitors on the major marketplaces. Note their pricing strategy to get a general idea of the market rate. If you’re pricing your pet grooming theme at $200 while most existing themes in your niche charge around $75, it may not work for you.
The price should reflect the value and features of your theme, as well as meet the target audience’s budget. Consider the features and functionality of your theme and its unique selling point. How many pet grooming themes exist in the market? Are you one of the first few themes to exist in your niche, or are there hundreds? What are you offering that the current themes don’t?
You can choose to sell your theme either on a one-time sale basis or a subscription-based model. Whichever pricing strategy you decide, make sure to offer enough value to your buyers and stay competitive in the market.
How do you market a WordPress Theme?
Marketing your WordPress theme is crucial to its success. Below are some tips and marketing strategies that can help you increase visibility and attract potential buyers of WordPress themes:
- Social media platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram are excellent ways to promote your theme to a wider audience. Share screenshots of your theme, post teaser videos, and showcase its unique features to entice potential buyers. Use relevant hashtags such as #petgroomers and #petspa to get featured in your niche.
- Make sure you create a landing page or website that showcases your theme and provides information on its features and pricing. Note: A live demo of your WordPress theme will definitely help convert potential customers.
- Use SEO tips to get your theme found in Google searches. Write authentic, informative blog posts relevant to your target audience (in our example, pet groomers) and include a link to your theme. For example, product content that encourages users to think about starting their own pet sta. Your WordPress theme is just part of their journey to get up and running!
- Leverage existing online communities to promote your theme. Make sure you’re interacting with users and contributing relevant content (and not only doing sales-y promos). For example, you could join this Subreddit for pet groomers or a similar Facebook community. Pro-Tip: Offering a promo code to online communities can also help you gain your first few customers.
What should you do after you’ve sold your theme?
Providing excellent support after you’ve sold your theme is essential if you want to build a loyal customer base. To maintain your theme’s reputation, it’s important to respond to queries, provide regular updates, and fix any bugs or errors.
Consider creating a dedicated support system like a forum or chatbot to handle customer queries and complaints.
If you hired a developer to build your WordPress theme, then you’ll likely need to rely on this same person to help update or fix issues with your theme based on user feedback. Make sure you don’t lose their contact information and after they complete the theme, mention that you’d like to retain their services in a month or two for bug fixes. That way they know to save the code and keep it fresh in their mind.
Lastly, don’t forget that WordPress themes require a hosting provider. Many theme developers choose our WordPress hosting to get a WordPress blog up and running. You can fully brand and customize everything— but our support team works 24/7 to assist your customers with any technical issues. This allows you to always keep your customers happy!
Developing and selling a WordPress theme may seem like a challenging task, but with the right guidance, and effective theme promotion it’s definitely possible to carve out a niche and sell WordPress themes.
By researching your niche, pricing your WordPress theme effectively, and providing exceptional support, you can build a loyal customer base and succeed in the competitive market of WordPress themes.
NameHero is an excellent solution for WordPress theme sellers looking to promote and sell their themes. With NameHero, you can access affordable hosting solutions. You get a dedicated support team, and excellent security features to ensure that your WordPress theme is ready for the market.
So, put our ultimate guide into action and start developing, promoting, and selling your WordPress theme today!
Nirali has over a decade of experience working in marketing with startups in a variety of sectors, including e-commerce, ed-tech, and SaaS. She has a keen understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities facing early-stage companies and a track record of developing effective content strategies that drive growth and engagement.
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