The complete guide of creating a selling WordPress theme

WordPress is just ten years old but it seems to be one of them most important entities of the Internet. There are so many websites based on this content management system (CMS) and so many themes available that the Internet may be considered as the realm of WordPress. The fascinating aspect is that its success seems it’s not reached its peak as long as the number of websites based on CMS is daily growing. The specialists tried to explain the success of the CMS and they identified lots of factors but the most important was the simplicity of using it. Someone said that everyone that is able to work with Microsoft Office Word will be able to handle a WordPress website…personally, I really believe in this statement.
In this context, it’s normal for any designer or developer to ask himself if it’s profitable to sell a WordPress theme. Unfortunately, by reading this post you won’t obtain a clear answer –“yeah, go for it” or “nope, it’s not for you”. The single clear statement is that yes, there are too many WordPress themes available, but definitely, there are way too few high quality ones. In conclusion, instead of wasting time to ask yourself if it’s good or not to create a WordPress theme, it’s better to create a really impressive theme and start making money by selling it.
Important: Many designers prefer to create only custom WordPress themes that are used by a single client. In this post we will not treat this aspect, we will debate only the matter of themes available for multiple sells.  In order to help you, here is a small, but complete guide to create selling WordPress themes. Obviously, it may be completed with the opinions or past experiences of the readers; we are waiting for your contributions, therefore use the comment form!

1. Decide the type of the theme

Before making the first scratch of a layout, it’s recommended to establish very clearly the type of the theme. In fact, there are two major solutions:

– a theme that may be suitable for multiple purposes. It’s characterized by general items, it has nothing very particular. The advantage of these themes is constituted by the large amount of potential buyers.
– a particularized theme that has a very clear destination, i.e. a layout for church or kindergarten website. These themes have less potential buyers, but the interested ones are better transformed into effective buyers.
It is up to the designer to select which solution work the best for him, clearly none of the above solutions is wrong or good. Anyway, it’s a good idea to follow a path from the beginning, else changing the concept in the middle of the design phase may represent a very bad decision.

2. A good design remains capital (yeah, it’s a deprecated piece of advice)

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I was in doubt about adding or not this tip into the article. I think that no blogger or designer will ever say that the design isn’t important. It’s such a common advice that will bore the readers. Altogether, an impressive number of themes are modest and the design simply has nothing to attract the eyes of the viewers. To conclude, any designer should think twice when creating the design of the layout. It should be original to attract people, but in the same time it should be accessible and usable. The design of a layout requires a lot of time and resources, but this by no means (time and resources) is mandatory to create a product that will be appreciated and bought.

3. A good design attracts clients, a good code maintains them loyal

A good design attracts clients, but selling more themes requires a complete strategy. The main idea is to create a loyal base of clients and definitely it is the basis of a long-term profitable affair. The first step in gaining the loyalty of the clients is to offer them very good products. As long as the design is a subjective matter and it may happen that a good looking theme will not be liked by some people, a clean and correct code is an objective thing. Even if the code is a more discrete presence, it doesn’t mean that coding may be ignored. There is nothing to add: pay close attention to the coding, any mistake affects the rating of the theme and implicitly, it will negatively affect the number of sales.

4. Give options to the users, but don’t let them recreate the theme

Another feature of WordPress that is much appreciated by users is the customization ability. It means that also the themes must be easily customizable and a successful one should have many options to personalize. Many WordPress developers are going too far and add too many options to custom and this situation confuse the clients. There is no recipe to determine which options are necessary and which ones are useless- it’s only the experience of the designer/developer.

5. Customer support is important no matter how high quality is a theme

I bet that even if a theme respects the laws of beautiful design and it’s impeccably coded, at least a client will need support for the respective theme. Customer support seems as an additional activity for WordPress theme creators, but the reality proved that it is very important. On short term perspective, not offering replies to the clients’ demands may not affect the sales, but on medium and long term perspective it is “the perfect solution” to failure.

6. Marketing is as important as coding and design

A common mistake of people selling WordPress themes is the lack of interest regarding the marketing of the theme. As I previously mentioned, the Internet is full of themes and it’s extremely difficult to make some buzz around a new one. The WordPress themes market is characterized by a paradoxical situation: it is full of themes, but very few are really qualitative and people are somehow prudent about a new theme. If the creator doesn’t care about the future of his work, by sure other people won’t either. The conclusion: marketing is a must. Willing or not, creating a selling WordPress theme supposes the next phases: designing, coding and marketing!
In the end, I hope that everyone interested in selling WordPress themes got some useful advices. Once again, I must warn that creating WordPress themes is a taught job, but the rewards are pretty motivating. What do you think, would you start creating and selling WordPress themes?