WordPress is a content management system used to build and maintain websites without any coding knowledge. According to W3Techs, WordPress powers about 43.2% of websites on the internet in 2022. There’s a huge market for WP themes and plugins so web designers can expect to make a lot of money by creating and selling them.
How To Get Started Designing WordPress Themes And Plugins
Before you start a WordPress theme business, you need to know how to build great themes, discover your target audience, and know how to sell and manage customers. Below is a roadmap to help you become a successful WordPress theme and plugin developer.
1. Acquire The Technical Skills
User Experience (UX) ensures that a website logically flows from one step to the next. It defines the experience a visitor has with a website or app. Every WordPress website needs a theme with a great user experience. A certificate in User Experience can help you design themes and plugins that are easy to use. You’ll learn useful tools such as HTML, CSS, Adobe Creative Suite, Visual Code, etc.
2. Choose A Niche And Target Market
To stand out in the theme marketplace, you have to pick a niche. Many industries don’t have enough tailored WordPress themes. A tool like Google Trends can help you determine what people are looking for. Some good niches include bloggers, e-commerce businesses, sports businesses, clothing brands, business/life coaches, online courses/tutorial sites, etc.
3. Do Some Research
It’s essential to understand what the market wants and how you can step in. For example, you need to understand that customers prefer WordPress themes that look and feel good to them. Other requirements include a responsive or mobile-friendly design, cross-browser compatibility, SEO-friendliness, and so on.
4. Follow WordPress’ Guidelines On Theme And Plugin Design
As a theme developer, you have to know and understand the WordPress coding standards. They are a series of best practices to apply during the development process. They help to ensure that your theme is functional, reliable, and well-documented. Your themes/plugins need to also meet the WordPress.org theme directory requirements.
5. Set Your Pricing.
Before you start selling your themes, you need to determine prices. First, you need to do some research on the themes currently in the market and how they are being priced. Then, you’ll set your pricing based on your theme’s value and its overhead costs. However, the average price of a premium theme is around $57.54.
6. Create Comprehensive And Easy-to-use Theme Documentation.
A good theme needs documentation so users can understand how to work with it. WordPress has some recommendations and requirements for your theme’s documentation. For example, you’re required to provide documentation of any design limitations of the theme and any extraordinary installation or setup instructions.
7. Provide After-sales Support
After-sales support can help you improve customer satisfaction and customer retention. As a WordPress theme developer, you need to set up a tech support system for customers and continue to improve your product by fixing bugs and providing software updates. You can provide tech support via phone, email, social media, ticketing system and real-time chat.
Where Can You Sell WP Themes?
After building WordPress themes, the next step is to market and sell them. You can sell your products on your website or upload them to some popular marketplaces. Below are some of the best WordPress theme marketplaces.
ThemeForest is one of the biggest WordPress theme marketplaces out there. It draws a huge amount of traffic so it’s guaranteed to make some sales here. If you give exclusive sale rights to ThemeForest, you’ll earn 62.2% of each sale. But non-exclusive authors get 45%.
Codester is a marketplace for selling themes and plugins as well as scripts and graphics. This site offers a standard 70% profit share for everyone and there are no requirements for exclusivity. However, Codester tends to promote WordPress plugins more than themes.
3. Creative Market
Creative Market is great for selling WordPress themes, templates, photos, fonts, and graphic designs. It’s a flexible marketplace that has no review process and allows you to sell your themes on other platforms. Creative Market offers 70% of each sale on their marketplace.
The TemplateMonster marketplace has been around for a long time. It offers a lot of support for both designers and customers. If you’re an exclusive seller on TemplateMonster, you’ll earn 70% of your sales. Non-exclusive authors can expect to earn 40% of their sales.
5. MOJO Marketplace
Mojo marketplace offers high-quality themes and plugins from the best designers and developers. Since it integrates directly with HostGator, your WordPress theme has a good chance of getting plenty of sales. The commission for exclusive authors is usually 70% while non-exclusive authors get 50%.
The WordPress theme directory offers access to a huge audience because most users tend to search for new themes here. Since this is a free directory, you can offer lite versions of your themes and plugins. Then, you’ll direct customers to where they can purchase the full premium versions of your products.