For many years, the sale of WordPress has been a lucrative business for many WordPress developers. If you can be able to develop beautiful themes, then expect your business to scale very fast. However, it is important to note that selling WordPress themes and plugins is fast-changing.
This means that the market today is very different from some few years back. A few years back, there were already many WordPress themes and plugins available. However, most developers found it a better idea to develop their own themes and popularize them.
Today, the market for WordPress themes and plugins is quite saturated. The greatest challenge is that with the large number of themes available in the market, most of them end up looking similar while belonging to similar niches.
This has led to WordPress developers coming up with multipurpose themes and plugins that when well marketed, can generate a lot of revenue for the business. Simply put, starting out a business of selling WordPress themes and plugins today is much more challenging not just because of stiff competition but market saturation.
The following article guide will look at ways in which you can be selling WordPress themes and plugins in the highly competitive market.
Tip – you can always promote your plugin or theme via WPlift.
Is Selling WordPress Themes & Plugins Profitable?
Once you have made the decision to start selling WordPress themes and plugins, you need to have a well-thought out plan. Profitability in the business depends on your entry strategy into the market.
A few years back, developing one WordPress theme after the other might have appeared to work, but those days are long gone. What is important for a WordPress theme developer is to focus on a specific niche and aim to create the best WordPress theme or plugin. But how does profitability come along?
You need to put yourself in the WordPress theme shoppers’ shoes. What do they look for and which niches lack amazing themes at the moment? Once you stand out especially when it comes to niches that attract high traffic, then your business is guaranteed profitability.
Of course, by just looking at themes in certain niches, you can automatically tell the kind of competition to expect in that niche. Once you have established that a certain niche has market potential, develop a WordPress theme or plugin from a user’s perspective.
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You can use WordPress forums to check things that users struggle with and ensure that your theme addresses these challenges.
How to Sell WordPress Themes & Plugins
Once you have an amazing WordPress theme ready, gather insight about the product. You can gather a small group of users to get credible feedback from where you can troubleshoot possible problems.
The hardest part after developing a WordPress theme or plugin is the marketing part of it. Having a great WordPress theme is not enough to market it as you also need to tell potential users about its existence.
Many WordPress developers are still unaware of the kind of work that goes into marketing a theme or plugin. Marketing mistakes can prove detrimental to your business. For starters, the first time you are selling WordPress themes and plugins developers are always tempted to put their products in an eCommerce marketplace.
You get a wider audience in top-selling places for WordPress themes and plugins. It actually takes a lot of time building your brand which means that letting the people know of your theme is important. The faster you get it out there, the faster you are able to reap the benefits from it in terms of revenue.
9 Best Place to Sell WordPress Themes & Plugins
There are so many places where you can sell your WordPress themes and plugins. The greatest challenge that developers face is understanding the market and where to sell. Do not assume that the results of your sale will be uniform in all marketplaces.
There are certain places where your sales will be higher than others. Below are some of the top places to sell WordPress themes and plugins.
Creative Market enables WP developers to sell WordPress themes, plugins, templates, and many other forms of graphic design material on the website. The best part about Creative Market is that, unlike other marketplaces, there is no review for your graphic design products.
This greatly reduces the downturn time taken to review a posting. Authors and creatives are deducted 30% of every sale. Being a platform for creatives to market their design assets, some of the most popular products on the marketplace include; fonts, icons, and photographs.
If you often create some of these things while creating your WordPress themes and plugins, then you can sell them separately on Creative Market as opposed to selling them as part of the theme.
Themeforest is regarded as the web’s largest WordPress theme marketplace. The marketplace is run by Envato that also happens to run a number of other marketplaces on the web. Themeforest is said to boast more than 3,000 authors, who over the years have posted 40,000 themes and templates.
There is a lot of traffic on Themeforest which makes it perfect for beginner developers selling WordPress themes and plugins to enhance their brand exposure.
It should be noted however that posting your theme or plugin on Themeforest does not automatically imply you will make huge sales. Nowadays, it is even more difficult getting your theme or plugin listed on Themeforest as you really need to make a high-quality theme for possible listing.
If you exclusively sell your digital products on Themeforest, then you are entitled to 62.5% per sale. This figure increases to 87.5% if you manage to make a total sales value of $75,000. However, non-exclusive members are only entitled to 45% of each sale.
Codester is another amazing marketplace for your themes and plugins. Codester is a dynamic marketplace that does not only list WordPress themes and plugins but also graphics, scripts, and apps.
This concept of increasing the variety of things that one can post helps boost traffic to the site. However, it should be noted that Codester is more focused on listing scripts and codes than themes and plugins.
This does not imply that it is not an amazing platform to list your WordPress theme or plugin. There are no minimums required but Codester offers 70% for all listing on the marketplace.
TemplateMonster has over the years proven to be a popular marketplace for WordPress themes and plugins. Initially, TemplateMonster only used to allow WordPress theme listings. However, that policy changed in 2017.
Today, TemplateMonster allows developers not using WordPress to submit their listings on TemplateMonster. Authors on the marketplace make 50% commission at the beginning and the amount is increased to 70% when one makes $100,000 in total sales.
TemplateMonster also offers a commission of 70% to new authors as an incentive for the first three months. This is an amazing way to get started when you are starting out as a WordPress themes or plugins marketer.
Non-exclusive authors are offered a commission of 40%, which is almost what other marketplaces offer.
MOJO Marketplace was formed as a result of a merger between Mojo Themes and Mojo Code. Although MOJO Marketplace is not as popular as marketplaces such as Themeforest, the great thing about MOJO is that they are able to integrate directly with different hosting services such as HostGator.
This integration is of major benefit to you as WordPress themes and plugins vendor as many people will be able to see you the moment they are hosted by the hosting platforms. MOJO Marketplace’s commission is in the range of 50% and 70%.
However, non-exclusive vendors are entitled to 50% of all sales. Considering that you are selling WordPress themes and plugins, you can take advantage of potential customers who host their WordPress sites through HostGator among others.
CSSigniter is an amazing marketplace for WordPress developers dealing with themes, Elementor templates, and plugins. If you build a lot of WordPress sites, then this is a good option to reach a wider audience.
When posting your listing, you are allowed to post your WordPress themes and plugins on a niche-based model. This allows potential customers to narrow down on the specific niches they are looking for on CSSigniter.
Instead of randomly searching for themes, your exposure is more centralized to a certain market demographic. This is an amazing option to WordPress themes and plugins developers who focus on creating the best theme to suit a specific target group or niche.
WP Theme Directory
WP Theme Directory has some advanced features that will allow you to sell your WordPress themes and plugins separately. This is because the directory has separate theme repository and plugin repository features for WordPress products.
It is important to know that while you can list your themes and plugins on WP Theme Directory, you cannot actually sell them. However, there is a strategic marketing maneuver where you can have the themes and plugins published on the platform as long as they are free.
The distribution from this platform is massive and can give you a lot of exposure from the many downloads you are likely to get. If you want to monetize your WordPress themes and plugins on WB Theme Directory, you can still list them under theme or plugins repositories and sell premium upgrades to make some revenue.
For plugin developers, this marketplace offers you a great opportunity to monetize your plugins especially because it is popular for those selling and buying plugins as opposed to themes. There are two major options that plugin developers have.
To either release the plugins for free into a repository feature on WordPress or sell the plugins on your own website. However, CodeCanyon enables you to bypass a free plugins model and reach a wider market which is one of the greatest challenges that plugin sellers online face.
ThemeSnap is a platform that allows WordPress, Drupal themes, and HTML template users to market their products. While ThemeSnap is not as popular as other marketplaces that are niche-specific, it offers the most competitive rates to users.
Beginners are given 55% of each sale and have the ability to make up to 75%. The best part is that this commission policy applies to both exclusive and non-exclusive authors.
If you are a developer who deals with WordPress themes and plugins, Joomla themes, and Drupal, this is perhaps the best marketplace to sell your themes and plugins.
Additional Ways of Building Your Theme and Plugin Sales
There is no right or wrong when it comes to which marketplace is the best. While there is a general feeling that the theme might sell faster in a marketplace, such a move is not entirely the best of ideas.
Selling in a marketplace means that you are entirely dependent on such platforms for customers-the customers are basically not yours. You are also required to adhere to the terms and conditions of selling in a marketplace.
This requirement might require you to pay hefty fees to the platform. There is also the issue of competition. Such marketplaces tend to be saturated with WordPress themes and your product might not get that much exposure.
It is ok to post your WordPress theme or plugin to an online marketplace but such posting should be done for promotional purposes.
If you have just designed a premium theme and want to make some money right away, Themeforest is your best bet. Themeforest will most likely work for themes while CodeCayon would be best for plugins.
A combination of the two can also help you be among the exclusive authors on these platforms who make millions from their authorships.
As an exclusive author, you are entitled to a higher commission of up to 80% on most of the marketplaces. This is once after your total sales hit $75, 000.
The downside of exclusive authorship is that you tend to lose too much control of your business to the marketplace. This strategy is not good for business. It might take some time to build your own brand but it is still achievable.
Freemium is another way of improving your brand presence in the highly-saturated WordPress themes and plugins market. The plugin repository on WordPress enables users to make free downloads of your theme or plugin.
Even if this option will not make you money, the many downloads that are facilitated by WordPress traffic are quite beneficial if you are a new WordPress theme or plugin developer.
However, all is not lost when you post your theme or plugin on WP Theme Directory. You still have the option of selling the premium version of the theme from your site.
The Freemium options mean that instead of other marketplaces giving you an average of 70% as commission from each sale, you get to keep up to 97% of each sale from your site after only paying the processing fees by PayPal or Stripe.
Offering your WordPress themes and plugins for free, however, means that you are required to support a lot of users in order for you to maintain a positive reputation.
As a non-exclusive author, you can sell the WordPress themes and plugins on your site but at the same time list them for sale on various marketplaces. This way, you are both targeting to grow your site and increasing your chances to a wider market on various marketplaces.
However, one of the greatest challenges that WP developers face is that it is challenging to manage sales from your site as well as manage those from other marketplaces.
As traffic grows, you realize that it is not easy creating a simple onboarding set up for customers or even releasing new updates.
WordPress is the most popular content management system which is the reason why there are few limitations with regards to the number of WP developers.
There is also a massive ecosystem of WordPress themes, plugins, and hosting services that are popular among WordPress users.
The many WordPress theme marketplaces make it hard for developers and marketers to know the most ideal marketplace to market the brand.
There is no guarantee that you will get actionable results from marketing your WordPress theme or plugin. However, zero marketing also means that you will not sell or even attract a wide market to your brand.
This is the reason why these marketplaces exist. They are third-party platforms that enable you to reach the global audience who are looking for nice-specific digital products such as themes, plugins, and templates. Those offered for free especially from the WordPress platform are for promotional purposes.
To be successful when selling your WordPress theme or plugin, try and narrow down on the marketplaces that attract huge traffic. If possible, try the following strategies to maximize your audience reach.