Let me first introduce myself. I’m Paul, a 23-year-old Elite ThemeForest Author, making a living out of pushing pixels and creating WordPress themes for sale on the major platform Envato has created. I’ve been a member for two years now, and I managed to establish myself as an Elite Author over the course of my first 13 months. Here are some quick tips to help get you started selling themes on ThemeForest.
Nowadays, it is a whole lot harder to make an impact on ThemeForest than it used to be in the early days. Most of the early adopters benefited from the constant publishing of new and quality WordPress themes. Fellow authors like Orman Clark or Mike McAlister used ThemeForest as a platform to launch their own business. They were both really successful with their theme sales and followed a similar work ethos, as I like to call it: “themes fitted for the purpose”.
What Should I Do to Be Successful on ThemeForest?
Try finding and implementing something buyers will actually need to use. There’s a huge selection of Corporate/Business and Creative/Portfolio themes and as a result it is quite hard to innovate in these categories any more. You’ll either have to experiment with a really unique layout no one has ever done before and hope (or pray) for good sales to come your way, or you can follow the already paved road everyone else follows.
I’d advise not to do what everyone does. That’s because you’re a creative artist, you need to innovate and create something new and stunning. And, I feel the old days of unique work selling like crazy are kind of gone on ThemeForest.
What I would suggest to a new author is for them to try and carve out their own niche. Why not try to be the best in one of the already good-selling and established categories? You’ll just have to try and experiment a bit. There are numerous categories in the WordPress section of ThemeForest where there are only 10-20 items. If you submit and publish a theme and there are only 10-20 available choices in that category, you’ll have a 10-20% chance that your theme will be the one chosen for the project someone has. If you publish a theme in the Portfolio category that currently boasts 830 items, what is the chance that your theme will be found again after 50-100 more themes are added?
Tip #1: Create Something Useful!
Creating a solution fitted for a specific business, like a restaurant with a full-fledged menu and online ordering system, a hotel WordPress theme with a nice booking form that does the job nicely, a theme for music bands where they can put their music online and share it with the world, or a nice and innovative way to showcase your creative work with your prospective clients.
Tip #2: Design Sells!
This is one of the most important things on ThemeForest and the only thing that can make or break your sales: Design.
Probably the biggest hurdle new authors face is that their design is not up to par with the ThemeForest standards of design. That’s something the reviewer isn’t supposed to teach you, so don’t expect a thorough review message unless you’re extremely close to approval. Otherwise, you’ll get a quite generic message.
When I first submitted, I was advised to improve my typography skills, learning about white space, negative space and so on. You know what I did? I didn’t rage at the reviewer like so: “Oh, you’re so stupid! How could you know design? You’re only a reviewer here. I have 12 years of experience”. I’m pretty sure you had those thoughts. What I did instead was: I scoured the internet for quality articles about typography, what does white space mean, how to improve my text legibility, and so on.
Tip #3: Do Not Copy!
This is probably one of the most common rookie mistakes I’ve seen on ThemeForest. When people reach desperation and can’t get their design approved, they copy the design or features of already top-selling themes like Salient, Enfold, or something similar.
Have some dignity! Create your own product, don’t copy others! Plus, staff will disable your item and most probably your account as well, and you’ll never be able to sell again on ThemeForest. Be smart.
Tip #4: Presentation is King!
You won’t be able to sell themes, or you will sell an extremely low amount if you use low-quality images. Invest some money in quality stock images, they are definitely worth it!
Learn from the giants, like Apple. How they market their products, how they show users and buyers what their products can do, and, perhaps most importantly, how they don’t list all of the many redundant features the product has.
Tell your customers what they can do and what they can achieve with your product, and not that your theme is packed with 600+ Google Fonts or any one of a hundred other redundant features.
If you have any further questions, feel free to submit them in the comments below. I’ll be more than glad to answer them.
This post was originally published by Paul on his blog here.