I’m often asked how I started a commercial WordPress theme company, so I’ve put together a series of posts to explain how I got started and how you can too.
Do we need another theme company?
You may wonder if there is a need for another theme company with so many out there and that is a valid question. It’s also a question that needs to be addressed before we go on. While it’s hard to say how many theme companies exist, the number is probably well over 100. If you include designers who sell through marketplace sites the number is many times higher. That’s quite a different situation from 2008 when I started Organized Themes, but has the market already been saturated? With millions of websites running WordPress, I believe there is room for new companies to start and flourish. Why? Here are a few reasons:
- Most theme companies have a “style” that is characteristic of their designs. Even if the theme has all the features you want, but the style isn’t right, a customer may keep looking elsewhere. So don’t worry about competing with larger companies, offer what they don’t.
- There are lots of similarities between the themes that are out there, especially in “business” and “magazine” style themes. There is plenty of room for innovation that will set your designs apart.
- Most WordPress users are bloggers who tend to change themes often. This creates room for new companies to emerge as many bloggers want something that is new and will make their site unique.
- There are unfilled niches even now. If you aim for a smaller niche, you may not have the growth potential out of the gate, but you stand a much better chance of dominating that niche. Did you realize that at $50 per theme, only 5 sales a day is $91,250 a year? Plus once you dominate that niche, you can move beyond it if you want to. You’ll have resources, experience and reputation to help you expand.
Is selling WordPress themes for you?
Selling themes isn’t for everyone so how do you know if this is a good move for you? Most of the original theme companies began with the authors giving away their themes. If you haven’t given away free themes, that’s a natural place to start. You can track downloads to see if there is demand for the themes. You can respond to support requests to learn how to help others with WordPress questions. It’s also a great way to grow your reputation. If you can give away themes and do it well, that’s avoid indicator that you’ll be off to a good start selling.
You need to be honest about your design and development skills. Do people like my freelance work? Are my clients happy? Do other designers compliment me? Do I really understand how WordPress works? If you can’t honestly affirm that people like your work and you know what you’re doing, then spend some time growing before you launch into theme sales. Be good at what you do before you offer it to a large audience.
Why I began selling commercial themes
I choose to get into themes basically for one reason. One day while working for a client, I realized that if I wasn’t designing, I wasn’t getting paid. I offered some residual services, but for the most part, if I wasn’t actively creating there was little income headed my direction. That’s why I created Organized Themes as a store to sell my WordPress themes. Now when I’m on vacation, or sick, or just want to spend time with my family, I still earn income.
Yes it is a lot of work, but it can change your life.
The next posts will cover all aspects of starting a theme company from designing your site and themes, what services to offer, defining your niche, marketing, providing support and more. Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed so you don’t miss any of them.
If you’ve sold or ever considered selling WordPress themes, let us know in the comments.