7 Must-Have Features for Selling a Wordpress Theme on ThemeForest


I’ve been thinking about getting into making and selling themes on ThemeForest in my spare time. It seems like a good way to make some extra cash with some ideas lying in your head going to waste. Because it’s such a huge website, the top sellers on ThemeForest make quite a bit of money. During my research I checked out what was selling the most on ThemeForest, when it comes to premium Wordpress themes. I checked the top 10 or so sales of all time and then a lot of the recent top-sellers, and there were definitely patterns that emerged as to a feature-list that ThemeForest buyers really respond to. I decided to share my findings with you, faithful reader.

1. Options panel

Don’t even think about putting a Wordpress theme up on ThemeForest without an options panel. I don’t even think I found one without it in all the high-selling themes I looked at. It makes a users experience much better and adds some premium value to your theme. The options panel is really where you find the controls to the remainder of this list.

2. Many page templates

A portfolio template, a blog template, an “about” template, the list goes on. The more the merrier when it comes to custom page templates. This makes your theme appeal to a wider variety of potential buyers, and was another one of the “must-haves” I kept seeing time and time again.

3. PSD files

People who buy your theme want to be able to customize it as they see fit. This is why there needs to be a feature-rich options panel and multiple page templates. Another way to customize a theme is to alter the PSD files. Including them gives your users almost unlimited colour selections and lots of editing capabilities if they so wish.

4. Lots of widget areas

Again with the customization. There are many places somebody might want to put content, so it’s best to make it as easy as possible and give them as many choices as you can. This includes going beyond the sidebar widget, and adding a few footer widgets, a widget above and below the post content, etc. The possibilities are almost endless.

5. Lots of documentation and good support

Part of the reason for buying a premium theme is the support. If you have questions, you want them answered. Stop the questions early by providing lots of documentation right out of the box. Go one step further and offer as much support as possible for your product. Some popular theme sellers even had forums setup.

6. Social networking support

Obviously social networking is really important these days. Make sure to have support out-of-the-box for Twitter, Facebook, etc. The more the merrier. After paying $32 for a theme, nobody wants to have to scour the internet for plugins right away just to start using their new website how they want.

7. A very detailed theme page

Some pages on ThemeForest aren’t very detailed. The top sellers theme pages are. Let your potential customers know all the benefits right away. People browse quickly when searching for themes, so have easy to read bulleted lists and all of your features right up front for them to see.

In Conclusion

You can see a few recurring themes in this list. Number one is that theme-buyers want customization. They want to be able to easily put things wherever they want, however they want, and in whatever style they want. Make sure to let them do this. There were some other aesthetic consistencies such as jQuery sliders and font replacement tools, but the main theme was customization and support. These people are paying a premium, make sure to give them a premium product.

I hope this article was useful, now get over to ThemeForest and check out their excellent selection of Wordpress themes.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cosmin March 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Many authors get lost with features, options, eye-candy and so on.

My advice would be to create something really useful (and good looking, but this comes second IMO), something you would buy yourself.

Reply

Sarah R. Lewis June 28, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Interesting post. I’ve thought about selling themes on ThemeForest, too, so this is very helpful.

I’m curious: did you notice any trends regarding the primary image? I’ve noticed some themes show an actual screenshot, some show a designed ad (with no images of the actual theme), and many fall between these two extremes.

Given that this image is previewed in the search (when I hover over the theme’s thumbnail/icon), I’m wondering if one type or the other stands out. I personal prefer (as a buyer) seeing an actual screenshot, but who knows if I’m in the majority or not! :)

Reply

Sergio March 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

What about sellers licensing? I like the points 15 and 16 of gnu gpl license (there is no warranty for the program…), there is something like this to protect sellers in case of problems when buyers installs scripts or themes?

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post: 37 Signals’ Rework (Book Review)

Next post: The Opportunity Cost of Advertising