Howdy everyone!

You’re here to learn how to be successful on ThemeForest, but let me first introduce myself. I’m Paul, a 23 years 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 almost 2 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 in order to get you started with ThemeForest.

Nowadays, it is a whole lot harder to make an impact on ThemeForest than it was in the early days. Most of the early adopters benefited from their 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 people will actually need to use. There’s a huge selection of Corporate / Business themes and Creative / Portfolio and it is quite hard to innovate in this categories any more. You’ll either have to experiment with a really unique layout no one ever did and hope (or pray) for good sales to come your way, or you can go on the already paved road everyone follows.

I’d advise not to do what everyone does, because you’re a creative artist, you need to innovate and create something new and stunning. But 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 him to try and carve his own niche. Why not, try to be the best in one of the already good-selling niches. You’ll just have to try and experiment a bit, there are numerous categories in the WordPress section of ThemeForest where there are less than 10 items. Well, if you publish a theme and there are only 10 available choices, you’ll have a 10% chances your theme will be the one chosen for the project someone has. If you’ll publish a theme in the Portfolio category which currently boasts 700+ items, what is your chance for your theme to be found again after 50 or 100 more themes are published?

Advice #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 which does the job nicely. A theme for music bands where they can put their music online and share it with the world. A nice and innovative way to showcase your creative work with your prospective clients.

Advice #2: Design sells!

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 only if 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 is: I started to scour the internet for quality articles about typography, what does white space mean, how to improve my text legibility and so on.

Advice #3: Do not copy!

Probably one of the most common rookie mistakes I’ve seen recently on ThemeForest. When people reach desperation and can’t get their design approved, they are capable of already well-selling themes like Salient, Enfold, or something similar. Have some dignity! Create your own product, don’t copy others! Plus, ThemeForest staff will disable your item and most probably your account and you’ll never be able to sell again there. Be smart.

Advice #4: Presentation is king!

You won’t be able to sell themes, or you will sell extremely low figures, if you will 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 present what you can do with their products and not the features of the product. Tell your customers what they can do what they can achieve with your product and not that your theme is with 600+ Google Fonts.

If you have any further questions, feel free to submit them in the comments below. I’ll be more than glad to answer them.

Published by Icy Pixels

My name is Paul and I'm a 23 years old creative artist which loves to make WordPress Themes. You can also follow me via Twitter, Google+

70 Comments

  1. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your great article.It’s useful for newbie like me.
    Today I received an email rejection my first themes that I developed over 4 months ago.
    It’s a little sad but I’ll try it anyway.
    I would need your guidance to help me understand the improvement for my first item.
    Demo : http://www.themehome.biz/destiny
    Reviewer : https://scontent-a-sin.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/t1.0-9/10542880_4364602971225_9016908618427353973_n.jpg

    Thanks You.

    Reply
    • Unfortunately your design is the one which is suffering a lot.
      Try to learn more about design at http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/ . You’ll need some serious serious work in terms of typography, color theory, vertical rhythm, spacing and more.
      Also, I’m not going to be able to help you any further. I think the resource I gave you should be enough for a start.

      Reply
    • @Sumate Dinpraseadsad
      can i have your reviewer image , i am new in envato and starting a business of theme development for envato platform. so i want to learn about envato. coz i am investing my all money on this platform and don’t want to lose my money.

      Please need some guidance.

      Thanks

      Reply
  2. I think it’s helpful for me.Thanks for the advice

    Reply
  3. Themeforest is a saturated market where most peoples theme got rejected and if someone’s luckily get accepted it takes hours to be piled up by other themes.So solution to this issue is that if you got some nice theme or template, submit it on those marketplaces which are unsaturated like themifycloud.com your chances of approval and sales will be much higher.

    Reply
  4. Great article! Really good advices.

    I have a special question. Once you finished and get published a new theme, how do you market it?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  5. Really useful tips, Paul…
    Hopefully I can become the next elite author.

    Reply
  6. thanks Paul its very helpfull article and i have small question:
    where can i find good coder for my work? because i can just design
    thank you.

    Reply
  7. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for great article.Itโ€™s very โ€™s helpful for newbie like me ๐Ÿ™‚

    I made a theme over 6 months ago. Could you give me some tips about my theme, please. It’ll help me to improve my skills ๐Ÿ™‚

    Demo : http://rt-queen.myshopify.com

    Thank you so much – Paul

    Reply
  8. Hi Paul, great article , i have a question , is themeforest only about awesome looikng theme design ?, i mean can themeforest accept to sell concept that fulfill the customer need , like shoping cart admin panel that has lots of thing to improve. i am asking this because i am developer but not good designer.

    Reply
  9. I like Avada theme,their presentation useful and theme is very very nice
    Regards;
    blog.hostpk.net

    Reply
  10. Hey Paul,
    Great advices! Thanks for putting this together.
    I’m an elite author myself on themeforest but with antiquated items ๐Ÿ˜›
    Got a work in progress theme to be released soon, it’s currently soft-rejected… I still have some work to do to apply material design principles to participate to the current contest. Feeling great after month of development, it’s like a little comeback.
    I would love to have the feedback of another author on my theme, if you’re interested feel to shout me a mail! It doesn’t follow your advice for a niche as this theme was first built for my personal usage, and the more I was adding, the more useful it got to build quickly clients website. Yet another multi-purpose-full-featured theme.
    But I think I’ll change that on the next one, will definitely look for a little niche category ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers!

    Reply
  11. Its a great post !

    Can you please review my recent submission that got rejected on psd category. Here is the behance link https://www.behance.net/gallery/30302735/Redone-Redesign-

    Reply
  12. Hello, after reading this remarkkable post i am as well glad to share my knowledge hee with mates.

    Reply
  13. Because getting approved on ThemeForest might be a bit hard, today Iโ€™m going to give you five tips on how to get approved. This article has been wrote with ThemeForest in mind, but some of this advices are also applicable to other marketplaces.

    Reply
  14. It is 1 year old post but the value is still there, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚
    Based on the #1 advice from you, we made to quite good WordPress Themes for Restaurant & Hotel:
    http://themeforest.net/item/wordpress-restaurant-theme-resca/12124219 (Restaurant)
    http://themeforest.net/item/sailing-hotel-wordpress-theme-/13321455 (Hotel Booking)

    A WordPress Theme for music band will follow later ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  15. Hi. i found this great article, I am a developer and I developed a WordPress plugin, its niche is email marketing, I would love to hear if you make some suggestions about its design and other things. would prefer PM conversation if there is possible.

    http://nsofts.net/email-content-locker/

    Thank you!

    Reply
  16. Hey Paul

    I’m so glad i found this article online

    I have been burning to begging development for themeforest, but for the most part i never know where to begin.. i’m a backend drupal developer with a bit of knowledge on design.. could you kindly point me to the right direction.. Thank you soo much.

    Reply
  17. looking into being a theme developer on themeforest. gonna try and get my first theme on there as soon as i can. great article, you should write more.

    Reply
  18. Just get inspired by reading the post, you boost my energy for theme forest.
    Can you please check my upcoming theme demo link (http://ThemeMom.com )please , will be waiting for your worthy reply boss.

    Reply
  19. Hi Paul,
    How to create unique websites and how can i take inspire to do unique websites.
    Any Suggestions.

    Reply
    • Actually, without sounding harsh, this is the difference of whether you’ll make it or not. If you can’t create unique websites, you can still earn a decent amount, but nothing spectacular.

      Inspiration you can find everywhere. In everyday life, on the internet, everything can inspire you.

      Reply
  20. Excellent article Paul. Actually I’ve followed all the steps you suggested. I’ve recently uploaded one page portfolio PSD template to ThemeForest http://themeforest.net/item/freelancer-coder/14906776/

    I hope it will be useful for any of the reader of this blog and at the same time I can get sales for this item ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  21. Hi! I’ve been reading your web site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout
    out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

    Reply
  22. Great post! It sheds some light on questions I had in regards to if I should go this route. I’m a WordPress enthusiast and online Marketer and I’ve been thinking of venturing into getting some themes created for themeforest or similar, or maybe just sell from my own site http://www.ivythemes. So many options! As I’m no developer myself, just a marketer/idea maker, I would need to partner up with a good developer or outsource it though, so that’s a hurdle, I’m definitely open for partnering up with a good developer if the option should come.

    Again, great post, I enjoyed it.

    Reply
  23. Hello there I am so delighted I found your webpage, I really found you by accident,
    while I was searching on Digg for something else, Regardless I
    am here now and would just like to say many thanks for a tremendous post and a all round
    thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but
    I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please
    do keep up the superb job.

    Reply
  24. Thanks for the info, im a developer that does work for local clients but making themes on themeforest has always been an interest to me. looking for some info to get a better understanding of what works on there. so thanks for the info.

    Reply
  25. Hi Paul
    Great article for me, I have just started my journey in themeforest.yes, you well said, the market becomes saturated and more competitive. We have to be unique.

    Reply
  26. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the article I am looking into creating and selling my theme with themeforest and your article was great.

    Reply
  27. Thanks for the article!

    Reply
  28. Hi, Paul. Good article. We start working on our own theme at ThemeForest after your article. We published the story about our experience at ThemeForest. Maybe it will be useful for beginners. It was thorny way: https://medium.com/@oleg_67082/thorny-way-to-sales-at-themeforest-net-ee5d370f4278#.f9aqv9igk.
    The result is a Profi WordPressTheme: http://themeforest.net/item/profi-business-professional-wordpress-theme/14873668?ref=Iondigital๏ปฟ

    Reply
  29. Hi Paul,
    My self is Bilal S.
    I’m developer and i’m looking to sell my themes on theme forest recently i have tried to sell but there was some technical issue i have not upload my theme.

    i’m a freelancer and i have a team who want them on big market place we are try to doing sell our websites.
    i also use the dummy text and the my designer design the template by their creativity always.

    I just want to know how can i upload my theme for sell on theme forest.
    my website is static .

    Thanks

    Reply
  30. Thanks, Paul for your article. We focused on it when developing our first template. We are proudly introducing our first WordPress theme: http://themeforest.net/item/profi-business-professional-wordpress-theme/14873668
    We published the story about our start at ThemeForest. Maybe it will be useful for beginners and your readers: https://medium.com/@oleg_67082/thorny-way-to-sales-at-themeforest-net-ee5d370f4278#.as6p4zxrv

    Reply
  31. Hi Paul,

    Great article. I need your help. I tried to upload my work on themeforest but everytime they hard rejected my items. I dont know why, as i have seen many approved template that have errors (like responsive, spacing etc.). They recently rejected my this template http://html.slicemytheme.com/merilo/

    Whenver you have time, can you check the link and let me know whats the problem with it. So that I dont repeat them in future.

    Also I have created my own wordpress theme and html template selling website. https://www.slicemytheme.com

    Also looking for your feedback on my website so that i can improve.

    Thanks

    Reply
  32. Hello Paul,

    Can you please review my theme and let me know the errors. I am trying to submit in speciality pages category in themeforest.

    http://themes.themecurator.org/aventa/

    Thanks,
    Samarth

    Reply
  33. Hello everyone,

    I hope that them development and selling little bit difficult through themforest. Is there any idea to sell psd templates?

    Thanks

    Reply
  34. Thanks For sharing buddy

    Reply
  35. Hello Paul, can you help me with this Charity WordPress Theme?
    Charity WordPress Theme is built for charitable organizations, Non-profit, Non-government alike with many great features. We sold 200 copies of Charity WP, but we know that is just nothing compares to many other big names. Can you give me some thoughts and advice to make this even better?
    https://themeforest.net/item/charity-wordpress-theme-charity-wp/15593989

    BTW, great article, keep up the great work!

    Reply
  36. […] This post was originally published by Paul on his blog here. […]

    Reply
  37. Great valuable post. Its really helpful

    Reply
  38. Hello, We are working on Bootstrap Template . We mostly pick the best design from themeforest and convert it into Laravel template .So If you have a good design approved on themeforest then we can make a partnership.
    Please have a look at our most recent Bootstrap template on themeforest
    https://themeforest.net/item/bowl-strike-responsive-html-template/18552657?s_rank=1?ref=jyostna
    Thanks

    Reply
  39. Thanks Paul, it’s really helpful

    Reply
  40. Thanks for the article!

    Reply
  41. […] This post was originally published by Paul on his blog here. […]

    Reply
  42. Hi Paul, I read all point in the article. Thank for sharing excellent & helpful article. Can you please review and give us some advice for our first HTML template on themeforest.
    https://themeforest.net/item/spiration-corporate-and-magazine-html-template/19340015

    Reply
  43. Hey Paul sir,

    I just sign up on ThemeForest and I’m a completely newbie. I just learned few programming languages like HTML5, CSS3, JS, Jquery, MySQL and PHP and I just signed up there. Is it ok for me? or I have to get more knowledge?

    Even I’m not already making any theme before, I don’t know but, really I’m doing any mistake?

    Sir, your article is really good and inspires me to learn more. It’s really helpful me.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  44. Hello, We are working on Bootstrap Template . We mostly pick the best design from themeforest and convert it into Laravel & Vuejs template .

    https://themeforest.net/item/clear-bootstrap-vuejs-admin-template/19339739

    Reply
  45. […] Paul from IcyPixels, for example. Paul reached elite author status on Themeforest just 13 months after launching his […]

    Reply
  46. Your article is awesome, thanks for sharing your knowledge. A wedding WordPress theme “LoveBond” is also on ThemeForest which is unique and elegant. How i increase the sales rate of this theme. the link is:- https://themeforest.net/item/lovebond-wedding-and-wedding-planner-wordpress-theme-responsive-and-elegant/17448781
    Thank you…!

    Reply
  47. Hi, I’m also newbie on themeforest.I need some newbie author on my social network.

    @rakibulsifat88

    https://plus.google.com/104932717659440114109

    Reply
  48. i have signed up theme forest and I could not pass all the same rejects and I surrendered. Glad you had enough patience to complete this quest.

    Reply
  49. Great Post. I will make may own theme for sale.

    Reply
  50. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for great article.It’s very helpful for a newbie like me.

    I have recently uploaded theme here you can check https://themeforest.net/item/business-smart-responsive-multipurpose-html5-template/20539841

    can you tell me how can I increase sell?

    Reply
  51. Very informative post. Even I got My first theme Litmus- https://themeforest.net/item/litmus-creative-agency-psd-template/20520481 approved on Themeforest.Will be updating my theme with more and more psd’s for different niches.

    Reply
  52. Hi all,

    We already did different templates on Themeforest and now we want start create WordPress themes. Please look on out items and tell what you thing about them and which of those templates will have more success and sells if we will create WordPress theme version.

    https://themeforest.net/user/lifeinsys/portfolio

    Please write your comment to our email lifeinsys@gmail.com , thank you in advance.

    Best Regards

    Reply

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