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.