How to Profit with WordPress Theme Development
According to data from W3Techs, WordPress is currently used on 25.9 percent of websites online. This is a huge market share among content management systems, with the percentage gradually increasing on newly registered sites. This offers an excellent opportunity for developers, whether in the form of themes, plugins, or web design. While all these opportunities are profitable, it can be argued that WordPress themes offer the best chance to develop a lucrative, long-term business.
Choosing a Theme Type:
Initially, you will need to decide the type of theme you plan to develop. Some of the most successful themes are multipurpose, aiming to provide a solution to every web design need. These more elaborate themes will take more time and money to create, with the need to remove the various bugs you will inevitably discover. Another option is to create a simpler, more targeted theme. A theme with a narrow focus, such as a business theme for dentists, lawyers, or plumbers, will attract fewer buyers, but can stand out from the broader competition. You could even create these targeted themes based on one central design, developing a series of job-specific options.
Developing the Theme:
Theme development can be done individually using a WordPress website builder software like TemplateToaster or outsourced. Many themes are created using the free Bootstrap platform, with plenty of coding elements available for integration. There will be a little learning curve to developing and marketing a theme, but it can be a good challenge to set for yourself. The alternative is to outsource the work to an experienced theme developer. If you can plan out exactly what you require, there should be no issue in getting a quality theme at a respectable cost.
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Creating a Free Version:
One proven method for promoting the theme is to create a free version, it is called Freemium model. This version should be perfectly adequate for simple websites, but with an improved premium version available. While many users will not upgrade, you can increase the user base to a point where enough people want the extra features. This type of marketing is effective if you have a broader theme, with narrower themes struggling to build up a large enough user base.
Selling your theme independently allows you to keep the bulk of the profit, with more income to invest in future projects. There are numerous payment options, with PayPal being an obvious example. If you choose the independent route, though, it is important to have a strong marketing plan. Ranking your website in the search engines can give you access to targeted traffic, while paid advertising can be used if you can generate a profit on your ad spend.
Using a Marketplace:
The alternative to selling independently is to use a marketplace. Two of the most popular options are Themeforest and Mojo Themes, but there are smaller alternatives that could suit your style of theme. While you have to follow certain guidelines, you do benefit from the visibility you gain on these popular platforms. A generous portion of your profits is also taken by the marketplace, but you can also benefit from the promotion of active affiliates. Ultimately, there are good and bad points to independent and marketplace selling, so you have to make the decision you are most comfortable with.
The popularity of WordPress, along with the growing number of websites, means theme development is an excellent market to enter. Theme development can become a primary or secondary business, with the possibility of expansion if you require. Your WordPress themes also becomes assets, offering the chance to sell your business in the future. While the WordPress platform continues to grow, creating themes is an enterprise worth pursuing.
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