Is the WordPress theme market a lucrative business?

Quick answer? Absolutely.

Is it something you might want to pursue?

Quick answer? Probably not.

Here’s one end of the equation: the top-selling WordPress theme on Theme Forest, Avada, has sold 229,787 themes at $59 each for a total of $13,557,433 gross revenue. Sounds great, right? That’s 13 million dollars. Selling a single WordPress theme. That’s not even counting the (new) revenue they’re bringing in for 6 months of support ($41.30 for 6 months of support).

Keep in mind, the company behind Avada has a strong team of developers, designers and help desk folks. One interesting strategic direction they chose is that the company has one single theme. Take someone like Studio Press, they have several dozen themes to sell, but more importantly, to manage, update, upgrade and troubleshoot.

Thinking about selling WordPress themes?

Thinking about selling WordPress themes? Think again.

On the other end of the spectrum, we at Likoma dabbled in theme creation for a microsecond and created two child themes for WOO Themes Canvas. We offered them for free just to gauge interest. With absolutely zero promotion or marketing, there were several hundred downloads of the themes. That’s kinda fun, right? Then I stumbled on these pages today:

That’s more than 300 sites that, at least according to this (automated?) site, use themes that we built. With zero promotion at all. If we had sold them for $10 each, that would have at least covered the cost of building them.

But maintenance? Updates? Viruses? Hacks? Support? Design and development requests? Yeah, have fun with that.

Let’s cut to the chase.

If you’re not up for creating an entire WordPress theme shop from scratch, what can you do?

Sell other WordPress themes.

Many of the theme companies have affiliate links where you can help promote their theme and you get a small cut of the revenue. Note the critical terminology: small cut. But hey, volume, right?

What do I recommend? Same with any affiliate products:

  1. Know them,
  2. Use them (no, really),
  3. Write about them honestly,
  4. Promote them,
  5. Support them.

This works with any products. Follow those simple steps and you’ll be on your way to rolling in, ahem, small cuts. But hey, you only have to make one sale to know that it works. Give it a shot.