Nowadays more and more people and companies are using WordPress to create blogs and sites. For that they need a good theme and various plugins and are willing to spend money on that. You can earn money by selling WordPress themes and plugins to them.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system. It is a platform, which is used to create blogs and websites. One can create blogs and websites using WordPress without having having the knowledge of coding or programming. WordPress software is open source and free to use. It is written in PHP language. Many people and businesses are using WordPress for their blogs and websites. Today more than 30% of the websites on internet run on WordPress platform.
What are WordPress themes and plugins?
A WordPress theme is a group of files called templates that decide the overall look and feel of a WordPress site. WordPress themes are the means by which the design and appearance of WordPress powered blogs and sites can be changed. One can change the overall display and look of a WordPress site just by changing the theme.
A WordPress plugin is a small piece of software that adds new functionality, expands/extends or modifies the existing functionality of a WordPress site. One can use plugins to enhance the WordPress site by adding new features to it, which are not provided by default in the WordPress software. Plugins can make small tweaks or big changes to a WordPress site such as turning a WordPress site into an E-commerce store, forum, etc.
Why WordPress themes and plugins?
You should consider selling WordPress themes and plugins for below reasons:-
(1) Mostly passive income. Once you create themes and plugins, you do not need to do anything else other than promoting them. You may need to update the themes and plugins occasionally.
(2) More and more people and companies are starting their own blogs and sites and many of them are choosing WordPress platform for their blogs and sites. Therefore, the demand for themes and plugins is going to increase.
(3) There are free themes available for WordPress but many people and businesses prefer to use paid themes as it makes them look professional and different from people using free themes. Few people use the same paid theme as compared to a free theme which many people use.
How you can earn money with WordPress themes and plugins:-
You earn money by selling WordPress themes and plugins that you create. There are two earning models by which you can earn money with the WordPress themes and plugins:-
In the freemium model, you provide basic features or functionality of plugins free to the users but charge them for unlocking additional features or functionality. Similarly, you provide basic customizations and settings of themes free but charge money for unlocking additional customizations and settings in the theme. The users can first download and install the themes and plugins on their WordPress sites and then purchase the premium version to unlock additional things if they want.
In the premium model, you charge money before the users can use your themes and plugins. They cannot use the themes and plugins at all without paying the money first. They have to purchase your themes and plugins and then download and install them on their WordPress sites. You need to provide preview of themes and demo of plugins so that people can decide whether to buy a theme or plugin or not. Providing preview and demo is must in premium model, as people do not have the chance of trying and testing the themes and plugins before buying them like in the freemium model.
Both freemium and premium models are popular and used by the developers. Which model to use depends on the developer and his strategy.
With freemium model, users can use and test the themes and plugins and if they like it, they may purchase the premium version if they require it. However, if the basic free version satisfies their needs, they may not purchase the premium version. Therefore, there is no certainty of earning money with freemium version. It is important when using the freemium model that you keep some useful or important function or feature of the themes and plugins locked to entice the users to buy the premium version.
With premium model, users do not get to use and test the themes and plugins. Therefore, you need to write a good detailed sales copy fully explaining the various functions, features and usefulness of the themes and plugins to help the users in deciding whether to buy or not.
Both freemium and premium models have their own pros and cons. Both models work. You should decide which model to use. You can use freemium model for some themes and plugins and premium model for some depending on the type of theme and plugin.
There are also developers who keep themes and plugins completely free. They do this to contribute to the WordPress community or to get some popularity. Some developers keep some themes and plugins free and others freemium and premium. They try to get some exposure and publicity through the free themes and plugins with the intention of selling the freemium and premium themes and plugins. So this is another strategy you can use too.
What you need for creating WordPress themes and plugins:-
First, you need to know how to use the WordPress CMS to create sites and blogs. You need to be fully familiar with the WordPress software. Learning WordPress is easy. You can learn it within couple of days. Though you do not need coding or programming knowledge to create blogs and sites using WordPress, you do need web programming knowledge to create themes and plugins for WordPress. You need the knowledge of following web programming languages:-
HTML and CSS i.e. Hyper Text Markup Language and Cascading Style Sheets.
PHP i.e. Hypertext Preprocessor.
If you do not have the knowledge of web programming languages:-
If you do not have knowledge of the above-mentioned web programming languages and if you do not want to learn them, it is still possible to create WordPress themes. You can use a software called Template toaster, which lets you create WordPress themes with GUI without the need of web programming languages. You can also create themes of other platforms such as Drupal, Joomla, blogger, etc. and many more using this software. Therefore, it is not just limited to WordPress themes. Obviously, you need to learn how to use the software but you can learn it quickly and easily as compared to learning web programming languages.
If you want to create WordPress plugins, then there is no other option but to have the knowledge of web programming languages so you need to learn them if you do not have their knowledge if you want to create WordPress plugins.
Where to sell WordPress themes and plugins:-
You have three options when it comes to selling WordPress themes and plugins that you create:-
You can sell WordPress themes and plugins on various marketplace sites. Many developers list their themes and plugins related to various platforms on these marketplace sites to sell them. These marketplace sites get lots of visitors and already have many clients who regularly buy themes and plugins and other related items from them. Generally, only premium themes and plugins can be sold on these marketplaces. These marketplaces charge certain percentage as commission on every item sold on their sites. Following are some of the popular marketplace sites where you can submit your WordPress themes and plugins:-
WordPress.org is the official WordPress theme and plugin repository/directory of WordPress itself. You cannot sell premium themes and plugins on wordpress.org. You can only list free and freemium themes and plugins there.
(3) Own website:-
You can create your own website to sell premium WordPress themes and plugins. You need a way to accept payment on your site. You need to manage things such as maintaining the site, accepting payments, SEO and promotion, handling customer issues, etc. You can list the free and freemium themes and plugins on WordPress theme and plugin repository too in addition to your own website.
Updates and support:-
Your job after creating and selling WordPress themes and plugins is not over. You need to update your themes and plugins from time to time to fix any bugs, to get them compatible with newer versions of WordPress, to add new features, etc. It is not compulsory to update but it is a good practice. All good developers update their themes and plugins from time to time. You need to at least update for fixing any bugs and to keep your themes and plugins compatible with latest version of WordPress.
You also need to provide support to the customers who have bought your themes and plugins. You need to answer their queries and doubts and help them in solving any problem related to the theme or plugin, which they bought from you.
For what duration you are going to provide updates and support to your customers from their purchase date depends on your policy. Some developers provide updates and support for 6 months, some for 1 year and some for lifetime. Providing updates and good support is important.
In addition to creating and selling WordPress themes and plugins, you can also create and sell products for other platforms such as:-
Joomla and Drupal themes
Joomla extensions and Drupal plugins
Some tips for WordPress themes and plugins:-
Finally some useful tips if you decide to start creating and selling WordPress themes and plugins:-
Make useful plugins that solve problems of people using WordPress. Research and see what types of problems people are facing while using WordPress or what things people want in WordPress but are not there. You can make plugins on that.
Before creating a plugin, see if there are other similar plugins created by developers. If yes, try to use those plugins. See what features are missing in them, read what people are saying about them. Give importance to the negative reviews. Incorporate the missing features in your plugin. Create a better and improved version of the similar existing plugins in the market. Use some of the themes created by other developers to get ideas for design and features of your own themes. Look for inspiration but do not copy their design.
Make sure that the themes you make are responsive so that they would work well on any type of device whether computer, mobile or tablet. Nowadays using a responsive theme is a must so no one would purchase your themes if they are not responsive.
Set a proper reasonable pricing for your premium themes and plugins. Look at the prices of other similar themes and plugins. Keep your prices within that range. You can charge more or less depending on quality of your themes and plugins and their features. Initially when you are new, keep your prices lower than other similar themes and plugins in the market.