Continuing on from where I left off on my post about selling themes this post focuses on all things non-ThemeForest.
A lot of authors just add their themes to ThemeForest and they make a great living doing so. I’ve found that if I want to make more money and gain a greater customer base, I also need to sell themes on a number of different marketplaces.
I’m going to explain my experience on each in detail so you can get a clearer picture of whether it is worth the time and effort featuring your work there.
Now don’t forget I’m an exclusive author on ThemeForest which means the themes I sell elsewhere cannot be on sale on ThemeForest.
I have recycled four themes that were hard rejected from ThemeForest, one theme that was on ThemeForest but wasn’t selling and three themes created just for these other marketplaces.
The first “go to” for me was Creative Market. The first thing I noticed about Creative Market was that it was responsive, nicely designed (albeit a little out of date now) and has a really nice feel to it.
- 70% commission off the bat, no rates based on sales here
- You set your own price
- Zero review process, your items go straight to live
- Affiliate system
- Customers don’t seem to require too much support or hand-holding
- You need to get invited, this process of signing up and getting accepted seems to take a while
- Getting sales seems to be pretty hard
- Getting any kind of exposure seems to be pretty hard
- Algorithms powering their popular pages seem to be rather random
I’ve continued loading themes on there, but sales are just abysmal and I think I know why. Firstly, Creative Market seems to be mainly tailored to creative assets, e.g. fonts, graphics and add-ons rather than themes. Themes do not take the forefront on any page other than the Themes page and even then it’s a jumble of templates and themes for various CMS platform.
Secondly, navigating to WordPress shows the popular themes by default and not the latest releases. Finally, the algorithms they use for their WordPress page appear to be wildly volatile. I can get 1 or 2 sales for an item and it will jump to 3rd place on the list for a couple of hours and then back down to 70th. I have no idea how they work this out and it really is quite frustrating. Creative Market are long overdue a redesign so hopefully fixing this behaviour is in the works!
Ok… well here is what I’ve made from Creative Market since joining there in 2013:
$10,301.05 / £6,571.01
But wait, bundles!
The one wonderful thing I found about Creative Market was it’s monthly bundles. MeanThemes was lucky enough to be featured in their first big bundle and I made about $5k in a week or so – it was awesome but sadly, shortlived. If you can get in a bundle though it is well worth it! The above total is mainly made up from the bundle sales!
- You set your own price
- Commissions are teeny tiny
- Native Apps for your smart device
- You get sent your money every week straight into your bank account
- Etsy are woefully unprepared for selling WordPress themes – just take a look at their idea of categorisation below
- Sales are bad
- Customers need so much help
- More pre-sales questions on one item than on all my items on Creative Market
Sales are bad on Etsy as it just isn’t geared to selling WP themes. Look at this categorisation, how on earth someone is supposed to find a theme on there using this is quite frankly baffling…
Ok… well here is what I’ve made from Etsy since joining there in 2015.
$1,373.36 / £876.05
MOJO themes is pretty well established as one of ThemeForest’s main competitors. Sadly they haven’t had the uptake ThemeForest have had and this shows on the website in terms of design and theme quality.
- Relatively quick review (when I first loaded my themes)
- 50% commission on non-exclusive
- Often review times fluctuate, I’ve gone from same day to 5 weeks and counting (yes 5 weeks!)
- Low low low sales
There isn’t much more to say on MOJO themes really, other than it has paved the way for MOJO Marketplace (see below) which has lead to something a lot better. Really they need to close MOJO-themes.com down and transfer all the good themes to MOJO Marketplace.
Baring in mind I’ve only been there since May 2015…
$519 / £331.07
MOJO Marketplace (beta)
MOJO Marketplace is the more sophisticated big brother of MOJO Themes. It benefits from a much better design, way better UX and some good quality items.
MOJO Marketplace have a unique selling point. They allow you to purchase hosting as part of the setup/buy process and they have a number of hosts that use the MOJO Marketplace tools and plugins to basically upsell MOJO items when a hosting customer activates a one-click install on their hosting.
- Relatively quick review times, 1 – 10 days
- Affiliate system
- Healthy customer base
- Fairly savvy customers
- 50% commission for non-exclusive
- You can sell exclusively on MOJO Marketplace but still sell exclusively on MOJO Themes.
- They set the prices
- Support team seems to be relatively small so development issues can be slow to fix
- The site is in beta and I’ve had reports of 404s downloading purchases and 404s buying purchases too. Support forum comments and replies also have just deleted themselves
- Odd popular page algorithms
Despite the disadvantages above, MOJO Marketplace has to be my biggest tip. I loaded Itsy on there as a test and sold 10s within a month. I then loaded everything else on there and have been turning over a healthy income of around $2k a month. This only lasted whilst my items were on the popular pages though, once they dropped off sales have drastically plummeted.
The popular page seems to be a random combination of top sellers and new sellers who have fast selling items, there is no distinction between these and the sales can be completely random compared to the ones around them.
This is the big “WOW” for me as no other marketplace aside from ThemeForest had come close to anything decent.
Since May 2015…
$4,536.45 / £2,893.79
ThemeForest is the juggernaut, but I think good money can be made from MOJO Marketplace and to a lesser extent Creative Market. In the next couple of posts I’ll be covering theme drop-off analysis and theme product cost versus sales analysis so please sign up to get these straight in your inbox.
- Reuse your hard rejected themes (as long as they aren’t complete dog poo that is) on these other marketplaces
- MOJO Marketplace is the only real contender to ThemeForest in my experience
- I’ll be doing a theme cost versus sales analysis in further an upcoming post so sign up
- I’ll also be writing up a theme drop-off analysis in a future upcoming post so sign up
- Keep on trucking