With the exception of working for small business blogs, there aren’t many options for WordPress designers out there. Mainly, it’s because WordPress designers are cursed by a paradox. Non-small-business clients actually expect to pay less for a design just because it’s a WordPress theme. So, what else is there for WordPress designers?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve given up freelancing for a long time. It’s no longer fun or worth while. I’m aiming for higher than what freelancing can pay me on average. Yes, I’m aware there are $10,000 projects out there, but the point is I would be working for someone else. Once the project is finished, I get the money and nothing more.
If you’re one of my loyal readers, you know I’ve been dying to open up my own WordPress theme store, especially after what I experienced first hand from the success of the Showcase theme. Ideally, I want to duplicate that success over and over again with less effort, and without the word freelance.
But at this point, after some research, it looks like it isn’t worthwhile for me to go with the WordPress store either. First of all, Showcase caters a special niche, website galleries / photo-blogs. Customers are more willing to pay a higher price for a premium theme like Showcase. Second, it’s very time consuming to create a high quality, but regular blog theme that you can sell over and over again.
For example, Template Monster maximum-buys are six per premium WordPress theme. Their high average is five purchases per theme.
Let’s round up Template Monster’s average price and assume that they don’t have to pay any transaction fees. That’s $60 per theme with a $300 revenue potential ($60 x 5). $300? Unless it takes $30 to produce a theme that earns $300, I wouldn’t know why anyone would do it.
In Template Monster’s case, their themes are not hard to produce and duplicate. (They do duplicate and modify a little to come up with new designs). Plus, they probably have in-house designers that work for cheap. I’m talking offshore kind of rates, which means Template Monster’s headquarter isn’t located in United States, Canada, or any Euro countries.
Assuming that Template Monster pays offshore rates for WordPress themes production, I went looking for offshore web design firms. So far, I’ve found a lot of cheap rates, but no high-quality results.
Let’s make another assumption, you can’t outsource. So what do you do to compete with Template Monster? You spend several days on each theme to create awesome designs that totally put Template Monster’s WordPress themes to shame so you can run them out of business or price your theme at a higher price. But wait, because each theme will be purchased around five times, what will you do to keep the money coming in? Would you spend several more days on each new theme to create more awesome designs?
How will you get the targeted traffic to average five purchases per theme in the first place?
That’s an exhausting pace and one reason why I’m reconsidering the idea of opening a WordPress theme store.
The above are unedited random thoughts. I will post more to expand on this topic as I explore other options and business models for WordPress designers.