Ready to join thousands of other WordPress businesses?
The trouble with getting started is that you don’t have a platform yet.
If you just launched your site, you’ll end up announcing your new theme or plugin to a tiny audience. That will translate into disappointing sales.
So what do you do?
You release your awesome new product in an established marketplace with thousands of hungry buyers.
The best WordPress marketplaces
There are eight different marketplaces you can utilize to expand your reach and get your products into more buyers hands.
I’ll provide my opinion on the best course of action at the end of this article, so make sure to keep reading if you want a little insight beyond the marketplace recommendations.
Here are 8 places to sell your WordPress themes and plugins right now.
Themeforest boasts over 40,000 themes & templates that have been published on the site by over 3,00 authors.
The huge traffic this website gets will help you get your first few sales and then it’s off to the races. That said, you aren’t guaranteed to earn a lot by simply getting listed here. Furthermore, you need to make a really high-quality theme to get included these days, so make sure to bring your best work.
If you sell your products exclusively on Themeforest, you’ll earn 62.5% of each sale. Your commissions increase consistently as your total sales increase. Once you reach $75,000 in total sales on their platform, you’ll keep 87.50% of each sale. Non-exclusive authors get only 45%.
Update: Check out this in-depth analysis of ThemeForest by Freemius to see if selling on TF might be right for you.
As a plugin developer looking to make money, your options are basically to release freemium plugins into the WordPress plugin repository, or try to sell plugins on your site. With CodeCanyon, you can skip the hassle of building a freemium model, and you’ll immediately reach a wide audience which is perhaps the hardest part of selling your own plugins online.
The CodeCanyon commissions scale the same way as Themeforest.
Update: Here’s another research post from Freemius on the numbers behind CodeCanyon.
3. TemplateMonster Marketplace
As of 2017, TemplateMonster now lets outside WordPress developers and designers submit their products for listing on their marketplace.
Exclusive authors earn 50% to start with and up to 70% once reaching $100,000 in total sales. New authors get the full 70% for their first 3 months which is a nice bonus for getting started with their platform. Non-exclusive authors earn 40% which is similar to most other options listed here.
4. Mojo Marketplace
The Mojo Themes and Mojo Code marketplaces combined a few years ago to create the new Mojo Marketplace platform.
While not as popular as Themeforest, one draw of Mojo Marketplace is that they integrate directly with hosting platforms like HostGator. This means a lot of brand new WordPress users will find your themes and plugins right when they create their site.
Mojo Marketplace commissions for exclusive authors range from 50-70%. Non-exclusive authors keep 50% of all sales.
ThemeSnap is a marketplace for WordPress and Drupal themes as well as HTML templates.
While not as popular as the other marketplaces, ThemeSnap does have very competitive commission rates. You start at 55% and can earn up to 75%. Furthermore, this is true for both exclusive and non-exclusive authors.
If you want to sell Drupal or Joomla themes in addition to WordPress themes and be a non-exclusive author, this would be an excellent marketplace to consider.
6. Creative Market
Creative Market allows designers to sell WP themes, templates, and all manner of graphic design goods on their site. Creative Market is different from the other marketplaces in that there is no review process.
Authors get a flat rate of 70% of every sale whether they are exclusive or not. As a creative marketplace, you can list any other design assets you’ve made including fonts, photographs, and icons. If you make any of these elements while creating your theme, you could package them up for sale separately on Creative Market too.
Codester is another great option to sell your WordPress themes and plugins.
Not just for WordPress products, they also list scripts, apps, and graphics for sale as well. Codester emphasizes code and scripts over themes, so it could be an awesome website to list your WordPress plugins.
Commissions are set at 70% for veterans and newbies alike. No minimums or exclusivity required.
While you don’t actually sell your themes and plugins on wordpress.org, you can submit them for review and get them published as long as they are free. The distribution you get from their site is massive, so you’ll get lots of downloads.
When launching Compete Themes, I opted to utilize the WordPress theme repository and sell premium upgrades to monetize my work. This is a popular strategy for both plugin and theme authors these days.
Which marketplace should you use?
There’s no right or wrong approach, but here are a few ways you could approach building your WordPress business.
If you want to start making sales right away from a premium theme, your best bet is probably Themeforest. For plugins, try CodeCanyon. These marketplaces are extremely popular and have exclusive authors making millions.
As an exclusive author, you can actually earn a higher commission than any other platform once you reach the $75,000 sales threshold and hit the 87.50% commissions.
The main downside of this approach is that you resign a lot of control over your business to Envato, so you’ll still want to try and build a popular website of your own if you pick this strategy.
Another way to quickly get lots of downloads is to use the theme or plugin repository on wordpress.org. In addition to getting tons of traffic, the other benefit is that you can sell your premium version from your site. So instead of keeping let’s say 70% of each sale, you’ll keep about 97% after paying for payment processing to PayPal or Stripe.
The challenge here is that it is harder to create, manage, and market a separate premium upgrade, and you will have lots of free users to support if you want to manage a positive reputation.
Another approach you can take when providing free themes is to charge for customization services. Many of your users will look to hire WordPress developers for more advanced options after they start using your theme.
The last viable option is to create premium themes and/or plugins and list them on your site for sale. Then signup as a non-exclusive author on all of the marketplaces listed here. If you focus on growing your site and simply view them as a way to get more sales, the 45-70% commissions won’t seem so low.
The downside is that it may get complex managing your products on your site and multiple different platforms at once. It could be challenging to release new updates and create a simple onboarding flow after customers make a purchase.
Which marketplace will you use?
Will you use a marketplace or sell on your own site? Freemium or premium?
There’s no right or wrong way, so let us know in the comments. How do you sell your WordPress products?