WPWeekly Episode 137 – Making A Living On ThemeForest With Jonathan Atkinson

In this episode of WordPress Weekly, we were joined by Jonathan Atkinson of Cr3ative.com and discussed what it’s like to make a living using ThemeForest. We dived into a number of topics including:

  • Using ThemeForest as a launch platform
  • The reputation of ThemeForest
  • Can theme authors profit while coding themes the right way
  • How theme authors can differentiate themselves without having every theme option available

This is a fantastic discussion that I encourage everyone to listen to. I’d especially like to hear feedback from other sellers on ThemeForest. Marcus Couch helped us wrap up the show by providing his three plugin picks of the week.

Stories Discussed:

Would You Attend A WooCamp?
WiredTree To Sponsor All North American WordCamps In 2014
Widget Customizer Approved For WordPress 3.9
BuddyPress 2.0 Development Kicks Off, Release Set for Mid-April

Plugins Picked By Marcus:

WP Like System is a rating system for WordPress posts, based on Facebook likes. Allow users like (and undo) your blog posts. A user’s likes are saved directly on your database, like a WordPress native component, which means users can give you a “like” without a Facebook account. This would be great to change the “like” term to something else, and use an alternative icon instead of the thumbs up. Overall a good plugin.

Responsive Post Preview has functionality that I envision being a part of WordPress core someday. It allows you to preview a post as it would look on multiple devices. Choose mobile or tablet device size for your preview. This plugin makes it so much easier to format your responsive content to make certain that everything lines up the way you want it to.

WP Grass – The grass grows higher and higher on the footer when you have not published any new content. Once you create something new, the grass is freshly cut and mowed down.

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5 Comments


  1. Awesome interview!

    It’s great to hear the experience of other authors, but Jonathan is not just another author of course. He has some experience, and some badges and sale numbers to stand by that. But that’s not what you have to look for when looking him up. He has quality written all over his work. Just look at he’s items design, code and ultimately overall product design, compatibility.

    To contribute to something specific that was said in the interview, I admire and 100% agree with you when you refuse to create bloated themes just because the clients “demand” 100 000 color choices and features. That’s not our purpose as authors… I think authors need to figure out how to better do 1 thing, 1 feature, and figure, figure out how to do it better, out what the clients actually need, not want, and show then the clients the products, and let them decide ;)

    And…. Yes, making a product look better and work better is how you differentiate yourself by not having the extra slider or widget or whatever. Design is everything, graphical and ux design. Features are just covering a need. You either make a theme with 1 000 000 features with a good-ish design, a process that takes a lot of time and work power but with a much more possible success rate, or you can make something awesome and eyebrow raising very well from a design and code point of view, but unless truly done right, the success rate being equivalent to the product.

    Always a pleasure listening to Jonathan talk. He’s been giving some incredible pointers, in every interview I’ve seen he was part of. Awesome awesome guy!

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    1. First a big thanks to Jeff and Sarah for the opportunity to participate in one of the best WordPress podcasts in my opinion. Secondly I would like to thank Ciprian for the comment above, I’m happy you managed to get some value from my ramblings and hope others who listen get the same.

      If anyone has questions or needs assistance, my door is always open, you can contact me directly from my ThemeForest profile page http://themeforest.net/user/jonathan01

      Jonathan

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  2. Awesome interview guys. I personally love Themeforest and spend hours (literally) skimming through themes a few times a month. I’m sure some are coded better than others and we all want a well coded product, but as someone who is not a true developer/programmer, I appreciate when a theme has a lot of options built in because for me (and novice users) it’s a lot easier to just not use a feature that I may not need, than have to somehow add one that I do need and make it work right.

    Like you said, for the client (and many users), it’s all about what looks good. They could care less if the theme is bloated with shortcodes and CPT’s, and frankly the people buying themes on Themeforest aren’t developers anyway. It’s the entire reason why they chose WordPress in the first place. I think a lot of theme shops forget that.

    I may be the exception, but when I look around at some of the big “players” in the theme space, I think many of their themes leave much to be desired, and they are priced in the same price point as some of the themes on Themeforest that obviously took much longer to develop.

    I would almost rather give my money to an author on Themeforest then to a “corporate” shop that is pumping out 12 themes per year that all have the same structure but with slightly different colors/CSS.

    Just my $0.02. Great stuff though and props to Jonathan. I bought Genesis Church theme from him last year and it’s awesome and my client loves it.

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  3. Themeforest is a saturated market thats why even elegant themes are rejected there.In case if your theme got approved, it is soon become invisible due to the
    arrival of new items.Solution to this issue is that Authors can submit their themes on those marketplaces which are less saturated like themifycloud.com where
    chances of approval are high as well as number of sales because your item will not be made invisble by rapid new arrivals.

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