How to Sell your Plugin or Theme

 

If you have designed a theme or created a plugin, how do you go about selling it?

The truth is most developers and creatives can spend countless hours going over code and design, but when it comes to selling their work, they struggle with even the basics.

Website

You only need a simple website, people like to know a little bit about the people behind the product, it gives them a connection. If it is a theme, give them a demo page, link out to your social media profiles and the marketplaces where they can purchase your products.

The marketplace

The two biggest marketplaces are ThemeForest (themes) and CodeCanyon (plugins). Even though you will still have to work hard to get noticed, it is far easier to sell on these platforms then relying on your own website as they have an established customer base on them.

Free

If you are just starting out, it is a great idea to offer a free version of your theme or plugin. You want to build momentum and reviews for your product, so just remove one or two features from your plugin or theme or add one or two features so that you also have a premium version to sell.

Reach out

Contact WordPress bloggers, they’re the people who will most likely buy or have interest in your product. Some may even offer to review your product on their website.

Advertising

If you are just starting out, getting noticed is one of the hardest things you can do, and that is where advertising comes in, unfortunately this costs money, beg, borrow, sell stuff and even logbook loans (which I did once to get finance) can help you out. From Facebook ads to search engine clicks, advertising need not be expensive, bid low and see what works.

Virtual assistant

If all the above seems daunting, then consider hiring a virtual assistant that can take care of all these points, freelance sites can get you the right person for a very small outlay, while you concentrate on your next project.

 

Facing the ‘White Screen of Death’

One of the worst situations you can face is seeing your WordPress site and facing a blank screen, even enabling debug mode can sometimes show you nothing.

This situation could be down to various factors, a broken theme or plugin, and/or exhausted memory. Check with your hosting provider to see if the problem stems from there, such as a poorly configured server, if not, here are a few solutions to the situation.

In most cases of the ‘white screen of death’ you will not have access to your WordPress dashboard, so you might have to go in via FTP. You can do this by navigating to wp-content/themes or wp-content/plugins, using your favourite client.

Broken theme

De-activate your current theme and see if that fixes the problem, if it does, delete or update the theme. You can also check the theme’s ‘function.php’ file to see if there are any coding issues causing the problem.

Broken plugin

Go to your plugins, and de-activate them all, if your website comes back to life then slowly activate one plugin at a time to find the culprit. Update or delete the offending plugin, and maybe let the author know about the problem, the good ones are always glad to help.

Out of memory

You may of reached your memory limit, although the memory is defined by your server, it may be different to your wp-config.php file.

Contact your hosting provider about your memory limit.

To change your wp-config.php file, use a text editor and add this line of code –define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘128M’);
This will increase your WordPress site memory to 128mb, but make sure that the memory size is not greater than your server side memory, if not, then you can even increase it to more than 128mb.

Designing a Basic WordPress Theme

If you ever wondered how WordPress themes are put together, this tutorial will run through the very basics of a theme and hopefully wet your appetite in creating your own theme.

Before you start, think about the layout of your new theme, draw it out on a piece of paper if it helps.
For the purpose of this tutorial we are going to split our layout into a very simple grid consisting of a header, main content area, right hand side bar and a footer.

layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1- Using an FTP client or file manager tool, create a sub-folder in the wp-content/themes directory in your WordPress folder and give it a theme name ie “my_theme”.

2- Use a simple text editor like notepad to create the files that relate to the layout for “my_theme”.

We are going to write 5 files to create our layout before uploading our files via FTP to our newly created “my_theme” folder –

header.php (Header area code)
index.php (This is our main area code and will specify where the other files will be allocated)
sidebar.php (Sidebar information)
footer.php (Footer area code)
style.css (This will dictate how our site will look, for example- colours, fonts, spacing etc.)

Here are the files for our layout-

header.php file

<html>
<head>
<title>my theme</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="<?php bloginfo('stylesheet_url'); ?>">
</head>
<body>
<div id="wrapper">
<div id="header">
<h1>HEADER</h1>
</div>

 

index.php file

<?php get_header(); ?>
<div id="main">
<div id="content">
<h1>Main Area</h1>
<?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
<h1><?php the_title(); ?></h1>
<h4>Posted on <?php the_time('F jS, Y') ?></h4>
<p><?php the_content(__('(more...)')); ?></p>
<hr> <?php endwhile; else: ?>
<p><?php _e('Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.'); ?></p><?php endif; ?>
</div>
<?php get_sidebar(); ?>
</div>
<div id="delimiter">
</div>
<?php get_footer(); ?>

 

sidebar.php

<div id="sidebar">
<h2 ><?php _e('Categories'); ?></h2>
<ul >
<?php wp_list_cats('sort_column=name&optioncount=1&hierarchical=0'); ?>
</ul>
<h2 ><?php _e('Archives'); ?></h2>
<ul >
<?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly'); ?>
</ul>
</div>

 

footer.php

div id="footer">
<h1>FOOTER</h1>
</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

 

style.css

body { text-align: center; }
#wrapper { display: block; border: 1px #a3a3a3 solid; width:90%; margin:0px auto; }
#header { border: 1px #a3a3a3 solid; }
#content { width: 70%; border: 1px #a3a3a3 solid; float: left; }
#sidebar { width: 27%; border: 1px #a3a3a3 solid; float: right; }
#delimiter { clear: both; }
#footer { border: 1px #a3a3a3 solid; }
.title { font-size: 12pt; font-family: verdana; font-weight: bold; }

 

These files will give us the basic layout we need. We can tweak the various css rulings to our own liking and upload posts and images to our new blog theme.