The Future of WordPress Premium Themes

Selling WordPress premium themes is a huge market. It highly depends on the meaning of what ‘premium theme’ is or… should be? What are the criteria for WP theme to be named as ‘premium’? Highly subjective, right? I remember the times when authors were competing for adding more page templates in a single theme. Then the first visual page builder has been introduced to the community and many authors have started adding support of it to their themes. Then has become an era of themes with built-in visual builders. Those are really ‘true premium’ themes, right? I disagree.

The real value of premium theme

No matter what functionality is added to the theme, their true value is in its visual appearance. Even themes with built-in visual builders have many pre-built templates which you can choose from any time you struggle with creating something appealing. Am I right? I have an experience of selling premium themes and must say that not less than 50% of positive (overwhelmingly positive 😉 ) reviews were for themes’ visual appearance. Even if your theme lacks some functionality, you may expect to get sales if it is truly aesthetical and really appealing.

Even if your theme lacks some functionality, you may expect to get sales if it is truly aesthetical and really appealing.

The wrong strategy

Now we have a lot of visual page builders, everybody can start creating its site and actually they do that. I have seen the examples many times. I am not impressed. Sorry, but this is true. Most of the freelance-developers cannot create something really impressive. Studios and agencies still in demand of good designers who has a taste and can create a nice design before implementing it in a visual builder. The market for premium themes is still huge and important in the eco-system. Theme authors add support of different page builders to their themes and it looks like more builders are in the wild – more support of them should be added to each theme. However, it does not seem to me as the right strategy.

The true purpose of visual builders

I have a better solution. Before packing themes with a lot of functionality, let’s remind what ‘theme’ really is – it is a presentational unit. Not something that creates custom post types, adds custom fields or enables hundreds of Google Fonts. Not at all. Instead of packing the theme with all of that additional functionality, let’s create simple (technically) themes and emphasize on the visual appearance, their astonishing design!

Back to roots. WP ‘theme’ is a presentational unit.  Sell a design, not a functionality.

How? Use visual page builders! Oh.. they cannot properly handle this yet? Force them to add such feature! 🙂 This is what I call ‘the future of premium WP themes’ – selling visual builder’s configs! Custom post types can be created in Pods or Toolset, custom meta fields can be easily added in ACF etc. Every significant feature can be added by this or that plugin. They do the job. They were created for non-tech savvy… designers, of course! Visual page builders are tools to bring everything together. But designers are those who can use such tools properly and drive the web. We have to create a possibility for them to become a standalone (truly standalone, not just “a companion in a small team of developers”!) players on the market of premium WordPress themes.