How about freemium theme business?

(John Wu) #1


The first topic here. I used to sell premium themes on ThemeForest, but get the traffic is more and more difficult from TF, and the other side, premium themes market is so saturated, so I think about freemium theme business recently.

As I researched on, now the most popular freemium themes are Astra and OceanWP, they have an active community on FB. That’s why I trying to give a try, but before starting the project, I hope to listen to more suggestions here.

Freemium model seems a good way to drive free traffic, but only one big cost is time, maybe we have to spend much time on free version support. Besides that, looks nice.

Eager to hear your opinions.

Thanks in advance!

(Leland Fiegel) #2

I think it would be worth a try. Make some sort of “framework” theme and then monetize the community that forms around them. The challenge is making it distinct in some way. What would you freemium product do that Astra and OceanWP don’t? I don’t have a good answer to that part.

The core goal of it should be flexible and efficient way to make websites. After being in the theme business for many years, I’ve become increasingly convinced that most people don’t ever really want to “buy a theme.” They want to buy a complete website solution that furthers their goals in life and business.

A big component of this can be the theme. It could also be more of an end-to-end solution like, although if you’re a solo business owner, focusing on a particular industry/goal might be a bit easier to manage and stand out.

There’s some school of thought that goes like A Product for Everybody is a Product for Nobody. This kind of flies in the face of these “all in one” themes that seem to try to be a product for everybody. That’s not to say an “all in one” theme can’t be financially successful. Look at the top earners on ThemeForest, for examples.

Just something to consider.

Nobody can force you to spend time on free version support. Part of your business model could be charging for support. It’s tricky though because without some level of free support, it might be difficult to gain traction.

Also, your paid support plans could be in competition with random Facebook groups (such as the ones you pointed out) you have no control over. You can’t stop people from organizing and discussing your product and helping each other out for free.

Again, just some random thoughts to consider. Hope it helps in some way.

(Samrat Roy) #3

Hey John,

That’s a very good question that you’ve put up. The themes market undoubtedly is saturated, but difference in model can have a significant impact on the product. Free products are a very good method to increase market penetrability. Take up all the plugins who have more than 100,000+ installs. Almost all of them are a million dollar business. More than weighing out the humongous number of possibilities that lie in the Freemium model, it has become a norm or a habit for the users in particular across the WordPress ecosystem. You’d probably find a huge chunk of audience overlooking your product, if it’s not free.

So, how to go about these steps?

  1. As you know your niche, find your competitors.
  2. Research them and once you know them, find the gaps.
  3. Once you find the gaps, build your minimum viable product around it. That, could be your free
    version. It is important in freemium business to know where to limit the functionalities of your

There was recently this article I cam across written by ILoveWP. You’d amazed to know that in the past 3 years, there have been 18,087 plugins published in the wordpress repository and only 30 plugins have crossed active installs of 100,000+. That’s a mere 0.16%. Undoubtedly, the market is dominated and this opens up probability of having quite a lot of space for better products to come up. What is missing is that the right product needs to be marketed to the right audience.

Places like Envato, ThemeForest aren’t absolutely seller centric. More than that, they aren’t entirely dedicated to WordPress which at times take a backlash on brands. If you’re specifically looking into a marketing platform for freemium products, you can look up to to Epitrove. Apart from hosting both your free & premium products, they even help you nurture the audience who download your free product to upgrade upon right interactions.

Let me know your thoughts :slight_smile: