How To Make Money Selling Templates Online

Ready to make recurring passive income with a steady flow of targeted web design & development leads? Of course you are – and that’s why you need to start designing premium templates to sell online.

Don’t knock it until you try it because premium templates can be a cash cow. There are designers who are earning $500 all the way up to $30,000 a month just by focusing on selling premium templates – and this doesn’t include the custom design and development jobs they land from people finding them through their premium templates being sold online.

If you never considered selling premium templates online here is how it basically works. There are thousands of developers and other designers online looking for templates they can purchase to cut costs, speed up design/development time and of course make life easier. Their solution: premium templates. The premium templates are attractive because they are already designed, coded and priced $15 - $100 each.  Now this might sound cheap but the design is not exclusive for their use so the design can be sold to thousands of other designers giving you a never ending recurring revenue stream.

Sounds good so far right? You design a template, code it, and then sell it over and over again. This can be a huge cash cow for you. That doesn’t mean it’s easy – in fact it takes some time and hard work to gain some momentum because the big money starts to roll in once you have a more than just few templates for sale. One template will rarely roll in the money wagon however with time, as you put out more templates, your passive income will start to explode – and again that doesn’t include the sales you land for custom design and development jobs from the people who find your premium templates online.

Where Can You Start Selling Your Templates?


Marketplace Traffic & Opportunities

There are hundreds of places you can start selling your templates online. Listed below are three of the most popular and trafficked websites that allow you to create a profile and start selling templates through a marketplace style system.

1.) Theme Forest: lets you sell your web templates for Wordpress, Tumblr, Adobe Muse, and more and gives you 33%–70% of sales

2.) Graphic River: You can sell fonts, icons, vectors, illustrations, Photoshop templates, brushes and more. As a seller you have the option of getting paid 33% royalty for non-exclusive or 50–70% for exclusive content.

3.) Mojo Themes:  As a seller, you can earn from 50% for a non-exclusive work and up to 70% for exclusivity which also takes into account the number of sales being generated.  

Forums & Communities

The CMS systems/platforms you might be designing templates for, like joommla or wordpress, very often have community support forums that will allow you to sell your templates if you’re an active member of the community. If you don’t make your templates exclusively for sale on the above mentioned marketplaces then you can take advantage of extending your reach by making your templates available in more places such as the online forums for the platform you are designing themes for.

Other forums can also be a golden opportunity. Developer, designer, and even internet business discussion forums are all great places to make your themes available for sale. Many forums have marketplaces where you can list not only your services but the templates you have designed for sale as well.

Tips to Get You Started


Don’t go exclusive

….when uploading templates and work to marketplaces. With so many places you can sell your templates why would you go exclusive?  Sure it’s nice to sell templates and receive a higher commission but this isn’t the best strategy when your purpose is twofold 1.) To make recurring passive income 2.) Develop leads for additional services you offer. You want to be in as many places as you can and create a cult like following for your designs.

On top of that what happens if the terms change for the one exclusive site you are uploading themes to? What if they sell to a larger company? What if another marketplace becomes even more popular? Or worse yet what happens to your recurring income and leads if they decide to close shop? You don’t want to take any chances so do yourself a favor and say no to the exclusivity option when uploading themes to marketplaces.

Start by choosing the type of templates you want to sell.

Do you want to sell themes for Joomla, wordpress, bootstrap or another platform? The key is to focus on just one platform and master it. When  you stay focused you will start to be viewed as an expert and the go to designer for that specific platform. Ultimately you will build a reputation and possibly cult following if you’re great. The most popular platform at the time of writing this has been wordpress but with the popularity of bootstrap on the rise you might want to check them out:

Make life easy for your customers & document everything.

You should include as much documentation as you possibly can (inline comments and an external ReadMe file) this will help buyers get the best use out of your products. Not only that, it will limit the amount of emails you receive with support request questions. You not only want to blow people away with your designs, code, etc. but you should also blow them away with the amount of documentation you provide. It will go a long way for your reputation and will create a cult like following of customers looking out for your next template release.

Does it work?

Test everything to make sure it works as intended. Is it cross browser compatible? Does it hold up to various standards and code-compliance tests? Get a few colleagues to beta-test your template. Lastly, test your themes on various devices such as phones, tablets, and other screens.

Support everything you put out

…especially at first because this is when those pesky bugs might pop up that you didn’t catch. On top of that you will receive feedback that you can use to improve upon as you design more templates, themes & products to sell. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes because if they receive a great product, great documentation and it’s all backed up by great support – you’re going to create a cult following that will lead to a ton of sales and a never ending amount of leads for your other services. More leads, more sales, more money! – And all just by focusing on getting started with premium templates.


…this is a long term strategy and will not see success overnight. But if you focus on free templates, premium templates, and the other marketing tactics outlined in this book just a little each day – the results will compound week after week and month after month.  Just one template a week would equate to 52 in a year. Slow and steady wins the race and allows you to diversify your marketing efforts.

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