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StudioPress – How to sell WordPress Themes? Get from zero to 10,000$ in just 6 months

This is a story about journalist Brain Gardner, who made magazine-like WordPress themes and sold them. StudioPress has roughly 40,000 paid customers. This is a story about how he started and grew this business working on a regular day job.

There are many ways to sell WordPress themes. This is one of the most successful ways of doing it. Learn step by step actions and important decisions that grow theme sales to its highest limits.

In this article you will learn:

  • How to find theme ideas?
  • How to grow your blog audience and subscriber list
  • How to sell theme to your audience
  • Bundle themes to increase revenue
  • Using affiliates to increase sales

Let’s get started.

How to sell WordPress themes from 0 to 10.000$ in 6 month by SudioPress

Learn how to sell WordPress themes from StudioPress success story

These are steps explaining how it is started, how leads from free themes convert to subscribers, how to sell your theme to subscribers, pricing themes, creating theme bundles, using affiliates to sell more themes.

Read each step that can be used as a roadmap for selling your WordPress themes. You will be thrilled to know how he reached from 0 to 10.000$ sales in just 6 months.

  • While working he was interested in building a magazine-like website and installed WordPress to his own host.
  • Started to tweak WordPress design. Then he wanted to provide a free theme and get his name out and see what happens. There was inspiration from other guys who were providing free themes and reaching big audiences.
  • Initial idea was to create an online presence and then people will ask for extra features, Brain would make note of them and charge 25$ per hour to make them after work hours at home.
  • Then there was one client who asked for a real estate blog website. Brain made a big theme with lots of features but the client didn’t want it and instead asked for a much simpler blog theme. Left with a great theme with lots of features Brian asked his blog audience if anybody will pay for this custom theme? He got a very positive response from his readers. Using their response he created and started selling it there.
  • It took 6 months from starting this freelance job for a real estate client to when he started to make more money from theme sales than his day job. That is when he decided to quit his job.
  • His blog had 2000-3000 subscribers, most coming from links on free themes. Daily blog had 2000 regular visitors. Learn how to start a blog.
  • First month when he announced this premium theme sales were 10,000$, and then it doubled every month.
  • Then he started to look for a forum to support all customers. Initially installed phpBB3 then switched to vBulletin when he had a couple hundred thousand posts.
  • Initially he started to sell using PayLoadz, and then switched to e-junkie. Theme was selling for 79.95$
  • Now they offer all themes and future releases for 350$
  • Initial theme was more like a website rather than a blog with lots of areas on the homepage pouring content from different categories. Initial version can be viewed on site (this site is not active any more).
  • Name Revolution was just the initial name that signified the movement, then after a year and half a company from the UK with the same name trademarked sent a letter to him, at which point he renamed his company to StudioPress.
  • Then people started to ask for magazine-like theme, newspaper-like themes. is using the “Revolution Magazine” theme.
  • Revolution Magazine and proMedia themes were the most successful themes.
  • In the last 2 years competition is very high, it was much easier to earn before.
  • More than 50% sales come from affiliates. They didn’t promote affiliate sales, just put a page about it and that was it.  Affiliate share on sale is 40-35%.
  • Super affiliates can make 5,000-10,000$ per month.
  • They started in August 2007 then switched to studio press in February 2009.
  • They also develop AgentPress, a theme for property agencies. Then they merged it with StudioPress converting it to a child theme for the genesis framework.
  • The Genesis framework came as a need to update all 27 themes if a new feature was added or some code changes done. So instead of making that change to every theme they wanted to change, make that change in the framework and every child theme will be updated. Also Thesis came out just before that time.
  • Child themes just change the visual appearance of the theme by overriding main theme code. Genesis is the main theme framework and all designs are all child themes of Genesis.
  • StudioPress later merged with Copyblogger Media, a company providing SEO services. For StudioPress it was an opportunity to offload marketing and accounting tasks to them and promote them to their customer base. Copyblogger previously was promoting DIY themes.
  • Copyblogger added their marketing knowledge for promoting StudioPress. One thing they added relevant content to themes, so instead of dummy “lorem ipsum” now themes have real content which is more appealing to customers.
  • In 2018 managed WordPress web hosting company WPengine acquired StudioPress and commented it as “our largest acquisition”.

These are notes from an interview that is published on mixergy, you can view the full interview here.


How to start selling WordPress themes?

You can start selling WordPress themes following these 5 steps:

  1. Create good free theme and publish on WordPress
  2. In free theme promote your blog and gain email subscribers
  3. Create a new theme or pro version of the free theme and inform your subscribers.
  4. Sell themes as single and in bundle if you have many themes
  5. Price yearly because you will need update theme regularly

How much can you earn by selling WordPress themes?

We have seen that successful theme sales can bring 10k $ per month and if done right and developed regularly revenue can grow up to 1 minion $ per year.

Check these success stories and learn how much they have earned selling WordPress themes.

How long does it take to earn 10,000$ selling themes?

From giving free themes, gaining subscribers, developing and selling paid themes can take at least 6 months. Remember that it depends on the quality and features of your theme to start earning 10k $ per month.

How to use affiliates to increase theme sales?

Affiliates can bring lots of sales provided that you have a good theme. When you create a win-win situation for your affiliates and give at least 35% share of sales they can count for 50% of new customers for your WordPress theme.

How much sales affiliates can generate?

Super affiliates selling your theme can earn at least 5k $ per month. You usually get 5-10 super affiliates that sell a lot.

How to find theme design ideas?

You can find great theme ideas by viewing current premium themes, features they are offering, flexibility they are providing. If you have existing clients you can learn from their design needs. Current trends for premium themes are mobile friendly, flexible in design so users can customize it and make any website without searching for other themes. Also popular themes have prebuilt designs for popular niches with existing example content. This gives a quick start for a website in any niche.

What to do to grow sales every month?

You need to follow design trends, support many plugins and content types, have flexible design, listen to your customers and add new features, have good documentation and provide timely support. Add an army of affiliates to double your sales.

Is selling themes fast and easy?

Definitely not. You need to find a winning design and code it as fast as possible. You need to iterate your theme and always keep improving. At the same time you need to market your theme and provide support. At some point you may need to hire virtual assistants or full time staff to handle each aspect of your theme selling business.

It may generate passive income after you reach a decent amount of monthly sales and delegate most of your hard work to the qualified staff.

Final thought to sell WordPress themes

Most businesses start from projects you work on. With every new project you start seeing common patterns and start to understand what potential customers want. You find a need for a product that solves their problem. In this success story Brain Gardner saw this opportunity and converted it to successful business. Every step led to another and with right decisions he leveraged users from free WordPress themes to paying customers for premium themes.

We can learn a lot from steps and tactics used to sell themes and grow sales every month. Affiliates in his case doubled theme sales and brought more yearly paying subscribers.

With every business you need to make right decisions and always search for areas to improve your product and grow your business.

Developers building themes can also consider other passive income streams by selling plugins or custom software. Learn more about earning passive income with software development.

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