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Will You Build My Site With My ThemeForest (Envato) Theme?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: ThemeForest is a huge market with over 5,000 WordPress themes available. However, due to the massive competition and the fast pace of authors releasing new themes with flexible features, the code quality has been commented on and publicly criticized by the broad WordPress community.

While there are some exceptions, the global theme market in the WordPress world is focused on constant underpricing. More and more theme shops offer theme packages and cheap WordPress themes that generate a few dozens or eventually a couple hundred downloads and generate a net profit of $20-$35 per sale.

The Cost of a WordPress Theme

We have discussed our WordPress website pricing model here and standard WordPress prices in our field. Codeable went through a redesign which cost them $26,400 and designing and building the theme was worth $12,000 alone. Our founder has also discussed the Envato business model in details, including the revenue stream, the incentive for most theme authors and the state of the marketplace. Here’s another solid article on the risks of using Premium themes for your successful business:

The Risks of Premium Themes for Successful Businesses

While we focus mainly on high-end backend development for large WordPress projects, we also do design and frontend work as a part of the complete package. We’ve had a number of custom theme projects for several thousand dollars and a few frontend gigs in the $12K – $20K range, with one large theme framework gig close to $30,000.

The more functionality is being added to a theme, the more flexible it should be, and each page, template, section or widget should inherit the new options and features. New additions are adding up and making them work together takes a significant amount of time, and is close to impossible for many designers and theme shops who can’t handle hundreds of thousands of different option selections.

The ThemeForest Market

Due to the demand dictated by non-experienced business owners, theme authors making a living on ThemeForest are forced to add more sliders, page templates, custom post types, portfolio layouts, gallery styles and so on. The end product often includes hundreds of different theme options, several different sliders, dozens of shortcodes and post types bundled as a part of the theme.

That violates a number of best practices when a theme:

  • is being used for functionality instead of presentation only
  • supports so many features and options that a very small percentage of those are used
  • registers various of components that heavily impact the load of the site, which leads to terrible user experience and SEO results
  • uses tons of components that pose security risks
  • generally makes it close to impossible to maintain, update or change the theme due to the massive number of dependent correlations

While a small number of the themes in the marketplace have been clean, simple and light, the majority have been following that model due to the never-ending excitement by customers looking for an all-in-one solution, unknowingly supporting a model that hurts their business.

The probability to find a well-coded and compatible theme is low. The more features it provides, the longer it takes to develop, the harder it is to debug and make compatible everywhere. That usually costs somewhere in the $20K – $40K range and selling 200-400 copies with ~$30 profit per sale would generate a significant loss if they spend their time paying attention to quality instead of marketing.

We could talk more about the best practices with the right customers, but DevriX is likely not the right fit if you are looking for a low-quality solution reusing a low-cost ThemeForest template.