Talk about an increase in traffic and I didn't have to bribe someone to digg or stumble one of my posts. I was getting really antsy to be finished with this theme at the end so I could see how much traffic a person could get from a Wordpress theme. Now I guess I have found out. I have worked off and on with this theme for a couple of months now. And now that it is done, I see many things that I could have done better. But here is what I picked up along the way.
First if you are going to create a theme to give away, try to think of features or a look that will have people running to your site to download. I have to admit that as far as looks go, this theme doesn't have that much to offer really. It is very basic. But I added features I would like to see in a theme. I didn't really do any research to see if anyone else was looking for these features, so I missed a little step there. But here is how I looked at it.
- Two links to my sites if you use my theme. Most themes have a couple of links, but they link from every page in the blog. Mine only does this from the index. This is a feature for SEO conscious bloggers.
- Customizable colors for those bloggers who want to look different, but don't want to create their own theme.
- Plugin tags built-in for a few commonly used plugins that require theme file editing. For the non-tech crowd to just plug and play new plugins without issues.
- Gravatar as a header image. This is one I was kind of iffy about, which is why I made it an option to turn off and on. But I did this after I realized that I would add friends at social networks if I recognized their pic from another social network where they were already my friend. I figured it could work with a blog. See me at a network. Picture's the same. Subscribe to my blog. Think of it as avatar branding.
- Adsense ready. I consider Adsense one of the less profitable ways to make money from a blog, but it is also the most common. It gives bloggers a way to monetize this theme from the get go by just adding their publisher id.
Of course what you count as features depends on who you want to use your theme. One theme can't please all, even though you can try. To find more things that you can do with your theme to get more downloads, you can read this article. It goes into more reasons why a person would choose one theme over another and it's a good article to read before you even start your theme.
So I get done with my theme and I am faced with the issue of getting people to download it. I added some features that would draw bloggers to it, but I still had to get people to the site in the first place to even know that the theme exists. I did a search on "promoting wordpress theme" and came up with how and where to promote a Wordpress theme which gave me a starting point.
A note on Weblogstoolscollection. They tend to frown on sponsered themes. My theme has two links, one to this site and one to my other blog. Originally the theme said "Sponsered by Digital Products Review." But knowing that this sites feed shows in every Wordpress dashboard, I wanted my theme listed there. So instead, I wrote a post about the theme at that blog and made it the themes description page, at least from the footer of the blog. And my theme went live on Weblog Tools Collection today.
Another note about links. This theme boosts three sites backlinks. This one and Digital Products Review from the footer of the theme. The theme's home is actually at WP23.com, a blog I started at the last minute just to spread the link love out to another blog whose subject will be Wordpress and which will host all of my upcoming Wordpress themes, plugins, hacks, and tips. I wanted the most mileage I could get out of this theme.
The article above only listed a few places to submit this theme. The big places, but still only a percentage of places to submit your Wordpress theme. I turned to my old friend Google to find some more and gave myself this week's project in the process. Here are the queries:
You could probably think of a few more, but these gave me plenty of options. Not everyone looks at the feeds in their Wordpress dashboard. I didn't until a few months ago. So hit some of these sites to because you will get the theme hunters coming directly from Google.
I hope this helps some theme developers. Look for another post like this as I learn more about this process.