At 133,489 downloads (as on 18 May 2015) Avada is the most downloaded WordPress theme on ThemeForest. On an average, there have been an approximate 122 sales per day from the time the theme has been release
As a matter of fact, it is the most downloaded theme in WordPress. The next most downloaded theme, Enfold follows at 58,150. This striking difference in downloads between the top two contenders makes me wonder the Avada Theme’s ‘secret recipe’ for success.
As a WordPress theme developer, your eventual goal might be to increase your theme’s reach to a vast user base. This essentially means developing a practical, functional and easy to use software. The makers of the Avada theme seemed to have captured the essence of this thought flawlessly and there is LOTS that one can learn from ThemeFusion, the makers of Avada.
Let’s take a leaf out their book and understand get started with the uphill task of becoming the most downloaded WordPress theme. In fact, much of their success mantra can be applied in any web based business.
Lesson #1: Product is Key for Success
The product you develop will define the success you achieve!
This is the first lesson to learn from the developers of Avada. They have identified user demand precisely and taken the development from there on. So, the first question to ponder would be, ‘Is there a demand for the theme I am about to develop?’. If your answer is in the affirmative then you’re good to go!
The significance of the product does not end there. It is imperative that the theme provides features that are compelling enough for a user to make a purchase. Another crucial aspect to keep in mind is that user interface preferences are relative and are bound to vary from person to person. Your theme should, therefore, come with the flexibility to counter such scenarios. More options in the back-end means more flexibility and that’s the route you should be taking.
Finally, develop a product with clean code from day 1. While this ingredient for a great product goes without saying it is often overlooked. And NO MATTER WHAT, it shouldn’t be. By doing so, you’re only building yourself a dormant volcano that can explode anytime doing more damage than you can imagine.
Lesson #2: Dedication is Indispensable
If you take a look at the Changelog provided for the Avada theme a detail to notice is the constant stream of versions. They have a sizeable list of updates and fixes which are given no more than three months apart. While on the user’s end the upgrades are a definite good news on the developer’s end it can be described as sheer commitment towards the product and its users.
This ‘commitment’ is the second lesson you must take away from the makers of the most downloaded WordPress theme on ThemeForest. If you think developing and releasing a product draws you towards the end of the game then you’re grossly mistaken. It’s only just the beginning and if you choose to abandon the theme at this point then you can forget all about making it the most downloaded WordPress theme. A theme demands constant improvisation and you should be ready for it right from when you start. Otherwise, I think it’s best to stop at the ideation stage itself.
Lesson #3: Cater to a Larger Audience
A picture speaks a thousand words and this image more or less sums up my thoughts on lesson #3.
Keeping the theme generic has played a considerable role towards Avada’s success and that’s something to learn from the developers of Avada. The theme has been made compatible with the top eCommerce players. Its integration with WPML displays the importance that has been given to multi-language support. Apart from that it has been made compatible with a host of browsers as well as popular WordPress plugin. All this put together significantly multiplies the audience that the theme can cater to.
Developing a theme for a particular plugin like LearnDash might work for you owing to the demand. However, this also downsizes your probable audience significantly and can in turn affect the download count. Broadening your horizon can definitely impact positively in the number game.
I can sense the frustration building considering I’m kinda contradicting myself between demand and audience. Here’s the order of priority to clear the confusion – demand for the theme followed by targeting a larger audience.
Ideally however you should try looking for a middle way if possible. For example, if you are building a theme for LearnDash it would probably make more sense to go the other way round and make it compatible with LearnDash through a module that can be enabled by users if required.
Lesson #4: Support is Crucial
The BIGGEST lesson that you can learn from ThemeFusion is that SUPPORT IS CRUCIAL for the success of a product. Avada’s page on ThemeForest is sprayed with innumerable customers raving about the support provided by the developers. In fact, a user has also gone on to say that between two ThemeForest accounts she has never received such committed support.
So, if you want to get on the coveted list of the most downloaded WordPress theme, start treating support as the company’s image rather than an overhead. For a sustainable business model after the Theme’s release, it’s support, support, and support all the way!
Lesson #5: Marketing is Crucial
You have developed the first version of the plugin, released it and are geared up for the support that comes with it.
After all this has been done it is also essential for people to know that you have done it. The next step towards your goal would be marketing the plugin. Marketing can prove to be an overhead in the startup environment and that’s where learning from ThemeFusion comes into the picture. Selling Avada on ThemeForest might be an administrative decision. However, from where I’m looking, it is an incredible marketing move as it gives the theme instant visibility on a platform catering to a humongous audience. Learning the importance of a marketplace and utilizing it can save you a lot of time, money and effort while moving you closer to your goal.
Another fact that you must warm yourself with is that to make a product popular there is marketing, and there are customers. Building a steady stream of happy customers would indirectly create a great marketing channel. (Right about at this time you read lesson #4 again 😉 )
What are you waiting for then? Go out there, start your business, and make use of these lessons to build a successful business around WordPress, one of the most popular and easy to use CMS.