The Best Product For Bloggers to Promote? Their WordPress Themes, Duh!

February 11, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

einstein duhAs a blogger, the first thing you may ask when deciding to make money on your blog via affiliate marketing is, “what do I promote?” You may start with related products, services, and offers but forget about the goldmine right under your nose. Your WordPress blog theme!

Every blog has a theme or design and whether you like it or not, you’re promoting the one on your site right now regardless of what niche you’re in. So why not cash in on it? The WordPress blog theme market is huge right now and there’s a ton of money to be made – especially because everyone and their moms now have blogs.

Late last year I switched from a free customized theme to Brian Gardner’s Revolution Theme. Sure, it cost me $79 to buy it, but I’ve made a lot more in commissions promoting it and featuring it on my blog. Buy a premium WordPress theme and start using it. It could easily become the biggest money maker on your blog.

As you can see here, I use the Revolution Theme, but other bloggers have had a lot of success with some of the others – including the Thesis Theme by DIY Themes, Citrus by Unique Blog Designs, and Arthemia by Colorlabs Project. For example, Sugarrae has made a killing promoting the new Thesis Theme and outlines how she made it work.

In this post, I’m going to explain to you how you can make the most of your WordPress blog theme and maximize affiliate commissions using a few key strategies.

1. Use the theme yourself

You can praise a theme and say great things about it all you want, but the biggest endorsement you can give it is actually using it for yourself. Your true motivations will be revealed to all of your readers. Are you promoting something just to make money or are you doing it because you actually believe in it? By using the theme you promote, you “walk the talk” and people are much more likely to trust you and act upon your recommendations.

lebron james shoesLet’s use the example of Lebron James (superstar NBA basketball player) and Nike. Lebron endorses Nike and only wears Nike shoes on the court. If you were looking to buy a pair for yourself, how would you feel if all of a sudden Lebron switched to Adidas? Would you begin to question the Nikes and the validity of Lebron’s endorsement? I know I would.

Use the blog theme that you’re promoting and stick with it for as long as you endorse it. This applies to all products, not just themes.

2. Add credit links and banners

Once you settle on a blog theme and have it installed, you need to actually let people know what it is. Some people hide this information because they don’t want too many people using the same theme, but these fears are unfounded. I don’t think this is the right approach to take and these people are leaving a lot of money on the table. First of all, you should be customizing your theme enough so that it represents your brand and is completely unique from the default. That’s a given. Next, people can easily figure out what theme you’re using regardless of whether or not you choose to display the credit link. You might as well proudly display the theme name so that everyone wins out – you (commission), your referral (new theme), the designer (more sales), and the community (more people means better support).

Don’t be afraid to promote your blog theme and make some money. Change your credit link in the footer to an affiliate link and add banners throughout your site. Again, Sugarrae is a perfect example of someone who truly “gets it” in promoting her Thesis blog theme. Take a look at her blog to see what I mean.

3. Write a review of your new blog theme

Regardless of what you blog about, you can always fit in a post that reviews the blog theme of your choice. In other words, you don’t have to be an Internet marketing blogger to make money referring people to buy your blog theme. Since a redesign of your site affects all of your readers, review the new features and explain why you made the switch. Tell them about all of the benefits and ask for opinions. Also, relate the theme to your particular niche. There are bound to be other interested bloggers reading your review and considering a switch. I did something similar when I blogged about the Revolution Theme and explained the benefits.

Once you write your review, work to get as many eyeballs on it as possible. Promote it on social media, optimize the page for the search engines (e.g. include “theme name + review” in the title), and get links from forums and other related sites. If your review is exceptional you might even be able to get the designer feature it on the official site as a testimonial. Just ask and see what happens.

4. Customize your theme and make it unique

If you’re working with a popular blog theme you’re inevitably going to have a lot of bloggers competing for affiliate sales. How do you end up on top? The first step is to customize your blog theme to meet your branding requirements. No one takes a cookie cutter site seriously, even if it’s a premium theme, so you want to make sure that you add your own color scheme, logo, and features. Customization will also show your readers what’s possible with the theme. If they like the changes that you made, they’ll be drawn to your site and likely buy through your affiliate link. Finally, making changes to your theme gives you the opportunity to come up with unique material for tutorials described in the next section. Read on.

5. Write tutorials for your theme

If you follow tip #4 and heavily customize your theme, there will be other bloggers who want to follow your lead and do the same. You basically show them first hand what’s possible and then detail the necessary steps using tutorials and guides. For example, Sugarrae has a tutorial for the Thesis Theme that shows how you can customize the 404 error page.

By creating useful tutorials for add-ons and plugins for your theme, you further convince people to buy (using your link of course). Not only that but you also establish yourself as a “guru” and spokesperson for the theme – which will increase your affiliate sales significantly. This works even better if you can get the support of the theme designer.

Think of creative ways to customize your blog theme and get the process documented in how-to type blog posts. You can also submit to tutorial sites and ask to be featured in the the support section of the theme website.

6. Hold blog theme promotions

If you’re serious about affiliate marketing with your blog theme, hold various promotions for your readers to encourage sales. For example, ask the designers for an exclusive coupon code, hold a contest for best add-on or customization, or give away awards and prizes to bloggers who use the theme. Be creative and you’ll do very well.

Are you making money promoting your WordPress blog theme? What are some of the other strategies you use on your blog to increase affiliate commissions. Let us know in a comment below.

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Comments

37 Responses to “The Best Product For Bloggers to Promote? Their WordPress Themes, Duh!”

Missy (from G34 Media) on February 11th, 2009

Hi, Guy:

This reminds me i need to get crackin with a review post on Fresh News, the premium theme from Woo. (Which i quite like) I am also a big fan of Revolution Church. I like Thesis, but am NOT using it yet.

This is def an untapped idea by many a blogger. Good looking out.

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Hey Missy,
I wouldn’t say it “untapped” but it’s a revenue stream and strategy that a lot of bloggers overlook. What better product for a blogger to promote than the blog theme that they’re using?

 
 
SEO Tips on February 12th, 2009

Great article, really nice feel to it and a good way of making money from your Blog.

I have my own unique theme I paid a coder to code. However I have been considering the idea of selling the theme the only problem I have is that it then means other people will be using the same theme.

However I was considering selling the theme in different colours and using the money I get back to customise my theme a little more.

What do you think to this idea, and how much do you think I could sell my theme for?

Thanks

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

That’s actually a pretty good idea. I wouldn’t worry too much about other people using the same theme as you. You can always customize yours to be unique including a custom color theme and your own logo.

Most of the top blog themes sell for around $50-80, so anything around there would be okay. Look around and see what other designers are doing. Blog themes are all the rage these days.

 
 
Cheap Phone Calls on February 12th, 2009

Some nice advice there. Never really thought of selling a template through an affiliate scheme. Might start doing this 😉

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Thanks. Yeah, it’s a strategy right under bloggers’ noses – but we often overlook it.

 
 
max on February 12th, 2009

Well, here’s my free theme, it can make you a lot more money if you have more than 2000 uniques/day:

http://zedomax.com/blog/theme

 
Matt | Small Biz Bee on February 12th, 2009

This is great advice. I started using the Thesis theme and loved it – made sense to me to pass it on to my readers (as an affiliate) and not only will they love it too but I make a couple bucks off it. We all win. It’s easy to promote becuase I use it daily and can talk it up honestly to anyone who asks me about it.

Matt

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Hey Matt,
Everyone seems to be using Thesis these days – and that’s largely in part due to the top bloggers adopting it and promoting it via their affiliate links. Nice site btw. I like how you added some color to the theme.

 
 
Jacques @ SEO Tools South Africa on February 13th, 2009

Foundational stuff indeed. It makes perfect sense to promote the very theme that you’re using. I’m busy playing with VibrantCMS from WooThemes myself, and hope to promote it once my project is up and running. For now it is great to have the community to help educate me on how to maximise the earnings potential of my project.

 
Chung Bey Luen on February 13th, 2009

Very good tips to promote your theme.

 
Mike Huang on February 13th, 2009

If you create like 100 themes or hire someone to create 100 themes for around $100-200 USD, you could share those and gain hundreds to thousands of backlinks to your blog 😀

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Yeah, that might be true, but the blog theme niche is insanely saturated these days. I’d much rather focus on developing a killer theme and selling it to the masses – kind of what Thesis Theme accomplished.

 
 
Stuart Conover on February 14th, 2009

Long term, do you think it would be a better idea to go with an existing theme and customize it and attempt for affiliate sales or go with a developer to have a custom one made and go through affiliate sales that route? Or perhaps even having the custom one made with resale rights that is just different enough from yours to be worth it?

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Honestly, I’d much rather go with an existing theme and customize it. The support is better and there’s always the potential of making affiliate commissions by selling it.

 
 
Momentum on February 15th, 2009

I’m a fan of Thesis WordPress theme from Chris Pearson.

 
Ari Lestariono on February 15th, 2009

The wordpress becomes icon lately, even my teacher also insisted me to learn more deep about it.Well i guess i’ll give it a shot, i love laerning into depth.great post

 
Splendid Kid on February 16th, 2009

I honestly like the way how this Revolution theme looks here in WTW.

I used to use a theme of StyleWp and it is cool 🙂

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Thanks, I’m a big fan of the Revolution Theme (now called Studio Press I think…)

 
 
Proven Online Business on February 18th, 2009

Pretty neat concept and why promote anything else? The theme is what your blog is all about and you will be promoting it intrinsically.

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Yep, my point exactly. You’re intrinsically promoting your theme on your blog so you might as well put up an affiliate link for those who’re interested.

 
 
blogger instinct guy on February 19th, 2009

I really like this idea while, I have heard and thought of this idea before. I have yet to give this a try. I really liked the comment of purchasing a theme to sell to make an reinvestment on a new theme and look. Just wondering how much would you suggest to resell your theme for?

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Like I said before, it really depends on your theme. If you want to compete with the best themes out there, you can sell for $50-100. However, if you’re just getting started and your theme isn’t A+ quality I would definitely lower the price to get it out there and gain more exposure.

 
 
Ari Lestariono on February 19th, 2009

Looking forward for theme still learning though…thx

 
Rico on February 19th, 2009

Have you had good luck with promoting your blog through sponsoring links on distributed WP templates?

It makes sense that that would work, but would like to hear it from someone who’s actually ‘done it’.

Cool layout of this blog, btw…

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Hey Rico,
Nope, I don’t do sponsored links on WP templates… They just aren’t worth the effort in my opinion. They don’t drive much traffic and search engines are smart enough to discount them.

 
 
Suzanne Franco on February 19th, 2009

Hey Gyutae ~ How are you? Great post! These are great steps for promoting … especially for a blog theme. Now I need to go find out if my designers offer an affiliate program or not! LOL … I’ve had a lot of people ask about it … guess that’s how crazy busy I’ve been. Thanks for the kick in the rear to check it out. *SmiLes* Suzanne

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

Hi Suzanne,
Thanks for stopping by to comment. Glad I could add another item to your already cramped to-do list. 🙂

 
 
Ari Lestariono on February 20th, 2009

Designers are difficult to find that suits your taste and can boost your image to driven quality traffic, anybody can give advice which theme designers are qualified for the job and fair price

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

I’ve heard good things about the folks over at Unique Blog Designs. If you’re interested you should check them out. A lot of the A-list bloggers use them but they are on the expensive side.

 
 
Ann Arbor Web Design on February 20th, 2009

Yes I know it seems obvious but one does need the reminder now and then so yes it is a good idea to promote one’s wordpress theme.

 
Ann Arbor Web Design on February 20th, 2009

BTW, what happened to your Top Commentators List? seems to have collapsed?

Gyutae Park on March 13th, 2009

My PHP Exec plugin wasn’t working for a bit. Should be fixed now. Now the truth comes out as to why you comment on this blog! 😛

 
 
Yellow Search Engine Optimization on March 10th, 2009

For smaller blogger’s this could be a great way to monetize there blog and create backlink with out to much effort.

 
Kai Lo on March 27th, 2009

A friend of mine recently purchased a premium WordPress theme, and then he promoted the site that was selling the theme. My friend made back the money he spent on the theme in less than a week.

 
Shaun Judy on July 1st, 2009

I have been thinking of getting some themes together to create some backlinks, and make some money from them as well. I like the idea of charging $50 but I’m gonna be cheaper and sell them for $49.98..LOL
All in all thanks for the info.

Shaun

 
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