10 Places to Sell Templates

Creating new web designs from scratch can be lucrative, but it’s also time consuming. If you want to make money repeatedly off of one design — without having to spend more time on it — the easiest way is to sell it as a theme or template.

More than a few web designers take full responsibility for selling their themes, but it can actually be harder to sell a template on your own than through one of the many sites selling themes from a wide variety of web designers.

It comes down to the fact that buyers would rather visit one site and sift through a whole stack of templates quickly than search the web for a theme here and a theme there. While you might take home a smaller percentage of the sales price on a template site, you’ll likely make more sales.

There are plenty of sites out there willing to sell your templates for you and some are better than others. Different sites offer designers a larger cut of the proceeds or have more traffic to guarantee higher sales. The ten sites listed below are some of the better choices when it comes to selling your work and are loosely listed in the order of how much work it will actually require to sell your templates through them.


1. Theme Forest

ThemeForest offers the opportunity to sell HTML templates, WordPress themes, Joomla templates, Flash templates and Photoshop templates. The price for a theme or a template does vary — as does your cut as the designer. Your cut depends on whether or not a design is exclusive to ThemeForest: for non-exclusive themes you will receive 25% of every sale. For exclusive themes, you will receive between 35% and 50%, moving upwards as you sell more themes. You can find the full payment scheme on ThemeForest’s Payment Rates page and the site’s legal information is also available. Before a web designer can start selling on ThemeForest, he or she must first read a tutorial and complete a short quiz.


2. Templamatic

Templamatic has some simple requirements for templates it posts for sale: valid HTML and CSS mark-up, cross-browser compatibility and no copyright problems. In exchange, the site offers web designers 65% of all sales. Uploading a template or theme is a matter of setting up a free account and adding your work. You can set your own price for your work — although it’s important to remember that you don’t get the full amount you set. Templamatic accepts a variety of templates, including WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. The site also accepts skins for MySpace, phpBB and other social sites and platforms. All templates and themes are approved by Templamatic staff before they become available on the website.


3. BuyStockDesign

BuyStockDesign is a fairly new marketplace that allows you to upload files and make between 50-75% of every sale. They allow PSD, HTML, WordPress, as well as Joomla templates.  Prices start at only $5 and go all the way up to $25. Minimum cash out is $50 via Paypal or similar systems. All files include source files. The site’s selection is not very big at this time, but the site looks promising and should keep growing. You can sign up as an author and sell templates.


4. FlashDen

There are plenty of sites that sell specific types of templates. FlashDen is one site that handles only Flash website templates, along with a few other Flash files. FlashDen is owned by the same network as ThemeForest and operates in a similar manner. You receive a percentage of every sale, with higher rates for exclusive templates. You’ll also need to complete a quiz to begin selling on FlashDen — you can start the process at the Author Program page. The network that owns FlashDen and ThemeForest also provide opportunities to sell audio and video files.


5. SitePoint

While SitePoint’s Template Marketplace may look like just another forum, it provides a forum with templates for sale. The marketplace does lean towards WordPress themes, but you can list just about any kind of website template you have available. There is a fee to list your templates — but Sitepoint does not take a cut of your sales. To begin selling on Sitepoint, you’ll need to create a listing for a new auction. You set your price when you create a listing, as well as establishing whether a template is exclusive to Sitepoint or if it is available elsewhere.


6. TalkFreelance

You’ll find that TalkFreelance operates similarly to SitePoint — along the lines of a forum. Overall, the site caters to webmasters and a specific forum has been set aside for web designers looking to sell themes or templates. You can set your own prices and hold auctions through TalkFreelance, and the site does not take any percentage of your sales. If you’re interested in selling through TalkFreelance, you’ll need to become a member of the forum. The site limits sales in its forums to members who have made at least five posts on the forums: there is a whole section of the site devoted to discussing web design, so the barrier to entry is not actually that high. There are a few other guidelines that TalkFreelance has established, which are available on the website.


7. Webmaster-Talk

There is a lot of potential for selling templates on webmaster forums: Webmaster-Talk is another good reason. These sites provide useful marketplaces because they cater to individuals who typically own multiple websites — a target audience more likely to purchase website templates than other demographics. There are minimal limitations on listing templates for sale at Webmaster-Talk. The site does automatically treat every listing as an auction, but you can easily sell multiple instances of a theme or template at any time.


8. eBay

You really can sell anything on eBay, including website templates. While it may be harder to sell pricier templates on eBay, the sheer quantity of buyers searching the website can mean a volume well worth the effort of selling your work on eBay. Website themes and templates sell on eBay exactly like any other product: you list the item you wish to sell and either set a ‘Buy It Now’ price or an auction. Depending on how many templates you want to sell, setting up an eBay store can be worthwhile: you can list multiple copies of a template for sale with a little more ease, as well as multiple templates with minimal efforts.


9. Other Designers

There are thousands of website designers out there who rely on templates and themes they can quickly tweak to provide customers with quick websites. Just browsing through a designer’s portfolio can give you an idea of how heavily they use templates. Offering to license a template to such designers — especially if you offer some level of exclusivity — can get you a solid amount of money, usually more than if you sell templates through various online marketplaces. You will need to market your work, to a certain extent: sending out emails to a number of web designers is enough, but without that promotion, they won’t know that you exist.


10. Your Own Website

While I did mention that it’s harder to sell themes and templates through your own website, it can be done successfully. The key is to find a specific niche of templates to offer — perhaps templates for a certain kind of business or skins for certain websites — and to advertise your products.

Hugh Briss offers a great example with his website, TwitterImage. Hugh has found a very narrow niche — custom Twitter backgrounds — and a way to advertise his offerings for a minimal cost — free custom backgrounds to any Twitter member with at least 2,000 followers. If you can follow Hugh’s example, you can sell themes and templates effectively from your own website. It will require more work, including promotion, than other options.

You may have noticed that a lot of big template retailers aren’t on this list. That’s because companies like TemplateMonster aren’t easy to sell your work to. In general they work with on-staff web designers to develop and sell themes, rather than using work from freelancers or independent companies. Selling your templates through those sites isn’t a side income — it’s a full-time job. Instead, the options here are options to provide you a steady stream of income that doesn’t take as much work as designing a website from scratch. It is not impossible to make your entire living by producing templates, but most web designers simply don’t treat it as such.

There are other template marketplaces out there, many of which are specialized: some sell only a specific type of template, others sell templates optimized for a particular language. If you create specialized themes or templates, such sites may provide you with a better price for your work.

Written exclusively for WDD by Thursday Bram and WDD

Have you sold templates or themes through any of these websites?  What was your experience like?  What other websites do you recommend?

  • http://blog.insicdesigns.com/ insic

    nice article. now i need to enhance my skills so that i can sell some templates.

    • RK

      Totally agree. Interesting article and opportunities. I am thinking about “template-selling” for a while now… hard to get a start, the right platform and and “audience”.

      PS: Why do i respond to this first comment?
      I liked the avatar image. Is it you? WOW! What a cute and nice looking… Hey, you don´t need any skillz IMHO ;-) :-)

      • barrey

        yeah, i agree with you. im trying hard to make as many i can. at least i must own web personal to get other user see mine. btw, nice article…

  • http://www.kumailht.com/blog Kumail.H.T

    I really like themeforest as its easy to sell, But its not innovative enough to easily buy. When you are browsing through the site you will miss out on a lot of designs that have not been given a chance to come up. Hope they fix that.

    BTW, nice article

  • Jack

    This is really useful. Thanks a lot.

  • http://www.templatemo.com Min Thu

    great! This post shows me some sites I did not know before.

  • http://www.instantshift.com DKumar M.

    Good list of Website selling platforms !!
    really usefull for freelancers and designers.

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  • Kevin

    I don’t like themeforest, b/c they take too much money for their Author. Also, great list guys

  • http://www.dulcepixels.com Dulce

    It’s great to see lots of options for freelancers like us. Thanks for sharing this list.

  • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com Walter

    I strongly recommend to all authors to shop around for the best deal. Some of the bigger sites can be very greedy and charge designers a whole lot just because they’re better known than others.

    That being said, a lower commission but more sales may (or not) equal to more sales than a higher commission on a less known site.

    Also, don’t forget to bargain and ask for better rates and voice your dissatisfaction with terms or rates on the different sites by contacting the owners/webmasters.

    Good luck to everyone selling their themes and templates!

  • http://www.instantshift.com DKumar M.

    I also agree with Kevin…. themeforest’s commission is way to high !!

  • http://www.cmsmarket.com Kyle Ledbetter

    We’ve recently launched http://www.cmsmarket.com/ where sellers can post their templates and/or extensions (plugins/addons) for any CMS (right now mainly Joomla or Drupal), and we’re giving much better commission than most sites (50%). We’re taking a new round of sellers (we call them authors) in the next couple of weeks, check us out!

  • Kiziel

    I agree with you. Themeforest is well-promoted and well-styled but It takes too much money from you. For me 50% is the perfect value.

  • http://www.brushking.eu Thomas | Brush King

    Thanks, Very usefull

  • http://n/a Andersen

    Good post and really useful. For example I never heard of SuCasa but looks like it’s a really well promoted website.
    Btw you can also sell templates through template-guide.com who cooperates with flashmint, icetemplates and other huge templates related websites.

  • http://www.mindxstudio-templates.com/ mindxstudio

    It is really good and useful information for designer, Thanks.

  • http://www.altinkumdesign.com ali

    Very good selection and nice article

  • http://www.67ideas.com Jack

    Excellent quick resource — nobody wants to hunt through too many of these sites to find the good, upstanding ones. Thanks a lot!

    • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com Walter

      Thanks Jack – i have your site being featured in an upcoming post :)

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  • AG

    Themeforest is the way to go. Starting Febuary 15, they will be starting at 40% and then going up to 70%. It’s better than any other site out there.

  • http://www.getaxhtmlcoder.com web design

    nice info..

  • http://www.realgroup.co.in Designer4u

    Very Nice article.
    Bookmarked and forwarded to friends.
    Thank you very much for sharing.

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  • Charles

    Quality Post, looking to start selling templates and it’s nice to see where I can sell them. Awesome stuff.

  • ADy

    Thank you for this list. Can someone tell me which site is the most popular with the lowest comission. I saw that templateforest has the biggest comission, that’s no problem for me if they have lots of buyers. If you know others better than this list, please tell me if you have the permission.

  • http://www.abbcca.com joe

    any comments on a website called cleverandy.com?

  • http://wpthememarket.com Brandon Bond

    Don’t forget WP Theme Market http://www.wpthememarket.com. You get 70-80% per sale!

  • http://canvasgrafix.com Kids Wall Art

    Also, our site, http://graphicleftovers.com is turning a year old soon and you can sell templates there too!

  • http://hirenmodi.wordpress.com Hiren Modi

    very nice post it’s really helpful for freelancers, Thanks.

  • http://www.ewebbuddy.com Piyush

    Thanks a lot….was looking for a list like this for quite some time…

  • http://graphicleftovers.com/recent/page/1 Daniel Errante

    @ Walter:

    I agree. Some of the marketplaces out there like istockphoto can take up to 70% commissions! Granted, they have a large and established database with loads of traffic to their website, but places like Graphic Leftovers, http://graphicleftovers.com, and Theme Forest, http://themeforest.net, give great commissions and you can actually make some real money. A few months ago, Envato published that one of their designers made over $250,000 on these marketplaces. That’s a lot of money!

  • kpmedia

    http://cashmyjunkfiles.com is new site to sell flash, photoshop, 3d and other unapproved projects. 90% commission is better than any other site on the net.

  • sem

    Thank you for sharing

  • http://www.getjoomlatemplates.com Joomla Designer

    This is realy great post.
    I’m designing Joomla templates and offering them for free. Maybe I should start selling them on one of this website.
    Definitely I will try.
    Thanks for the post.

  • http://www.isquaretechnologies.com A Web Design Company India

    Great resources list. I’ve been using sitepoint and webmaster talk forums but the first 3 sites listed over here is simply great. So I’m gonna try them now. Thanks Again for the list!! I really appreciate it. Regards,

  • http://www.arraialdajudaportal.com.br tim

    Nice, i have to try this as well!

  • http://www.workpress.net alb3rt1

    Thanks for sharing this list, I think this will be very usefull. i hope to make some money from designing, because today I lost my work…

  • http://www.alsupipe.com Oyun

    that’s really nice list, how do I seen before?

  • http://theblogtemplates.com Blog Templates

    Wow! This is a very helpful list. My favorite is definitely themeforest!

  • http://www.xtremewebresources.com xtremewrs

    Great list ! I got some of new sites name from here which i didnt see before specially Talkfreelance.

  • Anna

    What software can we use legally?

  • http://www.paradisecoorg.com deep

    great info dude.. thanks for helping me put up my design’s

  • http://www.templateswork.com templateswork

    Its a good web site to sell web templates, e-commerce, mobile templates and blog templates.

  • http://www,wahoopy.com Magento designer

    As webdesigner, doing all the hard work and making the templates, I think a marketplace shouldn’t earn like half of my profits. Most of them listed here do.
    I just found one that is launching this week (I believe hellothemes.com is launching it), which pays me 70% and has no terms about exclusive or non-exclusie, they pay for each and every sale 70%. Check them out at http://www.wahoopy.com

  • http://www.designers-paradise.co.uk Designers Paradise

    We give 70% to the sellers, exclusive or not. As we believe that the designers/developers deserve more

  • http://www.forwardslashtemplates.com Forwardslash Templates

    We have just launched ForwardSlash Templates – a brand new template store with a massive 60% commission from all sales (normal and unique purchases)