How to Optimize Your ThemeForest Landing Page (Item Page) – Elite Authors Chip In

When first jumping on the Envato train as a theme author, no one really knows where the rails are heading. There are no manuals or steps to follow that would guarantee the success of your ThemeForest themes. What’s even worse, the word goes that for those too late to the Envato party, the train has long left the station.

At ThemeIsle, we’ve recently submitted two new themes to ThemeForest. Not much to brag about yet, though, we’re still trying to figure things out (read: not too many sales coming our way yet).

Right after the first theme was up, we’ve begun working on improving our landing/item page to make it convert better. At the end of the day, a ThemeForest landing page works just like any other landing page, doesn’t it?

Well, at least that was the assumption.

So I searched the web for some answers, looked for the best practices among theme developers, what is crucial and what isn’t when building the perfect ThemeForest landing page. But, surprise, surprise … this is not a hot subject. Almost no info at all on how to go about optimizing your ThemeForest landing page.

For a marketer, this was quite puzzling. Why isn’t anyone sharing? Or maybe there just isn’t enough people interested in listening? Anyway, I am not used to letting go easily so I decided to research this some more and disclose my findings with the community.

For this, I asked the help of fellow ThemeForest Power Elite Authors – some of whom I already knew, and some that were just open enough to discuss and tell me all about their secrets. Let’s get this started:

A big “Thank you!” to everyone who took part and provided me with their insights:

 

Understanding the ThemeForest user journey

You might think that being in a marketplace automatically guarantees that people will see your products. And even if not everyone ends up loving them, at least you’ll have a chance to stand out, be seen, right?

In the real world, however, things work differently. Most users don’t have the time to browse trough each and every theme out there before making a decision. They want what’s already been tested. So naturally, the first place they’re checking is the Popular items page. This behavior was signaled by almost all theme authors I’ve reached out to.

Popular items

However, to be on that list you need sales first.

And this is a rough game to play once you realize that some of the more seasoned players have an advantage over you. Basically, as pointed out by Adam Pickering of Astoundify, Envato helps some of the theme authors with targeted ads, so they can make the popular list faster.

This is a tough environment for new authors who potentially need to find totally different ways to get noticed.

 
 
Setting the popular list aside, another way people look for themes is through the Search filters. And it’s only natural to do this. Think that you’re looking to buy a house. You will not jump from condo-ad to condo-ad wasting time. You will narrow your search down to your requirements – neighborhood, number of rooms, price, etc. Filters on ThemeForest help users refine the results in very much the same way via tags (gallery, shop, bootstrap, etc.), price limits, item rating, number of sales, compatibility with other tools, and more. This is your chance to get noticed.
Search by Price
Search by TAG
Search by Tools Compatibility
 
What happens next? Several results get listed, 30 themes to be exact in both the list and grid view. And still, it’s not the ThemeForest landing page that users go to see next. It’s the cover image.

Users hover over the small icons, which sort of expand into this larger cover image that sums up what the product is about. Remember, we’re still on the same Search page, the user hasn’t clicked on anything yet.

Cover Image ProteusThemes

It’s on that Search page that the magic happens.

Users skip the item page, they do not want to be explained. The first thing they go to is the live preview. The item pages become important later.Primoz Cigler, ProteusThemes

Yes, you read that right. They check out the live previews first and compare/choose between your theme and the other ones available. Wouldn’t you do the same if you could? If you were standing in front of a parking lot, would you stare and read banners, or would you open the door, get in the car and see how it feels behind the wheel before anything else?

 
 
After opening several demos and seeing how the actual themes behave, users only then begin to make up their minds and visit the item pages.

It is only after they’ve decided they like a theme that they come to check the details, and see if everything looks right. Actually the main role of the ThemeForest landing page is not to convert, but more to validate a decision that already took place.

I think this is the most important thing I learned during my research – that the purpose of the item page is not necessarily to sell, but to ensure the user that what they saw in the demo matches with the description on the page. It’s like a certificate of authenticity, so to speak.

 
But there’s more:

Recommendations from Power Elite Authors

My question to all theme authors I’ve talked to was: “What elements should the ThemeForest landing page include, what are users looking to see there?”

I did get some great insights from this, and I’ll show them to you in just a sec, but the main takeaway here still is that there’s no general, one-size-fits-all recipe for success with your ThemeForest item page. And this was expected. WordPress themes are quite diverse, with all the niche themes out there, the multipurpose themes, each with its different twists, etc.

The theme authors I spoke to seem to confirm this point of view:

The item page and the elements in the item page need to be the right fit for the industry you are targeting. Our horse theme is targeting older people who own farms, so you would lose them with a more technical approach. For our hotel theme, the clients are agencies or firms that work with this kind of projects, so they get the technical stuff.Radu Cretu, Curly Themes

Now onto the individual aspects of building a quality ThemeForest landing page:

How to optimize ThemeForest landing page:

 

ON DESIGN

The big secret about the item page is that no one will actually read it.Miroslav, Dream-Theme
We’ve done a few changes on the Envato item page, but it’s hard to say what the effect was because there aren’t any tools to measure, there is no A/B testing. What I can say for sure is that you need to show images. It’s how we help our users to find their way, and show what demos come with the pack.Dimi Baitanciuc, ThemeFuse
In my opinion, the theme’s item page accounts for around 10% of the conversions. The rest is the theme’s design.Radu Cretu, Curly Themes
The more scrolling they do, the more people will gonna want to buy.Adam Pickering, Astoundify
 
Images and good visuals in general are a mandatory element on every quality ThemeForest landing page. If you go see the top 10, nearly all of the pages rely on visuals heavily. And it’s not just about screenshots or product demos, but also about basic text-as-image graphics that allow for more customized typography than what you can do via raw text descriptions.

Here are just a couple of examples from some top 10’ers:

 
avada 1

jupiter 1

salient 1

newspaper 1

the7 1

bridge 1

flatsome 1

ON SOCIAL PROOF / TESTIMONIALS

Social proof is also very important. We’ve kept the same design from the comments so that users can identify the reviews to be from ThemeForest customers, which gives an even greater credibility.Dimi Baitanciuc, ThemeFuse
Testimonials TF

Testimonials used by ThemeFuse

It’s a lot about social proof. They will always look for other people’s preferences. In fact, some of our customers go even further and write down in-depth reviews about our products or the common working experiences. Both count.George Olaru, Pixelgrade
Testimonials Pixelgrade

Testimonials used by Pixelgrade

 
Theme authors use social proof in many different forms. Some just use customer testimonials (sort of, “hey, a customer just like you already enjoys this theme”), some use endorsements by industry leaders, some use endorsements by Envato’s own internal authority channels/blogs, some use raw numbers showcasing the themes’ sales, etc. Basically, when it comes to social proof, anything goes.

Some examples:

 
listify 1
the7 2
avada 2

enfold 1

ON FEATURES

The Item page only completes the theme. With Rosa, we decided to highlight the needs and the solutions. We tried to stay away from the actual features, but instead, we have a special focus on presenting them in the context of solving a particular business problem.George Olaru, Pixelgrade

Features Pixelgrade

Users will not purchase a multipurpose theme without page builders. This statement may be wrong for niche themes, but generally page builders are a must.Miroslav, Dream-Theme

Theme builders Dream Theme

People check if you have a fresh item, they look for the number of updates. People tend to shy away from products that are not updated often.Adam Pickering, Astoundify

Version in Jobify

 
A somewhat interesting trend on many ThemeForest landing pages is to indeed showcase the current version of your theme. Jobify does it (visible above), Avada does it, X does it, probably hundreds of other themes do it too. This sends a strong signal that remaining visibly fresh indeed matters.

Some themes go as far as to even link to the changelog from the very top of the item page. This is perhaps meant to bring back the people who are already aware of the product and need another nudge to get convinced to buy it. Or maybe I’m going too far with the conclusions? Anyway, here’s an example by Enfold:

enfold 2

 

ON SUPPORT

The item page is important after the purchase. When something goes wrong, users come looking for documentation, support.Primoz Cigler, ProteusThemes

Support Proteus Themes

Support Pixelgrade

Pixelgrade mentions support on their ThemeForest item page.

Responsiveness through the comments is also important. Speaking like a real person, not like a company. This is why our team is also on our website, so that users can see who we are (…) Show that you are a real person, not a random company.Adam Pickering, Astoundify

Support Astoundify

jupiter 2

ON BRANDING / MARKETING

We treat ThemeForest as a marketing channel just like Facebook. You pay them a fee to market your product, but the goal is to get that customer back.Adam Pickering, Astoundify

(Adam explained how they use retargeting campaigns (only available for Elite authors). They set a pixel on the item page that allows them to further track visitors on other sites. This way they manage to drive users to their own website.)

At the same time, I sincerely believe that branding and a certain experience begins to play a huge role in this game. We hope that ThemeForest is going to be just another sales channel for us, and the users will know who we truly are. In the end, there’s the same crew behind the scenes that shares similar values.George Olaru, Pixelgrade
Proteus Themes Subscribe

ProteusThemes urging people to subscribe.

Facebook reviews Pixelgrade

Pixelgrade linking to their Facebook reviews.

 

The dark and expanding Envato universe

Each of the above insights brings in some light, but figuring out what really works is still a tough task. When joining ThemeForest as an author, you find that there are very limited tools available and that you have small control over how your theme is positioned and what happens with it.

There’s no precise way to analyze if what you’re doing is right or wrong. You cannot do any split testing. Although Power Elite Authors have access to advanced Google Analytics, the data there doesn’t help much either. For example, the time on page does not refer to the time a user is strictly checking out the item page. As Miroslav says:

It is the time between when a user clicks the live preview and closes both your demo and ThemeForest page.Miroslav, Dream-Theme

Nor are there any search reports, so you cannot see what keywords users search for. This instrument would help authors better understand what the users want and what language they speak.

Apparently, if you’re a marketer, there really isn’t much that you can do at ThemeForest … you have no tools, no way to see what works, etc. That being said, if you’re a new author, the one thing you can do is … drum roll … have a great product.

Here’s a quick excerpt from my chat with Miroslav of Dream-Theme that just about sums it up:

– Sabina, do you want to know what is the most important factor of success on ThemeForest?
– Yes! Luck?
– Yes, 1%. The other 99% is a really great product. Users are not stupid. If the product is not great they will not purchase it disregarding how awesome your item page is or what your pricing strategy is. Product is the king.

But let’s not end here. Putting all the input aside, let’s also have one final look at  the elements that the top 10 most popular WordPress themes have on their ThemeForest landing pages: 

(Note. The “ticks” indicate that something has been showcased on the ThemeForest landing page prominently (that it’s been highlighted), not that it’s simply been mentioned somewhere.)

 

ThemeForest landing pages of the top 10 most popular themes
AvadaXEnfoldBridgeSalientBeThemeJupiteruDesignThe7Flatsome
based on https://envato.com/blog/50-best-wordpress-themes-2016/
Heavy use of visuals
Use of texts-as-images
User testimonials/reviews
Are only 5-star reviews shown?
Media / influencer endorsements
Different demos showcased prominently
Focus on WooCommerce compatibility
Emphasis on ease of installation
Emphasis on different layouts available
Mentioning the current version prominently
What’s new in the new version
Drag and drop builder built-in/included
Mention number of downloads/customers
Compatibility with popular plugins
Premium support
Responsive / mobile friendly
Multilingual, WMPL ready
Featured imagelogo, headlinelogo, headline, author, versionlogo, headlinelogo, featureslogo, headline, versionlogo, feature, versionlogo, headline, versionlogo, featureslogo, headline, pricelogo, headline
Item page length in pixels52,649 !!!57,217 !!!38,92119,09819,22544,06318,20933,55518,89933,204
 

In general, the fact that some popular merchant has something on their ThemeForest landing page isn’t a guarantee that it will work for you as well. At the same time, if everyone has that same something … well, you get the point.

A big “Thank you!” again to all who have helped and offered their knowledge!

What’s your opinion? What do you think has helped make your products more visible at Envato?

All edits and witty rewrites by Karol K.

 
  • I was happy to be part of this research, thank you Sabina & codeinwp team! If there are more questions, I will gladly answer here in the comments.

  • Basilakis

    That is not accurate at all.
    X Theme for example, has changed the landing page more than 10 times.
    Better to watch more or have more knowledge of the topic, before posting.

    X Theme has also in the first line, the ” Changelog ” and Enfold is naming the stats of it, at the bottom.
    The table is 100% mistaken, with bad data and not enough work at all.

    Enfold is advertising all the Demos at the front page also, and you have the emphasis as no?
    Seriously? Are you sure you are checking Themeforest themes and not something else?

    The value of the article is really bad.

    • Sam Rizzi

      Basilakis ofcourse you are entitled to your opinion but if you seriously think there is a problem with this article then there is a better way to deal with it. For example I found a typo and I reported it and they fixed it immediately. Similarly you can make all your suggestions to @sabinaionescu:disqus and I am sure she will be more than happy to fix it.

      I don’t know if you have experience blogging. But I can guarantee you that the amount of work you have to put into such an article is weeks if not months. You need to decide where to start, who to talk to and many of the authors never respond or try to help with their feedback just because they are too scared to give out their secrets.

      You could be 100% right here about the mistakes they have made and I am not denying that but if you just for a second step back and think what if you had to write this article from scratch including all your point that you mentioned about what it would take. It took you probably 1min to lash out and say stuff like “The value of the article is really bad.” but honestly I have been an author on themeforest for more than half a decade and this piece of article is gold for newbies and people who have been in business for years.

      It definitely helped me and I would have paid a $1000 or even more to someone to give me so much insight and what goes into the minds of top elite authors. I have been planning to do a similar post and already started my R&D (see below screenshot for proof) and it’s been few weeks. This post will save me atleast one month of work if not more.

      No harsh feelings but as a blogger I know what it takes to create a master piece like this and when people say stuff to demotivate it’s not really fun 🙁

      Anyways no harsh feeling. Followed you on twitter 😉 see you later dude.

      cheers!

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0182217ed1fab6d2197bda1ebb614efa2b4740436c61987890d894a764ad0cda.png
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c7655298bbe5369d0e55797f918cf70f98fb2ae25609c6abc3dc235e0d0f8d95.png
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b29072dfc518ab5c15de543d33b6f6ccc0f8532ffcb1e1c8ec703a6a7c7e6d03.png

      • Basilakis

        There are people who make a living from those themes ( working for those companies ) and not been a proper article, means that someone can loose sales. If WordPress is 28% of web, 3% of that reads codeinwp 😉

        So yes, before publish something that makes some people look bad, or have invalid information that harm companies, better be sure. Harming reputation for gaining some hits, aint that good, I hope you agree on that.
        And ofc, as I do know how hard content marketing is, it is also good to know your topic 100% before write about something.

        Thank you for the following, I hope you find something interesting! OFC, no hard feelings we are an open community

        • Sam Rizzi

          Yes I agree most of what you are saying but atleast in this case the target audience is not really customers but rather mostly authors. I really doubt this is going to effect the sales or reputation of these authors as these guys are super elite authors.

          In any case it’s best to have 100% accurate information but we all are humans we we all make mistakes 🙂 See ya later bud.

  • Sam Rizzi

    @sabinaionescu:disqus @primozcigler:disqus This is really great stuff! I am working on a Item Page psd template to help TF users. Would love to share it with you guys when done.

    • Sabina Ionescu

      Sure, share it here when it’s done!