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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
It’s on that Search page that the magic happens.
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?
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.
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:
Now onto the individual aspects of building a quality ThemeForest landing page:
How to optimize ThemeForest landing page:
Here are just a couple of examples from some top 10’ers:
ON SOCIAL PROOF / TESTIMONIALS
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:
ON BRANDING / MARKETING
(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.)
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:
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:
– 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.)
|based on https://envato.com/blog/50-best-wordpress-themes-2016/|
|Heavy use of visuals|
|Use of texts-as-images|
|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|
|Responsive / mobile friendly|
|Multilingual, WMPL ready|
|Featured image||logo, headline||logo, headline, author, version||logo, headline||logo, features||logo, headline, version||logo, feature, version||logo, headline, version||logo, features||logo, headline, price||logo, headline|
|Item page length in pixels||52,649 !!!||57,217 !!!||38,921||19,098||19,225||44,063||18,209||33,555||18,899||33,204|
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.