How giving away free WordPress themes benefits Envato’s creative community

Giving away freebies isn’t a new method to drive traffic to a website. Many sites use giveaways to attract customers in a competitive environment and as far as online marketplaces go, there are few categories as competitive as WordPress themes. A simple Google search reveals millions of results with countless free WordPress themes on offer to lure in potential customers who in turn have become more discerning.

With WordPress now powering 29% of the internet, competition is as high as ever amongst designers to get their themes noticed and stand out amongst a huge pool of talent. And with the much-heralded arrival of Gutenberg, this competition is only going to intensify.

In such an environment, designers need to be as savvy as ever with their promotional activities.  As one of the leading creative communities for WordPress designers around the world, Envato has made it a point of focus to work with authors to identify new means to raise the profiles of those who work hard on making themes and plugins for everything from cafes to portfolios to charities.

At Envato we want to empower our community of creatives to make as many sales as they can. More than 80 creatives teams – or authors as we call them – have made over US $1 million from their items on Envato Market. Themefusion, the highest selling team on ThemeForest, have made 350,000+ sales and earned over US $10 million to date with their theme Avada.

Envato has not always made free items on a large scale a priority. Giving away work seemed, for the longest time, to go against our core value of helping our community succeed. But at the same time, with over 10,000 WordPress themes to choose from on ThemeForest alone, there is the other challenge around how to help smaller or newer players in getting attention, especially in a big pool of high-selling heavyweights with years of experience and thousands of sales behind them.

“Every decision we make at Envato has our community at its core. We want to address feedback from authors who find it hard to get noticed. This is one way we can help our authors get their items in front of more customers.”

James Giroux, Author Engagement Lead

We’ve found that offering free WordPress themes can be a force for good. It drives sales and highlights some of the exceptional talent we have in our six-million strong creative community.

Staying true to our values, this was not a decision we made in isolation; we consulted with the community to work out how to manage free files in the most advantageous way for all, and this starts with ensuring participation is completely voluntary. It is up to sellers to nominate their own themes, which will be available free for only a single month.  

So far the feedback has been positive; many like having an avenue to help rise to the top of a large creative pool and get noticed by customers. Showcasing such a range of high quality free themes encourages customers to view more of the author’s items which aides in bringing in more sales. More sales increases the chances of a particular item reaching ‘trending’ or ‘best selling’ status, both of which expands the likelihood of enhanced attention on the author further.  

All this is done in conjunction with a robust outreach program lead by Envato HQ, everything from targeted EDMs, affiliate communications, blog profiles and landing pages. We didn’t want to enter the free WordPress themes market half-heartedly!

This isn’t the first time the team at Envato have undertaken new strategies to help their creative community sell. In 2016 Envato Elements launched, the first unlimited download subscription service for digital assets. In November over 200 WordPress items will be available for unlimited download on an annual subscription for US $29/month.

The unique subscriber share payment method adopted by Envato Elements ensures creatives are paid fairly when their items are downloaded. The whole reason for Envato’s being is to help the community to earn a living doing what they love and the team are always looking for new ways to do that in a fair and sustainable way.

The free items on offer this month feature not-for-profit, blogging, portfolio and news sites to cater for the needs of different community members.

PixieHype – One Page WordPress Theme for Gamers/eSport by PixieSquad

For teams and organisations looking for a gaming theme, PixieHype offers premium features for groups of all sizes. This customisable theme is fully responsive and viewers can be updated with details on upcoming matches, teams, player rosters, products and news.

TransGo – Transport and Logistics WordPress Theme by nunforest

A clean and retina ready theme for transport and logistics, TransGo is a professional and easy to use theme packed with features. It is SEO ready, has a powerful admin panel and is responsive for all devices.

Terminus – Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme by Monkeysan

Terminus can be customised to suit a range of functions from business or a blog to an online store. Its modern style and easy to use functionality make it the perfect choice to stand out. SEO optimised with multi and one-page layouts, unlimited headers and footers, unlimited fonts, and WooCommerce ready, this theme has it all!

Mochito – One Page Portfolio Ajax WordPress Theme by WiselyThemes

Mochito has been specifically designed to showcase the work of creative professionals. Graphic and web designers, creative agencies and freelancers alike can highlight their work professionally and easily. Highly customizable with drag and drop elements, you can create your perfect portfolio with Mochito.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *