The final aspect of launching a successful WordPress Theme is taking care of the packaging process.
In this article, we'll take a look at some of the key steps one should take after successfully building a theme, and preparing to launch it to the general public.
This article is ideal for beginners in the world of theme development.
In the previous part of this series, we looked at some of the factors one should observe when designing and developing premium WordPress themes. We are now past that stage.
By now, you've built your theme, checked browser compatibility, fixed all bugs if any, and you’re now ready to launch your theme.
In this last part, we'll look at steps one should take before launching a theme the to community.
Validating a website means ensuring your website is conforming to the norms and standards set out by various organizations. These standards ensure that your website is universally understood and accepted by most web designers. The code and styles used on a theme need to be validated to ensure they are correctly interpreted by web pages as intended.
Not all validators check the same thing , some validators simply check HTML, others CSS, and some just the accessibility of your website. If you really do care about the people who will purchase and use your themes its important you validate your WordPress theme using all this tools to make sure its compatible across all browsers.
You can use the following check-list to make sure that everything is in check when validating:
- Validate X/HTML
- Validate CSS
- Validate for WAI standards which this checks for accessibility
- Validate links in order to locate dead links
- Validate feeds
- Cross-Browser compatibility
The world wide web consortium sets this standards and also hosts a variety of this web page validators you can use.
After you have done all this, remember the best validators are the actual users of the theme, so you can request a few friends or your web design community to check your website for any errors. This will help give important feedback regarding your theme and suggest areas of improvement.
Theme Support and Documentation
In the previous part, we briefly touched on theme support and documentation. The truth is, theme support is one of the pillars that comes with building a solid foundation as a WordPress theme developer. It is therefore important to come up with a good model around the whole support issue in order to assist clients as much as you possibly can.
Coming up with just documentation will not be enough to solve all queries clients may have. Instead, setting up a support system where clients can raise support tickets for various issues can be of great assistance to your deserving clients.
The question though theme developers are asking themselves is "can you really support unlimited number of sites or forever offer support for a client who paid once for your theme?”
I guess the answer to this particular question lays with the theme developers themselves. Will look at some of the options we have for selling our themes in just a bit.
Before I close on theme support, it’s important to mention coming up with a video clip displaying some of the techniques on how to customize your theme gives an added advantage to both you and your clients. On top of that, you can also use the video as a marketing tool.
Choosing a Marketplace
There a number of options available to market and sell your WordPress themes. Most theme designers choose to sell themes via third-party market places such as ThemeForest . The benefit of selling themes on these particular sites is that they already have huge client base of buyers who are already looking for themes to purchase.
This is not say you cannot sale on your own site. In fact, if you wish to promote your website more, you can opt to sell your theme on both your website and a market place of your choice. There particular sites that offer this type of arrangement.
Pricing of themes is mostly out of your hands especially if you use third-party marketplaces to sell your themes, but you can always come up with a pricing model on how to support your theme.
Even though as passionate WordPress themes developers, we would wish to offer free support for unlimited number of times for the rest of our lives, it proves to be an impossible task especially because the amount of time required to expend on the resources.
It is important to come up with a good business model around support especially if you're just setting up your themes business to be able to address this questions in the future.
Suggestions on pricing models around support for example can be coming up with a subscription fee paid after a period of time such as paying for a year for the support service, or offer premium support for a fee. It’s your choice as a themes developer to choose a model that works best for you.
WordPress themes are products, you require checks and balances along the way to make sure that what you give the community is of good quality and helps bring the best out of your client projects.