9 Ways to Submit the Perfect ThemeForest Template

Let’s face it. If the design isn’t up to par, nobody will purchase your template. So, beyond all of the tips that I list in this article, make sure that the design fits the bill – something I struggle with all too often, being more of a back-end developer. :)

Nevertheless, there are many steps that you can take to ensure that you get the best possible boost after submitting your theme.

Number 1: Comment Out Your Code

Our coding will always be tailored to our specific style. However, when selling your work, people can be left baffled and without a clue as to how to customize your template. Much of this confusion can be solved by properly commenting your code.

  • When you close a div, add a comment to define just what div has been closed. (<!– end wrapper div –>
  • Explain why you added that extra division, when it appears unnecessary.
  • Describe what each style sheet that you’re link to does.

Number 2: Link to a Live Preview

If you’re somewhat active on the ThemeForest forum, you’ll know doubt have read over the continuous debate on whether or not to link to a live preview.

It is the opinion of this author that your theme will prove to be much more profitable when you do so. Granted, there is a small percentage of people that will try to steal your work. But, the gain far outweighs the loss. Just as with music, software, and movies, some people will choose to steal. Even so, I promise you that the huge majority of visitors to this site have no desire to take what isn’t theirs. So, include a link to a live preview – and earn more money for yourself.

Number 3: Don’t Ignore Internet Explorer 6

As with the last recommendation, the IE6 debate has been going on for the last two years. I’ve seen that some of our authors write, “I DON’T SUPPORT IE6!” on their user pages. First, if you code properly, this won’t be a problem. Second, the fact that you would write such a thing points to laziness on your behalf. I, like everyone else, hate compensating for this older browser. But, truthfully, most issues can be fixed within thirty minutes or so.

20-30% of all users are still using IE6. Until that number goes down, spend the extra thirty minutes. Some people will look at your sidebar and see “IE6 Compatible = False” – and continue on without giving your template another glance.

Number 4: Validate Your HTML and CSS

Mostly, credit is deserved here. The vast majority of our authors know that they should continuously validate their HTML and CSS while developing. However, I still review the odd submission now and again that receives 40 validation errors. Once again, this reeks of laziness.

If your style sheet doesn’t validate because you’re adding hacks for IE6, place those styles in their own file and use conditional comments to link to them.

Number 5: Use A Javascript Library

Libraries such as jQuery have become tremendously popular over the last year or so; Almost to the point where people aren’t as comfortable with natural Javascript. I must admit that I’ve become a bit rusty. It’s fair to say that others would agree with me as well. To take things even further, there are many newer developers that ONLY know how to code with a library.

Because of this, your template will be much more attractive if you import an easy to use Javascript library.

Number 6: Promote Your Theme Too!

We, here at ThemeForest, do an unbelievable amount of promotion for your themes. In the next month or so, that amount will only increase. Speaking of which, I noticed a nice TF sponsored screencast on Chris Coyier’s blog today! But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do a bit of advertising yourself! Make sure you link to your themes from your home site. Promote it anywhere that’s appropriate.

If you’d like to earn even more money, why not take advantage of our 50% referral program? If you link to us from your site using one of our banners, we’ll pay you 50% of the user’s first deposit. Here are a few more features of the Referral Program:

  • We use cookies to track people who have clicked on your link, so they need to be using cookies for us to track them.
  • If a person clicks on your referral link and then later they click on someone else’s, yours is the one that counts.
  • If a person clicks a link, they have three months before the cookie expires. If they signup and purchase in that three months, then you earn the commission!
  • Commissions appear in your cash account just like file sales, so the normal rules apply for withdrawing money.

Number 7: Create An Element Overview Page

Try creating a new page that displays the aesthetics of each element. That way, the purchaser can visit this page and know exactly how all of the ‘h3′ tags will look, or how their ‘blockquote’ will render. Sure, they can do this on their own…

But the key here is to make things as simple as possible for the buyer. It only takes an extra five minutes to create such a page.

Number 8: Spend Some Time On Your Help File

We receive far too many submissions with laughable help files. Consider that I’m a buyer. I know very little about coding. I simply want to purchase a template for my band’s website.

You must assume that these are the sorts of people who are purchasing your products. So, spend a bit of time on your help file. Assume that the user knows very little and describe each key feature of the template. If there is some sticky Javascript coding, explain it line by line. If you’ve used a specific naming convention for your elements, describe it. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Personally, I prefer to create five minute screencasts that help the user. Nowadays, you can do such things for free. Even using your laptop’s built in microphone will work just fine.

Number 9: We’re All Chipmunks

We all like shiny stuff. For better or worse, your template will make more money if you include a few “eye popping” features. Try creating a scrolling featured section for your wordpress theme. Try adding a jQuery style switcher that will dynamically change the color theme. Try implementing siFR into your site. As long as it’s tastefully done, your users will respond. Subsequently, you’ll make more money!

What’s worked for you?


  • kailoon says:

    Number 8! 100% agreed :)

  • Amanda says:

    No. #8 is a must! After designing free themes for years, I’ve come to realize the importance of a good help file, else you may become overwhelmed by buyers asking for help/how to customize the template.

    Thank you for all the other useful tips you have posted here too. This is a great and very useful article :)

  • Tommy Day says:

    I must disagree with the point about IE6. If designers don’t stop supporting it, the percentage of users will never go down. Why not throw a simple alert box at the top of the browser window asking viewers to upgrade their browser?

  • @ Jeffrey… Thanks for the Tips!

    I’m new to the network and will be contributing soon. These tactics add a day or two on my release schedule but worth it.

    I was gonna slack on #1 and #8 but realize how valuable the feature would be for non-tech buyers. #7 is one I would not have considered.

  • Jeffrey says:

    @Antonio – Glad to have a new face. Looking forward to seeing some of your work.

    @Tommy – Yeah, you could do that. Or, you could spend a few more minutes on your theme. On my personal projects, I maybe spend an extra ten minutes compensating for IE6. In such instances, there is no reason not to do it.

  • Ignacio says:

    I agree, but my tagline is: “Design is everything”.

  • Rick says:

    Ok…so you’re half right about IE6. Your right that you should support it. The truth is, the majority of people still using IE6 are businesses. THe main reason for this is their IT departments don’t want to update them, sales people are using company computers that won’t let them install things, etc. Even though the browser is HORRIBLE and hasn’t been updated in years (which means years of security flaws not addressed) that is just the way it is.

    Where I disagree is this “First, if you code properly, this won’t be a problem.” Sorry, but that isn’t true. You can code perfectly and IE6 will barf on you’re beautifully written, standards based, code. THen try to throw in some transparent PNGs and have them rotate out with javascript…….

    Also, it doesn’t take 30 mintues to fix ie6 unless it’s just a small change (like the margins are messed up). For instance, try using some custom javascript sometime……IE6 will laugh in your face.

    Also, to add to the discussion: IE6 should be considered on every project however it isn’t always relevant. 37signals (Basecamp) just ditched support for ie6 recently and they emailed all their users about it too. So imagine if facebook did the same thing…..then ALL those users would be aware of the problems with ie6 and want to upgrade as well. Think about if someone such as a Facebook decided to ditch the extra code it takes to be compatible with ie6…..it would save them an unbelievable amount of bandwidth.

  • Jeffrey says:

    @Rick – Sure, that would be great if huge companies stopped supporting IE6, but we’re not there yet. Until then, I’ll continue supporting it.

    I agree that IE6 is a pain with some Javascript issues. But as far as layout, there shouldn’t be a problem as long as you’re aware of a few bugs to look out for.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  • just click google ads.

  • Hi Jeffrey,

    Its all right, I like to say to sell more… you must obey some rules to create quality product.

    Your article is very good guide for beginner. They will get clear idea toimprove there work quality and promote it.

    Thanks & Regards
    Chetankumar Akarte

  • Eduardo says:

    nice tips. maybe i’ll create some templates and put them online.

  • Olamide says:

    The only problem i have with IE6 is i don’t have a PC and constant access to the internet + i can’t install Windows on my G4 Powerbook. Does anyone know any solutions.