Useful Tips for Web Design Template Newbies

Useful Tips for Web Design Template Newbies

Diving into designing web templates is quite tempting as for the last couple of decades it has proven to be very quickly developing field. There are many well established and popular marketplaces where everyone can try their luck and start selling web design templates. Some of these are ThemeForest, Creative Market and WrapBootstrap. There are other marketplaces that are worth considering such as Codester, BootstrapBay, GrayGrids and many more.

The opportunities are endless. But what a web design template newbie should know in order to start? Certainly, there isn’t a recipe for success and there isn’t just a list of tips that you will follow and be successful in no time. Building website templates is a tough and time-consuming job and whoever is considering to give it a go should be prepared for very hard work.

From a personal experience, I can tell you that you have to be prepared to learn new things every day and be immaculate in your designs. Also, do not try to copy work of other designers because you will fail miserably. There is a very thin line between copying and adapting design ideas. Be original and you will be very likely to succeed.

How To Start with Template Building?

First steps

First of all, you need to be confident of your skills which will help you build your first template. For web template builders, the minimum skills are HTML/CSS and bit of JavaScript. Make sure that you know responsive design and have basic knowledge of color theory.

Bootstrap Framework is one of the most popular responsive skeletons that you may use to kick off with your first template. It is quite simple and it can quickly give you an idea of the prototype of your future template.

The other framework that is worth considering is Foundation. Very simple as well and it also can be used as a set building blocks for your templates.
Just make sure that your responsive framework is relevant to the marketplace you intend to sell on. If you choose BootstrapBay, make sure that you are building your template with Bootstrap.


The second step is to choose the marketplaces you would like to sell your designs. I wouldn’t recommend to offer your template to each and every marketplace as they all aim for uniqueness of the items they sell and you are likely to be rejected. Some of the marketplaces have different policies and different payment rates for items that are sold somewhere else.

After you have chosen the marketplaces, make sure that you carefully research the templates they are selling. Have a look at what is bestselling, what is trendy, etc… Most marketplaces provide a filter in their gallery of items so you can quickly find out what are the buyers looking for. Just bear in mind that in popular categories the competition is fierce as every author is focusing on the big money and the items are much more than the ones in other categories. Allow me to advise here, choose a category which is somewhere in between: not very competitive but still with good number of sales.

If you want to learn more about some of the popular template marketplaces, you can check Best Online Marketplaces to Sell Templates & Themes.

Don’t struggle alone with projects

Join the creative community of UX, graphic, web designers and developers to get help with any design or dev project.

Finding your own voice

This is quite an important point because there are many authors that just copy others design work and think that they will earn money. Most marketplaces review the items before releasing them for sale. If you are trying to copy someone’s work, you are highly likely to get yourself rejected. As previously mentioned, marketplaces want to be unique, they want to give their customers diversity in the items sold. Copying someone’s work will waste your time, and it will also waste reviewers’ time.

If I can give you a tip here, it will be a simple one. Try to be a storyteller. Usually, I approach every new template design with making up a story. For every template I build, I create a list with important points that will help me out shape my idea. For example, if is a restaurant I think about where it is (sometimes I use Google Maps to find a great street place for my imaginary restaurant), I think about the menu, the people that work there, how the restaurant looks like outside and inside.

All these little things help me shape the template, it isn’t any more just a ready-made design with various sections. It has a bit of soul. I do this so the potential buyers can adapt their story to my template.

Be immaculate with your design and harsh to yourself

Treat your design as how you treat the design that you may buy. As simple as that. When building a website, try to be errorless in your work. If it is a PSD template, make sure that everything is pixel perfect. If it is an HTML template, check your code to make sure that it is well-documented and indented properly. Check your console for JS errors. Just create a design product the way that you would like to have it if you buy it. Be harsh to yourself in terms of design and code quality.

Moreover, by creating immaculate designs, you less likely to be rejected when your item is reviewed.

A quick tip, if you are choosing ThemeForest to sell your HTML items on: Make sure your package for buyers doesn’t contain any images. You can choose to add images in HTML/CSS/JS files. This will save you time.

Do not lose heart and keep your head up if sales do not go well at the beginning or you get rejected

Sometimes it takes a bit of time, until your items are bought. Do not discourage if your sales a bit slow in the beginning. Have a look at the keywords you are using for your item and amend them if you need to. Try to make your item better after a while by adding new features or changing layouts, or adding new sections and pages. Schedule some updates and do them regularly. Take care of your items and eventually you will start selling.

At some marketplaces, it takes a lot of time for item to be reviewed so during this time, you can start a new template, instead of checking if your item is reviewed. Sometimes, doing something different will help you out to see your previous designs with a fresh pair of eyes.

If you get rejected, don’t give up. You can be sure that not all the authors on ThemeForest, WrapBootstrap or Creative Market have been approved right away. It a learning path, and if you follow it with heart, hard work and a pinch of personal creativity, you will succeed.

One last thing. Check submission guidelines on the marketplaces and read them carefully. You can’t imagine how many times authors got rejected for not reading guidelines carefully.
Wish you all the success. If you have questions, I will be happy to answer. Just use the comment form below or contact me here.

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