WordPress theme market is huge and the demand for new theme designs and features keep coming. Currently over 50,000 free and premium WordPress themes are available in market and more than 40 new themes get added in different portals on daily basis. Premium themes are priced between $29 – $300 and major clubs and even some developers are making millions by selling themes. These all figures states that the WordPress theme development is a good career option and one can make a good amount of income by building feature rich and good WordPress themes. If you are a beginner and planning to choose WordPress theme development as a career or like to make a theme as hobby, this is the right time to do.

State of WordPress Themes

As mentioned earlier, there are more than 50K free and premium WordPress theme available in market. The major marketplace Themeforest hosts more than 5,000 premium WordPress themes and similarly, the free WordPress theme portal on WordPress.org hosts more than 3,000 free themes. Out of these 50K themes, about 75% themes are outdated, so you can say around 10K – 12K up to date WordPress themes are available. More than 100 popular theme clubs are active with on average 40 themes per club. Few theme clubs are having more than 100 themes too.

Now a days, theme clubs are focusing on their popular themes only and trying to make that the best in their category. For example, Elegant Themes became more Divi centric company and focusing on making Divi theme and Divi Builder the best in the market. Similarly, other theme clubs are also going for a niche and try to provide the best value for money for a theme.

There are many multipurpose WordPress themes available in market. Some popular names are Avada, Divi, X Theme, Enfold etc. and each of these themes saw good amount of success. I think now it is time to be more focused and release niche based themes with good features. Niche themes like Megalith for construction website and Hotelia for Hotels are good examples. In coming days, we will see more niche based themes releasing and targeting users.

Self Made Themes using Free Tools

People are using free tools like Underscrore.me to start building their own theme. Underscore.me allows you to create a theme folder with essential files to start a theme but it’s not that everyone will love. Design is an important part of a website and now a days, WordPress is being used for different purposes like making a Fitness Website, Corporate Website, Portfolio and Photography Website and even Banks Website. It is not possible for non-designers to Design and build a theme for such websites using Underscore.me. This free tool is good for those developers who like to have a starter kit or people who like to have a light-weight theme for their blog but so is Twenty Sixteen and other default themes of WordPress.

With the above explanation, I like to make this point that starter theme kits are not going to reduce the demand for premium or good WordPress themes. Even Page Builder are helpful for creating good pages and websites but that also can’t make WordPress theme go away. People need premium and feature rich WordPress themes and that is going to be there for a long long time.

How to Become a Professional WordPress Theme Developer?

Self hosted WordPress is a community run platform and here you find lot many people to help you on different level. If you are planning to become a good WordPress theme developer and like to start theme development from scratch, here is the only book you need to read and it’s free – WordPress Theme Handbook. This is a free resource released by WordPress community to help you become a WordPress theme developer. Theme Handbook was already available on WordPress.org but now it has been officially released with detailed instructions and tutorials.

What’s there in Theme Handbook?

Purpose of this WordPress Theme Handbook is to help you learn the basics of WordPress theme development. To understand the instructions and tutorials, you should have the basic knowledge of PHP and MySQL.

Here is the list of sections well written in WordPress Theme Handbook:

  • Getting Started – What is there in the handbook and whom should read this.
  • Theme Basics – Basic idea about Template Tags, Loops and Conditional Tags
  • Template Files Selection – Page and Post Templates and other files like archive, index and taxonomy files
  • Theme Functionality – Sidebar and Widget Registration and Use of Media Files
  • Theme Options – The Customizer API : Provide Theme Customization from Customizer Panel
  • Theme Security – Make WordPress Theme Secured
  • Advanced Theme Topics – Make Child Theme, Testing and Validations
  • Releasing Your Theme – Submit Theme for Review and Release on WordPress.org

This handbook is designed to give you an idea about how to develop a WordPress theme. To know about any functions of WordPress, you can always go through the Code Reference.

The last section i.e. Releasing Your Theme is all about how to submit your theme on WordPress.org as a free theme, but you can also release your theme on your own website or some third-party marketplace. You may need to make certain changes as per the guidelines of the marketplace but the basic of the theme will remain same.

Free WordPress theme hosted on WordPress.org are not suppose to have an feature apart from the design because they think feature should come from Plugins. Well, premium themes hosted on clubs and marketplaces come with lot many features and to know how to add features, you may read the following resources,

  1. Udemy Course
  2. Treehouse WordPress Development
  3. Free resources available on blogs like WPMU DEV, ET Blog and many more

Hopefully by reading the above resources, you will become a good WordPress Theme developer and I will you all the best. In case of any query and questions, feel free to comment on this article or drop us an email.

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