3. Andrea Saccàs personal experience

My personal experience:
I would like to share my personal experience. The frst time I sent the theme Emphasis to the ThemeForest team, the review team there loved it; however, for some reason, they did not accept it because there were some concerns regarding the copyright issues with the brands used in the theme.So, I corrected the problems indicated by the team and then submitted the theme again. After those small modifcations, my theme was approved. Emphasis made 60 sales between October 2013 and March 2014. A good result for the frst theme! A few months after the Emphasis theme publication on ThemeForest, the Envato team selected my theme to include it into a special e-commerce bundle pack. This was another very good occasion and I had the opportunity to earn some extra money with that special event.

The eCommerce Sampler Pack included four themes for four of your favorite e-commerce platforms; mine included the following:
• WooCommerce
• Magento
• Opencart
• Prestashop
The Emphasis theme was selected to represent the Magento category. I was really surprised with this occasion and I earned a lot of popularity in the marketplace.

Now the pack is complete; you can see the landing page created for it at http://go.themeforest.net/the-ecommerce-sampler-pack/.

This is only to let you understand that sooner or later, the effort you put in to create a theme will be paid for. So if you do a great work, you have a great possibility of gaining a lot with ThemeForest and other marketplaces

Theme pricing:
The theme pricing is decided by the review team. Consider that the pricing of Magento themes start from $80 on ThemeForest and are the most expensive items on the marketplace.Also, consider that you will not earn the full quoted price of the theme; ThemeForest will initially give you a commission of 50 percent that will increase based on the sales. You can see the actual commission rate table at
http://themeforest.net/make_money/become_an_author.

You can also consider the possibility of selling the theme in other marketplaces too; however, the commission will decrease to 30 percent

So the more you sell, the more you earn. You may think that this is not very fair, but this is the easiest way to start selling your creations and getting some extra money for your work.

Inserting the theme on the Magento Connect site:
Another great channel where you can distribute and publicize the theme is the Magento Connect website. This site is the place where you can fnd free and premium extensions and themes for Magento. The sales will not be through this website, but you have to share the link to the theme page of ThemeForest.The following screenshot shows what the Magento Connect website looks like
(http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/)

Register an account and then you will have the option to upload your extension with all the details using a form similar to the one used by ThemeForest. The item must be approved by the team, and only then can it be found on the website. The approvals take about 48 hours and the price is the cost of the extension that you can fnd in your theme page.
You can also consider selling the theme without going through a marketplace such as ThemeForest; in this case, you can set your own price in Magento Connect.

Support and updates
A parenthesis needs to be done on the support and on the updates of the theme. Keep in mind that your theme will be visited and bought by a lot of people. They may fnd some issues or problems that you can solve or help to solve.Fixing the bugs and adding new features Reserve some extra time to collect all the bug fxes and release all the updates for the theme once in a month. This will ensure that the theme is always updated and that users can rely on your products and services.To do this, you can collect some bugs and fx them in the current version of the theme; once fxed, repackage the fles and resubmit the new ZIP fle in the marketplace.To maintain a report of the modifcations you make for each version, you can
create a fle called changelog.txt and add all the fxes or the new features in the following manner:
Version 1.1 (September 6, 2013)
– FIX: Minor Css bugs fixed
– FIX: Top Cart Background fix
– FIX: Responsive Menu
– FIX: Fixed bug in Google font selector
– FIX: Mobile Account links made like Flags and currency dropdown
– NEW: Animated Scroll to top on top Cart click for better user experience
– NEW: Animated Scroll to top on Menu click for better user experience
Version 1.0 (September 1, 2013) – Initial release Through this fle, both the fnal user and you will have a report of all the improvements you make to the theme.The update approval of ThemeForest usually takes about 24 hours, and the users who buy the theme can choose to be notifed when the theme is uploaded through their account. In this way, the users will be notifed once the theme is updated

Summary
Now you have the key to start creating a powerful theme for the most-used e-commerce CMS of the world. You can create a theme from scratch with the powerful framework Bootstrap and make it responsive.You also learned how to distribute it on the most important marketplaces, and now, I hope that you can test and create your very own theme for your customer or sell it on the marketplace and become one of the best Magento theme designers! In the appendix that follows, you will fnd all the references and resources used in the theme.Thank you for reading and keep designing and coding!

 

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2. Creating the documentation of the theme

Now you have a working demo and the theme pack installation ready. Before submitting the theme to be sold, or giving the theme to the fnal user/customer,it is good practice to send a detailed documentation along with the theme.The documentation must contain all the instructions to install the theme, the code for the static blocks, and an FAQ section. The documentation is very important and needs to be well written and organized to increase the chances for the theme to be accepted by marketplaces such as ThemeForest. In fact, if the documentation is not good or the theme is not well documented, there are a lot of possibilities of it being rejected.It is recommended that the designer have an editor or a copyeditor proofread the theme’s documentation for a polished, professional end result. Most coders and designers aren’t perfect writers, so getting an extra pair of eyes to make sure all the commas and apostrophes are in place would be a good idea.

[If the documentation is accurate and detailed, you will receive less support requests from the users, and the users will be happy to find all the instructions along with the theme.]

To create good documentation and make sure the help documentation is in a fle format readable by all operating systems and devices, you can create a PDF, HTML, and TXT fle that are preferred, say, .docx.To speed up this process, you can use a preset HTML template that will help you write an organized fle.Let us discuss the two different theme documentation fles that you can use.

The Documenter tool:
Documenter is a great tool to generate custom documentation fles with the capability of customizing the template and many other features. You can fnd the tool at http://revaxarts-themes.com/documenter/ and the following is a screenshot of what the Documenter page looks like

Insert all the theme information, as shown in the following screenshot, along with the full documentation on how to install the theme and all the features that are included in the theme:

document-info

By setting up some options, you can create your own style. For example, you can create a custom documentation with the color scheme of the theme: orange, black, and white. The fnal result is shown in the following screenshot:

start

Some tips to write better documentation:
After you download the source fles, you can open and edit them as you want by adding the section of your choice. The documentation needs to be clear and easy to navigate. You can create a well-organized fle by dividing it into the following sections:
• Start
• Introduction
• Installing the theme
• The theme options panel
• Importing static CMS blocks
• Editing or restoring CMS blocks
• Confguring the home pageChapter 10
• Confguring the products in the home page
• Editing the theme
• Updating the Theme
• Support
• Change log
• Credits

Packaging the theme:
After you create a well-organized piece of documentation, ZIP everything and the theme is ready to be distributed.Sometimes, in the pack, you need to insert the mockup of the theme, or if you prefer, only some features such as the product list, the logo, and so on. So, create an additional folder where you can include all the graphics source fles.To complete the pack, name the folder that must be distributed with the theme name and the theme version. This will help to keep you organized with the feature releases
of the theme. For example, you can create the folder BookStore_theme_v1 and you can organize the content with the following folders:
• Theme
• Documentation
• Mockup

Selling the theme on ThemeForest:
As you know, ThemeForest is the most popular marketplace where you can sell professional themes and get some extra money. To sell a theme, you need to perform the following simple steps:
1.First, create an account and pass a simple test to check if you understood the conditions of the site.
2.Once you create an account and are ready to sell, open the Upload page, as shown in the following screenshot, from your account menu at the top:

upload

3.On this page, shown as follows, you have to select the category where you want to upload the theme; in our case, we will select the eCommerce category:

select-category

4.In the next step, you need to insert all the theme information, such as the Name and Description:

name-description

As you can see from the tip, the name of the theme must have maximum 50 characters.You can use a name such as BookStore Responsive Magento theme.You need to think of a name that reassumes the theme concept and the main features.Think of it with the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques
in mind, because the keyword you use will also appear on the search engines.For example, try to search Magento Responsive Theme on Google. Actually, this was the frst theme I created while I was writing this book, which is on the ThemeForest Marketplace on the frst page of Google. This is because I used some SEO techniques while writing the title and the description.

emphasis

5.In the next section, you need to insert all the fles. As you can see in the following screenshot of the theme, you can upload the zip fle you created (Bookstore_Theme_1.zip):

file

6.Then, you need to upload all the fles including the theme ZIP fle and a custom image to represent the theme that will be the cover of the ThemeForest item page. For example, you can create a custom cover to represent the theme features, as shown in the following screenshot:

represent

7.Next, you need to insert all the theme specifcations. Fill in all the fles and select all the options, and fnally, submit the theme.In a few hours, you will get an answer from the ThemeForest team; if everything is done well, the team will accept the theme and you are ready to make money!

 

1. Packaging Rules

Packaging and Selling the Theme:
Congratulations! Now that you have created the theme and optimized it for all devices, it’s time to sell it; if you have created a theme for a customer, it’s time to send it with all the necessary files. The path to this point has been long and difficult, but it is not yet done. If you want your effort to translate into money, you must perform a series of operations that are necessary and essential to be able to sell and distribute your theme.
In this chapter, we are going to learn how to create the perfect pack within all theme files and documentation, and how to present it for a live demo preview.

The list of topics that will be covered in the chapter are as follows:
•Collecting and placing all the folders and files under one folder
•Creating the live demo preview
•Creating the theme documentation
•Packing the theme
•Selling the theme on ThemeForest
•Inserting the theme on the Magento Connect site
•The support and updates of a theme

Collecting and placing all the folders and files under one folder:
The very first thing to do is to collect all the files and the folders created for the theme, and create a folder that is ready to be uploaded or installed by the final user.Just to remind you, the following diagram is the tree of the folders and the files of our project:

all folder

The app folder contains the following folders:
• code: This includes the admin theme module and the widgets
• design: This includes the design structure of the frontend and the backend
• etc: This contains the files needed for the activation of the widget and module

The skin folder contains the following folders:
• frontend: This includes the images and styles for the frontend theme
• adminhtml: This includes the images and styles for the backend theme

Creating the live demo preview:
Now you have to test the theme pack by creating a live demo of the theme online,but we will cover this in the next section.Creating the live demo preview will help you to conduct an
additional test on your theme to check if everything is working as expected. If it is, you can proceed to the next step.

The performance of the sever:
Please keep in mind that the online demo will be accessed by a large number of visitors, mostly during the initial days after your theme is made available on a marketplace such as ThemeForest. So, make sure that your server is optimized for Magento and has high performance.To check if the server is compatible with a Magento installation, you can perform the following steps:
1. Download the magento-check.php file from http://www.magentocommerce.com/_media/magento-check.zip.
2. Extract the file and upload it on your server into the Magento installation folder, for example, http://www.sitename.com/magento_root/magento_check.php.
3. Then, open the link and check if everything is working correctly. If the server is optimized as well, you will see the following messages:

server-performing

Sample products:
Once you created a live demo, you have to create a product that will highlight all the features and beauty of your new theme. The products you use on the demo are very important, so pay attention to the pictures that you use for the demo products.The pictures you use will have a great impact for the theme, so it is necessary to use pictures that actually represent the products the theme is designed for.

So in our case, for example, the theme is designed for a book store, so we have used some book covers, as you can see in the following screenshot:

theme

Searching for royalty-free photos for the theme:
Where can you find some royalty-free pictures that can be used to create a great eye-catching live demo? If you search on the Internet, you can find a lot of websites.Let’s discuss some of the most important ones.

iStock:
The iStock (iStockphoto.com) website is probably one of the most well-known websites to buy photos. The quality of the pictures is very good, but the price of the extended license is very expensive.The extended license is needed to sell a theme; if you want to invest some extra money to get some eye-catching pictures and illustrations, this is the right site for you.

Another one site: https://us.fotolia.com/

BIGSTOCK:
The BIGSTOCK website includes a lot of images with licensing for templates.The photos are very good and the price is lower than that of iStock photos.You can try it for some days with a limited number of free pictures, or you can opt for a monthly subscription that allows you to download five photos per day.The site includes not only high-quality photos, but also some great vector files. The following is a screenshot of what the website looks like (http://www.bigstockphotos.com):

PhotoDune:
The PhotoDune agency is a part of the Envato network, where you can get a lot of pictures at a very low price. The following is a screenshot of what the website looks like (http://photodune.net/):

The Envato asset library
On the Envato blog, you can get some tips on where to find photos, and an asset library that includes some free files to be used for your next project.http://themeforest.net/page/asset_library

As you can see, there are many images that are grouped by a theme, so you can find pictures in the themes Nature, City, or Portfolio.Please keep in mind that you must be logged in to the ThemeForest website and that you must agree with the Envato conditions in order to find images on the page.