A recent article on the WP Tavern confirmed a hunch I’ve had for a while now. Creating a few products (WordPress themes and plugins) might be a better way to go.

Duh! I worked for a year for a company (AwesomeMotive – and yes, they are awesome) that sells plugins. You’d think I’d have picked up that idea long ago.

The theme market is notoriously hard to make a living in. There are thousands; and to hear the talk, most of them fail to turn a profit. I have this Arras theme. I could maybe build a couple more. Building themes is what I do for clients now.

I’d guess that themes are hard to sell on the open market because the presentation of a site is so subjective. It really comes down to tastes and trends. The themes that sell well do so because they also offer some kind of site behavior – functionality – that customers want. Which is problematic, because buying your functionality along with your presentation locks them together. When the trends and tastes change, you can’t change without losing the “thing that I bought this for” which is to take reservations for your restaurant (or whatever your real need is).

Implied in this scenario is that what most “theme customers” are really looking for is the functionality: the reservations or the real estate listings, or whatever it is that makes their business go. That’s what plugins are for. And the functionality isn’t a matter of taste and trend. It either does what you need or it doesn’t. And if you need it to make your site work, well, paying a fair price for getting what you need to do business is an investment most people would make.

I’ve got an idea for a couple plugins. It’s time to try them out!