Find Your WordPress Theme Niche and Own It

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There are a lot of WordPress themes shops out there, and it can be difficult to know where your new business slots in. How are you going to stand out?

There are a lot of WordPress themes shops out there, and it can be difficult to know where your new business slots in. The theme marketplace is pretty saturated and differentiating yourself from the rest can be a difficult task. After all, there are lots of established, trusted, theme shops out there that are taking up a huge percentage of the market.

What about you? Where do you fit into it? Are you going to sell generic WordPress themes that will appeal to anyone with a WordPress website, or have you thought about positioning yourself in a niche?

The Rise of the Niche Theme

Back when commercial themes became popular, large theme shops started to establish themselves – WooThemes, UpThemes, StudioPress, and Elegant Themes to name just a few. These guys soon cornered the market, offering professional themes and even frameworks. These theme shops have established reputations and big communities. When WordPress users decide to start purchasing commercial themes it’s only natural that they would look to a trusted source. That makes it difficult for new players to gain traction.

Enter the niche theme shop. Rather than catering to the everyman, these theme shops target particular niches. Rather than trying to get a small piece of a big pie, they’re out to get a large piece of a smaller pie. The first of these types of theme shops were Allure Themes (now merged with iThemes) and happytables. Allure themes sells WordPress themes for women, while happytables is a web app created with WordPress that lets restaurant owners create websites. The aim of these companies is not to cater for everyone, but to be the go-to place for specific types of businesses. Other examples include Church Themes, Tokokoo and Store Front which focus on ecommerce, AppThemes which creates business applications, and BluChic which focuses on women.

The Benefits of Going Vertical

Moving into verticals helps both you and the WordPress user. Let’s take a look at why.

Visibility

It can be difficult for a small business owner starting out with their first website to know where to look. It’s easy to spend hours looking for themes without finding one with the right design and functionality to suit. By trying make everyone happy, many themes end up making no one really happy. This leads to theme bloat with loads of options to let people customize their themes, or users have to hire developers to get the theme that they really want. By providing a one-stop theme shop for vertical markets you’re making life a whole lot easier for these people.

Market Research

A WordPress theme shop that is targeted towards everyone has got a tough job. They’ve got to figure out what everyone needs and provide that to them. Even if they do create the occasional theme for a vertical they still have only one, and it won’t cater for all of the different types of people within that niche.

A niche theme shop can do extensive research on what that market wants and use that research to strengthen its business. If you want to target bands you can talk to music artists to see what they need out of a website, for restaurants talk to restaurant owners, talk to lawyers, doctors, vets, teachers, writers, people getting married, estate agents, tourist offices, or any group that you’re interested in.

Targeted Functionality

Armed with your market research you can target functionality towards these user groups. By focusing on targeted functionality you can make sure that this functionality is the best possible. If your users need mobile websites provide that functionality, or provide the best event management, or menus, or custom post types, or calendars, or whatever that niche requires. You’ll be able to create themes that will provide everything your users need without them having to worry about too many plugins.

Diversify your designs

With your functionality in place you’ll have a core framework that you’ll be able to easily build all of your themes around. Once you’ve got that framework right it’ll be simply a matter of creating different stylesheets to provide a wide variety of designs to your market. After all, if you have a theme shop with thirty beautiful designs for sports clubs you’ll become to go-to place for every sports club that wants to use WordPress to build their website.

Finding Your Niche

So now you want to move into verticals, but you’re not quite sure which one to choose. Here are some tips for finding your niche:

  • Choose a niche that you have experience of. If you’ve ever worked for a nonprofit then you know the types of problems they have and will have insights into solutions. If you’re a gym bunny then you could think about sports centres, if you are involved with a church that could be the place to look, if your wife runs a doctor’s surgery she’ll be able to help you out. Look at the world around you, see if there is a problem that you can solve with WordPress.
  • Think about the functionality you can create. If you have experience coding ecommerce you could write functionality for ecommerce themes, or you could hook into a popular ecommerce plugin. Same goes for if you’ve written code for real estate or tourist offices, or whoever. Put your past experience to good use.
  • Think about what you like to design. If you hate estate agents you aren’t going to be able to sustain the passion needed to research the market and design those themes. If you’re passionate about music, though, that could be the area for you.

Conclusion

If you’re concerned about the saturated theme market then moving into a vertical could be the move for you. New niche theme shops are springing up all of the time. Most notable (and demonstrating that verticals are to be taken seriously), WordPress.com has recently launched WordPress Weddings and WordPress Music. Verticals are the place to be. And remember, focusing on a niche isn’t a restriction, it’s an opportunity.

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Author: Holly Bentley

 http://wordsforwp.com

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