There’s no doubt that WordPress is most popular content management systems for building just any type of website, be it a simple blog, a SaaS product, or a complex website. HappyTables and ResaturantEngine are two great examples of what you can do with WordPress CMS.
Hands down the most used platform for building websites, making up 19% of all sites on the internet. With WordPress, you can easily get a website up and running with hundreds bucks or maybe less, considering you already have a domain and hosting. The only real cost of building a website is domain, hosting, and design. In fact, design is one of the most important elements of content management systems.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on custom / premium design, all you need is $100 to get a premium theme. There are currently hundreds of theme shops on the market, excluding the individual authors selling themes on marketplaces such as ThemeForest, CreativeMarket, and Mojo-Themes.
ThemeForest is a great marketplace for purchasing themes, most of the themes available their costs around $50. We are a big fan of TF marketplace ourselves, and have been using LuxMag theme by AJ, an elite Themeforest author. The marketplace was created by Envato, parent company of TF, based out of Australia; they are in the business of providing useful tutorials and digital products.
The most popular theme on their marketplace is Avada theme with 95,000 in sales ($58 * 95000 = $5510000). This is an impressive stat for both authors and users, because it gives the authors confidence in their product. And as a result they try to premium quality support and detailed documentation.
One of the trickiest parts of selling a theme on ThemeForest is understanding the release cycle of most WordPress themes. As David Perel explained, a theme generally makes the most it is ever going to make within the first 3 months of sales (of course, there are exceptions such as Avada and X Themes).
88% of theme authors provide a lifetime customer support, you should also take the real cost of theme, and efforts that goes into providing quality support. But there is are a good number of authors (12% to be precise) who don’t provide any support at all.
Another interesting thing about building themes, is that it requires a development platform, at least for those who wants to continue selling their themes. One can use a theme framework such as _underscores, Bootstrap, or Genesis framework to develop a theme. Alternatively you can also use drag and drop frameworks, but personally I don’t like the idea of using drag & drop for building themes.
Developing a niche based theme requires moderate coding skills. Theme author is also responsible for providing technical support and regular updates.
All-in-all developing a theme is not easy job, you have to learn coding skills, providing regular updates, and support. Here are two great posts by David Perel and Chris Wallace, respectively.