How Much Should A WordPress Theme Actually Cost?

Around three years ago, I noticed that theme prices seemed to gravitate towards a common consensus with other shops. The idea was to go status quo with a slight tweak while keeping the average theme cost around $59 USD. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple to simply base your pricing on what you see elsewhere without understanding what goes into making a theme.

Let me take you through a quick analysis of more than 30 theme shops online and then I talk about what Rough Pixels has decided to do.

Theme Prices Over the Last 5 Years at Rough Pixels

Since Rough Pixels began, I’ve explored a gargantuan market of themes and how more than 30 shops sell their themes. It’s hard to believe there are more shops than that number!

Every year I explore different pricing methods while taking into account, the cost of running a business like this. It’s not simply about choosing a random price out of thin air.

My goal was to make sure there was a price point for everyone. I originally started with club memberships; eventually including a single theme price. For a short period, I sold themes for low cost but made support as an add-on; not what I expected. Not too long ago, I started to look into lifetime options—having pros and cons. The pay-once-and-that’s-it concept can be lucrative—for the short term.

Overall, each year brings a challenge to figure out what works and what doesn’t and how to benefit customers in the end.

Common Theme Prices with Other Sites

The WordPress theme market seems to be clustered around a $59 price point. Most people believe $59 is a good middle-ground for a single theme purchase. If you visit enough theme shops, you will find this holds true. Even with the likes of Theme Forest, although, we’re starting to see their price tags reaching $69, $79, and even $99 for a theme.

Before I continue, I want to give thanks to CodeinWP for their How Much Should a WordPress Theme Cost article. I recommend checking it out as they provide more detailed information about WordPress theme costs.

Club Memberships

Based on my own research, the average price for a club membership seems to average $140 for a year’s subscription, but they can go higher with some shops. Lifetime subscriptions are not really subscriptions, but more of a one-time purchase. Normally, you will find a median price of $249. More on this in a bit

Rough Pixels – 2023

I will start with our new theme prices that will be implemented on May 9, 2023. They are still considered to be competitive (friendly competition, of course). Based on researching over 30 theme shops and reading through CodeinWP’s article, I want to make sure that there is a price point for everyone!

A New Monthly Subscription

Rough Pixels has recently introduced a new option. A Personal Starter subscription is now available with an initial setup fee of $12.99 and automatically renews each month for $6.99 until you decide to cancel. This gives you the flexibility of how long to maintain the theme but also allows you to upgrade to a full-year option to save costs.

NOTE: The original cost was $12.99 per month, so, if you went a full year, this would total $155, whereas, the new adjustment makes it $96 USD, saving you $58.

Let’s use the unBlock theme as an example: Theme Price Options

screenshot showing the theme prices buttons and what theme cost is for 2023

I should note that there is just one other popular theme website that does a subscription where you pay an initial setup fee and then it goes monthly. I can see how this would be ideal for anyone wanting to go short-term and have the ability to cancel when they choose. In a way, it gives the customer the chance to test out the theme, but also the theme shop too before committing to a full-term option.

Lifetime Memberships

As we approach the mid-way point of 2023, we had to make a very difficult decision about our Personal Lifetime membership.

As other theme shops have discovered, lifetime memberships are not sustainable for any business without serious brainstorming.

Fellow colleagues in the WordPress theme market are starting to rethink how it affects their bottom line. When you consider the sheer number of lifetime members that get added each year, it adds up to a lot of support time, theme updating, and operating expenses. With no renewable income to support these, eventually, it catches up to you.

Imagine that you own a store on the street, but every sale only comes from one unique person. This store would need a LOT of people coming in the door to maintain growth.

in the end, it’s simply not sustainable for this store to stay open without customers coming back for more.

Here For a While Longer

For the moment, I decided to keep this very popular option. I also had to give myself a reality check on what Rough Pixels was charging. At $79 for a lifetime of support and theme updates, this is well below what other websites were doing.

The formula for establishing a lifetime price is usually 2.5x what a yearly price would be. Our Personal Yearly is $59, which means the lifetime option should be 2.5 x $59 = $147.50. However, we will bring that down to $89 USD, which is still very competitive.

Take into account, that most people will use their theme for 3-5 years. With a one-time payment of just $89 USD, the cost of a lifetime theme breaks down to just $2.47 per month to $1.48 per month, respectively. Not bad when you are guaranteed regular theme updates and access to premium support every month.

All Access – Get All Themes!

Our All Access theme membership is ideal for website designers and for anyone who just wants to have the option to use any theme without having to buy each one separately. You also get access to any new theme release throughout your active membership.

Considering that a designer can use any theme for their clients–getting support and theme updates for up to 50 unlimited websites, is a huge advantage!

We also discovered that our original price of $138 was too low when comparing it to other popular theme shops. When you consider the cost and time it takes to update every theme and provide support, quality can be sacrificed! Let’s not forget the more clients a web designer gets, the more support Rough Pixels could exponentially have to take on.

Upping our price to be in line with others, we are going from $138 to $249 per year. This still offers significant savings. In other words, the cost per theme greatly reduces as we add more themes. At the moment, we have 12 themes, so, each theme becomes just $20/year.

What About Current Customers and Members?

The Good News: With the new theme prices being implemented, this does not affect any of our current customers. If you’re a customer of Rough Pixels and see a higher price when renewing, let us know and we will take care of it for you.

New theme prices will take effect on May 9, 2023.

Secret Savings

I will let you in on a little secret! If you venture to any of the theme pages and look just below the purchase buttons, there is a social sharing feature. Share the theme on your Twitter or Facebook, and then click any of the purchasing buttons. A 10% discount will be applied to your checkout. Our way to give thanks for sharing with your followers and friends.

Another secret saving can be found in our Free WordPress themes. On the Upgrade to Pro Customizer tab, there is a limited-time offer discount that can be applied to a premium version.

You Can Now Save 50% on Theme Renewals

I’m implementing a 50% saving for theme renewals on May 9, 2023. You can save up to 50% each year you renew—for active license keys. For example, if you got the Personal Yearly at $59, you can renew for $29.50 USD. We recommend renewing before your license key expires, otherwise, you will have to pay full price. Monthly subscriptions are not included.

Why Are We Changing Our Pricing Structure?

We are raising our prices to ensure sustainability and efficiency to keep developing more themes, maintain critical updates, and continue providing premium support.

Unfortunately, administrative expenses are increasing. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Important plugins – Commercial-based plugins for functionality, stability, and security.
  • Hosting Expenses – Costs have recently increased as website usage is growing.
  • Theme Development – Because our themes need to maintain functionality for both the Classic and Block editors, this now takes more time to develop and maintain.
  • Marketing Expenses – Getting the word out is beginning to add up monthly costs.

We believe that the value for our customers greatly outweighs the price changes. My goal is to create the best blogging themes while giving our customers the best possible value. Providing a variety of price points is also a key factor.

My Commitment to You

My commitment to you with our price restructuring is to ensure I keep improving every theme, including providing ongoing updates each month! Plus, continue keeping valuable support going when you need it.

Customers Have the Final Say

Customers ultimately have the final say. If theme cost is important, let me know in the comments below. If you have suggestions, I would be happy to hear what you have to say.

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