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Apollo: A WordPress Theme From Scratch pt 4: Choosing A Marketplace

Written by Cebo Campbell on June 16th   •   4 Comments »

If you have worked your butt off to design and develop a wordpress theme, the last big (and often scariest part) is choosing whether to sell that theme yourself or sell it in a marketplace. Typically, most developers choose a marketplace because it means they will no longer have to do the heavy lifting when it comes to promotion and developing a following. The price for that falls between 30% – 50% of all sales…which is sort of a bummer. But, while you might believe submitting your stuff to a marketplace is an easy decision, it is not. Most marketplaces actually require approval of your submission, and will not accept it particularly if they are saturated with the same type of theme or if it does not meet “their” minimum requirements. It’s just like any other artform. You spend days, weeks…months…sometimes years making something you think is brilliant only to have the tastemakers tell you it is not good enough. What I say to that is, trust your instincts and do not allow them to determine what is and what is not artful. Always aim to make what “you” think is the best you can. Nothing else. No one can be the tastemaker for your style.

As for picking a marketplace. I submitted to both Themeforest and Mojo Themes, two companies I have worked with in the past. Themeforest is notorious for angling at a particular style and really don’t accept much outside of that (they are all business). Mojo Themes is an upstart, but they accept a range of stuff and, in my opinion, come across much more like folks I would like to have a beer with. Below is the literal copy-n-paste emails I received from both upon my submission.


“Unfortunately your submission Apollo, a showcase template w/ built-in newsletter isn’t ready for ThemeForest and cannot be resubmitted as it did not meet our minimum requirements for quality and/or marketplace policies. In order for submissions to be considered for sale they must be of high aesthetic and technical quality, unique to our library and cannot be in violation of Envato’s policies. Please see our Knowledgebase for more information:

Our Review team also provided these comments:

JPGs should be named in a numeric order which will dictate the order in which they’re shown (i.e., 01_design.jpg, 02_closeup.jpg, 03_colorvariation.jpg…).

The content area is pretty generic and plain, and it will need more imaginations.

Overall, this is a good concept but there are a couple issues here:

We already have a number of submissions with the same overall design and concept and we have to draw the line somewhere.

I think we’re reached a point of saturation. At this point, we’re only looking for unique variations of this design: for another one to be approved it would have to have a couple of unique touches and features that differentiate it from what’s already available and definitely be of higher quality.

Minimal templates can be clean and simple when you manage to handle the white space and details to provide a simple but yet unique template. But if you can’t, it will look like an incomplete template – blank template.

In this case, the submitted template is more like a ‘framework’ than a full fledged design. If you’re going with minimalism, you need to make sure all the little details check out.”

Mojo Themes

Hiya cebo,

Your recently uploaded item has been accepted!

Great looking item! Feel free to update if you see something you don’t like. We love updates!

Good luck with sales and support.


-MOJO Support

To view all your pending and accepted uploads / change requests here.

- The MOJO Crew

You Can Buy Apollo Now

…So, it’s that simple. That theme is now for sale on Mojo Themes right here. I will follow this post up and give you a full look at the theme and it’s specs.

4 responses on “Apollo: A WordPress Theme From Scratch pt 4: Choosing A Marketplace

  1. Corwin says:

    Wow. For the record, after being in the design biz for almost 20 years, I specifically sought out Cebo because of the Apollo theme. I can’t knock Themeforest to hard, they know their business and do have some quality options. Surprisingly though, they do have a lot of mediocre designs and to not accept this theme, especially with the comments that seem to contradict at times, is beyond me.

    Apollo theme is brilliant and clean. Not quite sure if they were reviewing the right design. Imma use it!

    Cheers. Keep creating those bangers! Corwin

  2. curtis says:

    Hi Cebo,
    How is your theme doing on Mojo Theme?

  3. Cebo Campbell says:

    So far, Curtis, it is doing pretty well. I am actually excited to drop another one soon.

  4. Cebo Campbell says:

    Yeaah, thanks Corwin!

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A Little About Me

I am just a dude who likes making things. I've worked as designer, a social media marketing director, a copywriter and even a pool cleaner. I own the boutique creative agency Novel Avenue, make WP themes, EE Themes and Ruby themes and honestly could not live without football. I am husband to a rad wife, dad to two kiddos and love what I do. Also, I am down for a beer if you're buying.
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