Shop smarter: 4 WordPress theme marketplaces compared

10 Comments

There are no shortage of places to find WordPress themes. Some prefer to make their own themes, some use only free themes, and still others—perhaps yourself—that purchase WordPress themes. Assuming you are purchasing themes online you have a number of places to look. Commercial theme shops are many and varied. There is also another type of commercial theme resource, typically referred to within the community as a WordPress theme marketplace.

After how well received our WordPress theme framework comparison was, and how often theme marketplaces were brought up when we discussed how to find WordPress themes, there was just no way we couldn’t do a rundown of theme marketplaces as well. In this post you will find a bit of a background on theme marketplaces in general, a rundown of everyone we know about, and a poll so that you can weigh in with your experiences.

What is a WordPress theme marketplace?

WordPress theme marketplaces, as we define them here, are websites that offer commercial WordPress themes from at least a handful of different theme authors. In this way marketplaces are different than what we call theme shops or vendors, since shops offer themes from one single brand.

Dedicated and assorted theme marketplaces

Theme marketplaces can be broken down in two major groups: dedicated and assorted.

A dedicated theme marketplace is one that carries and sells only one type of template or theme. In our case, that type is WordPress. Dedicated theme marketplaces don’t offer any type of theme except for WordPress themes.

You might guess, then, that an assorted theme marketplace carries more than just one type of template. So while WordPress themes are included in all of the assorted theme marketplaces we list below, there are other kinds of themes and templates available there too.

WordPress theme marketplace comparison table

The following table is laid out in alphabetical order, as is the list below it.

Mojo ThemesThemeForestThemeGardenWonderThemes
Marketplace TypeAssortedAssortedDedicatedDedicated
Number of Themes100+900+60+Currently in beta
Support ForumYesYesNoYes
Established2010200820102011

About Mojo Themes

Mojo Themes came new to the WordPress community in early 2010, launched by friends of WPCandy JR Farr and Brady Nord. Mojo Themes is a marketplace that offers templates for WordPress as well as Magento, Tumblr, email, Photoshop, and HTML/CSS.

Most recently, Mojo saw a redesign in celebration of their first year anniversary.

Visit the Mojo Themes marketplace for more. You can read more about our coverage of Mojo Themes as well.

About ThemeForest

ThemeForest is the oldest and, by far, the largest commercial theme marketplace online today. It boasts an impressive number of WordPress themes for sale, nearly one thousand at the time of this writing.

Visit the ThemeForest marketplace for more. You can read our coverage of ThemeForest as well, including Envato its parent company. One of my favorites is an editorial on ThemeForest we published, particularly due to the conversation that followed in the comments.

About ThemeGarden

ThemeGarden is a WordPress theme marketplace that was launched in late 2010 by Press75’s Jason Schuller. One unique aspect of Jason’s marketplace is that certain themes that are offered are from theme shops themselves, like Organic Themes, Themify, and StudioPress.

Visit the ThemeGarden marketplace for more. You can also read more of our coverage of ThemeGarden as well.

About WonderThemes

WonderThemes is about as new to the theme marketplace field as you can get. They are still working out the kinks in their beta, but plan to be launching very soon.

Visit the WonderThemes marketplace for more, as well as when they launch. You can also read more of our coverage of WonderThemes as well.

Which WordPress theme marketplace would you recommend?

Social proof is important, and in this case our collective experience is very valuable. Speak up in the poll below and recommend which marketplaces you would recommend to others, based on your experience.

What has your experience been?

Okay, time to speak up. What has your experience been with the marketplaces described above? Do you see more space for innovation in theme marketplaces?

10 thoughts on “Shop smarter: 4 WordPress theme marketplaces compared

  1. I’ve worked with a number of Themeforest themes and they’ve all be terrible. The type where you turn WP_DEBUG on and then die a little inside at the 500 lines of output. Just this week I saw a theme that had been updated a month ago still not using custom post types, or proper nav menus, or the standard way to replace background images. On top of that there were a number of parts of the theme that simply didn’t work because of obvious errors in code (like two = or extra “). With all these non-standard implementations you’d figure the theme might have decent docs but no after hours trying to get some functions working the client and I decided it was a better thing to just rebuild them as the WP standard since it’s simple and they always work.

    Whatever Themeforest is doing for a review of code it certainly isn’t catching much and is letting through lots of terrible themes.

    • There are a lot of themes on TF, some are made before custom post types and the nav menu system. Older themes make a few sales per month (some simply stop selling completely), so if the author updates a portfolio system for example to use a custom post type then those people who bought the theme already update it will end up with a broken theme since the system is changed.

      • The authors could just write a query for the DB to convert things to post types. Not all that hard. The most recent theme I’ve worked with was updated in the last 3 weeks and hadn’t added support for CPT’s. It’s just lazy. If TF wants a reputation as a marketplace with old obsolete themes then they should keep going as they are. I tell all my clients to stay away from TF since I’ve never seen a theme that was coded well at all.

  2. Being a new owner of a marketplace myself I keep an eye on how these resources evolve and personally consider Mojo Themes to be the best so far. I adore their personal approach to template designers and buyers. Their brand is cool as well !

  3. I’ve purchased a couple Studio Press child themes from Theme Garden, and have been very happy with them so far.

    I stopped looking at Theme Forest for anything a long time ago.

  4. WP Innovation is still in its infancy. There’s much more to come and enjoy. Excellent.

    As for theme marketplaces, I expect them to proliferate, similar to the website/template mass marketing sites. Personality and service will bring the WP creme to the top. (Avoid green and black; stay away from forum/bulletin board-styled help/support.)

    As for the four market sites mentioned above–one is in beta, so there are really only three. Theme Garden maybe discussed third for all the appropriate reasons; I did download a couple themes from there to explore.

    Mojo may have the more catchy name and some nice themes, but they are too narrowly focused as a collection–not everyone wanting a WP blog is a photographer looking to show her portfolio…or a business looking to be social by fad blogging. I did buy the anniversary bundle to explore their creativity. [Holy Jooluma!! What's a tumblr??]

    ThemeForest is diverse and distributes html and WP themes, along with numerous other useful coding bundles. I have more than 80 items bookmarked. It is, therefore, unnecessary to further identify the obvious front runner. Let us not overlook the numerous sister sites to ThemeForest that offer a plethora of useful tools.

    ThemeForest, if duplicated by aspiring copiers and done as creatively, WP will flourish many times beyond its current popularity. The others mentioned here, if similarly cloned, won’t get that done. ThemeForest is the Dove bar.

    • Hi Hervé, thanks for commenting. In this case WooThemes wasn’t including, since we would classify them as a WordPress theme shop or vendor, whereas this list is for marketplaces. We define marketplaces as sites that sell products from multiple authors/brands, rather than just one.

  5. Thanks for writing this. I heard somebody asking specifically for an article like this the other day.

    I read rave reviews of ThemeForest everywhere and they’ve got 1000 themes from very good designers. MOJO Themes is advancing like crazy though so I’m keeping my eyes on them.

  6. Being a new owner of a marketplace myself I keep an eye on how these resources evolve and personally consider Mojo Themes to be the best so far. I adore their personal approach to template designers and buyers. Their brand is cool as well !

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