How to Choose (and Monetize) a WordPress Theme

I’ve been building WordPress sites for more than five years and I’ve really had a lot of fun doing it. I’ve built a lot of sites for myself and small business projects as well as for other businesses. I’ve often earned $700 to $1,200 per site and occasionally up to $2,000. As regular readers know, I am also an IT consultant so I can build sites in between consulting gigs and in my spare time. Because I build sites for myself and others I feel like I have a good understanding of what normal people need and want in a typical WordPress site. At the moment I am primarily focused on how to make the most money with a good website.
If you are ready to start making money with your new or existing website you will want to carefully consider what theme you are using. There are several things to think about but today we have our eye on the two main ways to monetize your blog or website; advertising and affiliate marketing. I use Google AdWords and AdSense for in-page ads and all sorts of companies for affiliate marketing. Both ways are based on pretty simple principles. AdWords go on pages (in various places) where your content is relevant to the ads being shown. Obviously then the type of content you have (dogs, cats, health news, etc.) will determine what kind of ads you have, and most importantly, what the clickthrough rate is for each ad. As you probably know, different types of ads pay different amounts. When you set up your AdWords account, you can use the keyword planner to find out how much keywords and phrases cost.
For affiliate marketing, the set up is similar but there is one big difference. Rather than getting paid when someone clicks on an ad, you get paid a lot more, but only if the person signs up for the affiliate business. That could mean filling out a form, signing up, paying for a service, buying something, etc. In any event you get paid more for an affiliate action than an ad, but only if the customer does something. Your job then as the blogger is to provide interesting content that relates to the affiliate offer.
OK, back to website themes. The question now is what types of themes are great for making money with ads or affiliate links. Let’s reverse the order here for a minute and tell you the good news. Affiliate links are just hyperlinks in your page content to another website with specific code that identifies you so that you can get paid. So hyperlinks can be placed anywhere on any website that you build. Therefore, any website theme is fine for affiliate links. Whew, that was easy.
What about AdSense though? This is a little harder but not so hard. With Google AdSense, you get specific code that you place where you want to anywhere on the page. The code types reflect the size of the ad so that a wide ad is a little different than a typical square ad that you see in the sidebar. Placing the code can be kind of tricky, usually because of formatting so you want to get a good theme that is friendly to AdSense.
I buy all my themes at Envato Market, and its WordPress section, Theme Forest. Theme Forest currently has almost 40,000 themes, widgets, plug ins, etc. for WordPress so I know you will be able to find everything that you need there. When you get there, click on Web Themes & Templates, and then WordPress. Then select Best Sellers in the dropdown below the search box in the middle of the page.
Now you will see the best selling themes, from $40 to $60. Let me pause here and give you some really important advice. DO NOT try to save money on your theme. The best themes are awesome for a reason and “saving” a few dollars on a theme will lead to great frustration. Click on a theme that you think you like and you will see a great function called Live Preview for every theme. Live Preview will open up a new tab with the actual site. Now you can see exactly how the site will look, could look, and could be formatted by you…to make money.

Theme Recommendations

Here are the themes that I have used that I recommend you buy if you want to make money.
  • Newspaper 8.5: This theme has dozens of prebuilt news and blog sites that allow you to jump right in and load up your content.
  • Newsmag 4: This theme also offers prebuilt magazine and blog sites with easy to load ad blocks.
  • BeTheme, Version 20: This theme is easy to work with and offers 290 pre built websites that are easy to load. After you have the theme loaded on your site, you can literally shop within your site and switch to another theme version and keep all of your posts, images, etc. It’s amazing.
I could go on and on but the simplest way to fast track your money-making blog is to find a version on a theme that you like, buy that theme, load it up, choose that version, and get going to make money. It’s really pretty amazing that you can get to a customized website so quickly and so cheaply. All you need is your own content, links and Google ads.
Good luck!