Creating and Promoting Templates for Serendipity

I’ve had an interesting email conversation with another user who wants to get started on the path to being recognised as a Serendipity template designer, and more importantly, then wants to be able to monetize this hobby.

Rather than keep this conversation hidden away out of site I thought I’d publicise some of it, hopefully it will encourage other users to start developing templates. Let’s assume you’ve got your template finished, how do you promote it?Promoting Your Serendipity Template
First, create a zipfile, upload this to your blog, and create an entry around it. You really want to make sure you use the term ‘Serendipity template’ a couple of times in your entry. This will make sure it gets indexed by the search engines under the main keyword that users search for when they are looking for themes.

Next, wander on over to the s9y forums and create a new thread telling everyone about your new template. At some point you’ll be asked if you want to have this included in Spartacus. Obviously you do, but be warned, this will reduce the traffic to your site since most users will then never need to find you.

If your template gets a few good comments, this is when you need to start thinking smartly about promoting it outside of the traditional Serendipity world. The reality is that s9y users are spoiled, they rarely need to go anywhere other than s9y.org to find themes so the end result is that you lose traffic. So, promoting your template in blogger communities will encourage new users to download your template, they’ll need Serendipity of course, but you can tell them where to get that.

Monetizng Your Theme
Having successfully attracted the attention of s9y bloggers, and hopefully a few others, it’s time to start monetizing your template. Write up a couple of tutorials in your blog about making some small changes to your template, making sure you use those keywords I mentioned earlier, but not too often, your objective is to consolidate your position in the SERPs, not to compete with yourself.

Now, I’m going to suggest you create a couple of small extra’s for your template which will only ever be available from your blog, maybe a new header image, a colorset, some extra tweaking etc. You should announce these on the s9y forums, but make sure users need to visit your blog to download them. In the entry that describes your new additions, provide a small donation button or clickable advertisement.

Up until now, the traffic and revenue is going to be minimal, so we need to do something to rapidly increase traffic. A Serendipity template is basically just an HTML template with some Smarty thrown in to make it work. Here’s what I want you to do. Strip out the Smarty, and add some Lorem Ipsum stuff and make a new HTML template.

Submit this to every Free HTML Template site you can find. If your template is good enough, and you should already know this from the comments for your s9y version, then your HTML theme will be downloaded many times, and you’ll start to notice people visiting your site. Make sure your have a link on your frontpage to your HTML templates, and within this category add a few extra entries about customising your template.

At this point you want to have your own advertisement on your blog offering to customise your templates, or install them, or even install Serendipity for a small fee. Your blog will of course still have other advertising on it such as AdSense.

By following this approach, and aiming for 200 unique visits per day, it should be possible for you to earn about $10-$20 per month from AdSense, about $10 per install (either a template and plugins, or a full Serendipity install), and also do one template customising job at $50. All up, $60-$70 per month just by reading this article. Pretty good eh?

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