Envato Marketplace Redesign

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

DigitalOcean joining forces with CSS-Tricks! Special welcome offer: get $100 of free credit.

As I’m posting this, the marketplace websites that Envato runs (ThemeForest, GraphicRiver, etc) have been redesigned. It’s a pretty big overhaul… new logos, loads of new features for both buyers and sellers, the iconic “switcher” to change between marketplaces is integrated right into the site identity. Collis himself breaks it all down in this launch post.

The #1 thing I was secretly hoping for is better (and less buried) search. They really came through on that, with a prominent search bar on all sites. You can even target your search into specific categories or areas of the site.

I’m giving away $25 in marketplace credit to eight people. Just leave a comment on this post with either A) Your experience using an Envato marketplace in the past (as a buyer or seller) or B) Why you have never tried using an Envato marketplace (as a buyer or seller). Personally, I’ve been using GraphicRiver lately when I need to pick up a graphic quick that I think it’s likely they will have, since it’s guaranteed to be cheaper and a better experience than using something like iStockPhoto. Use your real email address so you can be contacted about the credit if you win, and I’ll choose winners next Monday sometime (I probably won’t make a big post about it I’ll just update this article).

UPDATE: Congrats to George, Thomas Offinga, Conrad, Branson, Noam Smadja, Michael, Grimur, Jeff Kes. You’ll all be getting emails soon about your credit.

I also got a chance to interview Jeffrey Way, the site manager for ThemeForest as well as Nettuts+. Read on!

Chris: There are tons of places to find free templates and web resources online. So I imagine ThemeForest’s biggest hurdle is convincing people to try paying for a theme instead. Is that true? What do you think is the key advantage to using ThemeForest instead of scavenging for freebies?

Jeffrey: Actually, that’s not really the case. While many similar marketplaces choose to list site templates at prices far too high for the average buyer, we’ve instead focused on providing high quality templates at low prices. Where else can you purchase a beautiful site template for your new site for ten dollars? Truthfully, maybe nowhere. Though our prices are very buyer friendly, we’re still able to offer templates of an extremely high quality. In addition, most authors on ThemeForest offer support for each of their templates, providing yet more value for the buyer.

So what’s the advantage to using ThemeForest over scavenging for freebies? You can rest assured that every template that makes its way into our marketplace has been rigorously tested by our reviewers and meets the highest quality standards. With a freebie, you’re potentially downloading a file that renders inconsistently from browser to browser, doesn’t follow the latest standards in web development, isn’t as flexible, doesn’t include the source PSDs, etc. Perhaps the question should be rephrased as – why take a chance downloading a free theme from, possibly, an unknown source when you can simply spend ten or fifteen dollars – the cost of a pizza – and rest assured that you’re receiving a wonderful product.

Chris: If you had to pick one, what single quality in a ThemeForest template is the biggest factor for generating sales?

Jeffrey: That’s a tough one. Truthfully, it all comes down to the complete package. Though if I had to choose only one reason why a template sells extremely well – and I’ve spoken about this before – it’s because the template solves problems. For example, I’m currently in the process of building a CMS with CodeIgniter. Now, I could spend hours upon hours working on the design for the back-end, or I could instead jump over to ThemeForest and download one of the many beautiful admin skins that are available. A quick twelve dollars later, and my problems are solved!

On the other hand, we also offer a handful of grunge templates on ThemeForest. Though these types of templates definitely have their place, and still sell relatively well, they don’t solve as many problems for the buyer. As a result, they rarely perform, in terms of sales, as well as a polished business template or an admin skin could.

When designing for ThemeForest, you should first ask yourself, “Will somebody have a specific need for a template like this?” If the answer is yes…get coding!

Chris: What are your duties as the site manager of ThemeForest? You also are the site manager for Nettuts+ (another Envato site), which of those jobs takes the most of your time?

Jeffrey: To some extent, my primary duty at ThemeForest is to be the “go-to” guy for all matters and concerns. If an author is upset about why his template was rejected, he can come directly to me. If, on the forum, the community is confused about the uses for one of our licenses, I’m the guy who will answer them. But in addition to that, I also manage the business. This includes hiring and overseeing reviewers for each category, running the blog, analyzing the sales of each category, promoting the site when possible, researching new categories (incidentally, this includes the upcoming “Email Templates” category!), handling support requests, listening to the community so that I may better make recommendations to the Envato directors, etc.

In reference to Nettuts+, it’s really a half-and-half gig. For instance, I don’t necessarily work the first half of the day at Nettuts+, and then the second half at ThemeForest. Instead, I generally monitor both simultaneously. One moment, I’ll be working with a ThemeForest member; the next, I’ll be posting a new tutorial on Nettuts+. Luckily, as the two are sister-sites, it makes a lot of sense for me to handle both.

Chris: Bonus Question! Is Kanye West truly that big of a jackass or was his strange outburst at the MTV Music Awards a publicity stunt?

Jeffrey: +1 for jackass. There are two possibilities here.

  1. Kanye is a genius, and somehow knew that this stunt would make him the most talked about person in the country the next morning — to the point of even web developers making tweets like:

    “Best direct message I ever got: DREW, I’M REALLY HAPPY FOR YOU, I’M GONNA LET YOU FINISH, BUT ZELDMAN IS THE BEST DEVELOPER OF ALL TIME!” (via @drewdouglass)

  2. He’s, as you put it, a jackass. :)