Want to enter the template market, need to know how it works and the legalities

About 3 years ago I designed very customized websites for a few clients and made pretty good money doing so. Contracts were signed saying that I released all code to them to do what they pleased once the design was finished. I did not care about how they used/re-used/modified the code because I charged a premium and reuse/modification was in the contract.

Now I want to re-enter the web market but this time just selling very cheap but modifiable (not by code, but by a built in content management system) templates. I want to target mom and pop/small/start-up businesses that want an professional looking internet presence or just want to have a small online store. I want these templates to be a per customer/per site basis and don’t want customers to be able to download one copy of the template and re-use it for several different sites or pass it around to family and friends.

So does the website template market work as far as copying/re-use is concerned? Is this market even worth entering as a very proficient coder? I’m targeting less than $100 templates.

Sites like TemplateMonster have been selling that kind of thing for at least 7 or 8 years. There are hundreds of marketplaces like that now, and at least a good handful of big ones for all the major CMS’s. WordPress alone has thousands of templates available for free, and hundreds more in commercial marketplaces.

There’s plenty of demand, but you’re not going to be able to charge much if you’re just selling the (coded) design and nothing value added beyond that.

As the copyright holder of your designs you can set whatever copying/reuse licenses you want. You can offer your purchases the rights to buy a template for use on a single site. Lots of these companies offer different license at different costs – look at WooThemes which has three different pricing models. But in the practical sense, there’s no way for you to enforce your terms. Some of your customers will pay for one license and use your design on multiple sites.

Thanks for the link. If thats my competitions I don’t think I will have any problems as I will be offering something quite different, more functional, and more plug-in modules type of structure. Also not as rigid as those templates seem. It looks like I will also have to lower the prices I had in mind to undercut them. Maybe sub $50 or even lower. I will also do away with pay per licence like I originally thoght and just go with a unlimited use from the start kind of license.

I have another question that you may be able to help me with. What is the accepted marketing campaign to run for a startup business like mine? The last time I did customed websites about 5-6 years ago I used adwords and it has a horrible conversion ratio. I got very very few contacts per click and even fewer clients from it. I am lucky the few clients I had were long term.