Selling WordPress Themes on ThemeForest: What to Include in the Production Pack

As a WordPress theme author there are many ways you can organize your production theme pack, but ThemeForest reviewers strictly observe theme submission requirements and unwritten recommendations. In this post I will explain how to prepare your production theme demo pack; what you should include, and what you should avoid.

WordPress Theme Submission Requirements

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Feel free to browse the extensive theme submission requirements, but you won’t find descriptions of what exactly you should put in the production pack of your theme. Instead, we’re going to get the information we need from the ThemeForest item upload dashboard.

ThemeForest item upload dashboard

Choose WordPress in the category dropdown; you’ll be taken to an upload UI. Skip the Name & Description panel for now, and turn your attention to the Files panel.

First you’ll be asked for the 80x80px Thumbnail file. This can be PNG or JPG, it is up to you, but I prefer PNG format.

Next up is the Theme Preview image. Here you should be very careful about file sizing and naming. This image will be visible on the product page and in the search results page. Make it exactly 590×300 pixels and name it in the following way: 01_<filename>.jpg. If you want to include more preview images, create them with the same image aspect ratio as the main preview image, make sure your files are a maximum of 900px both in width and height. And the naming should be similar to the first file 02_<filename>.jpg , 03_<filename>.jpg. Your preview files should be added to a separate zip archive file, even if you have only one preview file. Name the preview archive preview.zip.

The next section is for Main File(s). Here you should include all the required files for the end user, excluding the thumbnail and preview files.

And the last thing is the uploadable theme zip file itself. This is the file that users can upload to WordPress to start using your theme.

My Personal Approach

Generally, what we’ve covered so far is all you’ll find from official sources on theme production file packing–the rest comes down to best practises and recommendations. I will share my own approach which you’re welcome to extend; suggest your own ideas in the comments.

I use a work folder with all my projects. First I create a separate folder Uploads. If you create multiple product types for multiple platforms (for example, both plugins and themes for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and so on) create separate folders in the Upload folder for each platform and for each project type, like so

Then create a folder in the Uploads/WordPress/Themes folder with the theme name and _pack prefix, like this themename_pack. Inside that folder create several subfolders folders:

There are a couple more files and folders we’ll include in the themename_pack folder, but for now let’s now look into the folders listed above.

Demos

No matter if your theme has multiple demos or just one demo, you need to include your demo files in your download pack, even if you have a “one-click demo import� feature, or ready-to-use template blocks directly from your theme. There will be situations when users will need a manual demo import.

If your theme has multiple demos, create each demo folder inside the main Demos folder separately. Include all necessary files with each demo. For example, I include:

  • separate XML files: all.xml, posts.xml, pages.xml, and so on.
  • widgets.wie: the widget import file generated with the Widget Importer & Exporter plugin.
  • options.json: the theme option panel settings import file. I use reduxframework to create the theme option panel–if you use any other option panel framework it should have some sort of import/export functionality.
  • slider1/2/3.zip: the slider revolution ZIP file. I use revolution slider to create slides for my themes, so I include all the sliders that I created with the theme in the demos.

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