Musiceon and Beethoven were inside the Envato HQ in Melbourne.
Photo taken by John Maramas.
If you’re a digital creative of some kind, or hunting for one, it’s likely that you’ve come across this continent on the internet known as Envato market. It’s quite the colossus for digital products, but what’s really interesting is the experience you get looking for things in this digital bazaar. It feels like you’re browsing titles on Steam, looking up courses on Udemy, finding gigs on Fiverr, then wondering if you should sign up for Origin Access.
Let’s take a closer look.
I. Envato Market
The market is probably the best known score from Envato’s repertoire. This giant shopping mall has 7 outlets, and the first two on this list are definitely its most popular places on the internet. This is where you can shop for pretty much any kind of digital products and assets. Using this versus hiring a web designer is like buying fast food instead of hiring a personal chef.
Looking at its live preview is the best way to get a feel for the theme.
Most would probably skim through the wall of text that is the product page, which is usually an infographic of features, author details, testimonials or change log. There used to be screenshots available, but those have become so redundant that authors don’t really use them.
Occasionally, real websites made by people using their theme are featured on their product page, which is pretty cool. It’s always nice to have more references.
We link a live preview of 9 exotic singing bears found in the forest:
*All the links open in a new tab
1. Sura – Your own Spotify or Beatport 🎧
2. Wild Community – A kind of Reddit with forums and interest groups
3. Decibel – For a band to rule the internet
4. Lucielle – Perfect for the solo classical artist
5. Wave – Live radio like Monstercat
6. Tana Magazine – Like Billboard news
7. This Way – Video portfolio in one page, great for artists that love fashion
8. VICE – Very fancy, futuristic look for labels
9. Melody – For a Music School 🎓
There’s a good variety of themes dedicated to music that can help you build your online jukebox, K-Pop fan site, radio podcast, artist portfolio and more. They each come with their own different mix of plugins for that unique package, but there’s also some recurring features that make them the exotic music or artist websites that they are. Ask yourself – what exactly am I looking for?
This shop is full of plugins to optimise your website. Because you can plug multiple plugins on one website, it’s easy to fall into the trap of installing too many, especially with all the pretty plugins you can get here. It’s like too many plugs in one socket – your website runs the risk of being slow or crashing.
Still, when it comes to premium plugins CodeCanyon has quite the collection. If you shop on ThemeForest, it’s very likely you’ll come here too. A good number of sellers who create website themes in ThemeForest have plugins licensed from here too. It’s like when ordering a burger you’d also like an apple pie. Ask yourself – what do I really need?
Here are 9 majestic birds sighted on the canyon:
*All the links open in a new tab
1. VC – Advanced WordPress page builder, worshipped by Envato
2. GamePort – Set up your own Steam store, become a mini Gabe Newell
3. Mailster – Newsletter like a MailChimp
4. Ninja – Fancy Popups like Sumo
5. Ultimate Affiliate Pro – Attract and manage affiliates
6. eForm – Build fancy forms
7. Events Calendar – Speaks for itself
8. Bookly – For appointment booking 💼
9. Snow – Make snow effects on your website for Christmas ❄
The best thing about buying plugins here is the upfront pricing. A lot of plugins from the WordPress store are usually free to download, pay for premium features. Over at CodeCanyon, you pretty much get what you pay for – including all the features listed in the infographic.
Hover over a thumbnail to autoplay the video.
Even for the professional videographer this is a great place to find inspiration. The collection isn’t too large, but there’s some very interesting choices video openings, after effects, motion graphics and stock footage. You can probably find something good here for your YouTube or presentation videos.
Take a look at Musiceon’s favourite videos ^ↀᴥↀ^
Click the small play button on the thumbnail to hear a sample of the music.
Royalty free music has many free options on the internet – YouTube itself has some channels dedicated to it. But if you’re making something you intend to sell, such as a game, and you want something cheaper than exclusive music, then you should buy royalty free music. This jungle has a lot of soundtracks and sound effects for your project.
Here’s Musiceon’s favourite tracks. Maybe play them in the background while you’re reading this article 🎧
As long as you’re not making a blockbuster title for PS4, don’t worry too much about the fact that royalty free music is not exclusive. Not a lot of other people in the world will be using the same soundtrack that you got from here anyways. Plus, it’s more likely that you might get a shoutout from the seller if you ask nicely.
This river teems with very tasty looking templates for Google slides, Keynote presentations, CV resume for Word, infographics, Facebook page banners and more. If you’re not the type to design your own slides, brochures or charts, like me, you can get the cheat code right here.
Look at the fish sold by 9 fishermen from the river:
*All the links open in a new tab
1. LouisTwelve-Design’s PowerPoint, Keynote and Google slides templates
2. zeisla’s coffee cup, bottle, tee and box mockups
3. maulanacreative’s fancy signature typeface ✒
4. INDUSTRYKIDZ’ flashy flyer collection
5. macrovector’s vectors
6. th_studio’s resume, calendar and brochure templates
7. yogurt86’s cosmetic, chocolate, pizza box mockups
8. andre28’s business proposal, contract and invoice 💼
9. GraphicRiver Illuminati sevenstyles’ elemental action effects for Photoshop
The thing about royalty free images is that, with no cost (no registration even) options like Unsplash or Gratisography on the internet, buying stock photos for commercial purposes, like say, photos on example blog posts used to sell a website theme on ThemeForest, is a bit redundant. Royalty free images, with similar high resolution status, that are actually free are on the rise.
Come see Musiceon’s favourite photos.
ThemeForest authors use them in their websites and the GraphicRiver fishermen use them in their demo templates, flyers and Photoshop effects – though they source from Unsplash too.
Like audio, putting photos behind a pay wall for licensing means less people download them, so PhotoDune’s collection won’t be overused like their free counterparts.
Compared to the 6 other marketplaces, it seems that the inhabitants beneath this vast blue ocean prefer the calm and the quiet. But here’s where you might find real treasure.
Compared to hotshots like ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, that sell stuff anyone in beginner level can use with a bit of knowledge, 3DOcean follows GraphicRiver in the sense that people who frequent these two know must how to use software like Autodesk and Photoshop respectively to really appreciate what’s on sale.
Ironically, buying things from those ThemeForest and CodeCanyon seem to be the most troublesome, because you don’t really know what kind of devil will start sprouting when you start using them. Things not working, new theme messing up the style or format, and such. Sometimes even the author can’t diagnose the problem after poking through the client’s dashboard.
Products from VideoHive, GraphicRiver or 3DOcean have their own risks, like templates not showing up. That’s why buyer support is needed. In comparison, buying things from AudioJungle and PhotoDune are much more straightforward – you see it, you hear it, you like it, you buy it.
II. Envato Tuts+
The selection of courses on Tuts+ gives the feeling like you’re browsing Udemy, complete with pricing by individual course. There’s also a subscription, based on tiers, that gives access to all the courses, eBooks and 10-20% discount benefits for a wide range of digital services, like Shopify and Mixcloud, like you’ve applied for a Mastercard web designer edition.
Sometimes the issues we have with a website theme have a simple fix we can implement ourselves, like CSS, and it actually saves time if we learn a little about it. We don’t always have to approach the author and wait for their reply.
Their beginner guides are good for such, and cover a big range of topics, including music and business skill, but for some reason these articles are a bit clunky. I would prefer something easier to digest, like an infographic or video. Maybe it’s a combination of fonts and distracting ads on the right. Like seriously. In fact, I feel that such content work be awesome for YouTube.
Here’s their free video courses.
Curiously, the instructors here teaching you the courses are individuals with real names and human profile pictures, unlike the sellers on Envato market. Looking at their profiles, they’re definitely industry experts, but don’t seem to be related to the creators on Envato market – like mentor, perhaps?
Personally, I would be very interested if one of their “Power Elite” authors decided to teach a course or even do a podcast here on Tuts+. Maybe create something similar to Twitch TV or Pixiv fanbox, where we could watch them work.
III. Envato Studio
This is the place to look for gigs from designers on the internet.
The major advantage that they have over Fiverr is the company’s focused niche, design. Creators who rule the gig economy in Fiverr are the ones with the best sales and high ratings. The array of niches is very broad for the Fiverr team to vet. On Envato’s turf, however, design is their only concern. So the gig sellers, who are purely designers and developers, go through a real meat grinder of quality check, by people who are design experts themselves.
Take note that only designers and developers exist in this back alley, not marketing experts, so for a category like “online marketing” they can only help you design your brochures or flyers – that’s why it’s called studio and not publisher.
Here are some free gigs worth $300.
IV. Envato Elements
It’s dubbed “a designer’s best friend” by the company. While there’s nothing cute and furry about it, this place is essentially a library of digital assets that can be picked and downloaded in an instant. No need to carefully think about which product to buy. If Envato’s market is like selling individual copies of music albums or DVD movies, then Envato’s elements is like Spotify or Netflix.
However, just like how Spotify does not have Taylor Swift albums, Envato elements does not have WordPress themes or stock photo. Furthermore, the selection is not from Envato market, but from independent designers who share the revenue from our subscription.
If you want to best squeeze value from this, make sure you’re the type who needs digital assets on a regular basis. If you only use graphics in a library where there are fonts, vectors, web and presentation templates collecting dust on the shelf means you’re probably not fully optmizing the service. It’s like subscribing to Spotify just to listen to Justin Bieber.
It’s a pretty good buffet if you don’t want to worry about download limits.
V. Envato Sites
This is where they just straight up become Wix. This is actually quite a surprise, since I’ve always viewed Envato as a design company. Looks like they’re going into the business of web hosting. It’s a fairly new service still in beta, and according to the website’s baby testimonials there’s some people already using it.
They whisper “try Envato sites…see if it’s right for you”.
Like the company’s other sites, you can start playing around with the website editor by logging into your Envato account. There’s a decent number of templates to choose from, but you can’t publish without going past the $8/month paywall.
They also don’t sell domain names, so you’ll have to get one from somewhere like GoDaddy. In any case, it’s simple to use like any other web creator. You’ll also get a newsletter from “Justin from Envato Sites” giving you some simple tips.
VI. Final Musings
On The Community:
While there’s not really games to play here and up vote like in Steam, there are achievement badges you can unlock to make your profile look more fancy. There’s a badge for everyone – for being a top author, for collecting items, for teaching a course, for playing football, for being an ambassador, for being interviewed. They’ll even give you a badge if you can successfully hack their website.
Like Steam, everyone has a nice space in their profile to introduce themselves and include links to their personal website, social media and an optional country flag to show where they’re from. A feature I would personally like is to be able to find friends through e-mail or social media, something like what Discord has, but that doesn’t seem to be here.
Here is all of the possible achievement badges you can get on your profile.
Like with every kind of people, one way to learn about any community is to snoop around the forums. If you’re a developer interested in selling stuff on the Envato marketplace, this press release is full of positive statistics that might push you in that direction, no matter how small your niche. It seems that rising sales in the beginning are key to success here.
Pro Buyer Tips:
To be sure of the thing you’re buying, take a look at some user comments and reviews. Star ratings usually reflect an author’s willingness to help buyers with their issues. If you buy a theme or plugin from here, it’s very likely that you’ll have a question or two after using it. Doesn’t matter if you are new to website building or not.
Developer Mario Peshev notes on his article Envato Or Why Race To the Bottom Is Dangerous? on some of the marketplace’s flaws:
First off, it’s the quality of the themes. The majority of the theme authors are bundling dozens of sliders, galleries and such together, copying over GPL plugins directly into the themes, adding theme option panels hundreds of options, custom post types within the theme and more.
Second, that is a part of a package that’s sold for about $40-$60, all in one inclusive. Clients and freelancers are buying these themes, importing the demo data and voila – they got the site up and running. The fact that 1000+ themes were potentially vulnerable due to embedding Slider Revolution (which is also sold on CodeCanyon) means that Envato is growing in terms of popularity, and since the prices are too low, the quality is often affected. However, hackers tend to attack large groups of networks and sites, and the more popular a platform/market, the more automated scripts and bots are out there hacking randomly.
When buying a theme, try not to be pulled in by all the dozens of extra features and functionality offered by a single theme. Try not to be pulled in by a sales page – it’s notorious for making you buy more fruits when all you needed were oranges. It’s not even likely that you’d need them anyway. A website theme is supposed to be a display, not the whole thing. Remember what your initial goal is, shop wisely and go for the theme that has the bare minimum that you really need.
If you buy anything from the market here, there’s this additional $2 buyer fee. Envato isn’t the only company to do this, but still it’s a heads up so you don’t get caught by surprise. It’s also a digital product you’re buying from halfway across the world, so refunds might take forever to process since it needs author’s approval, Envato’s approval, your bank’s approval, Satan’s approval and God’s approval.
Sometimes items get removed from the market, so you might no longer be able to download it. You can use Upvato to automatically backup and store files brought from Envato, completely free.
Download updates for themes and plugins straight from your WordPress dashboard with this plugin.
You might like to bookmark some products that you’re watching. These bookmarks can be put into collections that you can make private or share with everyone. Here’s some collections you might like. One of them has a few free items.
Getting a premium theme here lets you focus on content. It’s great for starting out on a small website of your own.
If you’ve been here for a while, picked up a few coding or drawing skills, downloaded a number of files, asked for item support, poked around the forums, found some salt in the grain about the company…then you’ve truly experienced Envato market as a buyer.
TL;DR – Envato market is hack.