Link Building through Blog Themes Sponsorship – Complete Guide


Sponsoring a wordpress/ blogger theme (template) if done right can become a powerful link building tool, a tool which can automatically keep building links for you for the foreseeable future. Such type of one time investment can fetch you hundreds and even thousands of back links from large number of unique root domains provided you pick up the right theme and work with the right developer.


How link building via theme sponsorship works?

When you sponsor a wordpress theme or a template you usually get a link on the theme footer with your desired anchor text. Once your theme becomes popular or is listed on multiple theme directories, bloggers can download them and install them on their blogs and you can instantly acquire links from each blog. Thousands of website owners download wordpress and other platform specific themes every day. Every time someone install your theme or write a new blog post you get a new link from his website.


How you can make theme sponsorship work for your SEO?

1. Sponsor theme which is relevant to your site’s niche.

We all know that links from related websites are valued more by search engines. For example if you are medical business you will benefit the most if you sponsor health related blog themes. Because then you can expect to get links from health and medical related websites which can improve your rankings. Links from unrelated website will not help your SEO much. So avoid sponsoring just any theme.


2. Build an award winning theme

Build a theme which has the potential to win an award. If you just come up with some other mediocre wordpress theme then my friend internet is choke full of such themes and they are rarely downloaded. Treat your theme as your link bait and you will get an idea of what I am talking about.


3. Stay away from cheap themes sponsorship

The definition of cheap is subjective. What may be cheap for me can be expensive for you and vice versa. But if you do a market survey you can get a pretty good idea of what can be considered as cheap or very cheap in your geo-location. For me $20 theme sponsorship is very cheap and is certainly something I won’t consider. The reason behind this is, usually such type of themes lack quality, browser compatibility and don’t get many downloads let alone back links.


4. Ask for complete theme sponsorship

A developer generally looks for multiple sponsors for his theme and sells up to 4 links in the theme footer, one link for each sponsor. This means if you don’t buy complete theme sponsorship, your sponsored theme may also link out to other sponsors who may have completely unrelated or spammy/black hat websites. That is why you should ask for complete theme sponsorship even though it is more expensive.


5. Choose anchor text carefully

Once your sponsored theme has got hundreds of downloads it becomes very difficult to change the anchor text you used for the sponsored link. So be careful. I would advise you to use your brand/website name as the anchor text and not some keyword rich anchor text. There are two reasons for this. First it looks more natural and therefore its probability of getting removed by a webmaster is less and second it won’t get you penalized in case your sponsored theme is picked up by thousands of websites and as a result of this you suddenly got thousands of back links all with the same keyword rich anchor text (a pretty unnatural back links profile which can alert Google and force it to devalue the links).


6. Scrutinize the theme you wish to sponsor

Check the quality of the theme and ask yourself two questions:

a. Is this theme relevant to my site niche?

b. Will I love to download this theme?

Make sure that the theme is compatible with the latest version of WordPress, has browser compatibility (works well on different browsers) and provides sponsorship protection. Under sponsorship protection, a developer codes a theme in such a way that it stops working if the sponsorship links are removed. Many smart ass remove the sponsorship links as soon as they download the free theme which defeats the whole purpose of sponsoring a theme in the first place.


7. Scrutinize the theme developer

It is always good to check the reputation of your theme developer and his track record. Ask for references. Determine how many of his themes have been downloaded/ installed so far & how he promotes his themes. Some developers just make some minor changes to a theme/layout and sell them as a new theme. Some even go ahead and copy entire themes of other developers. So you need to be aware of such rogues.


8. Watch the neighborhood of your developer

Before hiring a developer dig out the type of websites which are installing his themes. If porn, gambling and pharmaceutical websites are installing majority of his themes then say good bye to him. Otherwise you may end getting lot of back links from such websites and you don’t want that.


9. Ask technical Support for your sponsored theme

Many developers market their themes service as link building machine. But what if later this machine stops working. Make sure that the technical support is available for your theme. If your developer doesn’t provide any technical support and if later some bug creeps into (which is inevitable) your sponsored theme then webmasters will un-install your theme very fast and also leave tons of negative reviews which will destroy the virality of your theme for good.


10. Continuously improve your theme

This may involve some additional expenses but themes which get outdated or don’t work well with the latest browsers and wordpress versions are abandoned by webmasters pretty quickly. With every theme drop you may lose hundreds of back links in one go. This is a one strong reason to build, manage and market your own themes.


11. Track your theme performance and do some promotion

Once your sponsored theme is available for download; keep a track of who is installing your theme. Usually the developer promotes his theme and sends you details of where the theme has been installed. But don’t just rely on him for theme promotion. You are a marketer, it is your theme, you should promote it too and you can promote it much better than your developer. In addition to manual review you can always use back links checking tools like open site explorer to track the number of installations. With every new installation of your theme you will get at least one new back link.


Where I can get the developers who are looking for theme sponsorship?

I would suggest checking out the WordPress theme directory and contacting the developers who have built popular themes in your niche. Ask them of the possibility of creating a special theme relevant to your niche which would allow you to be the only sponsor. Offer to sponsor their next theme. Engage with them and build good relationships so that next time they ask you to sponsor their theme.

If you search online or on forums like Digital Point, you can find many developers offering such type of service but then you need to do lot more background checks and the risk of getting a bad developer or failed theme sponsorship link bait is higher.


Where I can submit my wordpress themes?

Good question. There are hundreds of theme directories where you can submit your themes. I would definitely recommend Word press themes directory . You can find the list of other directories here. Whatever you have learned about theme sponsorship can be applied to plug-ins sponsorship too. And there are some great wordpress developers out there who can build custom WordPress plug-ins for you.

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  • Denise Welch

    Good post. Do you consider €70 theme sponsership as cheap? Do you think one should invest in more than one theme sponsorship as it may increase the chance of getting more links? Cheers.

    • himanshu

      For me €70 sponsorship is not expensive but then it not very cheap either. If you get the value for your money then it is worth it otherwise not. You can sponsor multiple themes it all depends upon your budget.

  • fighting robots

    In my experience the value of links from blog themes is questionable. I have tried this strategy before for one of our client and results weren’t that great.

    • himanshu

      The outcome of a link building strategy depends a lot on how you execute it. If the web developer is not right or if the theme itself is not very appealing or the promotion is not good enough then this strategy will not bring many links.

  • twistedmind

    Hi Himanshu! Great Work =). I have read couple of other post on theme sponsorship link building. But this one is the best so far.

  • Eric

    Hi Himanshu!.Thanks for the great strategy you have outlined for us. I think creating a niche specific theme is not a problem. But once you get the theme developed how you will encourage the niche bloggers to use your theme.

    • seo himanshu

      As i said in my post, you need a killer theme to make this strategy a success. Mediocre themes won’t get you many downloads.

  • Richard Burton

    Useful resource to all link builders including me. Do you recommend hiring developers from ‘DigitalPoint Template Sponsorship Thread’?

    • seo himanshu

      There are some pretty cheap sponsorships there. You may try your luck but it is certainly not the best place to look for developers.

  • Olwydd

    Awesome post. Very practical information. This stategy is definitely worth considering while developing a diversified link profile.

  • Jonathan

    Hi Himanshu! Thank you so much for blogging about this topic. This is an indepth analysis on template sponsorship link building and i will definetly try these tips. I have bookmarked your blog :)

  • Jitendar

    I agree with you. Never settle for a mediocre theme. Have you found WordPress template sponsorship a useful way to build quality back links?

    • seo himanshu

      I have achieved great success in some niches and moderate success in others.

  • Shalini

    Thank you very much for the wonderful information you have provided, very relevant to the information I have been seeking, Great site

  • woothemes Tip

    I have 8 websites and have been experimenting with different themes and layouts in an effort to get more traffic from Google.

    I have tried “SEO” Themes and Layouts for the themes (one column, two columns, widgets on the right only etc) and I have learned something that google really loves!

    I Used to have my blogs so the current post ONLY was on the first page and then links to the last 10 posts were in a side column and categories in the menu along the top.

    Turns out I get a lot more traffic and more keywords ranked for the website if I have excerpts for my last 10 or 20 posts on the first page (most themes let you configure this). I have the first 50 or more words from each article then it says click here for more.

    I did some research on this and many people are saying that if you have 1000 – 2000 words on your first page and especially if all the posts are related to your websites main theme, then google gives it more value and you get more traffic from google over time.

    Thought I would share the tip.


  • seofirst

    Thanks for sharing wonderful information with us.Very much useful for creating back links.

  • Rod

    Thanks. Informative. I myself is a wordpress developer of Manobo Tribe and after 14 days I auctioned my theme and looking for link sponsors. But I haven’t receive a reply yet. Maybe in a few days more.

    Are there any auction online where I can promote my finished theme?

    • Himanshu

      I don’t know about auction. But there are many theme directories where you can submit your theme.

  • interested link builder

    IM interested in sponsering but am wondering if this will be the right way after the Google updates….

    This will mean links saying the same anchor text etc, this will trigger the latest form of Panda 3.3 i would have thought.

    Is anyone finding this a good way to link build?

    • Himanshu

      That is why you should avoid using keyword rich anchor text when sponsoring themes.

  • Ian

    Great Guide. I think I will give it a try. Thanks a ton!

  • lex

    hi, anyone is getting good results with this today?

  • Vijay Pashte

    Hi Himanshu,
    Great post..!! I Would love to try this out. Thanks..!!

    • seohimanshu

      glad you like it

  • lex

    hi seohimanshu i sent you a email, do you read it?

    • seohimanshu

      what was the subject of your email?

      • lex

        i use the contact form and select seo consulting

  • Online shopping stores

    I could understand the first part of what you were saying
    but I got a bit lost towards the end. This is a difficult subject to understand
    and the especially last part is best for me. Thank you for the post keeps

  • arenaparkstreet

    Hi Himanshu,
    Awesome post! I really appreciate for your post.Great job.Thanks!!

  • Rancelab

    Hi Himanshu,
    I think you have lots of experience regarding SEO and PPC.I want to know how to select best keywords for PPC campaigning,what is the way.Great article! good luck.

  • juna id

    Hi Himanshu Great Guide, i was looking for such way. SEO Friendly Themes

  • Shashikant Chauhan

    nice post this is new to help me alot.thanks man

    PHP Web Development
    Company Bangalore

  • davao

    Thanks to sharing article and nice services in your website…….