When you are starting a blog, choosing the right theme is crucial for your success. During the process, you will likely have to decide between free WordPress themes vs premium WordPress themes. Often users ask us which one is better and what’s our selection process when choosing a premium WordPress theme. In this article, we will cover how to choose the best premium WordPress theme for your site. By the end, you will know exactly what to look for and what you absolutely need to AVOID!
Free WordPress Theme vs Premium WordPress Theme
One of the main reason why a lot of users choose a premium WordPress theme over a free one is because you get guaranteed support.
Free WordPress themes are often built as a passion project, so you are not guaranteed to get support or updates.
On the other hand, when you pay for a premium WordPress theme, you get good documentation, access to support, and regular updates.
Some theme shops even go beyond and offer video tutorials, demo content, and even a free blog setup service.
Aside from that, premium themes are make your website more unique because free themes are being used by everyone.
Having said that, here’s what you need to look for when selecting a premium WordPress theme.
1. Aesthetically Pleasing Modern Design
You will probably be using this theme on your website for quite sometime. You users will become accustomed to it. That’s why you need to choose a theme which is aesthetically pleasing and can be used for a long time without requiring any major changes.
There are certain elements of design that are used by all good designers to create beautiful websites.
- Good Color Combination
- Awesome Typography
- Clean Layout
- Beautiful Images
Together these elements create a beautiful harmony and consistency that appeals to your users. It not only looks great, but it also helps you achieve your business goals.
Most premium themes come with unlimited color choices and built-in tools to select fonts. You need to make sure that your premium WordPress theme uses better typography out of the box.
Don’t just look at the homepage. Go deeper in the theme demo and explore other sections. For example, if you are building a portfolio site then check theme’s demo for portfolio. If you will be adding testimonials, then checkout how testimonials look in the theme demo.
Make sure that there are plenty of page templates and layouts to use. Examine homepage, single pages, posts, and blog sections to make sure that they all maintain the same design consistency and appeal.
2. Features vs Presentation
The main difference between WordPress themes and plugins is that themes handle the presentation part of your website and plugins handle the functionality.
However, the premium WordPress theme market is highly competitive and sometimes theme developers cannot resist the temptation to add more plugin-like functionality into their themes.
Why is this considered bad practice?
When a WordPress theme crosses over into the plugin territory, it becomes difficult to switch themes. For example if a WordPress theme is using a custom post type, then switching to another theme would make those custom post types disappear from the admin menu.
Shortcodes defined by theme would also stop functioning which also makes switching a difficult and time consuming process.
On the other hand, there are WordPress themes which behave exactly like a plugin. Offering functionality needed to create very specific niche websites. For example real estate themes or hotel themes. Some of these themes are really useful, but if you are going to use those themes, then you need to understand that it will be difficult to switch themes later because other themes may not have the similar functionality.
3. Security and Performance
Many WordPress beginners don’t pay much attention to speed and good coding practices when choosing a premium theme.
In the race to win new customers, theme developers can integrate unsafe and quick solutions that can compromise your site’s security. The insane amount of features can cost you speed and performance issues.
Now the problem is that most beginner level users do not have the skills to study code. So how do you know that the code behind a premium theme is of good quality?
First, you need to buy your premium themes from trusted and well reputed WordPress theme shops. Some of the theme shops that we trust and recommend are:
Secondly, look around for reviews and customer testimonials. See who else is using themes developed by that particular theme shop or developer. Are there any big websites or blogs using their themes? Checkout the testimonials page on the theme shop or search for their reviews on Google.
4. Compatibility Check
Before you start browsing for a premium theme, take a few moments to write down all the features you are looking for. For example:
- Do you need eCommerce support?
- Translation readiness for non-English websites
- BuddyPress or bbPress support
- Any other plugins that you might be using
If a theme you are looking for is not available in your language, then ask the theme developer to see if a translation is in progress.
Some users may want to use very specific plugins to create niche websites like job boards, question answer websites, etc. Feel free to ask the theme developers if their theme would work with a specific plugin.
You need to make sure that you are investing your money in the right place.
After Selecting the Perfect Premium WordPress Theme
A good premium WordPress theme would help you easily build high quality websites. However, there are still many things you can do to improve your site.
We recommend taking a look at these 24 must have WordPress plugins for all websites.
We hope this guide helped you choose the best premium WordPress theme for your site. You may also want to see our comparison of the best WordPress contact form plugins.