9 Tips for Choosing the Best Premium WordPress Theme

Find out what you have to pay attention to in order to choose a good WordPress theme which will serve you for many years and will not disappoint you right after purchase.

1. Number of Sales

If a theme has not been sold many times as compared to other similar themes for a selected period of time, the author of the theme is unlikely to get paid sufficiently for his/her work and is unlikely to contribute sufficient time and pay attention to updating and developing his/her theme. If a theme is not profitable, its author can simply get rid of it and leave you without any updates and support. At the same time, if a theme is a best-seller, the quality of support may also be not the best one out there because the support service may receive hundreds of requests per day in this case. Often, best selling themes are positioned as the “themes for all occasions”. However, such a theme may be heavy and much more difficult to set up because it has too many functions. But if some popular theme really impressed you or even inspired you to create a new project, then do not hesitate to choose it.

2. Theme Rating

Of course, theme rating is relative, especially if a theme is released recently. You cannot judge a theme if there are just three reviews and one of them is negative. If a theme has a lot of reviews with not just one or two but many negative ones, you may think that the author of this theme does not care about his/her customers, has low qualifications, or is just careless and makes mistakes that he/she can easily correct, but that scare the user, slow down the configuration process, and require technical support.

3. Release Date and Frequency of Updates

An average life of a commercial theme is 2 years. After that, a third of all WordPress themes is just removed from sale. Some themes may be available for purchase, but may be updated once per six months. However, updates ensure compliance with the latest standards, security, and new features. Even if a theme sells well, is frequently updated, and has high ratings, but is already more than two years old, the design of such a theme may be outdated. After all, the world is rapidly changing, people’s perceptions are changing, the design is changing. Hundreds of new themes are created every month, the choice is huge, so there is no reason to choose an old-fashioned theme.

4. Responsiveness and Cross-Browser Support

Do not believe the old marketing description saying that a theme is responsive and compatible with all browsers. Check it yourself. And not just by changing the window size of your browser. Have a look at the theme using a smartphone or a tablet. Make sure that the site is really mobile-friendly. Visit the demo site using all the popular browsers, including the Internet Explorer.

5. Loading Speed

Similar to the above, even if the description of a theme says that it is light and loads fast, verify it yourself. Use PageSpeed Insights to check the loading speed of the demo site. To find out the real address of a theme, click Remove Frame in the upper right corner when previewing the theme. Also, keep in mind that such a site may be cached, as well as hosted on a well-optimized web server, and the result you see may be considerably different from what you will get when you install the theme on your site. You should pay attention to the amount of the JavaScript and CSS code, the correctness of its location, as well as the size of images since themes use fixed thumbnail sizes, and such sizes are sometimes larger than the optimal size. Compression of the JavaScript and CSS code is also important. Although this can be achieved using plugins, the appearance of a theme may be distorted in some cases, so it is best to make sure that the developer has provided this feature either within the theme or by providing support for an appropriate plugin.

6. HTML Validity

A good author always checks his/her theme for errors. This includes PHP, JavaScript, and HTML code generated by the theme. The demo site pages can be checked for HTML errors using a validation service such as the famous W3C Validator. Also, keep in mind that even in the case of 100% validity of the theme itself, some plugins may violate the validity, and some new attributes may fail to be accepted by the validator. Anyway, there should be very few HTML errors or none at all.

7. Response Quality and Speed

Before buying a theme, you can use comments to ask questions that are important to you and see if the author responds quickly enough and how friendly he or she is. You can read comments by other customers and find out how well their issues are solved.

8. The Developer’s Reputation

Do not choose themes made by completely new authors. After publishing his/her first theme, an author gains experience and either realizes that he/she is in this business for a long time or, on the contrary, decides to leave, unable to stand the competition. Find out if the theme’s author has a personal site or blog, if there are any other means of communication apart from the theme marketplace, and if the author is active in social networks.

9. License

There are not many 100% GPL WordPress themes with a good design on the market, but if you manage to find one which among other things will be distributed under the 100% GPL license, your purchase will become a good investment as you will be able to use this theme in your other projects in future.

Take your time when choosing a good WordPress theme, since the theme you buy is your website’s public image and a way to save your time when you start and develop your project in future. If you need an easy-to-use tool that can help you choose free and premium WordPress themes, you are always welcome at WP.Style.

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