What To Look For When Purchasing A Theme

So you’re ready to start building your WordPress site and start searching the Internet to find a theme. How do you narrow down the millions of results? You can start by narrowing down where you’re searching. I prefer ThemeForest because they’re a very established theme marketplace. They sell the best themes and are constantly adding new ones to their product list. So that brings your options down to about 36,000 themes to choose from. Still way, way too many to look through. How do you know which themes are better than others? There’s some easy things to look for that can help you find what you want.


1. Responsiveness

An important part of building a site is making sure it looks good across all screen sizes. Some themes resize better than others. An easy way to test this is to open the theme demo and resize your screen. You can even open the link on your phone or use your browser’s dev tools to view the theme on all kinds of different screen sizes.

Some big things to look for are:

  • The menu – is it still accessible on a small screen?
  • The page structure – did everything realign to fit the new size or is it all jumbled?
  • Font size – is the font still big enough to read without zooming in?
  • Overall feel – do transitions feel smooth? Is it still easy to navigate around the site?


2. Support

You want to be sure to check the support options for a theme. When you are working late at night and frustrated because something just won’t work, it’s infuriating to realize your support plan only offers public discussion boards. The best support option includes author availability and help with 3rd party assets. (3rd party assets meaning plugins you may install that you want to play nice with the theme.) On ThemeForest, each theme lists what kind of support it includes under the price on the theme’s page.


3. Visual Builder Included

Visual Builders allow you to easily drag and drop elements onto pages – headers, images, videos, links, tabs, etc. They also allow for easy customization of those elements. For example, you can select a header element and edit the font, font size, color, and more all using drop down boxes. It saves a lot of time and also leaves a client with something maintainable. There are several different visual builders out there, but my two favorites are Visual Composer by WPBakery and Fusion Builder by Avada. If the theme offers a visual builder, you’ll be creating pages in no time.


4. One-click Demo Importer

Most themes will offer demos (or templates) that are out of the box set ups you can customize to fit your needs. Some have up to 200+ demos, while others will only have 2-3. The important thing to look at with demos is if they offer the one-click importer. That means that after you install the theme on your site, you’ll be able to simply click which demo you want and everything will automatically import. It’s awesome.


5. Included Plugins

Many themes will offer included plugins as a part of the package. This isn’t so much of a make or break deal, but it’s nice when a theme offers some extras. I always find it especially useful when a theme offers a free slider plugin, such as Revolution Slider or LayerSlider.


6. Sales

I put this one last on purpose because sometimes it isn’t fair to judge a theme by it’s sales. Sometimes a really awesome theme can come out brand new and it just hasn’t been around as long as the top themes. It’s still not a bad idea to check how many users a theme has, though. If a theme has hundreds of thousands of sales, it’s probably because it’s a really good theme. Usually the best themes are going to cost around $60, but it’s definitely worth it.

If you want to see most of these things in practice, check out the theme page for Bridge or Avada.

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