With the popularity of WordPress, thousands of web designers specialize in creating custom designed themes that allow WordPress users to pre-select the style of their website. While it is tempting to go out and find the nicest looking theme and purchase it, it is important to consider a few factors before investing in a WordPress theme.
Consider What You Want
Who are you selling to? Do you want a theme that is catered to E-commerce or do you want a website that relays information via blog format? If you are running an e-commerce site, are you selling shipped goods such as electronics or are you offering a membership service such as web hosting?
The reason why it is important to consider these factors is because some WordPress themes are built with a niche in mind. For instance, some are built for fashion websites while others cater exclusively to web hosting websites.
Doing some research prior to deciding whether a particular WordPress theme is built for your needs or not will save you a lot of time and frustration since you will not have to customize a generic theme to fit the needs of your website. Imagine if you had a website that needs to sell electronic goods with multiple pulldowns and, instead, you purchased a theme that is ideal for selling books. How much time and money would you have to spend customizing that website?
Consider Add-Ons (Plugins/Etc)
There is more to a theme than just the design aspect that comes with it. You have to find out if it includes other functionality such as sliders (image rotators), self validating contact forms, social media sharing options and more.
I would suggest making sure you consider all of the functionality that will exist in your website and, once you have considered a few themes, decide on a theme that comes with the most features you are looking for. If you find that none of them come out of the box with the features you request, you then must consider compatibility.
If you find you are choosing between multiple themes, look for a portfolio section and see what has been done with those websites. Odds are, if you are looking for social media sharing functionality and the sites in the portfolio show that functionality, then the additional work needed in modifying your that theme will not be great.
If you cannot find a list of live websites running that theme, it is probably best to avoid it. If, however, you do see proof that it can fit your needs, it is now time to consider cost.
What Is A WordPress Theme Worth?
Well, there is no real straight answer to this question but I do have some advice. Most WordPress themes you find will be free. With that said, the really good ones usually end up costing between $50-$75 and sometimes $100. Note though, that if you are spending $100, it is likely because one of 2 things are taking place:
- 1.) The WordPress Theme Fits A Specific Niche
- 2.) The WordPress Theme Is Loaded With Useful Features/3rd Party Functions
If you have a WordPress website that can be shared via social media, it is easy to integrate with UPS/USPS/Fedex and can handle 20 payment types then you are getting your money’s worth. If you see a WordPress theme with a $100 price tag and you have to add those features yourself that theme should be second in your list. Chances are you are paying for something that is very pretty but not very useful, so buyer beware. This leads to another important point – make sure the theme has a track record.
Consider How Long the WordPress Theme Has Been In The Market
If this theme is brand new, no matter how nice it may look, you are probably better off avoiding it unless you are looking for something simple and if the theme is either free or very inexpensive. The reasoning behind my argument is that there are too many variables that come into play with WordPress websites and you don’t want a WordPress theme that will break when your server upgrades PHP versions or, heaven forbid, when you upgrade WordPress.
Having a theme that shows 100′s of reviews (At Theme Forest, you will find themes with reviews/total # of sales, etc), especially positive reviews, is a good indicator for the quality of it and you can use it for a real world application and not just a hobby site.
Consider WordPress Theme Reviews
Pay close attention to each theme’s reviews. Sometimes people give a positive review because they are excited that they have a new theme and sometimes people give a negative review because they didn’t read the instructions and something ‘does not work’.
Take a look at the # of reviews and the status of the 5 star rating (if there is one where you are considering purchasing a theme) and take note of what the majority say about the theme’s install process, adaptability as well as overall use.
If the theme looks beautiful but won’t load in I.E or Safari, run away from it.
Consider Support Mechanism/Documentation
Another important point is to pay close attention to the level of support provided. You most certainly do not want to invest money in a script written by somebody who only responds to email on the 3rd Thursday of the month and you also do not want to invest in a theme where their message board is filled with spam ads or complaints.
Pay very close attention to how they offer support and really ask yourself if you can trust them if something goes wrong with your installation or PHP/Wordpress upgrade. You cannot afford to take chances with amateurs and the more research you do the better off you will be in the long run.
The results you will experience with your theme are proportional with the thought and research you put into the investment. Always have back-up options and never hesitate to ask questions. The more you invest in the research of your business the less money and time you will spend fixing nightmares that pop up throughout the life of your business.
If you need help customizing and setting up your WordPress theme we’d love to help out. Moreover, if you envision your website as something unique that can’t be found in any of the WordPress themes available on the web, contact us today and we will design and build a custom WordPress website that will successfully meet your business’ exact needs and expectations.