Let’s get this truth out there: The internet is full of WordPress websites with horrible-looking and underperforming themes. We tend not to do anything about it, though, as if the site will magically disappear once we hit the “back” button. No one is actually encouraging it by spending a lot of time on the website, struggling with the horrible user experience, to find a way to separate from their hard-earned money, so let’s all hope they get the hint.
There is only so much a horribly-looking theme can do for you – cost you a bunch of customers. However, a professional-looking theme can help you and your business out in so many ways. The most powerful one is the fact that if your site is looking impeccable as you took your time with it, your visitors will likely turn into buyers. Provide them with excellent user experience, on a website that screams authority in the niche, and your business will thrive.
What will I accomplish with a premium theme?
With the right theme under your sleeve, increasing your sales will be much simpler to accomplish. The precise setup on your WordPress website will drive the audience’s eyes to the compelling content and calls to action. The layout will make it easy to read, and if customized to fit your business when it comes to design, you can establish a brand that people will remember and recognize in the future.
The search for the appropriate theme is never the easy one, though. The right theme should have flexibility and customization. It should not slow down your website, and most importantly, it must provide your users with extraordinary user experience. But is that theme you found worth those $399.99? Will it bring to the table what you expect it to so that your business will improve?
There are several things you could check for if you are on the hunt for the right theme, and doing your due diligence on a selected few. Here is a list of 7 things you should look out for when buying a premium theme to make sure you get the most out of your investment.
#1: The basics
As mentioned before, a good theme should have you covered from several different aspects. Design is the most compelling one and is what drives the decision. Does it look good? Is it a clean, minimalistic theme that will emphasize your content? Is the typography appropriate? And most importantly, is it fully customizable with all the needed options?
What you are getting for your money is the easiest to check out in the demo. These example websites are a great way to check out the pre-made sections and see what your site will look like if you go with a specific theme. For example, when it comes to one of the most popular themes out there, Bridge, you can see and test 376 unique demos to find the one that works the best.
Another fundamental thing to consider at this point is that everyone is walking around with mobile devices in their pockets. They are regularly, if not always, using these to surf the net and eventually to visit your website. Is the theme you are checking out fully responsive, or will it look hideous on a mobile device? If it is the latter, move on to the next one.
#2: Money-back guarantee
Even if it covers all the basics, sometimes it is not enough. The overall workflow of the theme could be ineffective, which will cause you a lot of stress in the long run. Or, the plugins and extensions you are relying on and trusting with your site’s success are not supported.
If this is the case, then you have thrown the money out of the window, and you will throw a bit more for another theme. Unless the developer or the team behind it are aware that one size does not fit all, and are providing you with a money-back guarantee. This is a great sign and means that there is quite some experience and quality behind the project.
If you think that what you have found is just perfect, make sure to go through the reviews, too. It could turn out to be fabulous marketing and a lot of fluff. The truth lies somewhere in between the excellent description and actual performance. You will find the latter in the reviews and experience of other buyers. If it is not satisfactory, then you will know that too, without having to dip your toe and waste your money to see for yourself.
Probably a good start is Themeforest, as it does not allow authors of the theme to mess with the comments and reviews, so it is quite reliable for this check. Go for the one that got “4.8” score or more, from at least 20 people.
Or, you can head out and trust the reviews from experts in the field. Have a WordPress developer that you trust? Check out their recommendations. On their blog, you will likely find a comprehensive list of recommended themes to use and you will get a professional insight into what those themes can do for you.
You should also take your time to check if the theme goes right off the shelf. A lot of buyers is an indicator that the developers did something right, and there is a potential that it might be right for you, too. Try to go for those who have at least a thousand sales under their belt. In the case of Uncode, it took them 6 months to reach 51 thousand sales, which speaks loads of its quality.
It could be a craze, but the truth is simple: the more money goes into the developer’s pocket from a single theme, the more likely he is going to keep updating and developing it. If no one buys a specific one, he is more likely to abandon it altogether and keep improving the best-selling ones.
#5: Who is behind it?
Checking out the developer behind the theme is another effort which will pay off in the long run. The developer behind it should be experienced, with at least three years on the market to prove that. If you go to javierbalcazar.com from the previous link, you will find out that there is vast knowledge on the topic you could rely on.
This is not the rule of the thumb, but longer time on the job usually comes with more experience, and therefore a better theme. If behind the theme stands a developer who is an authority in the WordPress website design niche, you probably can’t get better than that.
Whoever he is, do make sure to check the customer reviews for his replies. A good developer knows that post-sale support is something that goes without saying, and he will try to reply to his customers within 24 hours. The reply should also be professional, and this counts as well. If someone complains about an aspect, and the developer does not have a proper response within a reasonable time-frame, consider moving on.
#6: How old is the theme?
Even if the developer is an excellent one, and gets a lot of praise in the reviews or comment section, you should consider how old the theme itself is. The newest theme probably has more benefits than the first one he ever made, considering the experience that got him there. Still, you would want to make sure the one you choose is not the newest kid on the block, but rather some of the developers earlier work which he recently updated.
If you go with the youngest one, you could likely be the first man on the moon – or to be more precise, your website could be a test drive. Even worse, you would be paying for the potentially horrible experience of dealing with features that haven’t been adequately thought out in advance! Go for the theme that is at least two months old with a couple of users already. They should have tested it by then, and the developer had the time to consider and fix its potential flaws.
#7: The last but most important – Regular updates
If the developer has abandoned the theme, you are unlikely to benefit from any essential points mentioned above. Specifically, the theme won’t make you happy whatsoever, and you won’t be able to rely on the post-sale support. So you should make sure that the developer is actively working on it, and doesn’t seem like he’s going to jump the ship anytime soon.
How could you tell? Check for the updates. Whether the theme has been updated regularly, at least once per month or two months can make a world of difference. With the rapid technology development, which is getting almost impossible to keep up with and fast-changing trends, you want to make sure that both your theme and therefore, your business will not fall behind.
All in all
Searching for the right theme is never an easy task, especially if you are considering purchasing one. That doubles the stress of finding one and multiplies it if it turns out that you have spent money on something that is causing you more trouble than benefits.
If you are on the hunt, then these seven tips and tricks could be rather useful. Make sure to follow all of them to get the best and most reliable theme for your site’s business. Once you have it, it will definitely be worth every minute you spent on your research!
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