These days you will see a lots of WordPress themes available in the market. And it is very confusion that which one will we choose for our WordPress blog or website. WordPress is a great CMS and is Open Source. And Starting a blog or website with WordPress is a easy and smart way. You can find lots of beautiful feature rich WordPress themes to change the look and feel of your WordPress site. Choosing the best theme for your WordPress site can be a daunting task. With thousands of free and premium themes available, how do you go about finding the right one? These tips should help.
1. Make a checklist of features you need.
There are lots of fantastic WordPress themes available, but even the best of them would make a poor choice if they lacked the features you need. So before you embark on your quest, make a list of everything you want in a theme. Ask yourself questions such as:
- What kind of WordPress site do I have? (E.g. photography, magazine, blog, portfolio, store, food, real estate, personal, etc.).
- What features does my site need? (E.g. multiple widget areas, ecommerce tools, SEO, retina-readiness, fancy sliders, etc.).
- How much can I afford?
- How many domains will I need to use the theme for? (Premium themes may charge extra fees for multi-domain licensing.).
And then, there are features you’ll want to see no matter what kind of site you have:
- Responsive design.
- Browser compatibility.
- Clean code.
- Regular updates.
- Money-back guarantee.
2. Take it for a test drive.
A WordPress theme developer may let you try out their themes at a testing site, so you can try out their themes for yourself. You register at the developer’s site and they will send you login credentials to the test WordPress site. Once you log in to the test site, you can play with the theme options as if you already owned it. Take advantage of this option if a theme developer offers it. Even if you like how a theme looks in live demo sites, it won’t do you any good if you can’t recreate it yourself in the WordPress admin dashboard environment. Explore the theme options and imagine how it would make your site look.
If there is no test site available for a theme you like, look for a free version. Some developers provide scaled-down versions of their themes for free at WordPress.org, giving users the option to upgrade to a paid version. While a free release may restrict some features, you can still put it to work as much as you like. You’ll have a very good idea what to expect from the premium version should you choose to buy it.
If a theme developer offers neither a test site nor a free version, they will almost certainly have live demos and/or video previews. A live demo is a functional WordPress site that shows what a theme looks like and what it’s capable of. Video previews and tutorials walk you through the theme’s key features.
Some premium themes may come with a money-back guarantee. For example, you may be able to buy XX theme and have the right to get your money back in 30 days from the date of purchase. If you buy a theme with a money-back guarantee, take advantage of it. Use and test the theme right away. If you don’t like it, don’t wait until the last day to request a refund.
3. Understand how licenses and plans work.
Buying a premium WordPress theme means you’ll need to deal with licenses and pricing plans. You need to know what they are and how they work if you don’t want to waste your money.
License tells you what you can and can’t legally do with a product when you buy it. That’s right; just because you pay $100 for a theme, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with it. The developer may impose restrictions depending on the license you get. For example, a “basic” license may give you the right to use a theme on a single domain only; a “professional” license may entitle you to use the same theme on an unlimited number of domains. These are only examples; each developer or themes shop is different. But as a rule, the more permissive the license, the more expensive it is. Make sure you understand the licensing agreement before you buy a theme.
Many developers offer a variety of pricing plans to attract more customers. If a theme you like is available under multiple plans, compare them and choose the one that gives you the freedom to do what you need.
A sample pricing plan may go like this:
- Starter plan: Recurring annual fee; grants use on single domain, one year of updates, free support.
- Advanced plan: Recurring (higher) annual fee; gives more free themes, free plugins, updates, support.
- Full plan: One-time (but much higher) fee; use in multiple domains, lifetime updates, support, community, etc.
If you are not sure what to get, consider purchasing the cheapest plan first. Ask the developer if you’ll have the option to upgrade later (you should; why would they stop you?).
4. Evaluate the quality of customer service.
What would you do if you needed help with your WordPress Theme? You may have trouble installing the theme. Perhaps the documentation is confusing. Or maybe it stops working after you install a WordPress update. There is no one to turn to except the author(s) of that theme. Before you buy one, take some time to investigate the quality of customer service that it brings.
One way to do this is to contact the maker of a theme. Go to their official website, find their contact form or email address, and send a message. Ask any questions you may have about the theme. (Just make sure those questions haven’t already been answered on their site.) When/If the developer replies to your inquiry, check:
- Have they addressed your concerns?
- Are they friendly and helpful?
- Do they express confidence in their products?
- Would you feel comfortable asking help from them if you ran into problems with their theme?
If the answer is no, keep looking. Product support is like a first aid kit: You hope you never need it, but you never want to go without it.
5. Know the difference between themes and frameworks.
Don’t ever buy a WordPress theme without knowing the difference between a regular theme and a theme framework! The two concepts are related, but there is an important difference between them. Essentially, a theme is a ready-to-use “skin” that you put on your site or blog, but you already knew that, right? A theme framework, on the other hand, is a foundation upon which new skins (called “child themes”) are built. As such, frameworks are more for web designers and advanced users who have the technical know-how, time and desire to create their own themes. While a solid framework will lend stability to site design, it can be hard for a beginner to use. If you are a newbie, or if you just want something that you can use right away, steer clear of frameworks until you gain more experience. Look for high-quality regular themes instead.
6. Compare, compare, compare.
The WordPress themes marketplace is huge — and competition is fierce. If you see a theme you like, it probably won’t be the last one. Keep browsing until you are absolutely sure you have found the perfect solution for your web design needs. You can literally spend days surfing the Web for themes and still feel unsure which is the right one for your site.
If you see a theme you like, hold off clicking the “Buy it now” button (unless money isn’t an issue, or you are worried about the price going up). Hours or days later, you may find yourself saying, “Wow, I’m glad I didn’t buy that other one!”
To make your search easier, bookmark the themes that appeal most to you. Take note of their features, pricing, licensing options and quality of service. Write down whatever you dislike as well. After diligent searching, sit down and compare them all.
7. Turn to other WordPress publishers.
Don’t be too impressed by whatever a developer says on their website. It’s only natural that they heap praises on their own work; it’s their business. The people you really want to hear from are fellow WordPress bloggers and publishers like yourself. Go to the WordPress.org and/or webmaster forums. Search for discussions about a theme you like. What are people saying about it? Do they sound like satisfied customers to you? Or do you read a lot of complaints about issues such as bugs, incompatibility or lack of technical support?
If the overall response is positive, you can buy that theme with greater confidence. If the reaction is mixed or negative, you should probably look for another theme. This is not to say that you shouldn’t buy a theme just because someone says something bad about it. Everyone has critics. But don’t ignore the chorus of fellow WordPress users who already own a theme and are miserable because of it.
8. Give the free stuff a look.
Last but not least, consider free WordPress themes. Yes, you are probably thinking, “But they suck!” That may be true for a great many of these freebies, yet some of them are real gems. Use a keyword phrase like “free responsive themes for WordPress” to weed out obsolete skins in your search. You’ll find several that may be worth trying.
Since these themes are free, their developers may issue fewer updates; they may or may not offer product support. Before you install a free theme, ensure that it is up-to-date, secure and compatible with the latest WordPress release. Check the developer’s website to see if they are still actively working on it. Beware of a theme that has not been updated in many months (even if it’s just a minor bug fix), or doesn’t keep up with WordPress updates.
A word of warning: Some free themes may stand out, but don’t expect them to deliver the goods that commercial themes do. Don’t settle for a freebie just to save money. If money is an issue, know that there is a WordPress theme for every budget. Choose one that’s perfect for your website, your goals and your sanity.
WordPress Premium themes buying guide
Though all above tips will help you to find out the best theme for your website or blog which fits best for you. Here are some quick other points which can help you to make your decision for particular theme.
Theme Comparison Tips
- Avoid the heavily shortcoded themes. It means a theme is using lots of shortcodes in their theme avoid that.
- Check for SEO Friendliness of the theme. Check out the things like proper coded for SEO, Should be fast loading, Should be light size wise. Should be user friendly etc.
- Check for Mobile Friendliness – always choose the responsive theme as google is now considering as ranking factor for mobile ready sites.
WordPress theme Providers & theme clubs
You can find lots of resources to find the Best Free and Premium themes like
Themeforest – It a large marketplace to buy quality themes.
Mojothemes – It is another themes marketplace for buy and sell themes.
Themetrust – Premium themes Club having 24 themes and 3 plugins in their store.
Mythemeshop – They collection of free (15) and Paid (83) theme and plugins.
Appthemes – Special Purpose themes.