If you are looking to buy a premium WordPress theme, unlike with something you might buy in a high street store, you don’t get a chance to try before you buy. Although premium wordpress themes are not necessarily expensive, you will invest a fair amount of your time in learning how the theme functions and how best to use it’s capabilities. Here are 6 essential checks you should make before you buy, to help you avoid wasting time and money.
1. Buy from the designer’s site
Ensure that the actual download and purchase is from the designer’s site and not from a third party site. There have been reported cases of malware being placed inside themes and sold via third party sites. This is rare, but why take the risk? You are also more likely to ensure that you download the latest version of the theme. This can be crucial if the theme needed to be upgraded due to a new WordPress release – you don’t want to be stuck with a theme you can’t use!
2. Compatible with the current version of WordPress?
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how slow, sometimes, designers can be in issuing an upgrade.
3. Check out the designer’s site
Are installation and configuration instructions readily available online? If not – avoid.
4. Does the designer update the theme?
I wouldn’t say avoid version 1.0 themes, but evidence that themes are periodically updated – if only to keep track of WordPress updates – is a good sign. It shows the designer’s commitment to the customer.
5. Is there a support forum?
Unless you are very experienced with WordPress, coding and CSS, it is almost inevitable that you will have a support question in order to deal with an unexpected problem or a specific configuration issue. Look for a frequently visited forum, with threads being answered knowledgeably, and no “attitude” from the designer. A well frequented forum doesn’t mean that the theme is bad – it just means that questions get answered helpfully. If not, people won’t come back. Whilst we’re on the subject of forums, is it only the designer who answers or does he have moderators that assist? This can be important if you need a question answered quickly.
As I have indicated in the title of this post, this is a list of “checks”. Apart from #1 and #2, which I believe to be absolutely essential, the other checks should not be considered as deal-breakers. If your chosen “must have” theme doesn’t quite meet all of these requirements, don’t despair. Just be aware of what you are buying into and keep your eyes open!
If you only intend to use a free theme, some of these checks are just as important if not more so.