To buy or not to buy premium themes, that is the question? Webmasters like their websites to look good and provide an excellent user interface to their precious readers. This is exactly why we need to perform extensive research while searching for the best WordPress theme that suits us. The process of deciding on premium themes, or not, can be a daunting task and there are many factors to be considered. It is not one of those blogging secrets that no one knows about, it is just that people forget that a premium theme is very important!
Is it really required to have a premium themes?
Let me start with a developer point of view, If you happened to create a masterpiece, will you give it away for free? You might and decide to live with the donations which will come your way, but how many will there be?
So if you look around, there are some nice free themes which can be a good starting point, but after that we all like to have a theme which gives a lot of customization options, looks good and we can tailor it based on our needs. These qualities are hard to find in the free segment.
In a need of good theme, we end up buying it (though it is fair to developer who has put in the efforts).http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
The other side of the story is that if you start looking for premium WordPress themes, its hard to decide which one to buy, there are so many options. You may end up reading reviews and most of them might be good too. So what to do..
This is what I do and I will share it with you, I look for these 5 things while deciding on the premium themes.
1) Back-end Support in Premium Themes
The basic need on the premium themes segment is a nice and attractive front-end, but the major thing which differentiate between a good theme and excellent theme is back-end support.
Back-end support includes a lot of things, how easy is to do changes/customization in the theme, how easy is to upgrade the theme etc.
Themes can be classified in two categories framework and theme package. Frameworks are generic package and need customization, theme package can be used out-of-box.
Which one you buy is depend on how comfortable you are with coding or do you have web developer at your disposal. Framework requires little coding idea (or at least a person who can follow instruction available on internet). Though some framework provides a front-end, but at last we all end up modifying it to our need.
Though you may end up modifying your theme a lot, but what customization option comes with the theme is most important and what options are available to keep those changes in upgrade process.
2) Support for SEO
This is another option which I rate highly, though this can be achieved through plugins but a good theme should provide out-of-box SEO option.
What kind of SEO option are available, is it provide custom title for post, how about page SEO option (we do end up creating lot of pages which we want to rank by search engines). Premium themes with SEO options are worth it and will provide you with more flexibility and integrated framework to do your work. Plugins always end up slowing the blog little bit, where integrated SEO will not have adverse effects on the site.
To tell you the truth, My SEO handling only happens with SEOPressor and my theme, no other plugin for that.
3) Future Upgrades
This option can be clubbed with pricing, but I will keep it separate. Here I want to make a point regarding upgrade process.
This is a constantly changing environment, and more than likely, you will have to upgrade the theme sooner or later. Not upgrading your blog can be security issue and if you are using Google webmaster tools then you know they also like up to date blogs.
How easy is it to upgrade the theme? Is an automatic upgrade process available, and If not what support do you get during an update?
This can be a major factor, as your theme can be a bottleneck to upgrade process of your blog, which nobody wants.
4) Front-End Look
Theme Front-end look is an important factor for premium themes which comes in theme package. You buy it for the way it looks on offered place.
Though we end up modifying it but usually theme package does not change much in terms of layout (without the knowledge of PHP and CSS). So it is an important factor in terms of finalizing the layout of your site.
It is an important factor on frameworks also, but flexibility of modification takes over as we end up customizing the site.
5) Price Options
Price can be a deciding factor. How the theme has been priced can influence your final decision.
Is it a one time payment for theme and updates, or will you have to pay for the updates, or is it a recurring payment per year basis?
Which is a best option? It depends on your budget. I prefer premium themes with one time payment option which include theme and updates, but they usually ends up being expensive (in short-term) than the other options. Buying one theme for one price can also leave you with one theme that may not suit you in the future.
If you are budget conscious or looking to set up things first than yearly recurring payment is good option. It is most economical option in terms of spending at a point of time. Elegant themes offer 50 plus amazing WordPress themes for $39 a year. That is a great price considering the support and amazing quality of the themes themselves.
What options do you look for when deciding which premium theme to buy?