WordPress Themes - November 25, 2015

5 Things to Do BEFORE Buying a WordPress Theme

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About to buy a theme? Fantastic! Do you know what to check before making a purchase? In this article, we’re going to go through the basics of doing the background check of a WordPress theme.

Exploring the Demo

They say “don’t judge a book by its cover” and it’s true for most things, but it’s kind of essential for people to see the demo pages of a WordPress theme to ensure the theme appeals to the customer. While it’s not the one and only measure that proves a WordPress theme is “good”, it certainly gives a decent idea of what you can achieve with the theme.

But before starting navigating through the demo pages, you should first picture the website you’re going to build in your head. If you do it while checking out the demo, your imagination will be shaped by the theme you’re seeing right then. Decide on the basic layouts of your pages first (you can do it in your head or sketch it on a piece of paper), and start exploring theme demos after that.

Checking the Ratings of the Theme

ThemeForest and many other theme shops use a “ratings” system to indicate the buyers’ satisfaction. Some of them likes the theme, some of them don’t, and people like to rate things. Checking the ratings of a theme might give you a decent idea of how well the theme’s been received by the buyers. And if there’s a Comments section, be sure to check it out as well. It’s like asking for opinions from the people that already made the purchase.

Stalking the Theme Maker(s)

This one’s a bit more fun: Investigate the guys and gals who created the theme. Get the names, search for the names on Google (or Bing, if you’re into that), see what comes up. Check if they’ve made other themes or websites for their clients. It will give an idea on their sense of professionalism.

Analyzing the Quality of Support

If you buy that theme, are you sure you’re going to get proper support after the purchase? Even if you’re tech-savvy and confident that you can solve the problems you’ll encounter yourself, good support means they care for their customers. Try to find the support forums or knowledge bases of the theme makers and check the quality of support. You never know when you’ll need some.

Going Over the Online Documentation (If Exists)

I know all about theme making and using WordPress, but sometimes even I had a hard time making sense of the theme I purchased. In theme shops like ThemeForest, the quality of documentations are also graded. But even so, try to find the “online documentation” of the theme and skim through it to see if the theme is well-documented.

Wrapping Up

As a freelance web designer, I’ve built tens of websites for my clients and most of them went with choosing a WordPress theme instead of letting me design from scratch. So, naturally, I learned the way to distinguish good themes from bad themes. Believe it or not, applying these practices yourself would let you see beyond the visible design elements and get a grip on how a theme is made. Seriously, I can tell the difference between a well-coded theme from a badly-coded one before purchasing one. And I’m confident that you’ll be able to do as well.

Do you have any other methods of checking how a WordPress theme is? Tell us in the Comments section below. And thanks for reading!

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