How to choose a premium WordPress theme

How to Choose a Premium WordPress Theme

Labeling a product as premium means that it is:

  1. of an unusual or high value
  2. has premium quality

In the world of WordPress themes the first presumption is often true. Developers and designers put a lot of time in creating themes and you do get a product that has a good bangforthebuckness, but when it comes to the second presumption – premium WordPress theme equals premium quality product, things don’t look so bangin’.

Choosing a premium WordPress theme

WordPress, a well architectured and elegant platform as it has always been, rarely comes across as such delight to novice users. What’s more interesting is that unimaginable time is being spent on customer support for WordPress products every day. Customer support is a time, both end-users and developers spend on persuading a theme or a plugin to behave in a desired way.

This is where WordPress best practices step in. You install a premium product, it does what you expect it to do and in a manner you expect all of WordPress to function. If a WordPress product, a theme or a plugin, doesn’t feel like a natural extension of WordPress, then you should avoid it. You can read more about this on Our Philosophy page.

Developing products with WordPress best practices in mind saves everybody’s time.

Paid doesn’t always mean premium and in the world of WordPress, sadly, this has proven to be the case far too many times. Besides determining what you need out of a WordPress theme, there are several things to consider when choosing a premium product.

1. When was the theme last updated?

This tells a thing or two about how well a theme (plugin) is maintained. Backward compatibility guidelines for WordPress.org theme review system require developers not to support more than two prior versions of WordPress, so a regularly updated theme (framework) is a must.

You should also consider the time between update cycles. You don’t want a WordPress product that’s updated yearly. Developers must keep up in order to take advantage of new features and security measures.

2. Is the developer marketing the wrong stuff?

Bloated WordPress themes are reality. It’s not uncommon for WordPress developers to stuff premium templates with 500+ Google fonts, built-in SEO functionality, shortcodes, custom widgets or anything else that handles content or trespasses plugin’s domain.

If these gimmicks are marketed as the main features, the chances are your loved ones will often miss you at the supper table, because your online business stalled and you had to stay in.

3. Is the seller reputable?

There are plenty theme shops, most of which are shady at best (reselling themes or selling those you could find on WordPress.org theme repository for free).

Even the most reputable ones sometimes fall into the trap of trying to please everyone with “unlimitedness” (unlimited color variations for every design element, unlimited sidebars, unlimited sliders… unlimited everything).

While this may seem as some kind of power enhancer, in reality this is an unlimited time consumer, because you may find yourself customizing your website for hours or even days, removing unused shortcodes or configuring your SEO settings all over again or reuploading images, favicons or rewritting content that was handled by your “premium” WordPress theme.

You can find out what people say about a certain theme shop simply by searching for it on Google or checking for social proof. Authoritative social media accounts are usually a good sign and it means that the theme shop is easily reachable through various channels.

Theme shops quite often feature user reviews that have been previously filtered, so try to find user reviews on 3rd party websites.

4. Is the theme feature-rich?

This question is not an easy one to answer. A lot of features you see in today’s premium WordPress themes don’t belong there. If there’s a plugin that extends functionality in a desired way, then that’s the way to go.

Don’t rely on themes to handle content or functionality, because upon switching to a different theme you lose it all.

When it comes to features, a premium WordPress theme should boast with different templates, layouts, support for popular plugins (styles), innovative design, color schemes, WordPress best practices (impeccable coding), everything that has to do how uniquely and incredibly beautiful, pretty and astonishing your content can look.


In a world of WordPress, where everything is modular and can easily be upgraded or downgraded using plugins, the only thing rogue is bloated premium WordPress themes that want to be more, but fail to do so.

Avoid getting caught in this frenzy of having more for paying less, because in the end you’ll pay with your time.

Dragan Nikolic
I am the SEO & a co-founder at ThematoSoup, sharing marketing best practices, how to simplify your online business and make it more manageable.
Dragan Nikolic

@NikolicDragan

Co-founder of @ThematoSoup interested in #minimalism, #WordPress and #marketing.
Check out this quote. "we live as if our bodies were the enemy or something we need to conquer and control." https://t.co/HokSc9TlOF - 2 months ago
Dragan Nikolic
Dragan Nikolic

6 thoughts on “How to Choose a Premium WordPress Theme

  1. Good point about the updates. When I search for a plugin, which is similar to a theme, I look for developers with good support and communication. That means so much.

    1. Raymond, that’s a good way to select which plugins to use on your blog.

      It’s just that people sometimes expect good support and communication for everything, free or premium, not taking into consideration that free themes and plugins exist because of developer’s good will.

      1. I can definitely understand how that would be a little annoying, especially when someone takes the time to work on something then offer it for free.

        But back to the topic of choosing a theme: choosing the theme for my site was a lot easier when I developed a good q&a the developer over the course of a week. They got back to be within 1-2 days, at the most, and I could also see they were very helpful with others.

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