A Simple Premium Theme Buyers Guide

A premium theme is more than just a website, each theme comes with it’s own personality and individual perks. They’re all different in every aspect, and choosing the right one for your website can be tough. The simple reason being is that you’re putting your own money into it.

I created this premium theme buyers guide with one goal in mind. Allowing you to create value from your premium purchases. I’ve compiled a short list of factors that I would consider and look out for when choosing a premium theme for any website.

Responsive Design vs Non Responsive

The way I look at is if I’m going to be purchasing a premium theme then it might as well utilize a responsive design… Unless there is a specific request not to use a responsive theme, but that typically doesn’t happen.

If you take a look through a theme marketplace such as Themeforest you’ll start to notice that all the latest themes released are supporting a responsive design. Responsive designs are almost becoming the typical standard for premium themes. It makes more sense to be using a mobile friendly website as opposed to not be – so look out for responsive designs.

What Type of Design Scope Are You Looking For?

The design scope is of course the most important element to choosing your theme. If it doesn’t match your design criteria, then why bother. The question is, what is your design criteria?

I’m not really the one who can answer that, but below are a few questions that may help you determine your answer. Think about what you or your client are looking for in terms of design. For example:

  • Is a full screen content slider something you could benefit from?
  • Are there important pieces of information that could be highlighted through a slider?
  • Are you a photographer, designer looking to attract visitors through an outstanding portfolio?
  • Do you want to utilize a parallax design?
  • Do you require eCommerce?
  • Is product display the most important element?
  • Or are you looking for something more like a landing page?

These are just a few of the questions I could think of. Each one of them will help you determine the type of design you’re looking for. The best way to figure it out is to just look, and see what designs and themes strike your attention. You can start here.

Have You Seen The Developers Previous Work?

I don’t necessarily base my purchase on the developers previous work, because their new theme is supposed to stand out from their old ones. It never hurts though to take a look at their previous work and see what kind of support they provided to those themes, and their current customers.

Have they provided consistent updates to each theme? Were they making modifications/fixes to their previous themes? Did they provide ongoing support and address any bugs that were discovered? Did they reply to theme marketplace comments and do they have a support forum? Try to keep an eye out on how well they are providing support as there can be glitches from time to time and you will most likely need it.

Usually by viewing the developers theme marketplace profile and previous themes you can get a feel for what they are like as a person and a developer, and answer some of the immediate questions above.

Customer Reviews & Theme Ratings

I’ve only had the chance to purchase a subscription from elegant themes and buy a few different themes from themeforest.net. With Elegant themes it was a no brainer, I hardly even touched the customer reviews or theme ratings subject because I was getting 87 themes for a subscription fee. I was sold from that price point alone.

Themeforest, I’ll look towards 4 and 5 star rated themes and see what kind of feedback they’ve had in their comments area.

One of the other key features I look for is a support forum. When I purchased the Moxie theme I was referred to their support forum. I’ve had a very pleasant experience using it so far and their always quick to respond to any bugs, questions or general discussion. It’s things that like that help make your purchase worth while.

Additional Features

Additional features are just as important as anything else, because to me all these little extras and add-ons that may be redundant at the time do tend to come in handy. These are some of the additional features I tend to want in my premium theme purchase.

Shop – ecommerce compatible

eCommerce is big right now, and for any theme that is already ecommerce compatible and has a responsive design, is a theme worth buying. eCommerce is a must, because creating your own store design can be very time consuming.

Layout Builder

Now I mentioned layout builder, but I’m 50/50 on this. Some layout builders are great and others I’m not too fond of. I prefer having full control of the layout so I usually modify the template files. A layout builder isn’t something I would consider mandatory, but if it’s for a clients website then maybe a layout builder would be ideal.


Portfolio page templates or a filterable portfolio. In most cases people want to showcase something and a portfolio does exactly that. Most premium themes today have multiple page templates and usually a portfolio layout is included.

Cross browser compatibility

If it’s compatible up to IE8 then it’s worth buying. Be sure to test it first.

Well Documented

It never hurts to have documented information on the themes code and files.

Multiple Page Layouts

In general each new theme comes with many different page templates/layouts. As opposed to a layout builder I would look more towards different page templates for your theme. A blog page template is a must.

Where Can I Buy A Theme

When you are ready to begin your search for a premium theme, these are two of the marketplaces I’ve personally used.

Themeforest is an envato marketplace and is by far my favourite theme marketplace.

Elegant Themes ( theme subscription )
Elegant Themes is a subscription base plan that offers over 85+ premium themes for an amazing price.

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Author: Jake

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