What Makes a Premium WordPress Theme Premium?

WordPress has become a hugely popular open source blogging and publishing platform. The abundance of free themes and plugins as well as its ease-of-use have contributed to the attraction and popularity for using WordPress. While there are some great free themes for WordPress, many only offer basic functionality and simplistic designs.

Since late 2007 however an increasing number of WordPress theme developers have been offering premium WordPress themes – themes which are offered for a fixed price. These premium WordPress themes are usually sold for between $50 to $250. Originally only a small number of talented and well-known WordPress theme designers created paid premium WordPress themes which were well designed, highly functional, top-quality themes that transformed a WordPress installation from a simple blog into a powerful content management system. However as the premium WordPress theme business concept spread, more and more WordPress theme designers have hopped on the bandwagon trying to cash on the new trend filling up their portfolio with premium (paid) wordpress themes.

However with greater variety and numbers of paid premium WordPress themes also comes varying levels of quality. So what specifically makes a premium WordPress theme premium? Some characteristics that should set a premium wordpress theme apart from a free theme are listed below:

Quality and Unique Design
Premium WordPress themes should be just that – Premium. They should look better and be of a much higher quality and unique design than compared to those available for free.

While all themes are different, in general premium WordPress themes should have more “Features” than their free counterparts. What that means depends on the theme in question. However some features may include: “Featured Posts” areas, Multiple layout options for the home page, drop down menus, multiple customs templates for pages, custom field options, print style sheets etc.

Customization Options and Fexibility
People want options, so Premium WordPress themes should be customisable. Buying a premium theme will set you apart from the crowd significantly, but since other people will still be using the same theme, premium themes should be able to be easily customized further, whether it be for the layout, colours, images, or all of the above.

Live Preview or Demo
There should be a live demo or preview of the theme so you can test it and check it out before buying. If there is no live preview or demo that should be a warning sign. You should ask why don’t they want you to test the theme first? All reputable premium theme sellers will have a live demo full of content for you to test. Explore the live demo thoroughly, testing all pages to see that the theme works properly and there are no errors or mistakes.

Full Support
If you’re buying a premium WordPress theme it should also come with a certain degree of support from the designer. The level of support can vary however and will range from personalised individual support from the designer, to the provision of forums or blog comment sections for asking questions and obtaining support from the designer and other people who have purchased the theme.

Supporting Documentation
Premium WordPress themes should come with an instruction manual or document. This should explain how to upload and install the theme and how to manage any of the options that are built into the theme.

Free Updates
WordPress is continually being updated and improved and a premium WordPress theme developer should be offering you free updates of the theme when required.

Well Coded and Error Free
There should be no coding errors, misspellings, X images, etc in a premium WordPress theme. The theme has cross browser compatible and been tested to work properly on all the major browsers, plus the theme should have clean and valid code and adhere to strict XHTML and CSS standards.

Source by Marlon Burrows

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