When you’re shopping for a premium responsive WordPress theme on ThemeForest you want to get your money’s worth. Choosing a theme can be very overwhelming as there are a myriad of options on ThemeForest. Next time you’re in the market for a responsive WordPress theme you may want to follow this guide to ensure you choose your theme wisely.
Throughout this guide I have used the Avada Responsive WordPress Theme created by Theme Fusion as the example theme in question. I chose this particular theme because it is an extremely popular, well-constructed, premium responsive WordPress theme. I have no association with Theme Fusion.
For great WordPress themes, check out the Top Responsive WordPress Themes Born in 2014.
Test The Theme Demo
- View Standard Responsive Layouts All At Once with Google Chrome’s Web Developer Extension
- Test the responsive design given your specific mobile use case with Google’s GoMoMeter
- Test the theme’s page speed & underlying quality with GTmetrix
- Test how the theme renders in all the browsers and operating systems you want your web site to support with Browsershots
- Test the site for color blind design issues with Chrome Daltonize
- Take a quick look at the source code, this can give you a lot of insight into the quality and readability of the underlying code
- Test the contact form and see if it offers user-friendly validation
- Type in a URL you know doesn’t exist for the theme and see if an elegant 404 page design exists
- Elite Authors
- Good Buyer Ratings
- High Purchase Volume (relative to the release date)
- Frequent Updates (relative to the release date)
- Significant Customization Options
- Unique Theme Features (that you couldn’t easily replicate using freely available WordPress plugins)
This is a very efficient & effective way to identify any obvious quality issues with a responsive design.
Your particular use case determines whether or not the theme will meet your need as is. For example the Avada Responsive WordPress Theme would require tweaking to accommodate a web site focused on lead generation, but would be ready out-of-the-box for a publisher.
Keep in mind that you should ignore the server-side specific issues, since your site will ultimately be dependent upon your own web server’s configuration. Also, some issues are inevitable with very highly configurable themes, as they unfortunately require lots of unused CSS and inefficient CSS selectors in order to accommodate a wide array of optional design configurations.
Discovering a cross-browser compatibility issue after you’ve launched a new design is no fun for anyone and cleaning these types of issues up can be very tedious.
About 7% of American males & 0.4% of American females are color blind. The Avada Responsive WordPress Theme looks essentially the same when “Daltonized” so I’m including an example screenshot from the extension rather than the example theme.
Look at naming conventions, formatting, consistency, code efficiency, referenced libraries, etc. For example, the Avada Responsive WordPress Theme creators leverage the Google Font API and use a CDN for their demo site. They’re also using the meta viewport tag. The fact that they are using these more recent technologies & standards is a good sign.
When theme developers take the time to implement validation on their contact forms they are more likely to spend time on other little, but important details.
On the same note, when theme developers take the time to implement custom 404 page designs they are again more likely to spend time on other little, but important details.
Look for ThemeForest themes with…
These authors have earned over $75,000 on the Envato Marketplace, clearly they’re doing something right!
Pretty obvious why this is important.
You’re not buying a theme to maintain it’s core design & functionality. Make sure the theme you buy will be supported for the foreseeable future.
While the theme demo may look spectacular, you’re going to want to personalize it. You don’t want your site to look like all the other web sites running the same theme. Make sure there’s enough built-in customization options to differentiate your site, especially if you’re not a front-end developer.
For example you can get tons of shortcodes and/or create your own by simply installing Shortcodes Ultimate.