I spent hours—days—looking at free themes and making several false starts at creating my own new theme. There are some admirable themes out there (I’ve designed a few myself and I’ve posted about good themes I’ve come across). But let’s face it: most free themes are boring, badly designed, or poorly constructed. It takes inspiration to design a unique theme and perspiration to grind out the code. Both are time consuming and fraught with hair pulling. Even if you have the talent, skill and patience that I lack, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t love the task, the payoff is rather poor.
Plenty of Reasons to Go Premium
I saved days of wasted effort trying to start from scratch, learn a new WordPress framework, or hack a shoddy free theme to my needs. Instead, by going with a premium theme, I got a theme that:
- Has a clean design that looks just fine out-of-the-box.
- Has plenty of options that make it easy to customize.
- Offers a comprehensive demo site, good documentation, and instructional videos (yipee!).
- Has clean code that’s easy to hack if I want to get creative.
- Is compatible with all major browsers, saving me the time and aggravation of having to test my own design.
- Has a wealth of functionality built in.
- Exposed me to some useful plugins that I didn’t know about.
- Is probably better than I could have come up with on my own.
- Saved me more than my money’s worth in time and frustration.
Picking a Premium Theme for ThemeMeme
I’ve always been skeptical of premium themes. Some are overpriced. Some aren’t much better than many of the free themes that are available. But a few months back, I added some affiliate links to ThemeForest and ElegantThemes. I mostly forgot about them, but when I last checked, I noticed I’d made a few sales. Obviously, people were finding something they liked. So I took another look.
If you check out ElegantThemes, you’ll see a wide selection of beautifully crafted themes. Better yet, you get unlimited access to all of these themes (almost 30 as I write this) for only $19.95! It’s an incredible deal.
ThemeForest is à la carte, with each theme going for about $20 to $35. There are over 300 themes as I write this, but as you might expect, most of them aren’t worth a second look. Surprisingly, there are a handful of truly excellent themes available here. I had a hard time settling on one, but finally chose the BigFeature theme, which set me back 25 bucks, which I still consider a bargain.
The Best of the Rest
Here are the top ten WordPress themes I found on ThemeForest while looking for a theme: