What To Look For In A Premium WP Theme: The Ultimate Checklist

premium wp theme

WordPress is the best content management system in the world. Nobody, or nothing, even comes close. There is a veritable number of apps and plugins that you can use to make your website better. And the best part is you do not have to design your website from scratch.

WordPress offers free and premium themes. Premium ones are paid, and this is what I want to give you guidance on today. In the end, I will help you decide what to look for in a Premium WP theme and whether or not it is worth it.  

What is a Premium WordPress theme?

A Premium WordPress theme is a paid one. The price varies from a few dollars to thousands. A Premium WordPress theme is one that you would use if you wanted to build a unique website specifically designed for something.

A Premium WordPress theme offers the following:

  • More configuration options
  • More embedded functions
  • Better designs, layouts, and backend aesthetic options
  • Updated frequently to solve bugs and glitches
  • Has user support (but for a limited time)

A Premium WordPress theme is faster than a free one. You see, not a lot of effort is put into free themes. They are free, so they are pretty much either an experimental project from an aspiring software engineer, or it is merely a demo from a company that wants you to buy a Premium WordPress theme.

Tips for Buying a Premium WordPress theme

Before I share with you what to look for in a Premium WordPress theme, I want to tell you some best practices that will help you prepare and make a sound business decision.

1. Know what you want

What you have to do is to understand what you are looking for in a theme. Premium themes are not like free ones. Free themes are nothing more than templates of a home page, headers, footers, and menus.

Premium themes offer more than these things. If you are putting up a restaurant website, you have to consider what the premium theme can do for your restaurant.

Here are some examples:

  • Booking for meals
  • A menu page
  • Images and video slots or sections for food

Do not buy a premium theme just because it looks beautiful. Aesthetic values should be the last of your priorities since “beauty” really depends on what you put on your site.

When buying a theme, you must also look for the features that come with it. In any WordPress theme store, you will be able to see what the theme can do.

Here are some examples:

  • Carousel sliders
  • Column layout
  • Menu styles
  • Sidebars
  • Hero layouts

Many premium themes offer different variations of these things. Find out what they are before committing to a purchase.  

2. Avoid a heavily bloated theme

A bloated theme has so too many codes. These codes interfere with your site speed. I know that this is difficult to figure out if you are not a software engineer, but there are telltale signs.

A theme that has so many things going on is bloated. If it has too many features, a lot is going on in the background.

For example, some themes have fancy music players. If you use it, the web hosting service provider will have to read much code before presenting the site to the user.

Because the server is overworked, it will take time for your website to load. No, you do not like this at all.

Another thing that can cause bloating is the number of options that you have. For example, if the theme gives you 100 font options, this theme is bloated and will cause some serious problems later on.

Features are great to have, but too much of them can break your website. So instead, choose a theme that has the features that you want but no more than that.  

3. Check if the theme is responsive

A responsive theme is one that automatically changes its presentation style according to the users’ device. Since a majority of internet users are on mobile, you have to choose a responsive theme.

This means that it will detect the user’s device and then present the website accordingly. If you do not know it yet, the way a “responsive” website looks on mobile is different from a laptop or desktop, even if the user is using a browser and not an app.

Try it.

The mobile version is upright, which can also be presented in the landscape aspect. However, the way it looks is different. Usually, there is a menu bar at the top left. Below is an example of a responsive website.

This is how it looks from a laptop browser:

And this is how it looks from a mobile device using a browser:

As you can see, there is a big difference. The theme is the one that decides how to show the website, and that decision is based on the user’s device. Overall, a mobile-responsive theme is easier to use. 

4. Find out if you can change the color scheme

Branding is about color consistency. If you do not have a color scheme yet, this should not be a problem, but you will rely on the theme’s available colors.

If you already have a marketing or branding standard, then you have to check if the premium theme has these colors. If not, then you have a problem.

At best, the colors available on the theme must match your logo. This will help you sustain a consistent visual appearance.

Now, here is the problem: some themes have limited color palettes. If you want to change the color, you will have to go to the CSS style sheet and add the colors. This is a problem whether or not you are a coder.  

My advice is to choose a theme where you can simply enter an RGB or hex number, and then it will change the color according to your input.

Here is an example of a theme where you can change the hex color as per your requirement:

5. Look for fonts available 

The last thing to do is to check what fonts the theme is using. Some fonts are too fancy, and they are not good for business.

Like the color, some themes have limited options, while some allow you to download fonts from the internet. However, changing or adding fonts requires that you know something about codes.

My advice is to look for a theme that offers several fonts and make sure that these fonts are readable, not fancy.

While fancy fonts are unique, they are not attractive. You want a font that is easy to the eye. Also, make sure that the font is universal. Stick to the classic ones because if the font is not universal, some browsers will not show them as they are.

There are thousands of premium themes out there. To save yourself some time, the first thing you have to check is the review. This is important. If the theme has only a few reviews, likely, these reviews are not real.

Few reviews, even if they are real, indicate that the theme is not on demand. And if it is not on-demand, you are likely getting a theme that will not perform per your expectations.

Is it worth buying a premium WordPress theme? 

Yes, it is worth buying a premium theme. At first, you may think, “Meh, this is just an added cost, and they are all the same anyway!”

No, it does not work like that. A Premium theme has more features and functionality that you will never get from a free one.

Here are some examples of the kind of websites you can build with premium themes:

  • Websites like Fiverr
  • Websites like Amazon
  • Dating website
  • Restaurant website with a booking form
  • e-Commerce website
  • Sales funnel website

Premium themes are already built to work like the websites I mentioned. Pretty much, all you have to do is to change the photos and the texts. You also can remove or add certain sections and functionalities if this is what you want.

Things to look for when buying a Premium WordPress theme

Now, let me walk you through the things you need to look for as far as a premium theme is concerned. What I am trying to do here is to help you make the right business decision. After all, the theme is not free. 

1. Design 

Beauty is subjective. However, you need to be in tune with the times. You have to select a theme that is modern. 

What does this mean?

Modern look or feel has something to do with simplicity. Back in the 90s, websites were cluttered. Today, websites like that are an eyesore. 

Here are some things you need to consider: 

  • Color palette – the theme must use a consistent color combination
  • Typography – must have fonts that are easy to read
  • Layout – must allow you to add or remove sections as you please

Do not attempt to make a website like Amazon or eBay—these are different types of sites. What you have to do is to think about your user or customer, and design your website according to how your target market would like it.  


Look for a theme that has features that you need. Earlier, I said that you should avoid bloated websites, and I will reiterate this.  

There is no telling what features you are looking for. There are so many things that a website can do, and each business has its own needs. 

For example, let us say that you want to build a dating website. If this is the case, then you want the following features: 

  • Sign-up feature
  • Membership profiles 
  • Chat features

As you can see, the features you should be looking for depends on the business that you are trying to put up.

2. Security

Although WordPress has security features, some themes make your website susceptible to hacking. I am sure that you have heard about SSL and all that. Even if you have SSL, some themes make your website vulnerable. 

There are many beginners to WordPress blogging that do not pay attention to security. As a result, they just wake up one day to find out that their website has been compromised. 

And the worst part? They have a pay a ransom to get back their access to the site. Make sure you read reviews before purchasing a theme and that you only buy from a reputable theme developer. It is better to shell out a few dozen dollars than have to deal with this later on.  

3. Performance

Next, look for a theme that loads fast. I mentioned earlier that you have to avoid themes with many codes, and I will repeat it. 

The problem is that you cannot test the speed of the theme without buying it. Pretty much, you are in a tough spot here. 

Here are the two solutions: 

  • Buy it but only if a 100% refund is guaranteed within 30 days
  • Get the feedback of other users

On the first option, what is going to happen is that you will buy and install the theme and then develop your website. Once it is installed, you should test on Google and other speed test websites how your website is performing now. 

If the performance is slow, ask for a refund. This can be tedious and frustrating, so you may just want to rely on what other users say about the theme.  

4. Compatibility

The next thing you have to ask yourself after seeing a theme that you like is compatibility. This is a little tricky because one would think that, of course, it is a WordPress theme, so it must be compatible, right? 

Yes, of course. 

However, you will find yourself one day looking for other software programs or plugins. For example, you may want to use Mailchimp for your autoresponder. Even if Mailchimp typically works with WordPress, there is no guarantee that it will work with your theme. 

To find out, you have to ask the developer of the theme. Another method is to ask other users for feedback.

5. Responsive

This is no longer negotiable. You must only pick a theme that was built with the mobile user in mind. We discussed this earlier, but I want to add some more things. 

Here are the benefits of a mobile-responsive website: 

  • More mobile traffic
  • Faster pages
  • Low bounce rate
  • Better SEO

Another thing that people do not seem to notice is that a mobile-responsive website is accessible even if the person is offline. Today, there is such a thing called HTML 5, which allows webmasters to display their site content through HTML 5 application cache.   

6. Page Builder

The last thing I want you to look for is the page builder aspect of the theme. While WordPress allows you to build many pages, it does not mean that it will carry over the theme’s design.

Some web developers for WordPress themes seem to forget this. However, if the page builder does not inherit the theme’s setting, you are in trouble. 

What does this mean? 

It means that if you create a new WordPress page, it is a blank slate. It is not going to have the basic template of the theme that you bought. This is pretty much a glitch that the developer has overlooked. On some occasions, you can simply contact the developer, and then they will fix it.  

So, before you start looking for a premium theme, get this checklist and see I the theme you are eying meets these specifications. If not, you will really have to ask yourself if it is worth the risk. 

At the end of the day, you want a functional, aesthetic, and easy-to-maintain website. At best, you must try the theme for yourself and see if it works according to your specifications. 

Summary: What to Look for in a Premium WP Theme

My recommendation is for you to only buy a Premium WordPress theme if you really are building a business website. You can do many themes with a Premium theme, and these themes are made specifically for business niches.

Apart from having an easy-to-use website, yours will not look like a cookie-cutter one. Many bloggers use generic themes—they cannot edit and change the theme’s settings and looks, and they are stuck with it.

Choose a premium theme if you mean business—the theme will pay for itself in the future.

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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