How to Choose a Theme on ThemeForest

ThemeForest is the largest virtual marketplace for website themes and page templates; at ThemeForest you will find thousands of HTML templates, themes for various CMS such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, diverse plugins and even Facebook templates. It is a most vivid trade arena, where developers from all over the world offer new products on a daily basis.

The ThemeForest site is quite friendly and easy to navigate thanks to the many features and categories. The main problem with ThemeForest platform is that the great diversity and the huge selection in each category may turn to be a blessing in disguise, especially for the average user, who has no real knowledge in web designing field. Many of the buyers are ordinary people, with no coding skills that tend to rely merely on the visual impression and intuition. This type of clientele has no professional means that may help in distinguishing high quality theme from a poor quality theme.

The low price range of most themes and templates makes the venture worthy; however, there are a few details you definitely should check before you go ahead and purchase a theme, in order to make an informed decision and lower your risks.

15 Important Tips for Finding the Perfect Theme on ThemeForest:

1. Features and Widgets

Go through the features list and make sure it includes everything you need for your site. Check if the theme supports the widgets you wish to display on your site; in case you have doubts do not be shy and ask the author!

2. Compatibility

Check the software version and the compatible browsers, listed on the right side of the theme’s page, to verify they suite your demands and most updated platforms.

3. Rating and Reviews

View the number of stars the theme has got, but do not be satisfied with the rating alone. Go through the comments section and read at least a few dozen comments. Reading support threads, forum discussions and comments may teach you a lot about the problems others have faced and you may encounter while handling the theme.

ThemeForest Buyer Rating

4. Author Responsiveness

Pay attention to the dates written next to the comments and the support forum questions and answers. The frequency will give you a pretty good idea about the author availability and credibility. For extra cautious, you may submit a question yourself and see how long it takes for the developer to answer.

5. Number of Sales

A small number of purchases might hurt the author motivation to upload new versions or fix bugs. High or low volume of sales does not necessary imply the quality of the theme; yet, notice that relatively new themes are more likely to have bug issues although, on the other hand, they may grant you with a better support.

ThemeForest number of purchases

6. Elite Author

The existence of this icon indicates that the author has earned over $75,000 on the marketplace; it is not a guarantee, but it does raise the chances that this developer is reliable and professional.

ThemeForest Elite Author

7. Updates History

View the existing version updates and their frequency. WordPress themes, for example, should be updated at least once in a few months to suit the WordPress version. In addition, the updates should include bugs repair and new features. The Release notes consist of detailed information, from which you can conclude whether the updates are significant or where made just for outward appearance, in order to create a professional impression.

ThemeForest frequency of updates

8. Theme Demo

Examine the theme demo carefully. This way you will be able to watch the theme in action and imagine how your site will look like if you choose to use this theme. Many themes provide a preview with pseudo content, which you may use as-is, except for some minor modifications. If this is what you are looking for, make sure the theme files include that option.

9. Author Inquiry

  • Google the developer name – this action is recommended for any serious acquisition; you may be surprised by what you will find.
  • Review the author portfolio – many developers tend to duplicate and elaborate their themes. Examining other themes of the same author may introduce you to a better version than the one you were considering.

10. Right-to-Left and Child Themes

WordPress speaking, In case you need to modify the theme to fit a Right-to Left layout you should use child theme. Unfortunately, a lot of Themesforest WP themes do not fully supports child themes. Look for “100% child theme support” feature or better yet,look for themes that includes one!

11. Beware!

One bright day the theme may just disappear from the site along with the support and other versions. How can it be? Well, this is just the way it works; after you purchase and download the theme there are no strings attached…

12. Support

ThemeForest does not provide any theme support; the support is totally up to the developer’s good will, which is why tip number 4 is really essential.

13. ThemeForest Categories

Searching for the perfect theme using ThemeForest categories can be pretty convenient; however, it may narrow down perfectly good options. The titles may be confusing since many themes are actually multi-purpose themes. The advisable thing is to focus on the required features, instead of following certain objectives, predetermined by others.

14. Recommended Tests

  • Responsive themes – many of the responsive themes are not fully responsive even if they claim to be. There are a few tools such as Google Chrome’s Web Developer Extension and Google’s GoMoMeter that can help you test the theme demo on different mobiles devices. Firefox has also a great built in feature for that (Tools->Web Developer->Responsive Design View)
  • Performance – analyze the theme speed and quality using GTmetrix
  • Browser – test the way the theme renders in browsers and operating systems with Browsershot

15. Optional Tips

  • Photoshop files – some themes include Photoshop files while other themes do not; if this is important to you, make sure to check it out.
  • Photos and Images – themes demos usually display nice looking, large size photos. The fact you purchase the theme does not entitle you with permission to use the demo photos, unless you purchase the photos copyrights directly from their owners; nevertheless, other icons and graphic elements are commonly part of the theme.

That’s all (we think). If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments and we’ll update this super important article.

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