So, that bland, white and black, functionless free theme just ain’t cuttin’ it anymore, eh? Or maybe you’re just getting started and want to really make a big splash on your website.
Either way, premium themes offer greater functionality, better looks, and generally stronger support than most freebies out there. Below, I’ve listed five of the best and most-widely used premium WP theme providers out there today.
I’ve personally used themes from all five of these companies, and recommend them all. You should know — these are my affiliate links, and I make a commission if you purchase a theme or package from them. But I’d be recommending them even if I made nothing from it.
Honestly, these guys are my favorite. I use them for most of my sites and am consistently impressed how great they look. In fact, this site is made using an Elegant Themes theme. (You should try to figure out which one!)
They have some fantastic shortcode options where you can drop in graphical sliders, testimonial boxes, ad blocks, quotes, price comparisons, and more with just a few characters and customizations.
All of that said, ET themes tend to need a little finessing after installation. These themes tend to be built for flashiness, with less focus on utility. The header area is usually larger than most people would prefer, and I cut it down by about 100 pixels before doing anything.
One of the most respected companies in the business. They’ve been around a long time and are known for themes that look good and perform well. I know million-dollar marketers who use these themes for their sites. My friend Kate Buck, Jr’s Let’s Get Social course on how to become a social media expert, as well as Stu McLaren’s Wishlist Insider (the learning site for membership plugin Wishlist Member) are run on themes from WooThemes.
Part of the Envato Network, these guys are really cool. These are themes that are produced, sold, and supported by other members of ThemeForest. There are some terrific niche themes in here — I found some a couple weeks ago for cooking and recipe sites that looked fantastic. While you’re there, check out the other Envato Marketplaces for royalty-free stock photography, audio clips, graphics, animations, and more.
This particular theme is produced by DIYThemes, and is known for its speed, precision, and exacting standards in design and W3/browser compatibility. It’s a little more complicated to use, but not by much. It gives you a ton of flexibility when it comes to customizing your site, but the learning curve is a little bigger.
This company has been around for awhile too, and they produce themes for other platforms like Joomla, Drupal, Magento, etc. The themes are focused on fantastic design, although they’ve recently implemented their “Gantry Network,” a similar structure to the Thesis theme. Both use what’s called a “parent theme,” and then you implement “child themes” in order to customize the look and functionality of a site. Again — a bit more complicated, but you get more options on how you want it to look and work.
What’s great about WordPress, or really similar content management platform, is that you can buy a theme, install it, and if you don’t like it, you can then switch to something else with minimal repercussions. And with the release of WordPress 3.4, you can now customize and preview what your site will look like before you actually make the switch public. So, check out one of these top 5 best premium WordPress theme providers, and don’t be afraid to try a few of them on for the best fit.