In last week’s video, I mentioned that going the custom development route can require a significant investment of budget.

As a result, a lot of small business owners will often go the route of customizing a premium theme for their business.

This may leave you wondering how to choose a theme, given how many theme choices are out there!

In this quick video, I want to give you some guidance on what you should be looking for in a premium WordPress theme.

What to Look for in a Premium Theme

High Rating

You want to look for a lot of users with a high rating (for example, 4.5 or 5 stars out of a possible 5 stars).

Regularly Updated

You want a theme that is updated regularly, and the theme purchase page should list when it was last updated. And you also want to make sure that there is a support forum for users of that theme and that it is active.

Solid Reviews

Make a point to research the theme you’re considering – read reviews and comments from those using it.

And make sure the theme author is active in responding to comments and questions.

Ample Documentation

You also want to ensure your theme has ample “how-to” documentation. You will need it when learning how to make changes on your website, or how to troubleshoot problems.

If you find a theme that hasn’t been updated in quite some time, with minimal documentation, and a support board that is looking a bit full of cobwebs, steer clear.

If you don’t, and you run into problems with your theme, you’re very likely going to find yourself stuck without support.

Has All Features You Need

Make sure the theme you’re considering has all the functionality that you want it to have.

This will mean spending some time at the outset to figure out exactly what you want your website to do.

A Theme We Like & What We Avoid

While my own team at Bon Accord Creative specializes in building custom WordPress themes, we do occasionally provide support to business owners who are installing and customizing premium themes.

One premium theme we’ve found that has very strong author support, with solid documentation and which responds quite well to page speed optimization efforts is Avada from Theme Fusion.

On the flip side, as incredibly popular as it is due to its ability to easily build attractive websites, the Divi theme framework is notorious for having slow page load speeds. It also typically doesn’t respond well to the page speed improvement efforts that often work on other themes.

I know this one is going to ruffle some feathers because so many people tout Divi as an easy to use website solution.

However, time and time again, my team is having to break the news to clients that their Divi built websites have dismal page load speed scores that cannot be improved.

If you decide to go the route of Divi, I would caution you to avoid any of the additional fancy animation type effects that may look pretty or attention grabbing.

As lovely looking as they are, they will slow your website significnatly, and that’s going to have a negative impact on both your SEO and your website conversions.

Why Theme Research is Important

As I said in last week’s video about the pros and cons of the various ways to build on WordPress, I’m not trying to scare you off of using a premium theme.

For a lot of small business owners, investing in a high-quality, custom-developed website simply is not in the budget at this stage in their business.

For many entrepreneurs, customizing a premium theme is definitely the best approach given time or budget constraints.

However, I think it is extremely important for you to understand what you’re buying.

If you go to buy a car, you may not want or need or be in a position to buy the luxury vehicle, and perhaps the mid-priced sedan you’ve been looking at is exactly the right fit for you.

But in order to make that decision, you need to understand what your chosen vehicle is capable of, what its limitations are, and what your expectations are.

That way, you’re not surprised when you get it off the lot and suddenly discover that it can’t do that thing you assumed it could do.

The same goes for your website.

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