The real value you get when you buy a premium WordPress theme

Oana Filip

We — the crew at Pix­el­grade — are play­ing in this field for a few years now, and our focus on build­ing some of the best (and pre­mi­um) Word­Press themes made us learn plen­ty of lessons.

One of them came across when we’ve real­ized (quite from the begin­ning) that we invest around 1,000 of hours for $100 or less (most­ly less). The mon­ey you spend when you’re out for din­ner with a cou­ple of good-old-friends.

The truth is that a great WP theme pro­vides you almost the whole ecosys­tem you need to cre­ate an out­stand­ing web­site. It’s up to you to do some research and notice that there is a broad range of Word­Press themes out there.

How­ev­er, a pre­mi­um theme should not only mean a high­er price. Mod­ern design, lat­est tech­nolo­gies, per­for­mance, great fea­tures, spot­less cus­tomer sup­port — all of them are equal­ly impor­tant. It’s like dri­ving a car: you can’t have an eye-can­dy shape and no airbags.

To be pret­ty straight­for­ward, here’s an unfan­cy typol­o­gy:

  • Pre­mi­um themes — pro­vides you a top notch expe­ri­ence plus a fab­u­lous result.
  • Main­stream themes — can fit every­thing or noth­ing, they don’t stand out from the crowd in a par­tic­u­lar way.
  • Too-good-to-be-true themes — aka cheap prod­ucts strug­gling to sur­vive with a tremen­dous mar­ket­ing effort.
For now, you still pay so lit­tle, and you get so much from the right Word­Press authors, not all of them. Keep that in mind.

Why the money you pay for a WordPress theme mean so little?

The answer is sim­ple — in our sce­nario, you ben­e­fit from the work of a team of 11 cre­ative peo­ple. From design­ers to devel­op­ers, from cus­tomer sup­port heroes to mar­ket­ing afi­ciona­dos, all of them are ful­ly involved in this story.You could trans­late our effort into an aver­age of 6 pro­duc­tive hours/day for each of us X around 20+ days/month. You do the math.

You could trans­late our effort into an aver­age of 6 pro­duc­tive hours/day for each of us, mul­ti­plied with around 20+ days/month. You do the math.

We nev­er did this men­tal exer­cise because we love what we do. We will always do what it takes to cre­ate those cut­ting-edge prod­ucts. But this article’s pur­pose is not about pas­sion. It’s about facts. Real facts regard­ing the main dif­fer­ences between a true pre­mi­um Word­Press theme and the rest:

  • they are the equiv­a­lent of cut­ting-edge hours of craft for a small amount of mon­ey.
  • you deal with trust­wor­thy authors who have rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence and a par­tic­u­lar style of work­ing.
  • should reflect a sign of per­for­mance and super high-end results.
  • the best short­cut for cre­at­ing some­thing valu­able in the long run.
  • they endorse the val­ues you stand for.

Is price a make-or-break deal when it comes to WordPress themes?

Just for the sake of offer­ing a con­text for what’s next: this might be the best moment to invest in the right Word­Press themes. For the time being, the cost of tak­ing advan­tage of one (or many) is min­i­mal, but seri­ous authors are on a trend of rais­ing the bar regard­ing pric­ing.

So if you wear the lens of an out­sider, every­thing looks a bit (whole?) dif­fer­ent. You have an end­less set of options to choose from, no mat­ter the mar­ket­place we’re refer­ring at. You com­fort­ably sit in your chair, enjoy your great cup of cof­fee and skim through an amount of cre­ative prod­ucts. The pow­er is in your hands. You choose which theme suits you best, and you ask your­self:

$100 for this port­fo­lio Word­Press theme? Oh boy, you guys are so expen­sive.

It’s only nat­ur­al to have this kind of reac­tion when you see, some clicks lat­er, that you find themes for $30, $20, or even $12. Do your busi­ness a favor and don’t get trapped in this ‘’race to the bot­tom’’ trend.

Aristotle’s say­ing: ‘‘Qual­i­ty is not an act. It is a habit.’’, so work hard to refine your pat­terns of think­ing and approach­ing things. It’s the only way to evolve and achieve great things.

A pre­mi­um Word­Press themes come with a full cre­ative pack. A free one comes with a bunch of strug­gles you need to brave­ly man­age.

What are the perks of buying a great WordPress theme?

Let’s keep it sim­ple: some of the themes list­ed out there are not worth even two cents. That’s why in some sce­nar­ios we high­ly rec­om­mend you choose a free Word­Press theme. There are plen­ty of options, and at least you’ll avoid a bunch of headaches and frus­tra­tions.

In few words, tak­ing mon­ey out of your wal­let and spend­ing them on an exquis­ite WP theme means hav­ing:

  • Amaz­ing design: and yes, we know that every­one has an opin­ion about the trends regard­ing visu­al approach, but you should have the ambi­tion to find the theme that res­onates best with your work and val­ues.
  • Clean and reli­able code: again, it’s full of cre­ators of WP themes who promise no extra effort while mod­i­fy­ing their code or one-click-instal­la­tion but you see the lack of respon­si­bil­i­ty from the first line of CSS.
  • Reli­able cus­tomer sup­port: active­ly lis­ten­ing to your needs and match­ing them with the best solu­tion that you have; noth­ing beats a hum­ble atti­tude from an A-play­er (we call them Hap­pi­ness Heroes).

At first glance, all of this might seem pret­ty thin, but at the end of the day, it’s what draws the line between ama­teurs and top doers.

How does a WordPress theme reflect into the end-result?

We often talk about how peo­ple choose a theme to another’s dis­ad­van­tage. There is an abun­dance of argu­ments, some of them well pack­aged, oth­ers not so reli­able.
What we high­ly rec­om­mend to every­one who’s will­ing to start a dig­i­tal endeav­or is to focus on their unique con­tent. You aim to have a web­site where the sto­ry is the king or one where the video is a rock­star? You dream to make a liv­ing out of your DIY prod­ucts? Does visu­al and writ­ing over­lap regard­ing pri­or­i­ty? Is there an entire crew behind the scenes or Jack of all trades?

The next step is to keep an open eye on the func­tion­al­i­ties and the main advan­tages that a legit­i­mate Word­Press theme pro­vides. The path will be safer, and every­thing will per­fect­ly fit like in a sym­phon­ic band.

We are grate­ful that a lot of peo­ple already trust us and our way of mak­ing things dri­ve them to build amaz­ing dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences.

On the oth­er hand, if you tend to high­light only the key fea­tures you will for­get about the big pic­ture. You will sink into an ocean with too many temp­ta­tions and no stout ref­er­ences. On top of that, nowa­days there are so many smart solu­tions to eas­i­ly and reli­ably lever­age tech­nol­o­gy. You have the room and cre­ative auton­o­my to build pret­ty much any­thing you can imag­ine.

Word­Press themes can be like wines. Some of them help you dis­cov­er amaz­ing worlds and tastes, oth­ers give you use­less headaches.

Our inner why (keep doing it)

We will con­tin­ue to work hard to get bet­ter at design­ing, devel­op­ing, pro­mot­ing and updat­ing our port­fo­lio and oth­er cre­ative prod­ucts. With­out rep­e­ti­tion things fall at some point, like a domi­no.

We are grate­ful that a lot of peo­ple already trust us and our way of mak­ing things dri­ve them to build amaz­ing dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences. There­fore, a sig­nif­i­cant part of our moti­va­tion is to help folks like you solve a real prob­lem and make them as hap­py as we are when they point their fin­ger at us from a tremen­dous crowd.

Friend­ly reminder: keep in mind that sim­ply call­ing a Word­Press theme “pre­mi­um” doesn’t make it so; some mar­kets tend to min­i­mize the val­ue of this con­cept. In murki­er waters, it becomes hard­er to find the right authors and design bou­tiques that sell authen­tic pre­mi­um Word­Press themes. Be brave and do your home­work.

Would love to hear your insights on this top­ic and start a con­struc­tive dis­cus­sion about Word­Press themes and their real val­ue. Do you have any great or unfor­tu­nate expe­ri­ences with them? How did you man­age it?

Oana Filip
Oana Filip

Digital storyteller @Pixelgrade and community builder for creative industries. A true believer in the power of making the world a better place.