Is buying a Themeforest theme worth it? Or maybe it’s better to use a free WordPress theme or the opposite – to order a dedicated theme?
Advantages of Themeforest templates
Themeforest templates have several unquestionable advantages not present in free WordPress themes. Basically, these are huge configuration options and proper functioning on all popular devices. But there are more advantages:
- It is easy to build comprehensive websites – visual content creators and dozens of modules make it easy to build a comprehensive website or a seemingly simple landing page. This is possibly the greatest advantage of paid themes.
- Low price – A few dozen dollars is really a low price for the kind of opportunities provided by a paid theme. Commissioning creation of a website based on a dedicated template is a cost of about a few hundred dollars. Cheaper solutions will often offer poor opportunities of expanding it on your own (if any).
- Good support – themes that are known by thousands of Internet users tend to have a good support. Even if the theme’s author isn’t very eager to reply, a large community of users will surely find the answer to a burning question.
- Mobile friendly – a huge advantage of paid templates is being fine-tuned in terms of supporting mobile devices. Envato (the owner of Themeforest) ensures high standards in this regard, so that you can be sure that the purchased template works properly on smartphones and tablets.
- Easy introduction of minor changes – an additional module in entries or section on the homepage are not a huge challenge if you have a good theme. When it comes to free themes or dedicated ones without the right builder, good changes will require fiddling with the website code.
Disadvantages of Themeforest templates
The paragraph with disadvantages has less items than the list of advantages, but the disadvantages listed have a much bigger impact than the advantages.
- Junk code – Themeforest themes mean tons of junk code. Seriously. Add to that the Visual Composer and you can be sure that 80% of the loaded code, scripts and styles are completely unnecessary.
- Most themes take long to load – large amounts of code and scripts cause the website to load slowly. It’s a huge problem for SEO. Luckily there are plugins that can make the website work faster, but the results on mobile devices will likely still be far from perfect.
- Limited configuration options – plenty of themes are advertised as very highly configurable, but when it comes to simple style changes – fonts or colors, then it takes quite an effort. The limited configuration options are somewhat a consequence of the sluggish code, where hundreds of classes overwrite each other in different configurations.
- You need to install plenty of extra plugins – for a theme to utilize all of “its” capabilities, the manufacturer suggests to install “a few plugins”. Sometimes it takes as many as 20….
What do you need to know when buying a theme?
If you decide that paid themes are something for you, there are three very important things you need to know before making a purchase:
- Your website won’t look the same as in the demo – the demos presented on the Themeforest website have carefully selected pictures, titles and leads to make them more eye-catching. If you don’t have diverse, high-quality pictures and don’t strictly follow the rigors on the titles, it is likely that your website won’t look as attractive as the demo.
- Prices don’t include VAT – the prices provided on a theme’s page are net prices that need to have the sales tax added. On top of that, there is also a 2 dollar processing fee which is only visible during checkout.
- Once a month you can download a free theme – every month, Envato makes one product out of each of their stores available completely free of charge. When it comes to Themeforest templates, these tend to be the medium tier, but it’s still something.