Unlike free themes for WordPress 4.7, you can find premium themes like Thesis, Genesis, Elegant themes and WooThemes and have confidence that they don’t contain malicious code, knowing that they are secure.
But you can’t purchase premium themes everywhere without being careful. For example, you can’t do that on Envato. So if you’re considering buying something from the Envato marketplace, you should really only look at Themeforest. Really the only ones that are safe to purchase are the ones that have been used and reviewed many, many, many times.
So if a theme has a few thousand sales and it’s got hundreds of five-star reviews then you can, with a certain amount of confidence consider purchasing it. But if it’s a new theme, then you should avoid it because and Envato doesn’t have controls like WordPress.org has over the products. It’s definitely “buyer beware” and that’s fine. I’m not necessarily knocking it but I am saying that it’s only safe to purchase the themes that have been used the most and reviewed the most.
Anything that has not been used much and reviewed much you should just let somebody else try because this is a place where you can buy themes that will get you hacked and get your website taken over and Envato does almost nothing to prevent that. Envato is the Wild West.
Reputable Places to Buy Themes
If you’re going to purchase a premium theme, there are a handful of well-known places that have excellent reputations.
WPMU Dev is one of my favorite places to buy lots of things. WPMU dev has tons of themes. In fact, lots of themes are designed for multi-site and for BuddyPress and all that sort of thing.
WooThemes is like the granddaddy of them. The WordPress 3.0 menu comes from them. WooThemes created it and then donated it to WordPress. WooThemes created WooCommerce which has since been purchased by Automatic which is the corporation that owns WordPress. I will say that, for the last two or three years, I found that their support is not particularly good or particularly responsive.
I am not a strong proponent of WooThemes except to say that WooThemes is going to be safe, secure, well written and I’m guessing most of their work has Schema incorporated. It’s worth looking and find out.
StudioPress, Genesis, is of course one of the big names. They are very highly respected, very well known and their work is impeccable. It doesn’t quite meet my standard for SEO but I did create plugin to solve that, BYOB Genesis Schema Plugin. So, you can buy from them happily.
DIY Themes, Thesis
Then, of course, there’s Thesis, DIY Themes and Thesis 2.2. Thesis 2.2 meets all of my criteria for what a small business should choose in a theme. It gives you control over Schema, it is a very fast and nimble theme, it follows sound programming principles and it is all mobile friendly. Thesis, I think, is very hard to beat in terms of a theme as a basis for developing your website.
Having said that, WooThemes and WPMU Dev and Studio Press and Elegant Themes and I’m sure there are lots of other big theme houses out there that have sterling reputations and well-crafted themes, are the kinds of places that you’re going to go to buy a theme.
Installing Themes That Aren’t on WordPress.org
One interesting thing to note is that if you use a premium theme that you got from some place other than wordpress.org, you have to install it differently. We’re going to install Thesis on this site here.
If we click add new here under Appearance we’re never going to find Thesis or Genesis or WooThemes or anything like that. What we have to do is first purchase the theme from them, download it to our computer and then upload the theme.
Use a Zip File
What that involves is choosing the zip file. It’s important that it’s the zip file because Macs often unzip something when you download it. So if you download a zip file, it helpfully unzips it or Safari does but that’s a bit painful when you think you’ve got a theme ready to upload and you click folder but it’s not a zip file and WordPress chokes.
You just need to know that when you’re installing a theme from your computer, you’re installing it from a zip file. That’s the only thing that’s technically different from installing a free theme off wordpress.org. It requires you to download the theme from the people who sold it to you and then use that upload feature to add it to your site.
Okay, we just installed it now. Let’s come back over here to appearance and themes. Now we’ve got Thesis 2.2 and it is now the active theme.