What features to look for in WordPress Themes?

If you’ve bought Premium WordPress Themes then you should have realized how important it is to get timely support from the theme makers. Sometimes, you get support wherein the maker herself provides you a customized solution. In the short term you might be happy that you’ve achieved making an elegant site but in the long term you realize that a spoon feeding support doesn’t actually help you in your next projects. Eventually for a WordPress theme not only the design but the flexibility of the theme matters most.

So, we’ll start off our topic on what all features you should look for while purchasing a WordPress theme.

I’ll categorize these features in three variations: Must Haves <> Good to Have <> Glad to have


Must Have Features in WordPress Themes.

  1. Auto  Upgrade : If author found & solved a few bugs, you would never know that a newer version exists untill it has this feature; auto -upgrade. You’ll get a notification on upgrading the theme and it should be a single click like wordpress upgrades.
  2. Error Handling: I find it strage that not many premium themes use error handling in their code. But it is an absolute must have as it avoids the unnecessary complications wherein the user herself can solve issues but has to look for makers support.
  3. Demo data Setup: When you buy a premium theme you look the demo and fall in love with the theme. But suddenly when you install the theme you realize that your setup ins’t actually same as demo. Whereas if theme provides demo data then you can install demo data and then customize your installation to your require WordPress theme.
  4. Live Theme Customizer: With WP 3.4 + Live theme customizer is a must have feature which allows users to make changes in theme easily. You can change colors/typography of various elements with live effect and can save so much time.
  5. Standard Compliant code: Its hard to say but many premium WordPress themes do not follow the best practices while coding WP themes. I have seen many premium themes wherein jQuery is simply included in header.php file. Always remember all files css or js should always be included via WordPress hooks from functions.php file.

Good to Have Have Features in WordPress Themes.

  1. Responsive Layout: Responsive themes are performing good as they’re adjust their layout according to the viewport.
  2. Page Builder: Page Builder helps a user to customize pages according to their needs. Rather than depending on the author to make changes and provide support page builder allows users to  make changes on their own.
  3. ShortCode Generator: A premium theme often comes with tons of shortcodes. If you don’t have  a shortcode generator you’ll never be able to use most of the shortcodes.
  4. Custom Widgets: Almost all themes come with custom widgets. These widgets are necessary so that they gel with the theme easily. Moreover if I am buying a WP theme I dont want to install 100 plugins to get twitter and facebook widgets…
  5. Sliders: Necessary feature with so many plugins around slider theming is critical to a theme’s appearance. Therefore themes should have inbuilt slider plugins with theme that get with their WordPress theme.

Glad to Have Have Features in WordPress Themes.

this list can be huge… but here are few suggestions.

  1. Multiple Custom Post types.
  2. Multiple Taxonomies.
  3. Carousels/Filterable & sortable.
  4. Self hosted Audio & Video support
  5. Contact Form
  6. Pricing tables
  7. Mega Menu
  8. Lightbox
  9. User Poll
  10. Social sharing…etc etc..

Now if you’re thinking where are SEO features and speed related features. For SEO we have a clear winner, Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin has been declared as best plugin in SEO. WooThemes have finally migrated to Yoast SEO plugin admitting that its the best in business. Same goes for speed related we have W3Total Cache plugin, an ultimate plugin which has tons of features and its a clear winner.

This is not an exhaustive list and I might have missed some features here. If you’ve recommendations or suggestions then please share below.

September 18, 2015

6 responses on "What features to look for in WordPress Themes?"

  1. I like your blog. thank you for sharing….

  2. In my opinion, it must load as fast as he can, error handling and a nice design!

  3. Should we check for the page load time? Does page load time depends on the type of theme which we are using?

  4. My must have feature for themes I use is a custom CSS facility. That way I can store my CSS changes in the theme settngs. The changes are carried forward durng upgrades and no core or theme code needs to be edited or child theme setup.

  5. Very awesome tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

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