Paying for a WordPress Theme is becoming more common, even for personal bloggers. Often termed ‘premium wordpress themes‘, pay themes are really any theme which demands a licence fee to use.
I’ve deployed a few sites recently where the cost of a $200 theme licence presented good value to my client against the time it would have taken us to re create the detail available within the theme. Customisation from a solid base theme from the likes of Woo Themes allows for a more sophisticated development where budgets are tight. Great for the credit crunch!
Woothemes is probably the best known source, although there are others like brian gardner who have been releasing pay themes for years.
What to look for
There are always lengthy bullet lists of amazing features associated with any pay theme. It is easy to get distracted by these, and miss the critical stuff. This is the critical stuff.
Timeliness – does the licence allow you to continue using the theme indefinitely on your site, are theme updates and patches free (for a year at least), when WP2.9 comes out will the theme be updated
Support – can you get email, twitter, IM, and other forms of support quickly (under 24 hours)
Updates – check if this is the first version, how old it is, if it’s three months old without even a minor update make sure you email and ask about support in detail
Developer option – most themes allow you to make a single payment for multiple deployments, if you think 5 clients might use a theme this is usually the cost effective way to go
All the rest of that great long list of features should be read – but won’t matter if you don’t have good answers to these three.
Comment below with examples of sites you’ve deployed with a pay theme and I’ll link them up so people can see what to expect, and how far a theme needs to be pushed to look ‘unique enough’ for the site owner.