For many online businesses, WordPress offers an excellent framework from which to build fully-functional websites. The first question that arises is, which WordPress theme is right for my business?
Many businesses are allured by WordPress' no-cost or low-cost option. To be sure, many good WordPress themes can be had for free. However, just like everything else in life, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Free themes often come at a cost of reduced functionality, low scalability and lack of support. So, for most businesses, opting for a professional-grade WordPress theme is the way to go.
When you go professional you get high functionality (including seamless integration of powerful plugins), a theme that can change to support your growing business and, perhaps most important, access to communities of users ready to support each other. With that in mind, let's look at four providers of professional-grade WordPress themes.
WooThemes boasts 93 individual WordPress themes to date, adding two new themes every month. They report that WooThemes have been downloaded more than 1.6 million times and currently have more than 36,000 customers. What makes WooThemes a good choice for Web professionals is their many theme choices fit for just about any style of business and an active support community including a newsletter.
Prices start at $70 for one theme (and two bonus themes) and that includes lifetime updates to that theme. The Theme Club starts at $125, with a $15 per month membership fee. Included with a membership is access to all themes and the layered Photoshop files for each theme; useful for those designing websites for clients to make mock-ups without needing to manually alter an active theme.
WooThemes also has an affiliate program. Earn 20 percent from any initial sale (on products or subscriptions) and a further 20 percent if a user renews their subscription each month. WooThemes has a strong affiliate control panel with real-time statistics for your affiliate commissions, which will track all the unique clicks, sales and commissions you generate.
While not the biggest collection of WordPress themes, those provided at Elegant Themes are, well, elegant. The ePanel theme options included in each theme provides users a quick and easy to way to control important features and functionality (layout, navigation, control over meta elements) without much familiarity with WordPress -- perfect for those not yet WordPress masters.
Elegant Themes also uses an extensive set of shortcodes which help users further simplify the design. Shortcodes for implementing content boxes, social media icons, slideshows and much more are included in every theme. Additional features include a wide variety of page templates (image galleries, contact and login forms, sitemaps and full width and traditional pages) and complete localization is the theme can be translated to the language of your choice in minutes.
Perhaps the best aspect of buying from ElegantThemes is the very active, very knowledgeable support community. Questions posted to the forum are answered quickly and correctly making the service a great choice for pros and novices alike. Unlimited access to the themes cost just $39 per year.
StudioPress themes are built on a framework called Genesis, which features clean, consistent code, is SEO optimized and updates themes automatically. The themes are elegant and quite robust, if not overwhelming for some.
Should you find a StudioPress theme that suits your needs, be confident that you will enjoy a very helpful, friendly and active support community. There are currently more than 28,000 threads in the general theme support forum, and StudioPress management will respond to individual emails, even if only to point you to the appropriate thread or forum.
StudioPress also has a small collection of custom plugins, such as GenesisConnect which turns any WordPress theme into a social network. Community members have also developed plugins.
The Genesis framework is $59.95, and upgrades for customized themes start around $25. StudioPress also has an affiliate program through ShareASale and commissions start at 35 percent for theme packages which range from $24.95 to $249.95.
MOJO themes' biggest selling point is price. WordPress themes can be purchased for as little as $8 and as high as $75. Most are in the $30-$35 range. However, there is definitely an element of "buyer beware" here.
MOJO themes are created by outside developers then uploaded to the site for purchase. As such, support is the sole responsibility of the theme's creator. Meaning, if that developer is not responsive, support could be virtually non-existent. Therefore, while you might find great buys on MOJO themes, it is recommended for experienced WordPress users who know their way around the WordPress system.
For developers, MOJO themes might be a nice place to make some extra cash on your own WordPress creations. Developers get paid one of two ways, on each sale. Exclusive sellers earn 50-70 percent of each sale but cannot sell their themes anywhere else. Non-exclusive sellers can sell their themes anywhere and everywhere else but earn a fixed 25 percent of each sale. MOJO themes also has an affiliate program through ShareASale.