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Some advice I gave a friend about choosing a WordPress theme

March 20th, 2013 by Andrew Smales

So, to preface this, a few months ago, I was looking for a nice WordPress theme, and I asked on my Twitter account if anyone had experience with buying them. It’s not that I am new to the idea of buying themes, I just have not been terribly impressed in the past when I’ve looked at what’s around. I also was worried because last year, I tried a bunch of free themes that were supposed to be quite minimal, but turned out to be really poorly coded, and tough to customize easily.

A friend of mine from L.A. replied to me about the themes, and mentioned he had bought one from one of the big sites, but I actually can’t remember which now, and it’s gone from my Twitter’s DM log. Whatever it was, if I recall, he didn’t have anything great or terrible to say about it. I wound up looking around quite a bit until I finally found a couple of themes I liked, and bought a couple.

Tonight, the same friend DM-ed me asking if I ended up finding anything good, and I wrote him an email about it, and at the last minute decided I might as well post it here, cause I really did spend quite a while looking around before I found the themes I ended up buying, and I might as well squeeze a little content out of that time! So here’s the email:


So for that template, I got this:

Duplex by Themezilla

and I really like it. The guy/company who made it is one of the best-selling authors on Themeforest and his themes seem very well put together and make a site look good almost immediately, I added it to a minisite I was doing and it was a massive improvement right away. I think that’s the simplest, most bloggy theme he has. I like Envato, who run Themeforest and some other similar sites, but I actually went back to it cause I was looking at and going “THAT is the type of theme I want!”, and he uses this one also by the same author:

Premium Pixels by Themezilla

you might like that, I guess it’s the bloggier one, oops.

I also got this from Themeforest:


Which I really like, it’s a very well done, versatile theme with mobile versions. It’s not really blog-centric though, although it does have a blog section/feature I guess (that I haven’t used yet).

I also saw this guy recently for the first time cause I guess he just cleared 1 (or 2?) million in sales and has nice looking stuff:

Make Design Not War

By the way, I included referral links on all those links, but I’m not recommending them for that reason, I was going to recommend all that stuff anyway, then just as I went to type it out, I remembered Envato has an automatic referral program, so I added them. If you click through to any of those people’s portfolios on their domains, they stick in their own referral links which override mine anyway, so if you DO buy anything, click one of mine just beforehand if you want haha.

I like Envato who run Themeforest, I’ve bought stuff from them before and they’re good to deal with and did me a nice favor by refunding one theme I bought once that they didn’t need to, and probably shouldn’t have.

There is one weird thing on there, if you prepay money into your account, you save $2 on most items, so the theme that says $45 will really cost $47 if you just click “Purchase”, or something like that. It’s not a big deal if you’re just buying one item, but when I first signed up I bought about 5 small audio files and saved $10 by just “depositing” right before I bought them. Something to look out for!

There might be better options for you, I think has a pretty attractive deal where you get a ton of themes for 1 price, but I just didn’t like any of their themes and they didn’t seem that bloggy/magaziney (what I wanted).

That “Higher” theme seems so versatile too that it probably does anything those ones do (I haven’t tested it SUPER hard though). I don’t really understand the concept of buying 80 themes. It’s like, do people really think they’re going to wake up one day and say “Oh know what, I wish I had a fashion portfolio WP theme cause I’m going to make a site like that!”? I guess actually maybe people who make websites for people would do that actually, so yeah nevermind hahaha.

Hope that helps! I put a crapload of time into trying to find a decent theme, so I wanted to write this all out, I might copy and paste this into a blog entry actually haha.


So there you have it! Not my most exciting piece of email, and I haven’t really put the themes I linked through their paces HARD, but I’ve been happy with them so far. I wouldn’t take this as some definitive review of WP themes, but I will say this: I am pretty sure that all those themes are very good at a minimum. You might well find something better, (or better suited to you), if you look around, but I would be surprised if you used those and just thought they flat out sucked. Would love feedback on this, or even recommendations of other themes, I’m sure I’ll be in the market again soon.


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