What Makes A Premium WordPress Theme Premium?


Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work with WordPress, developing plugins and developing themes. I’ve looked into some of the top WordPress premium themes to see how they work and what makes them different.

Which made me think what makes a premium WordPress Theme Premium?

Really the only difference there is a free WordPress theme and a premium WordPress theme is a price. But in order to start selling Premium WordPress themes, you will need to add a couple more features in theme than the Free WordPress themes.

There are a few ways to sell WordPress themes, you can either sell them on your own website or submit your theme to a WordPress marketplace.

Introduction Into Premium Themes

One of the most popular WordPress theme marketplaces is ThemeForest, on here you can sell your WordPress themes for up to $40 a theme. The quality of WordPress themes on ThemeForest are of the highest quality and you will need to include many features in your theme for it to be sold on the marketplace.

To have a WordPress theme that is of a good enough to be sold on a marketplace would class a theme as premium as it is good enough to charge money for the theme.

Looking into the themes which are in the marketplace I can compare these to free WordPress themes to see what makes them different than the premium WordPress themes.

Here are just some of the benefits you get from premium WordPress themes.

  • Design
  • Customisation
  • Fonts
  • Widgets
  • SEO
  • Portfolio
  • Image Gallery
  • Styling
  • Sidebars
  • Page Templates
  • Blog Section
  • Menus
  • Sliders
  • Shortcodes
  • Social Media
  • Translation


One of the most important parts of a WordPress theme is the design if your theme has a good design it will be easier to sell.

WordPress will include a number of files in your theme, header, content, and footer. These are the important areas of the page to have a good design.

Make sure that your design has stylish.

  • Header
  • Page Titles
  • Blog Titles
  • Social Media Buttons
  • List styles
  • Quotes
  • Dropcaps
  • Tables
  • Image Alignment – left, center, right
  • Message Box Styles
  • Footer



One thing I found in common with premium WordPress themes is that they all provide you with loads of customisation. All of these themes provide you with a themes options page. These are pages created by the WordPress developer which they add user inputs to collect user customisation for the theme.

Some of the most common fields to change are:

  • Theme Options – To edit the theme logo, change the stylesheet, upload a new favicon, Add Google analytics code, enter your Feedburner URL and add custom CSS.
  • Styling Options – Change the background color or change the background image.
  • Fonts – Change the font on all your header tags or the main content text.
  • Social – Providing your theme with your social media profiles will make it easier to link to them in parts of your theme or display your latest tweets.

Here is what some of the theme options pages look like.



Being able to change the fonts on the theme will give the owner of the website massive customisation in changing the style of your website when using your WordPress theme. The WordPress developer can add a section in the themes options panel to change the fonts for all headers and content information.

If you are going to have an option to change the fonts on your website then you need to choose between as many font options as possible. A good service to use to add full customisation is to use Google Fonts, with Google you can use an API to get all the fonts on the service.

One of the advantages of using Google fonts is that all the fonts are from an online directory so when new fonts are added to the directory they will automatically come up in your theme.



One of the most important parts of a WordPress theme is being able to add Widgets to your theme. The WordPress developer can assign areas of the theme where the user can add widgets.

WordPress Widgets are WordPress Plugins that add visitor visual and interactivity options and features, such as sidebar widgets for post categories, tag clouds, navigation, and search. They were originally designed to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress Theme to the user in the sidebar, which is now available on properly “widgetized” WordPress Themes to include the header, footer, and elsewhere in the WordPress design and structure.

To add a Widget to your theme it requires no code experience, all you have to do is go to the widget section of your theme and drag and drop widgets into the slots which are defined to display widgets.


Activate Widgets

To active your WordPress Theme Widget options:

  • Go to Appearance > Widgets.
  • Choose a Widget and drag it to the sidebar where you wish it to appear. There might be more than one sidebar option, so begin with the first one. Once in place, WordPress automatically updates the Theme.
    Preview the site. You should find that the “default” sidebar elements are now gone and only the new addition is visible.
  • Return to the Widgets Panel to continue adding Widgets.
  • To arrange the Widgets within the sidebar or Widget area, click and drag it into place.
  • To customize the Widget features, click the down arrow in the upper right corner to expand the Widget’s interface.
  • To save the Widget’s customization, click Save.
  • To remove the Widget, click Remove or Delete.

Common Widgets To Use

  • Display the most Recent Posts from your blog in a widget.
  • Display the most Popular Posts from your blog.
  • Display your Twitter Profile
  • Display your Facebook Profile
  • Display your tweets
  • Display your Facebook Stream
  • Display the Recent Comments of your blog
  • A Login form
  • Display posts from a category
  • Display a Google map
  • Display a search box
  • Text area
  • Advertisement slots 125×125 or 250×250
  • Recent Flickr photos
  • Video widget
  • Tabbed widget
  • Links list
  • Tag cloud
  • Breadcrumbs


WordPress themes are normally used for personal websites which mean that they would most likely need to display a portfolio section.

The best option to use on the premium theme is to use a new post type to define the items in your portfolio.

On many WordPress themes, you will find that you can customise the layout you use on your portfolio section.

Single Column Portfolio


Two Column Portfolio


Three Column Portfolio


Four Column Portfolio


Page Templates

One of the best benefits to using a premium WordPress theme is that they will come with many different page templates.

The above images you will see a preview of the portfolio pages which can come with premium WordPress themes.

Others pages which commonly come with premium themes are:

  • Blog page template
  • Contact page template
  • Full-width page template (no sidebar)
  • Sitemap page template
  • Default Template
  • Archives
  • Author Page
  • List Of Authors
  • Testimonials
  • Price Boxes
  • Recent Posts
  • Search Result Pages

Blog Page Template

As these are WordPress themes then the blog post pages are going to be the most popular pages which are going to be in your WordPress themes. The files used for this are the theme index.php and the single.php theme files.

These page templates are going to either display a section of all your blog posts or they will be used to display a single post.

Contact Page Template

A contact page template is quite simply a custom form which can send an email to the admin of the site.

These pages are very important to your website because it gives your visitors an easy way of getting in contact with you.

Archives Page Template

This page template is an important page for SEO and new visitors to your site. This is a central place for search engines to come to get a link to all of the blog posts you have currently published. Having this page means that you will also be getting traffic to some of the older posts on your website.

These pages can be useful to any new visitor to your blog, having these pages means that if someone likes you newest content they can easily come here to see any other pages they have missed out on.

Author Page

The author page is sometimes known as the about us page, it is a place to come to learn more about the people behind the website.

If you are a company then on this page make sure you write about the history of the company and the direction the company is heading. This is also a prime place to put any products or services you currently offer.

If your theme is a portfolio then this is a great place to tell your visitors what your website is about and how they can get in contact with you.

List Of Authors

This page template is useful for blogs which have multiple authors, most blogs which consistently post every day run by multiple authors.

Use this page as an about us page for all of your authors on the site, it saves you creating an about page for each author.


WordPress blogs come with all the inbuilt features of WordPress and one of these great features is the ease of the admin user to create menus for your blog.

From the dashboard area, the admin user can create multiple different menus and attach category pages or single page templates to the menu. The best thing about this is that you can group the menu items by giving them parent and child menu items in an easy to use drag and drop interface.

  • Log in to the WordPress Dashboard.
  • From the ‘Appearance’ menu on the left-hand side of the Dashboard select the ‘Menus’ option to bring up the menu editor. You should see something similar to the screenshot below in your browser window:


Learn more about WordPress menus


A big benefit of premium themes is that they will most likely come with custom post types which allow you to easily add a slide to any page of your blog.

Some of the top themes come with multiple jQuery sliders which use amazing transition effects to display a slideshow of images on any page you want.

A popular slider to use on many WordPress themes is the nivo slider from dev7studios.


16 Beautiful Transition Effects

The Nivo Slider makes displaying your gallery of images a beautiful experience, by using amazing transition effects ranging from slicing and sliding to fading and folding. There simply is no better way to showcase your amazing work than to make the presentation of it looks just as beautiful.


Shortcodes were introduced in WordPress in version 2.5 and they allow you to run a bit of PHP code from a code that you can use in your content.

Shortcodes are perfect to quickly add a gallery, social button, Paypal donate button, display PDF, buttons, quotes and lots more.

Shortcodes are written by providing a handler function. Shortcode handlers are broadly similar to WordPress filters: they accept parameters (attributes) and return a result (the shortcode output).

Learn more about WordPress shortcodes.

Here is just a list of some of the most popular WordPress shortcodes.

  • Add Columns
  • Images with alignments
  • Buttons
  • Message boxes
  • Quotes
  • Content Toggles
  • Content Tabs
  • Content Accordion
  • Lists
  • Dropcaps
  • Tables
  • Recent Posts
  • Popular Posts
  • Dividers
  • Clear floats

WordPress Themes Marketplaces

Now you have learned all the additional features that come with WordPress themes I’m sure you would like to know where you can get WordPress themes. But not just any WordPress themes but the best WordPress themes.

To get the best you need to look at some of the best WordPress premium theme marketplaces.


This is my favourite WordPress Theme marketplace, this is because of the high quality in themes they provide. All the themes on this marketplace are created by freelance WordPress developers or design agencies so you know the standard is always going to high.

ThemeForest is part of Envato network which sells all types of premium standard files for the web and graphic designs.

There is an in-depth moderation process to be accepted onto any of the marketplaces to guarantee the highest standard.

At ThemeForest you can buy and sell HTML templates as well as themes for popular CMS products like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal with prices ranging from just $5 up to $40. Items are priced on the complexity, quality, and use of the file. The site is home to a bustling community of web designers and developers and is the biggest marketplace of its kind.

Other WordPress theme marketplaces to try are:

Build Your Own Premium WordPress Theme

If you can’t find any themes that you like in these marketplaces or if you feel you can develop better themes then why not make your own WordPress themes.

There are loads of WordPress tutorials and snippets out on the web, so you will have no trouble finding the information you need to develop all the things you want for your new WordPress theme.

If you want a little helping hand getting started you might want to try a WordPress theme starter theme or a WordPress theme framework. These can have all the functionality already built in so you can concentrate on designing the look instead of playing around with theme options pages.

Thesis WordPress Theme Framework

One of the most popular WordPress frameworks is The Thesis Theme for WordPress.

The Thesis Theme framework is a premium template system for WordPress that is designed to serve as the rock-solid foundation beneath any kind of website.

Over 42,712 people rely on the airtight SEO, incredible design flexibility, and lightning-fast loading times that Thesis provides.

Blogs To Getting Information

There are so many blogs which are dedicated to providing information on how you can develop your existing WordPress theme.

The best blog to get information on WordPress is WP Tuts+.


Wptuts+ is a site dedicated to teaching people how to use WordPress, develop widgets, plugins, and themes, successfully scale sites, find interesting WordPress resources, and build a freelance business around the platform. Over 25 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call home, and it’s by far and away the most successful blogging platform online.

I highly recommend subscribing to their RSS feed to keep up to date with all the latest updates, if you don’t use RSS they are also on all the top social media networks.


From the examples given in this article hopefully, you now know the difference between a premium WordPress theme and a free WordPress theme and all the great things you get from spending a little bit of money to get the best.

If not hopefully this gives you some inspiration to create your own WordPress themes. maybe you could even sell them on some of the WordPress marketplaces.

Comments 5 Comments

Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This