Anyone who has spent time searching for website templates probably knows there are hundreds if not thousands of websites out there all selling a large variety of website templates, everything from classic HTML templates to full blown ready to go eCommerce stores. As I own a marketing firm that puts web design and development as my premier service offering I am no stranger to website templates. We prefer to build from scratch but there are times it simply does not make sense. So enters the need for Website Templates. In our case, specifically WordPress templates.
For example, do you have a small retail site that you want to manage yourself and control your customers shopping and payment options directly on your own site? For eCommerce customers, there are templates that can help facilitate this through the WordPress platform using the shopping cart and store plugin called Woocommerce.
Do you need to build a site fast and have it still contain all the bells and whistles such as galleries, slideshows, responsive coding, and more? There is certainly a template out there that can get the job done!
While templates take a great deal of tweaking and refinement to professionally brand one unique to your business, they can often get the ball rolling on a website project quicker than building from scratch. The design process is very different with template based websites since we already have an idea of the layout and possible design concept based on the template sample provided by the theme retailers website. So it takes a lot of the guesswork and artistry out of building a website.
A big reason many people often purchase these types of templates is for the Responsive Web Design. If you are unfamiliar with what that is, it simply means a website built once that runs on and adapts to all devices. You’ve seen this hundreds of times already on your smartphone or tablet and may not even have realized it. But several years ago people were creating multiple versions of websites. They would often build one site for desktops and laptops, one site for tablets, and another for smartphones. Now that the screen resolution and processing power of smartphones has caught up to tablets and traditional computers, we are able to deploy one website that simply adapts to all devices. Many of the themes you can purchase now come pre-installed with this Responsive Web Design functionality. In my experience it is never perfect and does require tweaking but the functionality is there which can instantly make your site very functional on any device that accesses it!
Ok so that’s a lot of background info on templates but I haven’t even mentioned ThemeForest!
What makes them my obvious choice when I need to purchase a template? Working backwards I can say I’ve tried a lot of other companies and they have truly shown me what NOT TO BUY! Between terrible customer service, over inflated pricing, poor on-going support, and less than fully functional themes, I have experienced it all. I will flat out tell you one of the biggest retailers out there you should steer clear of at all costs is Template Monster. I will not link to their site to save you from even entertaining the idea. They have a massive catalog of templates but many are overpriced or outdated and will cause major compatibility issues with your site. They also have terrible customer support and if you ever try to get a refund they make it so difficult you probably would just give up and not waste your time trying to get your money back. So avoid the headache and go with someone else.
ThemeForest is part of a large group of creative retailers called the Envato Marketplace. You may have purchased from them and not even known it. They provide a full range of creative services such as:
- ThemeForest for website templates
- Code Canyon for plug-ins and other website functional needs like sliders, galleries, etc
- Videohive for stock video footage and effects
- AudioJungle for sound effects and stock audio music
- GraphicRiver for cool vector elements such as icons, illustrations, etc
- PhotoDune for royalty-free images
- 3docean for 3D project needs such as models, textures and more
- ActiveDen for help with active content such as flash or 3D gaming projects
I have not spent much time anywhere but ThemeForest, AudioJungle, and CodeCanyon but I can only assume the other areas are just as robust and useful to those who need them!
I love ThemeForest first and foremost for the high quality library of WordPress themes they have assembled. While not the cheapest nor the most expensive on the market I have yet to find a company who can match their quality of end product as well as their on going support. Every template I’ve ever purchased from ThemeForest has A+ support and a very interactive message board where I can usually find the answers to any of my technical issues in a matter of moments. I tend to only purchase templates with great reviews of 4 to 5 stars and make sure they have been downloaded several thousand times to insure they are well tested. Perhaps then, my review is a bit biased as I have not tried a less popular or lower ranking template. But honestly I’m not sure why I would!
While I’m not the authority on templates, I have purchased numerous templates for: Portfolio based websites, insurance agencies, magazine style websites, celebrity websites, general business websites, and much more. In the last year alone we purchased more than 30 templates. So we are well aware of what is out there and I feel that ThemeForest is a wonderful fit for any website need. Their WordPress themes for example are very well organized and it makes it easy to search through their catalog and filter down to the niche market I’m building a site for.
Most Responsive Web Design Templates start around $45 and I think the most I’ve ever paid on ThemeForest is about $65. Well worth the cost and with great support and a highly intuitive themes which are well built, the choice to continue to use this company for all our needs is an easy one.