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WordPress Themes – Should I Pay for a WordPress Theme?

I’m a fan of WordPress – this blog actually started off on blogger a very long time a go – but I go so frustrated with their technical limitations I moved Passive Income over to self-hosted WordPress and never looked back. WordPress is free and of course there are approximately a zillion free WordPress themes around but I have now spent money on three different options for paid wordpress themes – given that I don’t like spending money – you might well ask why?

Two reasons really – support and re-saleability (is that a word ?). I’ll explain. I had this particular blog on a free theme but the down side with WordPress is that it gets updated regularly – way too regularly sometimes. Its settled down recently but at one stage they were realising updates every week or so. These updates are usually to fix security holes so you ignore them at you peril. The problem that arises of course is that the update sometimes breaks the theme, or maybe its the updated plugins you are using are broken – anyway you can spend many unhappy hours trying to fix the support. And with free themes you get the support you deserve – none – no problem with that, I don’t expect the theme developer to work for free. For many of my sites have no support isn’t really a problem – but on sites such as this one it can be.

Why I Bought Thesis Theme

So I looked long and hard to find something that would work for this site. My requirements weren’t outrageous or terribly unusual and went something like this – I wanted a

  • SEO friendly theme – or would at leasst work with All-In-One-SEO plugin;
  • theme which is supported and updated – it is the new version of Thesis was out the same day as WordPress 2.8 was released – impressive – they have active and helpful support forums;
  • theme which I wouldn’t have to re-do my customisations on if I had to upgrade WordPress and/or Thesis – Thesis uses a smart approach to ensure you don’t inadvertantly over-write your customisations;
  • customisable  theme so it looked like me – but it didn’t actually require any design skills because I don’t have any;
  • theme that could display and nest comments in a readable fashion because I  have quite a lot of them;
  • a theme that let me control the top level navigation
  • a 3 column theme with both columns on the right of the content
  • theme to plaster the affiliate ads in the usual place – top right, above the fold
  • Thesis makes for a pretty good boring niche theme out of the box – but you have to work out whether the cost of a developer’s licence is worth it for you.

Why I Don’t Like Thesis Theme

Thesis allowed me to do all these things. It fulfilled my wish list. But I don’t like it. I know that’s pretty much hearsay because Thesis, is tied up with the A-list crowd and if you Google “thesis theme review” you will find lots and lots of happy people – who are generally running Thesis on their blogs.  And a lot of them have pretty nice designs as well all based on Thesis – and all, I strongly suspect customised by a professional designer who is fluent in CSS and knows how to make stuff look good. I am neither – but thanks to Thesis I am now much more conversant in CSS – now that is not a bad thing – but it was not exactly why I paid $87 for a premium paid theme. What I don’t like about Thesis:

  • It has not one but two Thesis Options panels – this is confusing – I am always going to the wrong one – even after months.
  • I had to use code to add a header image – seriously – I joke not. Now if you don’t want to do anything else most peoole want their own header – and its not a matter of just added the file to the right place in the control panel : instead I have endless options over text styles, fonts, spacing of various elements blah, blah – all I wanted was a pretty header and a background that matched <pout>;
  • Using images is painful – I have to import an image and then cut and paste and add the thumbnail image code so that I can have the combination of having a picture anywhere I want in the picture plus having the thumbnail appear on other pages such as categories – its a nuisance.
  • Thesis is expensive if you want to deploy it. If you want to run it on more than one site you need that developers editions – that’s another $77 over the initial $87 for a single user. Plus if you want to sell a customised theme to a client that’s another $15 per a client theme.
  • Thesis makes a big deal of being SEO friendly – but its SEO settings are no more difficult to use than the free all-in-one-seo plugin – it replaces that plugin – but most people would already be running all-in-one anyways;
  • if you are a designer Thesis really is a framework and you can no doubt do beautiful things -but its a bit like giving me a top-quality blank canvas and a paint brush and tell me go create – I am a rather more paint by numbers gal! You maybe able to do beautiful things with Thesis – or afford someone who can – I can’t do either;
  • the ability to display ads using the “multimedia” box is fine and the ability to control this down to post level is impressive. What’s not is the place you put the code shows at most 2 lines of a narrow column- you have to use a text editor to actually edit and update the code – this is because most of the screen space has been used on the unecessary design elements;
  • their affiliate banners are really. really ugly – yellow is the only option – and this is in the marketplace where people care about design.

I may or may not stay with Thesis – the box below the post content converts well – and I haven’t seen that in another theme – yet. I did however decided that it was just too hard to customise for me to produce unique designs for websites I might sell.


Cost:  $87 – one site or $154 unlimited sites

Affiliate progaram: 33% commission 60 day cookie Is now managed by ShareaSale – I haven’t looked into the details

Why I Bought Elegant Themes

So I wanted to start a new flagship site – the site needed to look a bit more professional that this one and I was even going to tone down that language and have a front “landing page”.  To deploy Thesis Theme on the new site was going to cost another $77 – I hesitated. I noticed a few people using and recommending elegant themes and I looked harder. In fact I headed over to their site and spent days drooling over the prettiest themes I’d seen for a very, very long time. Now most premium themes appear to cost from $70 up – these themes (and there are 26 of them at the time of writing ) cost $19.95, total, not each.  In the end I decided I had wasted more than $20 drooling at the shop window and I bought.

Now short of taking off a week or two just to review themes from elegant themes I am just addressing the one theme from their selection that I have deployed – eBusiness – you can see it running live at Legimate Online Business. By the way the newer themes come with options eBusiness has three completely different looks each in three colour ways- so you actually get more than 26 themes.

Now the guy who creates the themes at Elegant Themes isn’t an expert on SEO – but he’s managed to get most things right with eBusiness – I’ve set the them to use a static front page with the lastest blog posts showing. The front page is acutally of a combination of up to four WordPress pages – each page title becomes a H2 header on the front page.  Meanwhile the blog side of things is controlled by making sure each  blog post has a category of “blog” – this I thought was a bit clunky – but it actually works quite well – it means that if I link back to  in say comments, plugins like commentluv can easily parse the latest blog post.

Now Elegant Themes don’t claim to be SEO optimized but eBusiness works just fine with all-in-one-seo, postname permalinks all the rest of the stuff you should be doing anyways. What I particularly liked about Elegant Thems is:

  • good support, active forum and, more usefully, very detailed step-by-step videos for the tricky bits: thumbnails and Hostagor (see below);
  • there are enough options for me to customise the theme without expecting me to actually make a  design decision more complex than enable/disable ;
  • eBusiness allowed me to have a static front page but still direct readers to the updating blog;
  • only a few content areas are controlled directly from the theme that is the slider at the top of the front page (not sliding at the moment as I only have one slide- can be up to three) and the “about me” photo and box at the top of the blog posts – everthing else is controlled by standard WordPress widgets which include an (optional) sidebar on posts and pages (can differ) and an (optional) footer;
  • they have some really interesting specialist themes for those who have art galleries or want to show off videos – I am seriously considering putting up my holiday snaps so I can play around with ePhoto! There are some slick magazine/news themes too but I am a bit over those myself.

What’s not to like about eBusiness:

  • out of the box the theme had links in the text only a very subtlly different colour from regular text – I made them blue so people would know to click;
  • this is not elegant themes fault but there is slight issue you have to deal with if you are on Hostgator and want the thumbnail images to appear. I had the problem and worked through the documentation and fixed it – but I will have to repeat for other websites I deploy their themes on (the issue is with a common plugin for managing thumbnails so is theme independent);
  • you cannot resell or distribute their themes legally – if you sell a site that is using the theme the new owner has to buy a membership too.

Its worth pointing out that the $19.95 is actually an annual subscription – when you pay with paypal the subscription is automatically created. You are not obliged to continue with the subscritpion to use the themes but if you cancel you lose access to the forum and future theme releases – you would want to download all the themes before you cancel and used all the support documentation that you require.


Cost:  $19.95 unlimited access to 26 33  themes (and more appear to be released every few months) for use on an unlimited number of YOUR sites

Affiliate program: 50% commission.

For both of the above themes  you no one can offer a money-back guarantee – you need to put the cash up and commit before you get access to a premium themes so thing about what you are trying to achieve before you sign-up.

Free Themes for Niche Sites

I should say too that I often use simple, SEO friendly themes for my niche sites – they are pretty boring looking at that is pretty much the point.  Free themes I like and use include:

Grizzly Sniper – looks just like an ugly blogger blog but its WordPress!

Adventure Tour – not as ugly as some but you can easily customise the header!

Zombie Sniper – another boring Justin theme

Dateless Mini – Frank’s boringly timeless theme

Boring Memo – and leaving the most boring of all hard to believe a designer developed this LOL

If you want something in between you might also want to check out Frank’s new site: Templates for Websites for some very cheap options (like $7 cheap!)

I have yet another solution for websites I will setup to sell – but that may have to wait for another post – this one got a little  loooong !

81 replies on “WordPress Themes – Should I Pay for a WordPress Theme?”

I am using Atahualpa from on most of my sites (including my own blog), it is a good compromise, it is “donation ware” you can use it for free and if you are happy with it you can donate money. The forum is active and if you donated you get extra support and goodies like the permission to remove the copyright of the theme from the footer. There is no problem in using it on “sites for sale”. The creator of this theme has also others that I haven’t tried yet and is working on a new one called “siteframe” that hopefully will be the theme that makes all others redundant 😉 BTW, Lissie, I noticed you decided to put up a photo of you on the new sites, I would strongly suggest that you splash out to get this photo professionally taken, there are a lot of reflections / blown out highlights in the one I saw. If you go down the road of “putting a face to the name” this face should be looking as good as possible and from the dance video I know that you look better then that photo! Just my 2 cents, SY
.-= hospitalera@Blogging´s last blog ..How stupid can a single spammer be? =-.

I hadn’t realised Atahualpa was that customisable – its a nice option too. What you saying my snap from the webcam on the new laptop is not good enough LOL It takes me over 30 minutes to put all the makeup and do the hair for the dancing – perhaps I should get a photo at the next comp!

Yeah, many of us got used to certain designs and power their projects with them. I personally adore StudioPress theme series from For me investing money in a theme is not an option – I’d rather invest my time in learning and customization.

Yes, it is extremely versatile, give it a whirl, you will love it! And yes, the idea of getting a portrait shot at your next competition might be a good one! I am sure there are enough professional photographers hanging around on such occasions! If you would live a wee bit closer I would do it myself 😉 SY
.-= hospitalera@Blogging´s last blog ..How stupid can a single spammer be? =-.

Hi Lis,

I have bought Thesis and I did this because of the fact it’s get updated fast and the theme won’t break that easy with each update and you can transfer your customized css file easy, so I don’t have to manually change all the css stuff again.
I haven’t tried it all out yet, but I hope it’s true what they say on their site 😉

But as a non-techie person I am looking for good templates with the least chance of breaking after updates from wordpress. At the moment I don’t have wp sites yet, but when I start them I want to go it all as quickly as possible with the smallest chance of breaking a theme after an update, because that will mean hours/days of trying to fix it and that means no building links on those days.

I hope elegant themes are also updated proof like thesis when you manually change stuff in the css files?

But I am a beginner at all this so I will have to ty and learn 🙂

I have managed software development in a past life Dennis and I can assure you that the way Thesis is doing its customisation means that it is protected when you upgrade the theme – they are using industry best practice and its the only time I’ve seen it done with WordPress themes.

No elegant themes don’t use the same approach to protect the CSS that you may have hacked yourself – becaues really they don’t expect people to do that – instead you should go with the way the theme is designed – and for most people thats just fine. Elegant themes are more using the traditional approach that you use the options provided by the designer and not fiddle with the code – the trouble is I’ve been around long enough to be a danger to myself LOL

Thanks Lis,

I think I will do what you say.
Use the thesis for sites with my own modifications (outsource this in my case) and use the Elegant themes without modifications and just use them how they are.

cya Dennis 🙂

Thats a good plan – if you have the $ for the themes and the design talent you will be good to go!

Just bought the elegant ones………Now you are one step closer to financial freedom …lol
A tiny, tiny tiny baby step…..:)

Thanks for the mentions Lis.

WordPress is an amazingly versatile ‘content management system’ or CMS and there’s a lot you can do with it beyond just simple blogging. Of course, it helps if you know HTML, CSS and PHP, or known someone who does, to get the most out of it.

As for the frequent updates, I’ve found that there are two major problem areas so far as WordPress security goes and those are user registration and remote posting. If you lock those down you can continue to use older versions of WP in relative safety. If you turn off comments, which I don’t really recommend in most cases, that closes another potential door.
.-= Frank Carr@Templates For Website´s last blog ..Wildlife Template Pack =-.

Frank I honestly think that WordPress is the most amazing piece of software I’ve ever worked with – its certainly the most flexible CMS I’ve come across – and I include in that statement software that cost many thousands of dollars to buy and many more to deploy. I know that there is even a theme which mimics a one page mini-site now! Thanks for the tips regarding the user reg and remote posting – I think I automatically turn them off but have to check now. 2.8 does seem a lot more stable than earlier versions.

Ha, you and I are on similar paths in the theme department. I have Thesis running on a new project and have gotten a real education in CSS. I have been using the Firefox plugin called “FireBug” to help me. Kristerella dot com has a good tutorial vid on using Firebug.
I also use elegant themes on my lead generation sites. The Ebusiness theme is perfect for this and looks professional using the blue option IMO.
Elegant themes are also easy to use for noobies and the thumbnail options are really nice too.
.-= Allyn´s last blog ..Stop Coming Up With Ideas And Take Action On Them Lazy Ass =-.

Firebug is cool and kirstella was one of the resources I found that were very helpful – there’s some great info out there on Thesis for sure – and some awesome designers.

Allyn you make me so happy saying you are using elegant themes – I am real idiot about marketing and I (dont laugh) it tool me a while to realise that my new site was about “lead generation” so I needed something professional looking – really CSS is easy cmpared to trying to understand marketing from where I came from – you sales guys have such advantage online – but the rest of us are catching up LOL I am really looking forward to seeing which plugin you use to deliver free beer samples on the new stie LOL

I used a few free themes for my first 2.5 years of blogging, but lately I couldn’t find one I really liked. I decided to start browsing premium themes, and paid $70 for Gazette from Woo Themes (I got a second theme free). It was really easy to set up, I love the responsive support in the forum, and am very happy with the new look of GoBackpacking.

I think playing around with free themes is good for new bloggers, but once you know what you want in a theme, don’t be afraid to spend a little money!
.-= Dave´s last blog ..A Dead Bat In Paraguay by Roosh Vörek =-.

Hi Dave – I hadn’t been to gobackpacking for a while – and gosh you have updated it bit – very flash looking – though I kinda like the retro-90s look you had going way back!

Thanks Kim – you’re my first theme sale 🙂 Let us all know how you get on – read the documenation its good and step-by-step its works!

I just installed one of the Elegance themes last night. It was a bit tricky getting the thumbnails to work with Hostgator, like you mentioned. But once I got all the right permissions set and figured out the right format for the url to the image, it worked like a charm without having to contact Hostgator. I did have to check out the forum for a few things, but it’s quite informative in there. I hacked the them a bit too because I wanted a content site look rather than a blog (got rid of comments, etc.) These themes are exactly what I was looking for because they’re clean enough to make visitors notice the ads, but they don’t look spammy and ugly. Thanks again.

Yes you can customise it any which way BK – but if you do it for a client i.e. not for a webstie you own – then you have to pay $15 per site? client? – not sure how they enforce that though!

I’m your second and thanks! Because I’ve been looking for a reasonably priced nice looking website.

This is your favorite wedding planner btw =)
.-= Lina@Red Wedding´s last blog =-.

I tend to agree (sorry can’t quite spell your name !) – but I prefer not to be forced to learn when Ive been sold something suitable “for beginners”

LOL no problem they are hardly the highest paying affiliate in the world – I genuinely like them though thats why I thought it might be worth sharing what I’ve wasted a week on between the 3 theme solutions I’ve been playing with!

The same scheme seems to be repeating with the a-listers. Every one of the programs they promote, work well if you already know what you are doing. If you are capable of building good looking themes with notepad, you can sure make it happen with Thesis. If you already are an expert in something, you can make money with Teaching sells. And so on.
.-= Phil@I Need Money Now´s last blog ..What Can I Do If I Need Money? =-.

If Thesis had been cheaper to legally deploy on more than 1 site I would have done so – but for the price for the simple sites I just use a free theme and all-in-1 !


I got so frustrated I gave up. However, I didn’t ask for my money back just for that reason. I’m going to try the videos first for another site. Later though.

I found the most wonderful program <3 Artisteer. I just made the theme that you see on this website I'm touting atm.

I'm in love with this theme creator!
.-= Lina@Red Wedding´s last blog =-.

@Lina you were in my spam filter – you nearly got deleted cause i have hundreds of spams a day and just bulk delete – ask askimet for reinclusion Actually Aristeer is my next post – I was going to include it in this one but it got too long! I think its great too!

Suree lissie.. I believe ya…

Hmph.. you just saw my site of awesomeness and got jealous! That’s what!

Now who’ll be earning that passive income!! ?
.-= Lina@Red Wedding´s last blog =-.

I can prove it – I have 1/2 a draft post saved LMAO – you go get them girl – with or without your red dress!

The frustration with the header image in thesis is shared by many. I remember people getting really angry about that in the thesis forum. Actually I do have the developer license but don’t use it at all my blogs (I have only 3) because it is just too much hassle to change everything. I somewhat love the neoclassical theme (I use it on alpine trips) due to the rotating header image, I love looking at my blog with the rotating mountain images (you can change the code in thesis as well to get a rotating header image but I am just too lazy).
What I really love at thesis (same holds true for neoclassical as well though) is the typography. Very professional looking if you use just the standard setting.
I tried Atahualpa (mentioned by hospilatera) for a very short time. But it is just too ugly in my opinion. Those gray bullets for the categories are awful for example (at least in my books).

Cheers, Randy
.-= Randy@AlpineTrips´s last blog ..The Mont Blanc Massif. The Hundred Finest Routes by Gaston Rébuffat (Book Review) =-.

I don’t see your header rotating (running latest firefox ) – but I love the idea especially on any travel themed blog! I must admit I am with design like I am with art – I know what I like LOL – I must admit I hardly ever notice the typeface unless its too small, too big or otherwise impossible to read – I think I changed the default her becaues I wanted a slightly “hand written” look, though must say that yours is very easy to read, I don’t find Hospitaliera’s quite as easy but that is more the colour than the face I think.

I once was the “IT gal” who the publishing department was trying to persuade to spend thousands to buy some special typeface for a printing course materials – it was very,very important that this actual font was used and not the free version – cause the free version was wrong. I wrote a memo back to them – telling them they weren’t getting it because there was no visible difference to my eye between the two – they told me I didn’t know what I was talking about – I told them that as the material was for students and I was in fact a student as well as a staff member, I saw no differencje – oh and BTW I changed the font to your preferred one somewhere in the last paragraph – can you tell me where I did it? Never heard back from them LOL

The neoclassical theme looks nice – is it free or paid?

Yes darkening usually works for me – I like blue – just I like darker font colours too!


If you want free wp themes with qualities like Thesis (parent theme with child themes) you may want to check out Thematic ( and Sandbox ( Sandbox has a bunch of child themes at (from a design competition they ran)

The parent themes are open source, and there are both open source and commercial child themes (for Thematic). Note that I haven’t installed any of them. I’ve mainly been using the free SEO’ed themes from Justin and Frank.

Of the themes from themes from Justin and Frank, the only blog with enough traffic to show results is the one running Frank’s horrifyingly ugly Boring Memo. It gives quite a good CTR, even though I replaced the Adsense block with an affiliate banner. One thing to note is that the official StatCounter plugin doesn’t work with it (and the Grizzly Sniper too, if I remember correctly). IIRC, you need to manually paste the javascript from Statcounter into the page footer.

On my main site (under my name), I’m running Dosh Dosh’s Prosense theme, and its Adsense CTR is nowhere near as good – only 5% to 10%. However, I don’t dare to change anything since:
1) Most of my traffic is from EzineArticles; and
2) I’m getting some search traffic from Bing and Yahoo (but not Google, sadly).

Btw, I’ve signed up at your and I’m looking forward to see what sites you come up with.
.-= Calvin@Oil Rig Jobs´s last blog ..Oil Drilling Rig Jobs – Why Look For Entry Level Roustabout Jobs And Offshore Drilling Rig Jobs? =-.

I am just trying out the boring memo theme on a new site, but I must say I made the footer font bigger and darker, was afraid of getting one over the fingers from Google because they were nearly unreadable. @Calvin, thanks for the links to the free themes, I will check them out! SY
.-= hospitalera@Blogging´s last blog ..How stupid can a single spammer be? =-.

Thanks Calvin for signing up! Those are some interesting theemes – yes I hear you about ezinearticles – for others – ezinearticles are quick to call a site spam – I would make sure you have a reasonably nice looking (plain is OK but not too ugly) for them1

I’ll have to check on that Statcounter Plugin thing. Perhaps it’s looking for something specific in the theme that I stripped out. I did strip out a lot of overhead on my themes so it is possible that I took away too much.

Remember that you can change the font on Boring Memo in the stylesheet to make it more readable. Remember that plain boring text blogs are also intended to help those with vision impairment and for easier access from mobile devices.
.-= Frank Carr@Templates For Website´s last blog ..WordPress Theme Megapack =-.

@Lissie: to trigger the rotation in neoclassical you have to click F5 or browse through the blog. I have only two different header images but you can add more if you want (it is easy to do, you only have to change a number in the random function and of course upload another image). Yes, neoclassical is free (it is by Chris Pearson as is the Thesis Theme). It is also opimized for SEO (according to Chris Pearson, I am not an expert in this field). There is even a “subtheme” (don’t remember the correct wording) for thesis where you can replicate the neoclassical theme while using thesis and all its additional functionalities.
You are right that one can go too far with typography but there can still be huge differences. I guess just a quick tour through the internet will reveal some pretty awful examples of strange uses of typefaces and typographic concepts. But of course tastes differ.

.-= Randy from Alpine Trips´s last blog ..The Mont Blanc Massif. The Hundred Finest Routes by Gaston Rébuffat (Book Review) =-.

Well thesis two panel option is really confusing the look-alikability of the two keep me confusing for months, but now I am used to it. The fact cannot be avoided that thesis is being used greatly by people all around… but the people like Lis and I with not much of technical knowledge will find it difficult. Anyways it was a nice post and informative too.

Hey There,

Yup, I own several developer themes and you know I am already a glutton for punishment because I will never have time to use them to their full potential (whatever it may be).

The main theme that I have decided to go with has had some huge improvements with all the upgrades that have been happening with WordPress, and it is great to have good support and a solid community behind you.

Makes it much easier for a newbie to have a good looking functional site.

Because of this post you wrote I have gone from downright ugly to mostly ugly. (you decide)

Thanks for all you do……

.-= Dirk@TheNewSpiderweb2.0´s last blog ..Spiderweb Marketing System And The New Spiderweb 2.0 Review =-.

Hey Lissie,

Welcome to the wonderful world of theme junkiedom 🙂

lol, the way you are promoting the elegant themes, I should have sent you the affiliate link … there is 10% on the second level.

I was wondering though, did you get the header image that I sent you for the netmarketingtoday site? … or did it end up in your spam filter?

If you didn’t get it, just let me know a good email address and I’ll send it again.

.-= Todd’s Tips´s last blog ..How To Prepare For A Military Deployment =-.

This is an awesome post for helping people determine which themes they should be looking at depending on their experience with coding and knowledge of wordpress. I have heard some good things with Headway Theme as well, much like thesis with additional features. Granted I haven’t tried it myself but have seen favorable reviews. PS Gotta love Grizzly Sniper good work Justin.
.-= The Real Josh´s last blog ..What do you want me to ask Gary Vaynerchuk? =-.

I tried Atahualpa and found it too clunky. I’m now using a free theme from I’ve also bought the personal version of Artisteer because I got fed up trying to find designs I liked (I wrote a Hub review of the software).
.-= marisa wright@Belly Dance Oz´s last blog ..Georgina Escobedo =-.

I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

A definite great read..Jim Bean

I have been trying to find a theme that I can use to improve my adsense CTR and to make my sites look better. Right now I am not that familiar with using CSS or html. I have been using the plain sites and would like to know if anyone can point me in the right direction.

Can someone who is not that familiar or is a newbie who does not want to spend a lot of time on trying to figure out themes can make their site better looking and more friendlier?

Roustabout Jobs Get Info.

I’m personally in love with Thesis thanks to several different reasons. The best thing is without doubt the support and that there are so many tutorials already so you don’t have to know how PHP works. Just find a list with tutorials and use those you find interesting.

With that said I do really hate that you have to pay to get a licence for every theme you make for a client. Feels like a rip off to buy the developers edition if you have to pay extra anyway.

Wow! I have a lot to learn. I just started using WordPress, and I didn’t even know about the risk of WP being updated and your theme no longer working. Makes sense though…

From my perspective, that’s a very good reason to at least consider paying for a theme.


Hi, I am just playing around with “Dateless Mini – Frank’s boringly timeless theme” and wondering if anybody has found a possibility to remove all reference to comments on them. Not just to de-activate them, but also remove any reference at all to them, thanks, SY

Hi Sy,

I don’t have that particular theme, but on most wordpress themes, all you really have to do is remove a line that will look something like “?php comments_template()” from the single.php file. Also, if there’s another link in the meta data field like “?php comments_popup_link()” you’ll want to take that out too.

Hope this helps,

Thanks Todd – I’ve been offline – not much time to comment – that sounds like the right advice though! Also SY you can just close comments on all posts/pages in the settings tab somewhere – but you may need Todd’s hack to get rid tof the actuall “comment” word – its theme dependent

Well, first of all, i’d like to thank you for taking the time to put so much thought in your post. I’m really not a fan of Thesis, and it’s mainly for one reason, it’s too expensive! WordPress is free and they try to sell a $90 theme? ThemeForest has great themes, with premium features, most of which are under $25.

Good points.. First make money from your blog and then invest money in the premium theme. Also, many blogs use the default look of thesis which makes them appear really cheap and common.

Well, first, blogger might be very simple, but some people all they need is simpleness, am i right? secondly, using paid theme is nice, you get all the good things packed up, but remember that this is not unique theme, so if your site grows substantially you’ll need you own theme.

I don’t believe you need a unique theme for 90% of businesses – though if you really want something unique I’d look at Frugal Theme

And what is your opinion about hiring a (fairly cheap) graphic designer for your WordPress theme? I mean, a lot of our clients practically demand a custom design for their company site. It seems fairly logically to me that you can’t use themes all the time right?

Angela – you can always use themes – most clients don’t have the foggiest what they mean by having a “custom” design. Frankly if they want more than a custom header and the company colours I’d point out that they will have a big job getting the site ranked and move on. You are always using a theme – its just about how custom it is

Sometimes you get what you pay for – and you have to pay to get something that suits and works for you. I also agree that you don’t always need to be unique to be successful. Anything that starts unique won’t always stay that way, you just need to make sure you’re doing what you’re doing in the best way to always elevate yourself above your competition.

I don’t mind paying for something that I really think is worth the money and that I would find useful, even though there may be another cheaper, or even free version. There is no room for compromise when trying to run a successful business.

WOW! Great information! I jsut got Thesis and started a new blog with Atahualpa. Strange name, but a lot of customization like Thesis – but free! There is also a forum and for only $20 you get more tutorials, quicker response, etc as a Gold Member. This is a lot if good info.

BTW – you remind me a lot of myself – writing style. I, too stated off my current blog as a Julies Journeys blogspot blog. It was more of a diary as well. I also, want passive, passive income! I am glad I found you from No Job For Mom’s site. Look forward to more posts!!

You have a nice site Julie – notice you are using Thesis there – but you decided you didn’t want to continue on with it on other sites maybe! Yes Atahualpa (I wonder how its pronounced) has a lot of fans – haven’t used it myself but others I trust do!

Hi Lis,

The latest version of Atahualpa has a export function, if you tell me what you want your theme to look like I am sure I can create a base theme for you to start from, SY

So true..Best selling themes at marketplaces like theme forest and others, are actually pretty simple themes, with j Query effects and drop down options.

It depends on the needs of your website. Looking good themes doesn’t always imply better visitors, it’s how you set up your modules and deliver the demands of people through your site.

Hi, very good tutorial for the SEO-Plugin. I have some Problems to use WordPress-Plugins, my Provider has bad php-settings. But i try this, thank you.

Nice post. You certainly did your homework because you are looking for all the right things in a theme. I’m pretty sure all themes are compatible with All-in-One SEO Pack, which is very important. It’s also a good idea to make sure your theme is compatible with the newest version of WordPress, which can be hard to do since it seems like WordPress is always coming out with new versions!

Lissie, I know this is an old post but just wanted to ask – are you still using any Elegant Themes?

I decided to join as Artisteer have updated their software, and on the new themes I’ve created with it, you can’t modify the “search” function – which stuffs up my phpBay sites! So I’m back on the hunt for some suitable off-the-peg WordPress themes.

Like you, I found myself drooling over their themes! However, I’m already finding things that annoy me – for one thing, there’s no way to filter the themes, so you just have to plough through the preview and features of every theme, one by one, till you find one you like.

The other thing I don’t like is the speed – I’ve tried uploading a couple of themes to my site, and they’re getting scores on Firebug down in the 70’s. Disappointing, because they really do look gorgeous!

I’m not a current subscriber – but costa is and just reviewed the latest elegant theme’s memoir theme which I like the look of. Noticed there is a bit more flexibility than previously. Basically I have decided to give up on pretty and go for functionality – I am currently using Catalyst (the new version of Frugal) – it costs a little more but gives you total control = the downside is that you start with a blank canvas

I personally adore StudioPress theme series from For me investing money in a theme is not an option. I’m pretty sure all themes are compatible with All-in-One SEO Pack, which is very important. It’s also a good idea to make sure your theme is compatible with the newest version of WordPress, which can be hard to do since it seems like WordPress is always coming out with new versions.

I have heard great stuff about Thesis Theme but haven’t tried one myself. The theme is a little plain for me. In general, I like colorful but simple WordPress theme myself. It’s hard to have a balance though.

I just purchased Elegant Themes and am totally happy with all the templates thus far. I have used The Professional Theme for my personal Blog – and Memoir – and both gave me little or no issues setting up. The only issue I have is that is you sell the website the new owner must purchase a membership.

Just noticed you’re still recommending Elegant Themes. I just tried them again, because I’m helping a friend fix her website and she wanted something fancy.

Still drooling over how gorgeous they look. However, all the ones I tried were very slow. When I put them on the site, Page Speed gave me a big red alarm message! They were all down in the low 70’s, and that’s before adding any additional plugins like sharebars or flyouts.

Considering your reputation as a trustworthy source, I just worry that newbies will join up to Elegant and never think to check their page load times – maybe an added warning is in order? Oh, and BTW they don’t offer a refund any more if you’re not satisfied.

I did some Googling and found that paying for a theme doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a better theme – a conclusion I was already arriving at myself, having tried a few. The main problem seems to be that the more “easy customizations” a theme offers, the more bloated it is, and the slower it will run. This is a good example of what I found:

I do hope posting a link doesn’t put me in the spam folder!

Hi, I agree with Marisa on this “easy customization the theme offers the more bloated it is” Being said that, there are loads of people who know zilch about customizing a blog as per their own tastes and likings (this includes me too). These segment of customers are taken care of by such highly customizable themes. For me, I am working with a highly customizable FREE theme.

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