Here at Bendigo Web Design we often use themes for our budget-conscious clients. Why? It is quite simple. To employ a ready-made theme reduces the overall cost and time of development. However….
Just my opinion but templates are useless without support from the author, who invariably launches an imperfect product in the excitement of earning a quick buck.
I appreciate that it is not always the selfish motivation to earn money which highlights multiple flaws, bugs or omissions with a theme but sometimes the fact that even after rigorous testing, it is not possible to identify every problem prior to release.
The concept of templates exists to make it possible for the non-expert to attain a reasonable level of professionalism with their website, without spending thousands on a developer. For the small web design business, such as Bendigo Web Design, there is no point in reinventing the wheel if a suitable theme already exists. It drastically reduces the time it takes to design and code into a WordPress template and the resulting savings can be passed on to the client.
The availability of such high quality templates, such as the vast majority on Themeforest, is a major boon for the non-tech savvy small business owner, as much as it is for the web designer. However, primarily for the former, author support is critical.
I believe Themeforest states that offering technical support is not compulsory and at the author’s discretion as to whether it is included with the product offered and that is fair enough. I can’t think of a service or product which does not include at least some level of after-sales service but I am sure someone will enlighten me. My business certainly backs up it’s services because it makes good business sense but you can vote with your feet and move on if service is not included or at an acceptable level.
My advice, for what it’s worth:
- Read the comments carefully. If you are not happy with responses, move on.
- Take note of the date comments are posted and the response times. I can’t say what is acceptable for all but if it’s more than 3 days, I would move on.
- If multiple questions remain unanswered, move on.
- Check out the author’s other items, particularly the comments. If there is a pattern of unresponsiveness or neglect, move on.
- Don’t be put off by new authors. They are often eager and willing to make a good impression.
- Don’t assume an experienced author will not be rude or unresponsive once you part with your money.
- Take note of the star system. You would be generally safe with 5 stars. I wouldn’t go near 1 star with a barge-pole and anywhere in between needs careful consideration of all the above.
- Don’t take my word for it.
Above all, be polite and be patient in your dealings with the author you eventually decide to give your money to and they will hopefully reciprocate; a valuable lesson to new authors.
Looking for a theme for your WordPress website? Check out the following image: