When you create a new niche site (or other website), there are lots of different options out there when it comes to WordPress themes. If you’re short on cash, then a free theme is definitely the way to go. There are lots of great freebie WordPress themes available, and I even start some of my own niche sites out with free themes. However, if you want to be able to get tech support on your theme, and maybe even have more versatility in terms of what you can do with the theme, then I recommend going with a premium theme.
There are several different businesses who specialize in premium WordPress themes, and I’d wager that Thrive Themes is the most popular these days. Personally, I pay for themes from the following premium WordPress theme companies:
The first premium theme that I bought a few years ago was from StudioPress, but these days I almost exclusively use Thrive Themes on my sites. And if you keep reading, you’ll learn why you should use them too.
Thrive Themes vs MyThemeShop vs StudioPress
A few months ago, I started a new site to test ranking a site completely white hat. For this site, I wanted a theme that had sort of a magazine style layout, without being too cluttered. If you’re familiar with StudioPress, then you already know that their magazine themes are kind of lacking in personality. They are really clean, but kind of boring. And while Thrive Themes offers a few options that are decent, they still didn’t have what I wanted. So, I decided to branch out with MyThemeShop’s offerings.
Benefits of Thrive Themes
Probably the most attractive thing offered by Thrive Themes is the Thrive Content Builder. Personally, I don’t use TCB very often because I feel like it takes me longer to create a post with it than without it. However, I did use it on this page. What I really like about their themes is that you have a lot of customization options to make them look almost exactly how you want to. It’s super easy to put in whatever size logo you want, change the front page layout, etc. Plus, their themes then to look really clean without being too boring. And if you have any problems, their support is top notch. They’ve helped me out more than once, and they are quick.
Disadvantages of Thrive Themes
The only negative thing that I can think to when it comes to Thrive Themes is that you need to have a subscription in order to have a valid license. And you definitely want that for support and theme updates. And maybe a minor quibble is that sometimes when they update a theme, they end up breaking something that was working just fine. Now, they always fix it quickly, but it does happen more often than it should.
Benefits of MyThemeShop
What first drew me to MyThemeShop is that they have so much variety in terms of available WordPress themes. Plus, their magazine themes look pretty much exactly like what I was looking for. And their pricing is pretty great compared to some of the premium WP theme sellers. Also, they have some pretty cool premium plugins that you can get as well.
Disadvantages of MyThemeShop
My first issue with MTS is that their “theme options” backend panel has to many freaking options. I mean, really, I don’t need to tweak every little thing about the theme. Nevermind the fact that some of the things that I did want to tweak just were not available as an option! I could live with that though. So, I installed their “Blogging” theme and it looked pretty great….except that no matter what I did, I just couldn’t get the theme to show me the “nickname” for the post author instead of the “user name.” So, I hit up the tech support board with my issue. Not only did it take a couple of days to get a response, but their “fix” was for me to create a child theme with some code that would “probably” fix the issue. As if.
Benefits of StudioPress
They offer simple themes that work pretty well. They don’t have a lot of bells and whistles but they work as expected. And the code is solid, so you never have to worry about anything breaking. In the few years that I have used them, I’ve never had to contact tech support.
Disadvantages of StudioPress
Sadly, these guys do not have a lot of theme options. Another negative mark for them is that you usually need to install additional plugins just to be able to easily edit the code since they use hooks.
Which Premium Themes Have The Best Site Speed?
Since site loading speed is a part of the Google ranking algorithm, I like to use themes that load up quickly. And plenty of places claim to have quick loading themes, but you never really know how something will load until you get it installed. I took some themes from all of the above companies and tested their loading speed on my new white hat site. This site has 10 posts showing on the front page and lots of images. Here’s how the themes shaped up:
First, I tested the Metro Pro theme from StudioPress because I like the way that it looks. Here’s how it did…
Next up, I tested several of the magazine style themes from MyThemeShop. However, the one that I had been using on my site was their “Blogging” theme. Here is how it performed…
And then, I tested all of the themes from Thrive Themes, and each of them were faster than the StudioPress and MyThemeShop themes. The quickest loading was the Focus Blog theme. Check it out below…
As you might have guessed, I ended up using the Focus Blog theme since it loads lightning fast. I suggest you consider using one of the Thrive Themes for your sites since they load faster than the competition that I tested.