Have you heard about Joomla? – One of the most used CMS on the Internet. People love to use it not only because it’s user-friendly but also because they can diversify their websites using beautiful Joomla templates.
Choosing an attractive and suitable template is one of the first things which webmasters consider when building their website.
There are 1001 questions that arise when you are thinking about buying a Joomla template. I understand that because I know you absolutely don’t want to waste your money on a bad product or service. If it’s the first time you have bought a template, I have some recommendations which will help you to evaluate a template before making a decision to buy. So, what are they?
A suitable design
Joomla is well-known for the huge resource of amazing templates. Each template is designed especially for each different kind of website – With different layouts, colors, built-in extensions and so on; for example, business, education, lifestyle, photography, magazine, e-commerce…
So, if you want to build a business website, just look for a corresponding template, for example JSN Epic, Corporate Lifestyle, Clarion… Don’t be lured by other beautiful templates for restaurants, beauty spas, clubs… which you will find hard to customize for a corporate site. You can easily check its design by viewing its demo site.
Product quality is an important element which every customer should always consider carefully. With a Joomla template, product quality is shown in many aspects: the stability of the product, fast loading speed, well-coded, etc.
It is great to use a well-designed template, but it would be really annoying if it was not stable and you had to confront a lot of bugs. If you don’t want to switch to another template immediately, pay attention to this criteria.
Each template will have different features, especially templates from different providers. You should think of the features needed for your site before searching for a suitable one; for example, responsive, mobile device support, clear layout, diversified and nice typography…
The features of a template are quite diverse. Some general features shown on product’s description are about the framework, menu, typography, color variations, layout/module positions, SEO, multi-language support…
You should have answers for the following questions:
- Do its features meet your needs?
- Is it easy to customize and configure?
- Which Joomla version is it compatible with?
Remember to consider the price before you buy a template. Some templates sound cheap, but you won’t get additional benefits such as updates or support, so you might have to struggle with it. In contrast, some expensive templates come with rich features and perfect support; it is worth the extra money.
You should consider whether you need to buy only 1 template or a lot of templates as well. And then decide whether to choose templates from a template retailer or a template club. Retailers sell single products whereas a template club allows you to download several or all templates in a certain period. Thanks to criteria above, you can estimate the real price of the template.
You need to consider template customization to make the template yours. From basic to advanced elements, such as changing the logo, icons and background color, module style, template font style, footer, menus…
Can you easily customize this template? Are there any manuals which guide you on how to customize the template? Remember to consider these elements carefully.
I’m very wary of a badly-documented template. I truly don’t know how to work with it. Never underestimate the issue of documentation. Good documentation will guide you step by step to configure and customize your template.
It will help you master it and use all the features of the template much easier. On the other hand, you have to self-research, it takes you a lot of time. Remember to check the documentation before you purchase a template.
The last thing you need to think about is if the provider “cares” or “doesn’t care” about the templates. This means whether they improve features, fix bugs, update template versions, etc., frequently. For example, when Joomla 3.0 is released, will they upgrade your template to be compatible with Joomla 3.0? Or do you get the new “Responsive” feature for your template? Carefully check their policy to guarantee you won’t lag behind other users.
That’s your own level of experience. If you have had a lot of experience in configuring and customizing templates, then maybe any template will be suitable for you. If not, and you are a newbie, then you should not try to use a complicated template with too many features; just use a basic one which is easy to work with. This is my own opinion because I have seen users who had a lot of problems with complicated templates.
I’m quite sure that no one will want to use a bad service. So what are the issues you need to consider?
Product testing / Refund policy
It’s great if you can test a trial version of the product for a specific time, or use its free version. You can also try the commercial template if the provider offers a money-back policy. Testing the product yourself will help you decide whether to buy it or not. If you are happy with the product, you can buy it immediately, if not, you also haven’t lost any money when the trial expires.
If the providers of the template you are considering offer you this service, then take advantage of this and make sure you make the right decision.
Support is what can really make the difference among Joomla template providers. Some have a good support system with an enthusiastic support team and some do not. Like any customer, you need both good pre- and post-sales support. So, you need to learn about which kinds of support your provider offers (via forum, ticket system, etc), and how much time they need to reply to your questions? (12h, 24h, or more). Is it full, clear, focused and good enough for you to solve your problems? And so on.
Some providers offer you a discount when you buy a lot of their products. If you have the intention to buy many templates from a specific provider, remember to look for their discount policy; maybe you could save a lot of money. If they don’t have this policy, ask them, you could also get a preferential price.
Another way is to purchase templates in special events – New Year, Easter, Christmas or the product release day. A lot of providers offer discounts on these days.
Payment methods don’t seem to be a difficult problem now because most providers have the same ways to receive payment from their customers, for example via Paypal, 2Checkout, Master Card, etc.
If you don’t have a credit card account, you should check whether there is another way to buy templates, such as bank wire transfer via Western Union. Some providers accept this payment method even though they don’t publish this information to their website. You should ask them to clarify.
Some useful tips for you
To make sure to choose the suitable template, you should:
- Learn about popular premium Joomla template providers: “Best Premium Joomla Template Providers”.
- Go around websites about Joomla products such as Joomla24.
- Check templates / template providers reputation: Check the testimonial section on each of their websites, and bestofjoomla
- Check their social profiles such as Facebook or Twitter to check their assistance, friendliness and popularity.
- Ask Joomla users on a Joomla forum.
- Ask providers about their templates.
The bottom line
I believe that now you are ready to choose a Joomla template for your website. When you do it, share your experience with me and other Joomla users. I look forward to getting your comments here!