Earlybird Question: Determining Theme Quality & WP Site Deployment Tips


When browsing themes in say, Themeforest, how do you know if a theme is coded well or not prior to purchasing?

Also, say you have an exisiting website and you are replacing it with a WP site. Is there a way to install it on the main directory yet still have old site displaying? That way you don’t have to mess with transferring directories. If there is no way to do that, is there a plugin/program that will help with the transfer of the site from staging to live? I found this, anyone ever try these? http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/8-plugins-for-safely-moving-wordpress/

Answer 1: Determining Theme Quality & Performance

You have just found one of the biggest risks when buying a theme, and it’s not just about code quality, but rather how the backend of the WordPress site itself is setup. Many times complex template modifications systems are put in place, which while they sound incredible end up being poorly supported and leaving customers frustrated.

Here are a few suggestions for weeding through themes:

  • Run Google Page Speed on the theme. While I wouldn’t expect an incredible score, you can at least see if there are any red flags
  • Don’t just base a template on the homepage, look at the other template types and shortcodes that are available to you
  • Look over the comment & support history on theme forest, or on the developers private forum. See if there are any complaints or issues, also check the response time. An active developer shows that they care and take things seriously.</li

Answer 2: Tips for Deploying a WP site

I highly recommend making use of a local development environment. For tips on how to set this up ChikGeek puts on a great course called “Intro to WordPress development”, you can contact them here. Otherwise just google “local wordpress development environment setup” there will be quite a few results.

Having a local environment will allow you to do and test everything you want, after which you can just move things over to your live environment or where the site is hosted.

There are several plugins to do this as well. At Solid, we have tried several, but nothing was as reliable as we wanted and most require intermediate knowledge (incase something goes wrong). Try asking around at WordCamp too, or read reviews for various plugins online.

Also, if you are a web design company, don’t forget to set aside a few hours or more in your project budget. Hosting & servers can be complicated and sometimes be unpredictable.

The best method for moving a site is detailed on Smashing Magazine here: