If you use the below tips and tricks on how to choose a Themeforest Wordpress Theme to buy, you will not only be much safer with the theme you choose but also have made a good purchase.
Most important being the sale count, then ratings, and then functionality and weight of the theme, followed by the author profile.
So, without further ado, lets see what to check while choosing a Wordpress theme at Themeforest.
This is the strongest indicator of a good Theme. Especially over long periods of time.
If a theme has thousands of sales over a long duration of time, it means that it is not only a functional theme, but also it is well maintained in terms of support, patches, fixes and updates.
This may seem contrary to the concept of ratings - that an item with good and many ratings is a good item.
That is not correct - what matters in the long run is whether the theme you buy will receive updates in future, and will have support. If a theme goes unsupported in 6-8 months, it doesnt matter whether you have the best theme in the world - you are in trouble.
Sales count over a long duration of time is a strong indicator, but having a lot of sales in a duration of a few months is also a good indicator - even if not as good as the former. It means that the theme is selling good, and going to be popular soon.
When searching for themes, after choosing the filters Wordpress and whatever particular category of theme you are looking for (Blog, Magazine, Corporate etc), sort them by Sales.
Next, lets see about ratings.
Ratings are a secondary indicator.
Check the overall rating, and check the number of ratings given.
A rating of 5 stars with only 10 people is nothing for an item that has been on Themeforest for long duration of time. The number of ratings and overall score must be high in proportion to the duration the item has been on the market.
For items that are just newly listed, good score with 10-15 or more ratings is acceptable.
Use the Ratings selector lower down the left column to filter 4 ratings or above. Now you have a good listing to make a selection.
Below is an example on how to filter Wordpress themes at themeforest search:
But there are other points you must pay attention to, and they are equally important.
A theme that does 'everything' is not good. It means that it is bloated. It probably has social sharing, slider, price templates, this, that - a LOT of stuff built in. Which means that it is not only a theme, but also has plugin code inside the theme itself. Which is not good.
Such a theme would bog down your Wordpress installation and slow it down. And modifying it would be harder than purer themes.
Instead, search for a theme for the exact specific purpose you need the theme for. If you are looking for a theme to install at a blog, look for a blog theme with only the features/functions you need. For example for a blog, its a low possibility that you need a preinstalled slider. Or, price tables. You may not even need a grid system.
In case you are looking for a corporate theme, filter corporate themes and choose what is necessary - this time you will probably need a slider, you may or may not need price tables, you probably will need a portfolio section.
Your theme should be as light as possible. Meaning, it should not have functionality that should be done through plugins. For example, it shouldnt have seo functionality - that should be done with plugins like All in One seo or WP Seo.
Same goes for things like voting, micro data, social shares and so on. When you buy a theme with these functionality, not only they become a problem with other plugins, but also you are stuck with them even if you change to a social share plugin. You may disable the social functionality of the theme (if it allows) but the code will be there still.
New and up coming features like CSS3 etc are also thigns to avoid, because they are not widely supported. Check how a theme does its tricks - that nice gradient in the header may be done with CSS3, and it may be needing various scripts to approximate it in browsers like IE.
Try to get a theme with most widely supported standards as possible.
Check for browser compatibility - Chrome foremost, since its the biggest contender, Safari and Firefox the second. Despite IE has still quite good share, check it last, because different ie versions have different compatibility therefore they all act like they are different browsers. You can forfeit the compatibility of some minor IE versions.
If a theme is compatible with all of these and its also working well on the hardest platform Opera Mini Browser, then its a very good theme.
There are links to live demos of almost all themes on Themeforest. Find that demo, and then go to Webpagetest.org and put the demo url and test it.
A decent wordpress theme should do ~4 seconds on first load. And ~2-3 seconds on second load.
A good wordpress theme can do as low as ~1.3 seconds on first load, even with Jquery, Google fonts and Fontawesome loaded - with CDN downloads of these resources of course.
If the theme is doing more than 5 seconds load time on first load, evade that theme.
Go and check the comments section. By reading comments of users and the author's responses to them, you can get a good idea of the theme's usefulness and its bug situation. Also the helpfulness and expertise of the theme author or support staff (if they have).
Also someone may have asked the questions you may have, therefore do a search in comment section using the search box for anything you think to be important for the project or may be a problem.
Not as important as the others, but an author's profile is an indicator of the proficiency. An author with many items listed over long durations of time and with good feedback and sales in most of its items is more reliable than others.
But there are authors which only sell 1-2 items for over long durations of time but support and update these items perfectly. These are as good, even better.
But author profile is never a good indicator as the number of sales and ratings over a long duration of time.
These tips will guarantee that you get a well made, functional theme, as much as possible.