I may be a little biased, but here goes:
Premium theme frameworks are absolutely awesome.
Not only do you get rock-solid theme software, but you also gain access to a premium support community where you can ask questions and have them answered by experts.
For example, when you buy Thesis, you gain access to our community forums where experienced volunteers and full-time support reps can answer your questions.
And it gets better.
The Interchangeable Parts of WordPress Theme Frameworks
WordPress themes are great, but theme frameworks are better.
When you write tutorials on how to do [insert anything] in WordPress, that tutorial may not apply to every single WordPress theme.
So, if you want to take advantage of the benefit of that tutorial, you must figure out how it works with your theme. If you’re not a coder, that can be a huge problem.
Enter the interchangeable parts of WordPress Theme Frameworks.
You’ve heard about interchangeable parts and how revolutionary they were, right?
If not, interchangeable parts made creating machinery, like cars, easy and cheap because if one part broke, you can simply replace it with another… without rebuilding the entire car.
Theme Framework tutorials are like interchangeable parts.
Instead of struggling with code, and making broad WordPress tutorials “fit” into your website, you can follow theme framework tutorials, and chances are, they will work… if you use that theme framework.
For example, when you look at Thesis, we have the official Thesis Documentation where you can see a TON of different tutorials. Each one of those tutorials are “plug and play” for most Thesis designs (even highly customized designs).
Pretty cool, right?
The Theme Framework Ecosystem
This is where things get interesting.
Yes, “plug and play” tutorials are great, but the economic ecosystem that surrounds large theme framework communities is even better.
When you have a large community, there’s opportunity to serve that community with products and services.
And if you do that well, you can make a killing.
For example, with DIYthemes, there’s several people who design Thesis Skins exclusively. We feature many of them on our official Thesis Theme Designer page [edit: link removed].
There’s also TONS of websites that write Thesis Theme Framework tutorials, that again, you can simply “plug and play” into your website.
What does this mean for you?
You can either specialize in a theme framework, and differentiate yourself from the pack. Or, if you’re just merely a theme framework user, all this “community” stuff helps you improve your website.
Premium Theme Framework Support
I mentioned this briefly earlier, but let me reiterate.
When you buy a premium theme framework like Thesis, there’s a premium support community that comes with your software.
As I said, here at DIYthemes, we have 3 full-time support reps who are paid to peruse the forums and answer your questions about Thesis. That’s their job, and you can count on getting an answer.
When you use a free theme, or a premium theme without a support community, you might have to hire people to help you out with your issues.
And who has time for that?
If you have a problem, do you really want to find someone to fix it for you?
I don’t. That’s why premium theme support communities are great. When you have a problem, you can go to the forum and ask your question—you know exactly where to go.
Rock-Solid Theme Software
And, of course, this is the “no duh” benefit of premium theme frameworks.
When you buy a premium theme framework from a reputable company, you can have the peace of mind knowing that you’re getting rock-solid software to power your website.