If you’re considering using WordPress for your website, you may also be considering purchasing a WordPress theme as a starting point for your website. My approach to things is, hey, if it works for you then that’s great. Not everyone has the same budget and I’ve personally set up sites for clients with a WordPress theme as a cost saving measure. The upsides are no-brainers.
- Low Cost
- Wide Variety of Choices
- Plentiful Options Out of the Box
- Quick Setup
In the short term, it’s a great way to get up and running without a lot of cost, expense, or fuss… There are a few drawbacks and some of them don’t show up until much later in the life of your site. These are things to consider that might cost you a little more money in the long run, so to be forewarned it hopefully to be prepared, right?
Some themes are built with a lot of bells and whistles. While these may look great to many users, they can increase load time and slow the performance of your page. These are two things that Google now factors into your search engine ranking plus it also can make a page frustrating to users. As well all know, frustrated users equal no sale.
Complex Page Editors and Options
In order to make themes as flexible as possible, some developers overload them with options and use unnecessary composer plugins that overcomplicate the process of updating your site on your own. If you do not update your site frequently, it can be a pain to have to relearn the system when you do find the time.
This is one that has come up for me personally in the last few months. I’ve had two client sites (one I set up and one that I did not) that needed server updates for security reasons and compatibility with WordPress. In both cases, the themes that were used and purchased from a reputable theme distributor were abandoned. Because of the way the extra features were built, one of the sites began to throw errors and we could not even login to WordPress to fix it. I ended up having to delete the theme from the server to get things going again. Because it was a long-time client, I ended up building a custom theme for them that paralleled the structure of the old theme while keeping the code as simple as possible and still bringing in new features.
So, to kind of button this up, I’m not going to sit here on my stool at my standing desk and tell you not to use prebuilt themes. They really can be a lifesaver at the beginning of a project or if you are just wanting to get started on the cheap and don’t have the necessary skills to build things on your own. Just be aware of the pitfalls and, my Lord, above all you should keep your WordPress install updated.
Again, that’s a conversation for another time…