Are commercial WordPress themes worth the savings?
These days if you want a WordPress website, there are thousands of WordPress themes for sale on many commercial theme foundry sites. Purchasing one of them may seem the quickest way to the creation of a WordPress based site for your business. In some instances this might be the best option. And in some instances, it might not be the best option for you. Let’s examine the points to evaluate if you’re considering purchasing a theme for your WordPress site.
If you have a very limited budget, you might want to find a simple, easy to use theme. Or if you can be satisfied with the defined functions someone else created for a theme. Or if time is not on your side and you have to get something, anything up and don’t really have time to decide what will work best for your brand.
What should I consider when selecting a theme to purchase?
Things to consider when making the decision to use a commercially produced theme include are you completely happy with all the theme’s functionality? If you’re not satisfied with the way a theme provides staff listings, or ecommerce or projects, you can have a developer create a child theme for you which retains the primary traits of the parent theme and adds your modifications. You might use WordPress plugins to give the site functionality which the theme doesn’t include, but too many plugins can overload a WordPress site, slowing down load times. Having plugins on your site opens it up to issues called “breaking changes” — “A change in one part of a software system that causes other parts to fail; occurs most often in shared libraries of code used by multiple applications.”
Some themes will have hundreds of options, and come with preloaded content, but which of these options will you really use? Why opt for a WordPress theme stuffed with every known functionality under the sun? Trying to figure out how to use your selected options will make you feel like you’re banging your head on a brick wall and complicated software is more difficult to get right.
Documentation is often lacking in commercial WordPress themes. Before purchasing a theme, explore the documentation. If it is written with incomplete sentences, broken English or simply fails to convey the essential instructions of how to use it, you want to avoid it.
You should also explore the responsiveness of the theme’s developer, checking to be sure they respond to questions from purchasers. Do they update the theme regularly to keep it inline with WordPress’s developments? Do you get all those updates for the life of your site? Or do you have to purchase them in an ongoing process?
If you’re not going to do all the setup of your site yourself, ask the developers you consider using how they handle all of these concerns. Reflect on their answers and make your decisions appropriately. Remember that unless your developer is familiar with that “it will do anything” theme, it will take more time (money) for them to help you with it.
Why should I get a custom WordPress theme created for my website?
There are many reasons to have a very experienced, knowledgeable WordPress developer create a custom theme for your business website. Having your website purpose built for your business, to support your brand and provide precisely the required functionality your business needs is the best reason to get a custom theme coded for your WordPress website.
Advantages of a custom theme
A custom theme may be more expensive than a commercial theme set up by a WordPress freelance developer, but you’re not stuck with reverse engineering a theme’s functionality to get it to do what you require, or piling on plugins to make it do what you want. You will not have to worry about lacking instructions on how to to use a bloated, feature heavy theme that will go out of date the minute you install it.