The problem with WordPress templates

With the meteoric rise of WordPress, there are new websites popping up everywhere.

However, many of these websites are using WordPress templates or themes from sites like Themeforest. This means that there are many identical websites out there. And these websites have some big problems. The best way to get your business website up and running is to partner with a creative agency, without using a commercial template.

If you are considering hiring a web design agency, here is a helpful list of things to consider first.

Here's the thing:

WordPress themes are not designed for you

The main problem with WordPress themes available, is the fact that they are not designed for you. They are built to sell. They are a packaged solution, designed and built to appeal to a large audience.

The only way for theme developers to WordPress make money by selling and generating as many "products" as possible. Therefore, they need to appeal to the widest possible audience. And since they're not designed specifically for you, trade-offs always have to be made. To this add that since they are not designed specifically for your company, they do not take into account your user base or your target audience.

The goal of your website is to work for your business. Whether it is to generate leads, make sales or build awareness, and therefore a packaged solution is never the right choice when it comes to achieving these goals.

A reloaded codebase

Due to the fact that themes are not designed for specific needs and have to appeal to a wide range of customers, the code base is always overloaded and bloated.

It may not mean much to you, but the huge amounts of redundant code on your website isn't good for speed or SEO of your website.

So what does a cluttered codebase mean, and how does it happen?

It's that simple:

A cluttered codebase means there is too much code on your website. And a lot of it is not being used. So it just stays there, when it's not needed. This happens with many WordPress themes available, because they try to provide a lot of customization options to the people who buy them. However, this can create a lot of redundant and useless code within your website.

Think about it:

If a WordPress theme boasts "10 header options" and "10 footer options", that's 18 options that won't be used. However, the code for those 18 redundant options is still behind the scenes, slowing down your website and adding a level of complexity your website doesn't need.

Difficult for developers to work with.

Web developers' nightmares consist of two things:

Non-paying customers, and;
WordPress templates or themes


Because the available templates are a nightmare for web developers to get their work done. Reading and adapting other people's code is not easy at the best of times. On top of that, in these themes and templates, the code is often poorly written and without comments. Commenting within code is a technique that professional designers and developers use to ensure readability for when others need to access and adapt their code. Themes and templates often have no comments, and are written in a way that makes it impossible for a professional to become familiar with them.

One of the central ideas of WordPress is that, in case you want to change agencies or developers, you can do it easily. Due to good commenting and coding practices. Themes often neglect these practices. This causes developers to have to "hack" existing code. Resulting in dirty techniques and dodgy solutions that are born out of necessity, just to make something work.

In contrast, when a professional developer is building something from scratch, he is in complete control and can write clean code that is easy to read and expand on in the future.

Require plugins, lots and lots of plugins)

A lot of the available themes and templates require the use of plugins to make them look and work exactly like the demo website. I have seen themes that required more than ten plugins to work. And that is a very bad way to work.

Again, due to the broad and general appeal these themes must have, the plugins they choose are also often large and bloated. Things like sliders and accordions shouldn't require 5mb-20mb plugin files, when you can load them with a 100kb-200kb file of your own.

Plugins are great, for specific things.

For example:

Woocommerce and any of the Woo team plugins they are great. We use them to build and extend sites. However, you shouldn't need plugins to add simple functionality to your website.

Design limitations and lack of flexibility

Here's another problem: The available themes can be super limiting in terms of design.

They only come built with a certain number of options and ideas built into them. And then if you need to break the mold, you hit a brick wall. Again, this happens because they need to appeal to a wide range of people in order to make sales. So if you want to branch out into ecommerce and your theme doesn't take that into account, you're out of the question. By using a pre-made theme, you'll likely have to "shoe" your content into place, to fit a mold someone who doesn't know your company developed.

And that's the wrong way for a website to work. You should not be serving your website, your website should be serving and working for you.

Finally, you will not have a relationship with a design agency or designer

When you purchase an existing theme, chances are the only point of contact in your relationship will be in the "comments section" of the theme website. Or maybe some support forum that takes three days to get a response.

You can easily prevent that by building a relationship with your WordPress developer or agency. Building a relationship with a design agency can add value to your business , by making your life easier. Instead of having to customize a pre-made theme, your design agency can create one from scratch.

This way, they can take into account what you need from your website and work with you to develop the best solution.

By having a design agency to help you, you can avoid the mistakes of web design, you can reach out to them with thoughts and ideas and will be happy to assist you as you scale and grow your business, with your needs developing or changing.

By: Joseph Angersoen
2 de November de 2018
Categories: |
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