In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Fisher Design and Advertising is featured as one of the Top Web Designers in Jacksonville. Check out their profile here.

Without a doubt, WordPress has become the most used CMS (content management system) platform on the web because it’s easy to use and easy to set up. Without much knowledge, almost everyone can install their own WordPress website using free or purchased pre-built WordPress themes. But is it all too good to be true? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using purchased WordPress themes (templates)?

Pros of Using Purchased WordPress Themes

Easy to Set Up. 

It just takes a couple of hours to set up a nice looking website without knowing any programming language, but a little web and internet knowledge is required. The theme includes the mobile responsive programming which will save you a good bit of money.

Cheap.

On websites like Themeforest.net you can buy a very professional looking template for only $50 and if you are know how to set it up, that’s all you will pay for your website template.

Cons of Using Purchased WordPress Themes

Wordpress Themes

Slow Load Time. 

Pre-built WordPress themes (templates) often use very fancy animations and cool effects, but all this requires a lot of javascript, which slows down the website. 

Wordpress Daycare Example

We recently worked on a daycare and nursery school in Jacksonville, (Rattlestotassels.com) website that was aesthetically cool, but it was taking 20 seconds to load! SEO experts say if the site takes more than 5 seconds to load, you lose 25% of your audience. We ended up, trashing the entire theme and recreated the site from scratch. The site now loads in 4 seconds, some things can be still done to improve it, but now it’s much faster than before. 

Lack of Personalization.

With the pre-built themes, you are stuck with their theme design. Usually, good templates let you change some aspects of the design, but you are dependent on what they let you do. If something is not an option of the theme, it can be very hard to add to implement because themes always use very complex programming code. In other words, if you thinking of buying a theme and make radical changes it, don’t. It usually takes less time to create a website from scratch then try to figure how to change a pre-programmed theme, not mentioning that when they release an update you won’t able to update because you modify the code. Changing the template will break the mobile responsive and content management part of the website as well.

May Not Have Longevity.

If you really need to buy a WordPress themed (template), make sure it is built by a well-known and trustworthy company because WordPress has constant updates and themes need to follow the new updates. Therefore, the theme design companies need to release updates compatible with the new version of WordPress. I worked in the past on two websites using a purchased theme. The company who built the two themes went out of the business, so the themes are left to their own. At the moment, the websites are still working, but it’s just a matter of time before something will start to malfunction and at that point, we will see if we can fix it or we need to reprogram with a new template.

Bugs. 

Sometimes we find that some themes are buggy. They don’t work properly. Always research the theme and its developer to see if they have good reviews and if the developer responds to support questions.

Last but not least: Incompatibility with Gutenberg.

WordPress recently introduced the so-called “Gutenberg” editor that adds a new way of creating and editing pages and posts. The editing tool will replace the simple body field with a new editing page using blocks. We will have blocks for paragraphs, blocks for headers, blocks for images; everything will be contained within a block.

The new editor is cleaner and minimalistic and said to be more user-friendly. But, it may create big problems for purchased themes.  Most of the commercial themes use plugins such as WP-Bakery, Elementor, or Fusion Builder. These plugins let users customize their posts in a similar way Gutenberg does. These plugins are dividing the pages into blocks. But, we don’t know if these old blocks will be understood by the new Gutenberg editor or if these plugins will continue to work at all. At the moment, we don’t know for sure how WordPress 5 will implement this new feature and how smooth the transition will be. One thing is for certain, theme creators will need to be very proactive with updates to prevent any problems. And this will be a very big problem if the theme creators don’t quickly update their plugins and they are not compatible.

That’s all about the pros and cons of using purchased WordPress themes (templates), and if you are thinking of building your new website ask your website professional about which is better for you, template or custom.

Mary Fisher Headshot
Mary Fisher

Mary Fisher, CEO of Fisher Design is a Jacksonville marketing icon whose business will be celebrating 30 years success in January 2019. She is a graduate of Florida State University. Mary is a past president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Mary was awarded 2007 Women in Business Entrepreneur of the Year, and is the recipient of the AIGA Fellow Award. Mary has been honored as one of Jacksonville Business Journal’s Women of Influence. Mary has served on the advisory board FSCJ for the Graphic Design and Interactive Design departments as well as Keiser University. She is a member of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the Women Business Owners of North Florida (WBO) and Southside Business Men’s Club, Jacksonville Online Marketing Meetup (JOMM). She is a HIPAA certified, physician recommended member of the Associated Medical Office Experts (AMO). Mary is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Jacksonville. She is frequently a mentor with the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center for Marketing Matters and Athena Powerlink. She is also a regular speaker for US Veterans transitioning into entrepreneurship in Jacksonville.