I’ve built hundreds of websites since I first started in digital marketing. Back in the day – circa, 2003, we’d have to create our own CMS systems using PHP and HTML – and then along came WordPress. In this post, I will focus mostly on WordPress – which incidentally is also an excellent SEO CMS platform.
It might be quite tempting to utilize a pre-built, off-the-shelf website theme when building a website. The downsides of pre-built website themes, on the other hand, are sometimes overlooked until much later.
I personally use GeneratePress – and this site was built using that excellent theme.
Pre-built themes appear to be an easier and less expensive alternative right away, and they can look extremely enticing in the previews! However, as the adage goes, you usually get what you paid for.
I used to be a WordPress Developer in Hong Kong but I reverted to focusing purely on doing SEO in HK instead.
Anyways – let me share 7 things that you should bear in mind when buying a pre-made WordPress theme.
These, I’d say – are the most pressing concerns…
Important of Not Having Excessive Code Bloat
Most pre-built themes will have a variety of features and plugin integrations to cover a wide range of functionality and design components that the site may require. This isn’t necessarily a good thing because not everyone will utilize all of these features, making the site bloated with unneeded code.
Custom themes, on the other hand, are one-of-a-kind and offer only the functionality needed for a single website.
Come and meet a WordPress Developer in Hong Kong: Ian Callaghan
Too Many Resources?
Pre-built themes sometimes have many template versions and features, which might slow down the site and make optimization difficult. Some will also include essential plugins to install that, if not used, will cause the site to slow down needlessly.
The amount of customization allowed on a pre-built theme varies, but it’s typically restricted to the theme’s current templates. Because many pre-built themes have the same design and layout, it might be tough to distinguish them apart.
With a custom theme, the designer may start with a clean slate and create a fully unique design that will appeal to the target audience. A custom theme can also be tailored to match existing branding and ensure that it is consistent across the site.
Future version updates will be included in pre-built themes to repair any problems, fix any security vulnerabilities discovered, and keep it up to date with newer CMS versions. If a new theme exploit is identified or a CMS update is released, they are dependent on the theme developer to give them in a timely way. Any plugin integrations will need to be kept up to date as well, and if not included in theme updates, they may require separate licensing.
Learn more about security issues with WordPress here.
A theme update may contain significant changes that damage current functionality or design features, necessitating a manual remedy.
It’s also conceivable for a theme creator to stop updating a theme entirely, leaving it susceptible to hackers and permanently out of date when a new CMS version is issued.
Quality of the Code
Most purchased themes come with demos, which allow you to see how various pages and templates will appear before you purchase them. These demonstrations, on the other hand, mostly focus on displaying the design and frontend features, and it’s not always feasible to see the quality of the code from them.
The majority of the time, any faults with the theme will not be discovered until after it has been purchased and installed.
Limitations in SEO?
Similar to not being able to inspect the theme’s code before purchasing, it’s also impossible to determine whether the theme is SEO-friendly. If the theme isn’t designed to follow SEO best practices, this might prevent an SEO campaign from achieving its full potential.
Their Support (Could Be) Is Limited
With purchased themes, further assistance varies; most will offer a ticketing system or comment area for reporting issues, which is mainly dependant on the developer’s responsiveness. After the first purchase, the majority of themes will have a time limit on how long they will support these requests. If you want to get a response to a support issue after this period has expired, you may have to pay a fee.
Because of these significant drawbacks of pre-built website themes, our Web team exclusively creates custom-built themes, allowing us to ensure the quality and endurance of the sites we build.
Unfortunately, as you can see, when you use pre-built themes, this isn’t the case.