I’ve had many clients come to me after paying $60+ on beautiful “do everything” WordPress templates only to lose all their efforts after the very first update. In fact, many decide not to update their themes, plugins, and versions of WordPress out of fear of breaking the website. All WordPress sites are vulnerable during updates. However, they’re much more challenging (and expensive) to fix if the updates are not completed regularly and are dependent on the theme developer(s).
In case your lost, I am referring to themes such as:
While these themes all the bells and whistles, they tend to have way more than what you’ll ever need and one huge problem with non-designers building their page is that they create the websites based on its cool features rather than thinking about how their audience is using the site.
Here’s a look at some reasons to not buy a premium “do everything” WordPress template:
Premium templates run much slower on your server than on the theme’s demo page. Speed is a serious factor and must consider before purchasing. Why do they run slower than advertised?
- The demo site utilizes a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that helps to speed up the website. If you want to use a CDN similar to most theme demos, be prepared to pay an extra $230 or so per month. All of a sudden the cheap route for taking the “premium” theme just got much more expensive.
- Too many HTTP requests. I realize many non-developers may not understand how the web works, so just think of it like this, when a web page loads your browser requests specific instructions from the server on how to display the page. Many websites and especially “premium” WordPress themes contain hundreds and sometimes thousands of files, each file can perform a different “request” of instructions. The higher number of “requests,” the slower your website. I like to keep things simple and only build what is necessary for the targeted audience, saving money, website speed and most importantly time. I also failed to mention that the more bells and whistles you have on your site, the more likely your site is to break
Dependent on 3rd party developers
Should a plugin or feature break on your website, you’ll be reliant on the plugin author to fix. At this point, you’ll have to wait for them to resolve their issues before you can resolve yours. Many times a developer will stop updating a vital plugin and ultimately end yours. If a plugin author is not continuously updating their work, security becomes a major issue as old code can lead to hacker entry points.
You cannot imagine how often I receive emergency phone calls/emails because a website crashes due to an old plugin or they used in conjunction with their premium theme. By the time things like this happen, it becomes quite expensive to diagnose and fix, thus adding much more cost to a theme you hoped would save you money.
Sends a Generic Message
Simply put, real businesses are good because they’re different in some way. By having a “premium” WordPress theme, you’re essentially telling your audience that you’re no different than the other 150,000 people who’ve downloaded the same template. Your website gives you the greatest opportunity to show your audience who you are and what makes you different. Embrace this opportunity and make sure your site shows who you are.
Premium themes are some of the most easily hackable sites on earth. Let’s face it; we live in an age where everyone either has been hacked or will be hacked. Having a Premium theme leaves you with many proverbial back doors. These back doors are gateways to obtaining information about your server, and anyone who happens to land on your website is at risk. If one of your users go to your site and has their credit card information saved on their browser, it isn’t all that for a hack to be hiding in one of your backdoors, access the customer’s credit card information, email, and standard passwords. If this should happen, it’s possible you will get sued for hosting the hack even though you knew nothing about it.
Many website owners think this won’t occur to them, but I can promise you, if you’re not extremely careful with even the type of theme you’re using, you could and probably will be next.
While this article may seem to keep you away from purchasing a premium theme, it can still be the way to go. They look beautiful, seem affordable, promise fast speeds, have some bullshit SEO integration (they don’t by the way) and are relatively easy for non-developers to up and running.
Be sure to do your due diligence and only use it when it makes sense. If you are not a developer, designer or know anything about the psychology of how people are and will use your website, you should probably hire an expert.
If you’re interested in purchasing a specific premium theme and would like to get my thoughts on it before you buy, leave a comment and I’d be happy to help you out.