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Paid WordPress Themes Worry Me. Here’s Why.

paid wordpress themes

One thing that I always tell people when they ask about paid WordPress themes is that they should ask a million questions before buying. I suggest that with everything, for full disclosure, especially with paid WordPress themes.The reason why is quite simple once you understand a few things.

  • First, you need to have a beginners level understanding of how WordPress works.
  • Second, you should have a little bit of experience with the installation process of plugins and themes.
  • Lastly, you should have a little bit of experience, or understanding, of how to import/export data from one WordPress site to another.

If you have any combination of the three things mentioned, you probably already know why I tell people to ask questions before buying a paid WordPress theme. The thing is, with paid WordPress themes, you never know how a theme is going to work. Until you download the theme and activate, you never know what you’re going to be doing next.

Some paid WordPress themes are quite simple to use and only require you to select your logo and make a few color choices. Other paid WordPress themes will give you a few options. For example: creating multiple sidebars, sliders, and widgets. Then you get to the paid WordPress themes that most people use. These things are a nightmare. Not because they are popular. Let’s be clear. They are a nightmare because they have so many options that even the pickiest person in the world wouldn’t use them all. I’m talking about the paid WordPress themes that have more than 16 different examples of the homepage, blog and contact page.

I’m not saying that having 16 different home page examples are bad. I’m saying that just because you change your content from a half column layout to a two-thirds column layout, doesn’t make it a new homepage. But that’s not my issue with paid WordPress themes. Let’s get to the point shall we?

Paid WordPress Themes and their demonstrations

My biggest problem with paid WordPress themes is that you never know if the entire theme is built on sidebars & widgets, a crazy custom options panel, shortcodes or raw HTML. I love looking at live demonstrations of paid WordPress themes. It actually helps me come up with clever new things that I can do with my own WordPress blog. Regardless, I’m always thinking the same thing over and over again after viewing paid WordPress themes. “How is that being done”?

That’s my problem. How is it being built? To be fair, it doesn’t really matter how it’s being done because there are really no standards. So why does it bother me so much? Why would I write an entire article about it? I want to know how much time I’m going to have to put into this thing to convert my already awesome site into this other awesome amazing site. I want to know that I can just upload and install this paid WordPress theme and make a few changes.

A lot of the larger named paid WordPress themes come with their own set of plugins and data to import into your installation of WordPress. They do that so you can have a copy of the demo in a few clicks. That way you can see how things are being used and how pages are being built. That makes sense to me. I’ll give them that. That doesn’t solve my problem, though. My problem though is that I have no idea of how this theme works and I’m not just going to install it on my live site and “hope” it works. I’m not even going to install it on my dev server. I find myself creating local installs of WordPress just so I can activate my paid WordPress theme, import all of the data in and see what plugins are “required”.

Nothing upsets me more than importing in 40 pages of “paid WordPress theme specific” pages. If you have ever imported data into a WordPress install, you know that there are always pages that you’re not going to want. The same goes for paid WordPress themes. I always install new paid WordPress themes into a local copy of WordPress. Import the data and then analyze. Delete what I do not need / want and then export that data to my machine. Then, I will install the paid WordPress theme on my dev server and import my own data in. Minimizing the number of mouse clicks, it takes to change themes on my sites.

So to recap. My problem is that paid WordPress themes and their developers never show you how things are built. All they tell you is that you should be using this paid WordPress theme because it has 16 different homepage demos and it’s WooCommerce ready. I would buy more paid WordPress themes if I knew beforehand what it’s going to take to get the theme “ready for launch”.

Paid WordPress Theme Example

Want to see what I’m talking about? Here is an example of what I’m talking about. We recently decided that Valley West Mortgage needed a brand new look. So I searched and searched. Then a friend of mine told me that her company, The Innevation Center redid their website with a theme called Mobius. The Mobius paid WordPress theme demo is awesome. It does a lot of really cool things and I really liked it.

That was until we bought it and installed the paid WordPress theme. I activate the theme and there was a crazy number of “recommended” and “required” plugins. So in my local copy of WordPress, I install them all. Then I import the dummy data in. That went fast, now that I think about it. So there’s that. I go take a look at the home page demo and the whole thing is nothing but shortcodes. Not simple shortcodes like

[shortcode]

. We’re talking long shortcodes like

 [themeone_section type="boxed" bgcolor="" txtcolor="" decotop="" decobot=""]
 [themeone_button text="View All Rates" url="#" size="regular" type="standard" border="square" style="to-button-bg" txtcolor="second-bgcolor" bgcolor="accent-color1" bganim="" target="_self" iconanim="" icon=""/] [themeone_button text="Learn More..." url="#" size="regular" type="standard" border="square" style="to-button-bg" txtcolor="second-bgcolor" bgcolor="accent-color2" bganim="" target="_self" iconanim="" icon=""/] 

Had I known that the home page is nothing but shortcodes with a various number of available options, I would of ran away. Not because the theme is bad. I would of ran away because that’s not how I like to use WordPress. It’s a wonderful paid WordPress theme. Just not for us and our situation.

So that’s my problem with paid WordPress theme demonstrations. Show us what we’re getting into.

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Russell Aaron

Hey. I'm Russell Aaron. I'm a WordPress enthusiast. I work at WebDevStudios. I'm Lead Organizer of the WordPress Vegas Meetup Group and WordCamp Las Vegas. I simply blog about anything that comes into my mind. You've been warned.

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