This week, Goran Jakovjevic, our Lead Web Developer, will be talking about this trending topic that is circulating the Internet.

As a previous author of 3,000 themes sold with perfect ratings through ThemeForest, I can attest they work and function well-enough. Regardless of how unique and operative these themes are, there are definite pitfalls to pre-made WordPress themes. These drawbacks are why we don’t maintain sites that use premium themes anymore. A premium WordPress theme is any theme for the WordPress CMS that you have to pay for in order to use.

You may be browsing through popular theme marketplaces such as ThemeForest to find the perfect visual representation for your brand but before you make a decision, think twice. Less than 10% of our clients are using purchased commercial themes and though that figure is small, we spend 80% of our maintenance time on their sites.

As a developer, you are being forced by your competition and audience demand to throw in as many features as possible into your WordPress commercial themes. Eventually, your site is jampacked so it can do everything and anything with all the shiny features now available. What you have is a multipurpose theme.

Multipurpose themes are the top sellers on ThemeForest and nowadays, almost all themes sold through this marketplace are multipurpose. Their goal is to allow customers to build any type of website they need, from dentist to personal to e-commerce solutions. While this may sound ideal, it is anything but. There’s a whole lot of ugly when you draw back the veil and see what’s going on in the back-end. Here are a few ugly truths you’ll find if you use a premium website template.

Slowww Speed

We took over a site from a new client who uses a top selling theme. The site is simple, using just two to three script files to load dynamic content like sliders. Yet what the theme actually loads are 70+ additional scripts which is slowing the website by six seconds. Each second of delay in a page response results in a 7% reduction in conversion. Ouch.

Warning! Error!

With the latest WordPress update, which introduced the new version of jQuery script, almost every theme on ThemeForest had an issue. In all cases, the problem came from having a feature on the theme that most users did not even use. It is very hard to find the root of the problem when errors do occur because so many unneeded files are being loaded into the website that finding the code causing the error requires a lot of effort, time, and skill.

In addition, many themes on the marketplace have low quality code that does not adhere to industry best practices. It negatively affects your site’s SEO, site speed, and makes your site more vulnerable to malware/hacking.

Low Standards

The majority of templates fail to follow the basics of SEO and HTML standards like proper use of H tags, minification of css/javascript, and clean HTML.

Theme Swapping

It is easy to build your website with drag and drop but if you ever want to switch to another theme, beware, your content , may be lost or you will need to manually copy it to the new website (which is a pain).  

Abandoned Theme

If a theme developer decides he no longer wants to support the purchased theme and ends up abandoning the template, the theme will become old and outdated.  

Security Check

When developers combine plugins with themes, it makes the theme more vulnerable to malware. This happened in 2014 when 100,000+ WordPress sites were hit with the SoakSoak.ru malware campaign. This led to more than 11,000 domains being blacklisted by Google.

These marketplaces are affecting WordPress’ credibility so much that when something goes wrong with the website, the end user places the blame on WordPress. In reality, it is due to a poorly coded theme. The issue is becoming so big in the WordPress “ecosystem” that WordPress has officially banned ThemeForest authors from speaking at the WordCamps, which are official WordPress conferences.

Here at Fingerprint Marketing, every website that we build is custom built from scratch. Every site fulfills exactly one role that meets our clients’ every online need. Creating custom sites allows us to design unique sites with full security and speed efficiency that is unique to your business. Instead of having 70+ files that come loaded on purchased themes, we only have two to three scripts optimized just for our clients and their site needs. This reduces maintenance and ultimately, keeps messy issues from popping up over and over again.

Take a peek at our custom designed websites that we built from the ground up.