The Trouble with Premium Themes

As previously mentioned, I’ve been offering the service of installing and configuring premium WordPress themes. It’s a quick and inexpensive way to get a nice looking WordPress site up and running, but it’s not without problems.

Premium themes, to stand apart, have taken to have quite a few moving pieces. Home page sliders, lots of widget areas and features that can be very specific to a particular industry or activity. I always sell WordPress by letting users know if they can use MS Office, they can use WordPress. Until you start getting into premium themes.

All of the moving pieces that got you to drop down your $35 can really make things complicated. Many times they add non-standard features to your WordPress installation that are difficult to find, poorly documented (if at all) or both. Feature rich is cool, but do you really need all of that?

I consider myself an expert in WordPress. But even I have had a difficult time with more than a few premium themes. Trying to figure out what the logo size is supposed to be because it’s not documented or the docs are out of date, or what short codes do what since they **never** include samples or trying to figure out how the home page slider works. There have been instances where, in the time it took me to figure out a custom theme, I could have built one from scratch that would have better suited my clients need.

Premium themes are a great way to get a WordPress site up and running quickly and inexpensively, and unlike others that work with WordPress, I don’t mind them. Especially if it’s one that is well documented and has a feature set that is perfect for my clients usage. I do mind when the docs are poor, outdated and incomplete. If you ever see an extra charge for setup, that’s why.

Yet another reason to check with the person that you have hired to setup your site first. They will most likely be able to point you in the direction of a theme author they are familiar with and creates themes with the features you need.

By Don

Lead bottle washer at donburnside.com, host at whiteroofradio.com and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.

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