Before buying a WordPress theme for your next website, you must go through this checklist:
- Ask yourself: What’s more important, the unique content I plan to create or theme’s look and feel I’ll share with thousands of people?
- Ask theme author: What happens to my content if I decide to replace this $50 theme with another one?
The answer to first question is obvious to most people. If you’re serious about your website you know nothing beats content. If you’re not, either don’t bother with it at all or get a free theme instead.
How WordPress Themes Can Mess Up Your Site / Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?
You’re still reading, so you’re probably still trying to pick the perfect premium theme. Let’s skip the pick-a-theme part and fast forward a little bit. Twelve months later, your site has one hundred posts, twenty pages and ten portfolio projects, as custom posts. Most pages and some posts have fancy buttons in them, some have multi-column layouts, all this thanks to custom shortcodes your theme implements.
If you’re lucky your baby also has SEO features and allows you to add Google Analytics code without installing a plugin.
Everything is great, but you’d like to freshen up your website, what better way to do it than buy another $50 theme? It worked so well last time. So, you go through pick-a-theme process again, download the theme, upload it, activate and… what the hell?
Why is My New WordPress Theme Broken?
But it’s not broken, it’s just incompatible with your “not compatible with anything other than your old theme” content. You see all the shortcodes as weird text and you can’t access your portfolio projects from WordPress dashboard. You CAN fix this by spending a few hours removing shortcodes from all posts and installing a free plugin that allows you to register exactly the same custom post type theme authors used for portfolio.
A week later you notice Google Analytics reports no traffic at all. A month later you notice search engines don’t love you anymore. So…
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY WEBSITE?
And you know what the funny part is? Sending this email:
You Can Avoid All This by Knowing the Difference Between Themes and Plugins
Before buying, print out theme’s features list and figure out which ones you need even after switching to another theme. Then scratch those from the list. If you still can’t believe what you’re getting for only $50, buy the theme.
Some of the features you might want to scratch:
- SEO functionality
- Gazillion custom shortcodes
- Anything that uses custom post types
- Custom widgets (unless you’re willing to lose them when switching)
I guarantee you that for each one of those there’s a free or extremely cheap plugin that can do it better anyway. A whole bunch of WordPress experts agree with this.
Saying Good Bye to a WordPress Theme Should Not Be Painful
If you can’t switch to a new theme without messing up your content, something is wrong. Here at ThematoSoup we see WordPress as what it is – an extremely easy to use publishing platform. If a WordPress theme or a plugin makes it more difficult than it should be to use WordPress – it sucks, shouldn’t be used and people should be warned about it.
Do you have some horror stories you’d like to share?