WordPress Theme Pros & Cons

WordPress. Love it or hate it, WordPress makes millions of businesses run on the web. As of 2015, this machine has driven over 26% of the web. More than 500 websites are created every day using the CMS (Content Management System).

Other interesting facts include:

  • There are 56 translations of WordPress.
  • 44,225 WordPress plugins exist with 1,253,649,315 total downloads.
  • In 2015, users posts nearly 660 million posts. That’s breaks down to 1,808,219 posts per day or 75,342 per hour! Whoa.

WordPress is a great platform with a theme for every type of business out there including restaurants, news sites, ad agencies, nonprofits, and many more. But is a theme right for your business? If you are considering a new website on WordPress, chances are good that your developer has asked you, “So, would you like to use a theme for your new website?”

WordPress theme

What is a WordPress theme anyway?

A WordPress theme provides a framework for your content. In a nutshell, it’s the look and feel of your website. In other words, it’s how the content and functionality will be presented.

Did you catch that? Content and functionality will drive the theme. In our world, content is still king. You’d be smart to discuss the content you want on your site including who you are, what you do, and calls-to-action. It’s your story that will ultimately ask visitors to buy into your brand and become a customer.

Back to WordPress themes. Once you have wrapped your mind around content and functionality, you can go theme shopping. Which theme will tell your story the best? Keep in mind that some things in a theme are customizable (number of pages, fonts, colors, placement of buttons, etc.), and some are not (or are not without hiring a professional).

What will a WordPress theme include exactly?

When shopping for themes, look at the design features. They may include several options for a blog page, for example. Make sure you look through every page of the theme to see what your options are. Paid themes will generally give you more options to customize than free themes. This could be a whole other blog post, but we’re sticking to basics today!

WordPress design features to look at:

  • The overall design or style of your site
  • Font styling
  • Colors
  • Widget locations
  • Page layouts (or templates)
  • Styles for blog posts and blog archives
  • Additional stylistic details

Pros of using a WordPress theme

There a few major positives to using a WordPress theme. Besides cutting down development time, you’ll be able to…

  • Visualize what the website will look like before you put your content in.
  • Get ideas that you didn’t think of before. The folks who develop themes are smart, and you’ll get the benefit of trial and error.
  • Develop a website, even if you are a rookie. You don’t have to know code. The community of WordPress users are in the millions, and with events around the country, forums, and meet-ups, there is always someone around who can answer questions for you if you get stumped.
  • Take a lot of the legwork out of creating subpages. The theme gives you layouts for interior pages.
  • Use the plugins that are included with the theme. This particular positive is especially true with paid themes. Plugin’s range in pricing and functionality, and having them already come with the theme saves money.
  • Get support on your theme. When shopping, check to see if the folks who developed the theme offer support, even if it’s for an extra charge, this may be worth it!

Cons of using a WordPress theme

There are also negatives to using themes.

  • You will be limited on what you can and cannot do. Pick the theme carefully and make sure the essential functionality is there.
  • Learning the theme! Although a theme will cut down on development time, there is still a learning curve with each theme – what the capabilities are, and if you have the ability to customize.
  • You may have to hack code! Hacking code may get the result you want, but you will have to dig into the CSS to tweak it. If you don’t know CSS, you will end up paying for someone else to tweak the code.
  • Support can be negative if it’s crappy support! How long will they take to answer a help ticket? What will they charge to customize a theme?

Resources for themes

Handy websites where you can buy themes:
Theme Forest
Elegant Themes

Free themes:

A few of my favorite “essential” plugins:
WordFence Security
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Yoast SEO
Ninja Forms
Duplicate Page

Outside of these plugins, you’re getting into client-specific plugins.

WordPress is a great tool for both beginners and seasoned pros. Is a theme the best for your business? Let us know how you decided to use a theme or have your website custom coded in the comments.