Why we don’t use free or premium themes

Tens of thousands of free themes as well as premium (purchased) themes are available for your WordPress design. Why don’t we use them?

wordpressThemes are installed “on top of” a WordPress installation. They must be compatible with the most recent version of WordPress. They must continue to be worry-free and function properly after each new release of WordPress. They must be easy to modify, including modifications to the page layout, colours, fonts, plugins and widgets. They must be properly built for search engine optimization.

Common issues with free themes:
– Can contain dodgy links and malicious code that will affect your visitors and search engine optimization
– May not be compatible with the most recent version of WordPress
– May not be widget-enabled, or include a comment template, or other features we won’t discover until the theme is installed and used
– Can negatively affect your site’s efficiency
– Can affect search engine trust and rankings
– May show ads or links we cannot remove
– Regular updates are not usually provided
– Do not generally come with support

Premium or commercial themes are a better choice as they have been professionally designed and developed. They usually include advanced features and functionality, such as sliders, ecommerce, styling options, and custom widgets. However they come with their own unique problems and issues, and as a result we prefer not to use them.

Common issues with premium themes:
– Incredibly bloated code runs in the background to provide choices and features you will never use, but that will slow down your website’s response and load time and cause a poor user experience – especially on mobile devices.
– Usually impossible to modify – either because the code is locked away, forcing all choices to be made through a graphical interface, or difficult and time-consuming to locate specific code
– The beauty of premium themes depends heavily on the professional images shown on the pages and sliders of the demos, but the photos don’t usually come with the themes, and may not be appropriate if they do. (You’ll need to provide your own professional photos with similar size, coloring, scale and visual impact to achieve a similar look.)
– Updates may not be provided when WordPress releases a new version
– The basic structure may not be SEO-friendly
– Some of the included plugins and widgets may not be right for your needs, but impossible to modify or replace

We also do not build sites on WordPress.com, the free platform for WordPress sites. We use only commercial servers and are very selective about the hosts we recommend. Currently due to widespread malware and other security risks on popular hosts, we recommend our managed hosting at $6.60/per month. Ask us about managed hosting