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A theme for your website : yes or no?

As an agency, we have some of our clients who think a theme is the perfect way to start their website. It’s easy, it’s cheap, which is perfect…Conclusion? They buy it and after some time they ask us to take a look at it because it doesn’t look like what they wanted. And if they want to make some changes, it takes them a lot of time and even money. So not that easy and not that cheap at all.

This being said, we thought it was a good opportunity to talk about the themes for your website and what we think about it. As WordPress lovers and experts, we will only talk about the WP themes.

First of all, we have to identify three kind of people who are buying themes:

  • people who have no idea what coding is and just need a basic website.
  • people who are inexperienced in coding but if they take the time to do enough research, they will understand the basics.
  • experts in coding / agencies

The use of the themes will be different depending on the profile of the buyer, because they don’t have the same level of expertise. For this article we’ll focus on the ones who have no idea what coding is.

“Easy to choose, easy to buy”

Indeed, it’s easy to choose a theme. Even more to buy it! All you have to do is open your browser, type “website themes” and see how many results you will get. Thousands. 

It’s incredible. Really. (ex : theme forest, athemes…)

Each theme offers a lot of possibilities and everything seems changeable. It comes with a tutorial and support for a year. It will take you some hours to put everything in place but you will have a beautiful website. You’re happy, the seller is happy. Life is great. So why wait?

Envato, the most popular market place

“To good to be true?”

Not really, but does it respect the best practices of the web? Not always.

A theme is a complex code made by a team or a singular person. It takes into account all the possibilities to realize your craziest design and it looks magnificent on the demo page.  So when you buy your theme you have a file with ALL THESE POSSIBILITIES. Depending on the theme it could be a heavy file. First bad practice.

As we already said in our article about website speed, the weight of your website is a priority for your SEO. Having a heavy website means much time to load the website which means : bad.

Here’s a simple metaphor: you buy a phone, but only so you can call your friends, but before doing that you have to load everything and this takes a lot of time for a quick call.

So what’s the first thing you need to do when you buy a theme? Only download what you need on your server.

Athemes, a marketplace WordPress

“Plugin for this, Plugin for that.”

What’s a plugin? “A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. (wp-beginner source)

They have sooooo many purposes : add a contact form to your website, track your google analytics, avoid spamming, add buttons, add maps and so much more…With plugins you can do everything! Really everything. And it’s so easy to use! Download them, activate them, arrange some settings and VOILA! They do the job perfectly. There are so many possibilities that you can entirely build your website with plugins.

But you won’t of course.
There are also disadvantages when using (too many) plugins :

  • If one of your plugins has not been updated by the developers team,  you could have issues with the updates by WordPress itself and not be able to see your website as it used to be.
  • If you want to add new plugins in your theme, there could be compatibility issues and your website could be broken.
  • Each plugin is a potential entry for hackers. If a plugin is not longer supported by the developers, it could become obsolete. If some hacker would try to hijack your website, it could be easier for them. 
  • Some of them are ridiculously heavy for their purpose.
  • Each plugin does its own requests to the server. So imagine you have a lot of plugins… your website will make too many requests to the servers and your website will show an error.

What we recommend you :

  • Try to understand the purpose of each of your plugins. If you have doubts, send a message to the developers or go on the plugin’s support page. Someone may be able to help you.
  • Always update your plugins and disable/delete the useless ones.
  • Try to use the less you can. Sometimes, it’s easier to ask a developer to help you with specific features than install a plugin.

“It’s cheaper than an expert”

Ah! We hear this a lot. If we had no clue about the development process, we would have agreed to this, but the experience is ours and we can tell you this :

It’s seems cheaper because of the amount you pay, no doubt. But what people don’t count is their own time. Time to look for the perfect theme, time to buy it, time to change the settings, time to understand why it’s not working, time to put it online, time to … 

You’d be surprised if you wrote down the amount of hours you spent doing changes and other stuff. Especially if you’re new to this.

Everybody’s time is precious and valuable. If you choose to invest your time in your website, it’s your own choice and that’s great, because you will learn new stuff. But if you don’t have the time, and you’d like a professional to help you with your website, we’re always there to help you. We will help you to choose the right theme, we will advise you on what’s good and what’s not, and we will help you to launch it and optimize it.

So, themes? Yes or no?

Yes because it helps you to achieve something but also when you have all the keys to understand them and use them correctly. Their purpose is to help you. If you have no idea how to start, it’s always better to ask someone around you, experts or not, to help you in the beginning. These advices could help you to see further than expected.

So if you’re not sure if you have the time of know-how, just grab your phone and call us or send us an email! We will be happy to help you.

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