If you are just starting out familiarizing yourself with WordPress, what you need to know is that you are going to need a template. It might seem like a good idea first to use the Themeforest marketplace, but I would not recommend buying any themes from there.
What is Themeforest?
Simply put it`s the world’s biggest car boot sale for templates, where tens of thousands of templates are being offered for sale, some with very questionable background and quality.
Why am I against buying themes from here?
Because you are going to encounter a number of problems. If you are looking at the reviews you will find some products which have thousands of positive reviews but that, unfortunately, does not mean much at all. The reviews are normally being written a couple of days after purchase when everything is still working fine. Problems usually start to arise 4-5 months after purchase when updates are starting to fail because the company who built the theme has not done so properly, or the theme cannot be customized the way the client would like it to.
Why does this not show in the reviews?
The reason is simple, reviews cannot be modified or deleted once posted. The only option is to post new reviews. Whoever already gave a positive review normally doesn`t really like to give a rating which is the exact opposite of his/her former rating because that would harm the credibility. This is a well known and widely accepted technique behind the many review systems.
What’s the problem with these websites?
To be totally honest not all of them have problems. There are some great template examples out there, but sometimes it`s rather hard to distinguish them from all the poor quality work.
One critical aspect of WordPress websites is security. WordPress is much like Microsoft products: everyone uses them because they are awesome and simple, therefore all the viruses and hackers are attacking this software and websites. Templates are being updated regularly and most of these updates are security updates.
You cannot have any idea what kind of company is behind the template you just purchased. It might be a private developer who after finishing and selling the template never ever looks at it again, and doesn`t provide any updates to it at all. It also might be a tiny company that goes bankrupt next year. The website might get corrupted or it might even freeze. If any of these problems occur you might need to restructure the whole website or quickly find a developer who fixes the issue promptly. All these things mean unnecessary risks to you and your business.
Now you are thinking that this template is really awesome and beautiful and that it will serve your business’s needs for a few years and you are willing to take the risk that a purchase like this poses.
Unfortunately, you are wrong. Your site is hardly going to run for years without problems because these templates are usually very rigid, and are hard to customize. They only run well if you are using the exact out of the box demo version.
So you think it`s perfect the way it is?
This might be true for now, but while your business is expanding and changing, your customers are going to start to tell you what they are missing from the website. You are going to ask for some custom fields and changes to the homepage where you can share some important information.
Some small changes shouldn`t be a problem, or should they?
Most of the time even small changes cannot be done because there is a chance that your template won’t allow for those at all. These templates are not like LEGO where you can build pretty much anything from some blocks, it`s more like a model airplane where you build the exact model as per instructions or nothing at all.
A sea of useless code.
This is a Complete Website Solution + Multipurpose Website meaning that it is an actual solution for loads of problems and has heaps of functions.
This is a different approach to templates but unfortunately, you are still going to encounter problems. These templates are usually called multipurpose or complete templates, meaning they program hundreds of functions into it and you are able to switch these on and off at will.
The first problem with this is that out of the 100 functions you are going to use 5, but the other 95 still remains in the code which is slowing down the site substantially and unnecessarily, also later on these unused functions can cause issues at update time. Imagine a car full of electronics which is all nice and shiny when it`s new but will cause a number of problems over time and will make you need to take the car to service all the time for no real reason.
The second problem is that there might be 100 functions pre-programmed into the website I can guarantee you that you are going to need one that’s not included. The fact that there are loads of pre-programmed functions doesn’t mean that there won’t be any customization needed.
It says on the „box” that it has a built-in website building tool the Visual Composer with which you can pretty much build anything you might need
The Visual Composer is a so-called drag and drop tool, which allows you to put elements to the website like bricks. Many templates on Themeforest have Visual Composer already preinstalled.
There is no doubt about the fact that a child page can be easily and neatly edited with Visual Composer but at the cost performance. The more competition is there in your business sector the more important the performance and speed of your website will become. Also, Visual Composer has other issues as well, for example, it can slow down other plugins and cause trouble when trying to update. If you don’t want to update it manually every week you are going to have to buy the annual license which is an unnecessary cost.
Webpage Loading time
Visit https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to check the loading time of your webpage. Copy the URL found on the Themeforest demo version and see the result.
Most of Themeforest templates are going to be in the slowest performance range. These templates really are like a Hummer with a 10hp engine. Shiny but useless. If the loading time is under 50/100 do not buy it.
User interface: simple or complex?
The point of WordPress is next to other very useful features is the ease of use. Unfortunately, most Themeforest templates are annoyingly complicated compared to other templates.
A lot of extra functions that you might not even need at all are going to appear on the user interface as well as in the code, and you are going to have to work around them all day long.
It does not end here…these templates are oftentimes expecting you to install extra plugins even if you never intended to use them at all, they might flash on the UI expecting you to have them installed.
Themeforest uses a tricky money back policy. Dissatisfaction is not enough of a reason. You are going to have to prove that the product is not working as intended or has security issues. A decent money-back warranty should not need investigations and proof of poor quality before returning the purchase price. This is far from that. You are highly unlikely to see your money again after purchase.
How much do you charge to install the template for me?
I don`t work with Themeforest templates at all. I offer a „no reason” money-back warranty on all my work and I do so not for 30 days but 1 year. If you still insist on the use of a Themeforest template I cannot guarantee the expected performance in long term.
Instead of Themeforest templates: Premium WordPress Templates
The fact that you are searching for templates on Themeforest means that you are willing to pay for your template and you would like a quality product, don`t you? You would like a website that is going to work reliably in the long run, has the option for professional SEO, appears clean and well-designed on mobile tablets as well as on full-size screens, don`t you?
If that’s the case use premium WordPress templates which cost pretty much the same as a template on Themeforest except they really are great. These themes have huge companies behind them who are investing an enormous amount of resources to make their products safe and reliable, on top of everything they constantly improve them.
Are you using premium WordPress templates?
Visit studiopress.com where you can find loads of great quality templates. These are a lot better quality than Themeforest templates and I don’t even have to mention that you have an actual „no reason” money-back warranty in all cases. If you want your money back they are not making a fuss, but do the transfer no questions asked. This the trademark of quality.
And from these which is the best to use?
This question will be answered by every developer differently since this is a personal preference.
In my opinion, the Genesis Framework is the King of WordPress. Everything can be built with it, and I do mean EVERYTHING. The only difficulty it has is the fact that you have to know how to edit code, which puts some people off. However, it`s worth getting your hands dirty with editing since the websites built with the Genesis Framework are the fastest and safest I have come across so far through my career. From the SEO point of view, they are outstanding. Themes can be customized the way you like them to but in the default stage, they are clean and minimalistic. I like the fact that they do not include any unnecessary garbage.
None of your readers are going to look at the design of your website the way you do.
They want to be able to navigate the site with ease, want stability, and great performance. Apart from this, they won’t care about anything else. In my experience, if you decide to buy a template, the Genesis Framework is by far your best decision.
If you need any help do not hesitate to contact me.