There are business owners and marketers who swear by WordPress templates and more than a handful of low-cost designers who use them as starting points for new websites. At the same time, some web designers will tell you to steer clear of WordPress templates at any cost, because of the headaches they can cause over the long run.
Which group is right?
To get to the bottom of this question, you have to understand the ups and downs of WordPress templates to see whether there a good match for what you need…
The Advantages of Using a WordPress Template
There are really two reasons a business owner would decide to build a website from a WordPress template or work with the designer who uses one as a starting point.
The first reason is that WordPress templates are incredibly inexpensive. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can probably find one that more or less fits your needs for less than you’d spend on a couple of pizzas. You might have to shell out a bit more to have alterations made, or to plug in things like images and text, but they are still a great value from an initial investment point of view.
Also, using a WordPress template allows you to get online faster. After all, most of the design has already been finished. If you’re in a hurry to see your web project come to life, that can be a big plus.
The Disadvantages of WordPress Templates
A big drawback to working with a WordPress template is that it’s going to be generic. Because it was built for use by lots of different clients, not you specifically, it may have a sort of “nondescript corporate” feel to it. That’s not a great thing when you’re trying to make a good impression on customers.
A bigger more serious problem is that WordPress templates are loaded with coding and plug-ins that might not be relevant to your business whatsoever. Again, because they’re set up to be used by anyone, developers take a “kitchen sink” approach to building them out.
Having extra functionality might not seem like a bad thing, but a bloated website is going to suffer from performance problems. It may load slowly, or display incorrectly. It might not be completely compatible with all mobile devices or could respond poorly to the images, text, and plug-ins you want to include on your website. Each of these is going to cost time and money to fix and could turn off customers in the meantime.
How to Think About WordPress Templates
A WordPress template is like a shiny automobile that is sitting on a used car lot. It looks like an incredible bargain from the outside, but you have to know that it could fall apart a few months down the road, even if you aren’t doing anything unusual.
In fact, that could be the perfect analogy for WordPress templates overall: they might get you to and from where you need to go if you’re a brand-new business owner who’s just starting out, but in the end you’re going to have to decide between spending a significant amount of money on repairs or springing for something a little more stylish and reliable later on.