Take a look at the current state of the WordPress themes marketplace and you quickly come away with one conclusion: if you want to sell a premium WordPress theme, it should be ultra-customizable. In fact, it should appeal to everyone and be suitable for every type of website imaginable.
With Thrive Themes, we are deliberately not getting on board with this trend and here are the top 5 reasons why not.
Watch the video to get all the details and read below for the summary.
Reason 1: The Pen & Paper Problem
If someone hands you a blank piece of paper and a pencil, can you create a sketch for a beautiful and functional website?
Unless you're a professional designer, the answer is probably going to be "no".
A theme that gives you a blank template and a million design options is not that different from a blank page and a pencil. It's asking you to do design work and unless you're a professional designer there are two issues with that:
- Your time is not best spent doing design work.
- The results of your design work are not going to be very good (no offense, but most of us simply don't have the skills required to create good web design).
In the video, I also mention the Dunning-Kruger Effect, so here's a link if you want to learn more about that.
Reason 2: Not Really That Customizable
Many themes seem like they can be customized to suit any need and create any design you want, but this usually doesn't hold true.
Some theme really are like a blank canvas and you need to write your own CSS to make significant design changes and your own PHP to change anything about the functionality. In other words: you need to be a professional or hire one or several professionals to do this work.
Most themes just have many different elements and design options to choose from (as well as an abundance of color pickers). That's really just like rolling many designs into a single theme and giving you the option to blend them all together. Unless all the components are generic and replaceable, the end result will usually look horrible.
Reason 3: Unclean Tech
From a technical viewpoint, the result of a theme that has all these customization options is not optimal (or absolutely horrific, in some cases).
There will be much more code on the page than there needs to be and there will be larger chunks of code that are not cacheable. Even worse, the theme will often load a lot of data that you don't need. For example, I've seen many themes that will load a huge file with hundreds of icons (on every page load), even if you're only using a couple of them on your site.
Reason 4: Just a Little More to the Left...
A theme with a thousand design options inevitably pulls your focus away from what really matters in your business.
Your website is supposed to serve your business goals. How effectively it does that is determined by many things, but whether your content area is 810px or 816px wide is not one of them.
There's a real danger in spending too much time tweaking small things, making the button corners a little more or a little less rounded, moving something just a little more to the left... the impact of all this tweaking on your business is zero, but you lose hours of your time and you lose sight of what truly matters.
This is why we believe you are better served by taking a theme that's the result of a design expert and a conversion expert working together and implementing it as quickly as possible.
Leave design work to designers and focus on doing work that will actually drive your business forward.
Reason 5: Race to the Bottom
Trying to make a single theme appeal to everyone and adding more and more design options results in a race to the bottom. The only way it can work is by making all the designs more and more generic and all resulting websites more and more forgettable.
More importantly, at Thrive Themes we believe that theme functionality is far more important than theme design. Sure, we invest a lot in design as well, but the core of what makes a theme useful (and what makes it serve your business) is the functionality.
That's why we emphasize speed optimization, build features that let you replace bulky plugins, create elements that are not just empty gimmicks but help you get more traffic or boost conversions and it's why we create ready-made, optimized landing pages that you can deploy as quickly as possible.
This is also the reason why we work together with experts to create specialized themes, such as Performag, for authority magazine sites and increased ad revenue.
In the future, you can expect us to deliver more of the same: specialized, well thought-out themes and plugins that are built to serve a very specific business purpose instead of one-size-fits-all solutions.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know by leaving a comment!