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evernote web pageAre pre-set WordPress 6 Things You Can Do To Secure Your Wordpress From Hackers 6 Things You Can Do To Secure Your Wordpress From Hackers Somewhere out there is a list with your blog’s name on it, where it sits, waiting to be targeted by hackers. When they get around to your blog, they’ll try various tactics to gain access... Read More themes the sign of a low-brow publication 6 Places You Can Find Great Creative Writing Prompts 6 Places You Can Find Great Creative Writing Prompts Writing can be difficult, and it’s not only full-time writers who suffer from "writer’s block". Students have papers to write. Programmers have documentation to write. Teachers have curriculums to write. Marketing agents have advertisements to... Read More ? Is a custom theme the sign of a professional? These were the questions that used to plague me when it came to my personal website What To Do If Your Website Or Blog Has Been Hacked What To Do If Your Website Or Blog Has Been Hacked Everyone wants to think that they won’t be hacked. Usually, they’re wrong. You don’t need to tempt fate by insulting Anonymous or documenting a particularly lulz-worthy obsession. Some hackers try to crack into websites at... Read More . I battled the questions for quite a while, but I just recently came to the conclusion that using pre-set themes – premium or free – is totally acceptable.

Maybe I’m behind the times, or maybe I’m succumbing to a personal defeat. But for some reason, with the quality of current pre-set WordPress themes as they are, I just can’t see a reason why it isn’t okay.

The Price Of Originality

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For the longest time, I felt that in order to make an impression on your web audience using WordPress Working With Custom Database Tables In WordPress Working With Custom Database Tables In WordPress A quick scan of the Best of WordPress Plugins page will reveal some of the many unique and niche ways you can make your blog work harder. What if you already have a database of... Read More , you needed to have some sort of customization for the site design. To be more specific, I believed that these customizations needed to be so advanced, that web travelers would not feel as though they were coming to the same site every time they typed in a different URL. Inherently, this meant pre-set themes were totally out of the question for me, and for a non-coder Breezi Lets You Design An Amazing Website Without Writing One Line Of Code Breezi Lets You Design An Amazing Website Without Writing One Line Of Code Breezi won’t let you build a whole website in minutes. This is not because it’s any less good, but because there are way more options to take advantage of. Breezi is a full-fledged HTML5 website... Read More , that was kind of scary. Unfortunately, the price for a totally custom theme was just too high, and I had to pick my way through code to modify it.

However, over time, I noticed that WordPress designers started mass-producing pre-set themes. The thing was that these themes were different than those that were typically for used for Blogger or even MySpace. They weren’t trashy or plastered with images of teen pop sensation Justin Bieber. They were very professional, and that’s what was confusing for me.

At the time, I was adamant against using themes for personal websites. I felt that it lacked originality, and it was the sign of someone who didn’t know what they were doing. However, I believe that all of this has changed.

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Embracing Mass Production

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I believe that we are now in an era of web design in which pre-set themes are not the sign of a “rookie”. In fact, with cost-effective web services such as Elegant Themes, I believe that it’s the total opposite. There seems to be a general understanding these days that custom WordPress design is sometimes hard to come by, so for personal sites, it’s not a cardinal sin to use a design for your site that somebody else is using.

Furthermore, there’s a nice mixture of free and premium themes available on the web. However, there is the question of whether or not premium themes are a rip-off when there are plenty of free themes floating out there. Personally, I’m a fan of the premium themes, but I feel as though there are some custom themes that are just as good.

Does this take away from the fact that custom WordPress design 5 Coolest Places To Find Visualizations On The Web 5 Coolest Places To Find Visualizations On The Web About a month ago, someone contacted me about whether I wanted to publish one of their infographics on my site. Before then, I had never really had much of an interest in such visualizations of... Read More is impressive? Not at all. However, I now believe that it is more acceptable to use a design that was already made. Furthermore, I believe that it is also acceptable to modify these designs and make them your own.

Customization Is Still Okay

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Speaking of customization, I’m a fan of WordPress themes (particularly premium ones) because their designers make an effort to allow users to customize them. You can change the colors, the logo The 6 Best Places To Design Your Own Facebook Timeline Cover For Free The 6 Best Places To Design Your Own Facebook Timeline Cover For Free Facebook’s Timeline profiles, while creating an uproar when first introduced, are here to stay. As the only Facebook profiles available, they cannot be ignored, and if you’ve so far neglected to create a nice Timeline... Read More , and even the background. Furthermore, the code is readily available for you to edit. These designs are meant to be easily customized, and that’s pretty nifty in my opinion.

Of course, there’s the case of whether or not these themes cost professional coders  potential jobs, and unfortunately, I have to say that they do. I believe that there are some individuals who would originally have bought a WordPress theme at full-price, but after finding a nifty customizable premium theme (such as the Standard theme), decided to go that route. But on the other hand, I believe pre-set themes provide jobs, too.

Once again, consider the business design of Nick Roach’s Elegant Themes. The guy has designed several themes, but he offers them all for a yearly price, and even when the subscription Buy An Annual World Of Warcraft Subscription, Receive Diablo III Free [News] Buy An Annual World Of Warcraft Subscription, Receive Diablo III Free [News] BlizzCon is now in full force, and there is a steady stream of news escaping the convention center. One of the most interesting tidbits for gamers on the prowl for freebies is that you’ll be... Read More runs out, you still get to use whatever you have downloaded. Furthermore, you can use his designs on any site you want. With that in mind, I believe themes provide an opportunity for designers as well.

Conclusion

Bottom line? I think it’s totally fine to use pre-set WordPress themes. They aren’t gaudy, and it’s obvious that their creators put a lot of work into them. However, that’s just one man’s opinion.

Do you think pre-set themes are acceptable to use for personal sites? What about business sites? Are premium themes are a ripoff?

  1. infmom
    May 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I have two blogs that use the same free theme (Panorama). They don't look the same, because I spent some time tweaking the look of each one. It involved playing around with the code a little, and I'd be the first to say that I'm no programmer, but the code is logically laid out and I had no trouble finding the spots I wanted to change.

    See what you think: http://infmom.net/journal and http://tattoo.infmom.net

    The body art blog is way out of date, but the layout's still good. :)

  2. Aaron Couch
    May 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Josh,

    This is a great post! Would you say that using free themes for a business website is "ok" too or do you recommend doing a premium or even custom one?

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      In my opinion, no. Just as long as they know who you are or what you have to offer. Why? Well. Chances are that not everyone uses WordPress. Now honestly, someone may end up telling you differently.

      • aaronrcouch
        May 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

        Thanks for the quick reply and for your advice. I will be building a website on WordPress for my dad's business and that is why it crossed my mind to ask.

  3. Brett
    May 10, 2012 at 6:48 am

    For my first website, I completely created the theme on my own. This is because I integrated my WP blog into the rest of the site. With WP 3.0 features and all the themes available I've gone with finding a pre-set theme and customizing it for my needs. It's easier than ever. Currently, I'm using a free theme on our family site at http://www.brettandlaura.com.

    • Aaron Couch
      May 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Brett,

      I checked out your website and I really like it! Nice stuff. I also like the fact that it's a family website... gives me ideas if that ever is something in my life.

      Anyways, I just thought I'd let you know that it looks nice. I just started building my own website on WordPress too. Maybe you wouldn't mind taking a look at it, and if you have any advice, passing it my way? http://aaroncouch.me

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Very nice, Brett. Wish I knew how to create themes, myself. However, it seems like you've pushed the free one to the limit. Looks great.

  4. Ankur
    May 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Well, Although I like free themes but I found premium one's better. They provide customization in an easy to use way. Moreover, if you are tweaking things up in your theme then you may need support and then the designer could help you too. IMO

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Took me forever to get around to grabbing a premium one, but I realized that I needed it. Nick Roach has some good stuff.

  5. Emmanuel Olalere
    May 9, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Even though i can still dig in to the code, I'd just love something simple that works especially on a personal blog. Nice post Josh!

    • Joshua Lockhart
      May 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks! Yeah. The premium themes seem to offer that. I guess it's kind of like reverse-engineering everything. The structure is there, but you can modify it as you go.

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