Feb

Should I customize the WordPress theme I just bought? (Questions & Answers)

When you’re just getting started with your website it’s hard to know what you need. It’s easy to get distracted by the excitement about the possibilities and all the new and great things you can do with your new blog.

But that can also be a huge problem.

I recently ran in to someone who had spent a couple thousand dollars on website development only to end up frustrated with the lack of progress, and not getting what he paid for.

The developers initially thought they could make sense of the theme he purchased, and customize it the way he was looking to have it customized.

However, not one but two developers surrendered having been overwhelmed by the way the theme was built. In the end the guy ended up with nothing but frustration.

He got distracted by all that he could do with his website – the design, the features, the look and feel –  instead of focusing in on what was most important – getting started.

When you first get started with your website the needs really aren’t very complex. You need a good platform, like WordPress. But you don’t have to choose that one – there are some great alternatives to WordPress. You need a professional theme. You need great content. You need to start producing content.

As someone who works doing WordPress development every day I have a couple recommendations.

Use The Theme You Buy “As Is” Out of the “box”

If you’re buying a theme like Michael Hyatt’s Get Noticed Theme (which is going away) it’s probably best to leave it as it is out of the box, or use the built-in tools to customize. That’s part of the reason you’re paying what you’re paying. So use it as it is meant and developed to be used.

Find a theme that you can install that looks good and worry about building your platform and stop worrying about getting everything perfect.

I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve not yet run in to a situation where someone who is just getting started with their blog who needs a highly customized site design and deep, complex features. If you’re an experienced blogger then you’ll have a better idea about what you need and that’s when hiring a developer will make more sense.

Don’t Waste Time (and money) on Custom Design

If you want a custom design then hire a developer to design a custom theme for you. Don’t try force your design ideas in to a theme that’s meant to be used as is. You either want a custom designed theme, or you want the theme you purchased.

Some themes come with frameworks that are built with the idea that you can build child themes on top of their framework. Studiopress is a great example of this.

But don’t get all wrapped up in customizing something that wasn’t really meant to be customized. All you’re doing is asking for problems and headaches. But more importantly, these kinds of shiny things distract you from doing what you need to be doing and that’s creating.

The goal isn’t to be perfect. The goal is to be done. And shipping.

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