225: What to look for in a WordPress theme For An Project

This week, Jonathan Denwood and his co-host Kim Shivler kicked off the show with coverage of the week’s news stories. Lee Jackson jumped in to round out our news story discussion and give great insight into our main topic, “How to Select a Theme for Your Project.”

For our news stories, we covered the latest on Gutenberg including a post by Matt Mullenweg () covered in WPTavern (). This topic continues to be a hot one in the WordPress community and promises to do so through its official release in WordPress 5.0.

We also looked at the Raison post, “10 Mistakes I Made Building a WordPress Startup.”() We all agreed with many of these and shared some of our own.

To wrap it up, we covered a GeekWire article questioning if it’s time for Amazon to spin AWS off into its own company.
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In our main topic, we covered tips for selecting a WordPress theme. We discussed when you need a fully, custom-built front-end versus when you can use a theme from a repository or other marketplace.

Lee is a believer in themes. Especially when validating a business. He says hold off on an expensive custom build until you have validated your business.

The downside is that the theme market is crowded and many themes are problematic.

As Jonathan pointed out, you have to be careful with themes that take the “Swiss Army Knife” approach and try to be everything to everyone. This happens in many of the marketplaces and is one of the issues of Theme Forest.

Unlike some WordPress professionals, our panel felt that there are some quality themes on Theme Forest but you must be careful. One of the big problems is that many of these themes bundle in plugins that are licensed in a way that upgrades only come when the theme is updated. You can’t update the plugin separately which can be problematic when security-related patches are released. This issue was highlighted when a vulnerability in the Revolution Slider plugin lead to massive WordPress SoakSoak Compromises. ()

When creating a theme for validating a business, Lee’s go to is the Beaver Builder theme and Beaver Builder Themer and the Beaver Builder page builder plugin. Kim also recommends Beaver Builder and teaches it in her classes.

Lee’s work also includes custom work for other agencies. See AngledCrown.com for more information.

Lee recently spoke with Andre Gagnon from Themewich who has built many themes for Theme Forest. ()

Lee also uses the Page Builder Framework in his designs, and his interview with David Congeries covers highlights of the framework. ((

In a nutshell if you are listening and don’t have skill or experience to select the right theme – your time is valuable – spend a little money getting help from an expert. Even if you want to build it yourself, hire a consultant to help you get on the right path.

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