Do we ever use “store bought” themes for websites?

"World's Worst Website" Photo by flickr user smoothgroover22
“World’s Worst Website” Photo by flickr user smoothgroover22

Here at RealBasics we build all new and rebuilt websites using the popular Beaver Builder page builder [non-affiliate link] products. On a Facebook group we follow someone asked:

How do people explain using BB plugin and theme to clients? When comparing to other agencies who buy [heavily-advertised commercial theme company] themes and use demo content…

I usually say “well, I’ve found that commercial themes seem to come with a lot of extras that tend to slow things down. A lot. In practice, though, when I use the popular, well-reviewed Beaver Builder plugin and a “blank slate” theme (also from Beaver Builder.) I can reproduce anything theme you care to show me.”

Then I say “A lot of times those themes only look good if you first import all their demo content. But then you have to go back through and replace it with your content. That’s often more time-consuming than adding your content to an empty page.

Next I’ll say “In the past I had years of experience working with graphic designers and building custom themes from their Photoshop or Illustrator files. Reproducing an existing theme with a modern page builder is child’s play compared to that.

And finally I’ll say “So if you’ll show me an example of a theme you like I can quickly match it, and give you better overall performance with less bloat, more security, and more long-term flexibility as well.”

Most of our clients seem to understand this explanation. It’s been years since we’ve used anything else.


David Innes,

I've been building and maintaining websites since 1997 and building and supporting similar hypertext-driven software since 1987. I've done maintenance, support, and maintenance for physical and digital systems since 1981. And no, I still haven't seen it all but by now I usually know where to look. More about David Innes...