When building a WordPress website, businesses are often tasked with choosing between a commercial theme or a custom built WordPress theme. Well, which one should you choose? Why not both?
What is a WordPress Theme Framework?
The high-level answer is: it’s a standardized code library that extends the functionality of WordPress, while allowing anyone familiar with the framework to understand the previous developer’s code.
For the code savvy that are reading this article: Theme Frameworks add custom functions, filters & action hooks that can be accessed during theme development. Advanced frameworks even integrate with the WordPress GUI that allows the non-savvy to change their website styles through the WordPress Customizer page.
Cool huh? We haven’t even gotten started.
Why should you use a WordPress Theme Framework?
Extra Features & Easy Updates
Almost every theme framework adds extra features that bundles Quality of Life features for both the developer and website owner. Features can include anything from jQuery scripts to widgets that call and output information a certain way.
Commercial theme frameworks are also updated regularly. Due to the way theme frameworks work in WordPress, website owners can rest assured that when they update – their website won’t break.
Documentation and Forum Support
Who doesn’t like documentation? With a regular theme, documentation is almost always nonexistent. Reaching out to the developer doesn’t result in anything, usually due to the number of people just like you who flood a developer’s inbox.
Theme Frameworks not only provide documentation – they also provide community forums or support tickets that allow developers & website owners to get answers… FAST!
Switch between theme styles easily
Generic themes use different naming conventions for variables, functions and classes depending on the developer who built it. If you replace one of these themes with any other theme, the website will most likely break.
Not so much with a Theme Framework. Due to the way Theme Frameworks are built, you can rest assured that most of the website will convert as expected. You may need to make a couple of style fixes, but that’s better than building a new website from scratch right?
Highly Efficient Code
Efficient coding allows servers to process queries faster and computers to load pages faster. Theme Frameworks are usually built for this with no out-of-the-box setup required.
This one is big for Small Business Owners. Ever had to hire a web developer on a hourly rate to figure out and fix that one thing? Coming from a WordPress developer, I dread reading through someone else’s code – sometimes its like trying to read Chinese. It’s expensive (for clients), time consuming and dull work.
Not on a framework! Due to the standardization of code blocks, it’s easily to identify that custom function or call back that needs to be fixed.
Small Business Owners: Don’t Feel Trapped!
Imagine your current developer pulls a “Design-N-Ditch” on you. You don’t have to start building your website all over again. Instead of looking for a generic “WordPress developer”, it’s easier to hire a “(insert framework) developer” who can make changes to your existing in a spiffy – your wallet will thank you as well!
We work with three different Theme Frameworks
Depending on the needs of each individual client we work with, we use the perfect framework for their needs:
Soloprenuer / Very Small Business: You don’t have the budget to hire a web developer to edit / maintain your website – you just want to be able to do it all yourself without touching a line of code.
Small & Medium Businesses: You’re looking for a snappy WordPress website. You want to focus on the content and not have to worry about styling / formatting of information. In addition, you may be looking for a little automation.
Website as a Software: You’re in a realm of your own. You want a website that acts as a marketing + sales platform for your business. Automated postings, project / inventory management, calendars, client portals, the list goes on. We are one step ahead of you!