Or does it really? A few weeks ago I wrote about taking over the maintenance of a WordPress website and how in my initial review, I found numerous problems. I now know how the problems started, a WordPress theme that had everything included. Or so the original company thought, or maybe they knew the scam they are running.

Since I am both a WordPress developer and designer, I don’t buy premade themes. The difference being a developer you can write code. A designer does not. What is a theme you ask? The best way to describe it is from WordPress Codex:

A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software.

The original company who put this website together purchased a pre-made theme that came with the following premium plugins:

  • Visual Composer is now known as WPBakery
  • LayerSlider

A plugin is a fancy word for software and premium means you have to purchase it. Once you purchase it you will get a license key that gives you support and future updates to the software. If you remember back when I first took a look under the hood of this website, twenty-two plugins needed to be updated.

In moving this website from one hosting account to another, immediately I knew LayerSlider had never been purchased. Any page that had a slideshow on it was blank. While it had been installed, and yes you can use it without a license at some point in time, it will quit working and render your pages blank.

Once I started updating all of the other plugins, I soon discovered Visual Composer/WPBakery also came installed, but the former company never purchased a license for this software either. The day soon became one of sending emails to the client, “Oh, by the way, you need to purchase….” With the final email being, “Oh, you need to purchase a license for the theme they used.” Yes, the theme was also several versions out-of-date and needed to be updated.

The moral of this story, not only buyer beware as to who is building and or maintaining your website, but, if you choose to purchase a predesigned theme, buyer beware of what really comes with it. Further, how much are all of the extras that make this theme sparkle going to cost you? Are they one-time purchases or do you have to renew them every year?

For this client, the, “Oh you need to purchase…,” emails only cost them $132.00. One of the plugins is a yearly license, so every year it’s another $45.00. Not much, except they paid thousands originally for their website.

Do you know what’s under the hood of your website? Was all of the software making your website purr purchased if necessary?

If not or you don’t know, let’s chat.

I am an awarding winning logo and website designer who when not designing logos and websites, likes to write about how the industry has changed and what it looks to become in the future. I started designing websites around 1995. For the past 8 years, all sites have been developed in WordPress. Originally, I would develop the site in HTML and then convert those files to WordPress. Today all child themes are built on the framework of Divi. Guest blogger at 3lovablelabs,  Tropic Moon Media, and Patti & Hank.

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