When you start a website, you are convinced that if your blog doesn’t look good enough your readers will leave and never come back. You are even afraid of telling your friends that you have one because it doesn’t look great so you decide to spend money on a WordPress theme.
After all, a Premium WordPress theme helps to make your blog unique, it can match your branding and help you define who you are in the online world.
And if you look at any step-by-step plan, that’s one of the first steps in your path to becoming a blogger.
But this theme I am using is 1 of 3 that came already installed in my WordPress, I don’t even know what it’s called and I haven’t even looked at the other two themes.
So what would make any sane person like you and me do this when everybody else tells you you must buy one asap?
Here’s a list of 15 reasons.
[Disclaimer: Some links in this post contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]
#1 Not that many people are actually going to see it
Let’s face it. If you have a new blog, not many people are going to see it yet.
Family and friends don’t count. Most of them will be more impressed with the fact that you have a blog than what it actually looks like.
#2 The more time you spend on your theme, the less time you have for the content
Choosing a WordPress theme is like going shopping for clothes for a special function. You can spend hours going from shop to shop before you choose an outfit and then spend ages looking for shoes, handbag, etc to go with it.
But what happens if you don’t like it and you cannot get it changed? You end up having to get another one (and perhaps new shoes and a handbag too). I have seen people change their theme every few months because it doesn’t suit, or because they like something else better or because they want to rebrand…
But all this takes time, and money.
You don’t need to go through changing and customising your WordPress theme every time you change it when you have many more important things to do. And it all gets worse if you have never done this before because you have to start from scratch and have many things to learn.
#3 Want and need are not the same
Be honest with yourself.
Do you need a premium WordPress theme at the beginning? Really, really need it? Is not having a premium theme right this minute going to be catastrophic for your website?
You can start by choosing a few simple and free plugins and tools to get you going while you decide what your priorities are and how to work towards your goals.
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#4 You are not sure about who your “blogging self” is
It is rare that a blogger knows exactly what they want at the beginning. It is going to take time to get your voice, find out what your message is and how your brand and your theme fits with that.
Even when you do have a very strong idea, clear goals and a great brand, things might not turn out as you expected. It doesn’t matter how strong your research was. Once you start, things don’t always happen the way you planned…
So, if you are a beginner, take some time to see how everything fits together. Take your time to look for a theme that will help you after you have a better idea of what you want to do and you have found your “blogging self” or you can choose one that will evolve with you.
#5 Decision paralysis
It’s not just that there are many WordPress themes to choose from. There are also many different vendors. How do you choose which one to go for?
Go on, let’s read 1001 blog posts on how to choose a WordPress theme, or get recommendations and reviews of themes.
To be honest, I don’t know what I like just yet and how everything is going to fit so “window shopping” for a theme is just going to mean me making a list of themes I like, checking reviews, going on Facebook groups and asking for recommendations…
Shoot! There go another 10 hours of my time (minimum). Does this sound like you too?
#6 Doing more but getting less stuff done
Once you have a WordPress theme, there are all these features that you MUST use, because they’re there. So you start adding things to your website. Even though you don’t need them. Because they’re cool or you want to show what you can do or you want to try them and see what they look like. and then you have to undo things because you don’t like them or don’t work.
You might also commit to something when you are not ready: For instance, you might be tempted to use a gallery or portfolio page because it looks good, but you don’t actually need it yet. Then you are going to have to fill it with stuff that might/might not be your greatest work or it might look odd and that stops you from writing an email to your subscribers or sharing your post on social media or writing another post.
You end up doing more but you actually have a less to show for it.
#7 There is no shame in not buying a premium WordPress Theme
I learnt to code HTML many years ago. I couldn’t have done anything remotely similar to what this blog looks like anyway. So I am chuffed to bits with what it looks like at the moment.
There is no shame for me. I am not a designer and unless you are one yourself, should it matter so much to you?
It’s hard enough to put your thoughts in your first post and hit the publish button and not think that what you say is not important or not good enough. Don’t add to this the idea that not having the perfect theme will impact on what people think of you.
#8 Your priority is to get your blog out there
I don’t know about you but in my case:
- My priority is to get this blog out (and I have already spent too long doing things, in my opinion).
- My priority is to drive traffic to it.
- My priority is to write content.
- My priority is to engage with the readers.
- My priority is not to have the prettiest or coolest blog. That will come later. Maybe.
#9 Your readers are not designers
People enjoy looking at beautiful websites, of course, and first impressions are important. But are they going to be horrified that you don’t have the latest WordPress theme or your website looks a little (or a lot) like somebody else’s?
Designers and bloggers make it their job to check other people’s websites. They will look at things very critically and they know and recognise WordPress themes because they use them and they read a lot of other blogs. But that’s their job.
“Normal” people won’t be as hard with your website as long as the content is there, there are some cool images and there aren’t any huge mistakes or things missing. Plus if they are looking at websites in the same field, they might find it reassuring that they look similar anyway.
If you want to personalise your blog a bit more at the beginning, you can use images in your blog posts or use your colours, all you need is to have chosen your colours and grab some free photos from Unsplash or somewhere like that to create a few graphics.
#10 It doesn’t have to be perfect
Perfection takes time (or bucket loads of money).
Experienced bloggers have set very high standards for the rest of bloggers and it’s easy to want to emulate what they do. But when they show you what they started with, especially people who have been going for a few years, their blogs looked very different indeed.
Keep it simple while you experiment with your content and figure out what works and how to do everything else.
Getting it done is more important than getting it perfect.
#11 Your WordPress theme does not bring traffic to the website
How do readers get to your site?
They get to your site because they are searching in Google. If you are lucky and have a very specific niche, they might find you then. If not, it’s going to take some time before you get to the top of the search lists.
- You send traffic to your website through social media.
- Word of mouth/mouse.
- You do a guest blog or syndicate your content in a different platform.
- They get to your site because the images in your social media posts are engaging. So they want to check the content out.
But they are not getting there because your blog hits a 9 in the Beautiful Blog scale.
Will not having a premium WordPress theme put people off when they reach your site?
Maybe, but the first step is to get them there. In any case, if you want a beautiful WordPress theme, check out Bluchic's shop. They have a range of feminine themes that are lovely.
#12 You can take advantage of WordPress theme offers and sales
WordPress themes also go on sale so why get it now when you can wait a few weeks?
Recently I got an email from a designer saying they do a seasonal sale on WordPress themes.
A few weeks earlier Appsumo had a lifetime deal for premium WordPress themes.
So watch out for a deal when you know what features you want.
#13 There are other tools to consider
When you start a blog, you need tools and plugins.
You need tools to
- drive people to your site
- add them to your subscribers’ list
- send them stuff
- store content
- analyse what you are doing
- do surveys
- integrate all your other tools
- do research
- design everything
- plan your activities
- charge people for your services/products
- allow customers to book appointments
A WordPress theme is not a tool per se, though it can work as one with all the extra features you get in some of them. But it will not give you everything that you need to grow.
You can make do with using the free version of some of these tools, but you should invest in some from the beginning. So if you are being careful with your money or you want to make sure you “invest” in the right things don’t spend money on a WordPress theme when you still need to get all your other tools.
You can find some WordPress themes for $50 or so for the cheapest themes, and it doesn’t look like a lot of money, but add this to everything else that you need and all of a sudden you are spending a lot of money when you haven’t even started.
And if you plan to make money from your blog, start doing things that will bring you money from the start.
#14 Because not all WordPress themes are created equal
The functionality of WordPress themes varies greatly.
Choosing a theme when you’ve just started and you are a newbie does not allow you to assess what features you need or what you don’t need and how you are going to use it or whether or not you need other tools.
So just wait a little longer.
#15 You need to do the productive tasks first
Experienced bloggers and designers know exactly what they need to do to set up a blog. They have the experience to customise a WordPress theme quickly or they have virtual assistants to help them. Plus they know exactly how to do everything else and when to do it.
If they are not creating a new blog, they have a lot of content to repurpose. They also have the systems to create content consistently.
For beginners, it’s a completely different matter.
Let’s have a look:
- Make a list of all the tasks involved in starting a blog.
- Guess how many hours it is going to take you to do everything.
- Then double it. Better still, triple it.
You’ll probably forget lots of things or things will go wrong and then you have to fix them, particularly if you’re a beginner. (Happened to me too).
So do the productive tasks first, not the fluffy stuff.
And if you don’t get a Premium WordPress theme?
If you keep things simple at the start and only use the essential tools and plugins to get you going, and you are strategic in what you do, it shouldn’t be a problem to delay a few weeks or even a few months in choosing a theme.
The themes that already come pre-installed will do you for a while. You might not have a lot of features or options, but keeping things simple and sticking to the essentials will save you lots of time. So start creating content and driving traffic to it immediately.
You're not convinced yet? Then have a look at these:
3 of my favourite places for WordPress Themes
Can I just say that this is brilliant + I could not agree more!
I would possibly go even further with the choice of platform, but that’s something for another time + place 😉
Thank you for saying the thing that so few seem to be.
Thanks for your comment! You’re very welcome.
Thanks for this!! It helped!
Thank you for your comment. Glad it helped.
This is a great list, thanks for sharing!
I couldn’t agree more with #2 (the more time you spend on your theme, the less time you have for the content)! I’ve seen so many bloggers (and I was guilty of this too) that spend months and months making their theme look awesome, all with belief in the theory of ‘build it, and they will come.’ What happens then is that their content suffers as they don’t give it the time it deserves.
The truth is, making your content good enough (i.e., so it provides enough value to the reader) and ensuring it is optimized for the correct keywords is infinitely more important than how it looks. Don’t get me wrong, first impressions do count, but making your content look good should be a lower priority than helping out readers and making it findable by the search engines.
Thanks again, and keep up the great work.
Thanks for your comment, Jonathan. I completely agree: content is the most important thing and when you start a blog you still need to figure out what kind of content is going to work for you! It also takes a while for SEO to do its magic so spending several months working on a theme and having a big launch is a bit of a waste, in my opinion.