Are Multipurpose themes killing design?

Many of the theme design web sites are being dominated by a few big players with multi-purpose themes. Is this good for the market, and for customers.

Let us start with the good points of multi purpose themes

  • Their options offer customers lots of ideas for quick good looking themes.
  • Web designers with little real coding skills can use them for all their customers.
  • With many customers, they can easily attract even more.
  • More sales deliver a bigger development budget.
  • A large community can share experiences and ideas even outside the control of the developer.

There is a downside

  • You rely on this one theme for innovation.
  • If the mega theme does not have that feature you are stuck.
  • Web designers are less likely to bother learning to code.
  • Many new themes find it hard to build up their business.
  • Covering lots of bases can lead to major code bloat and slower sites.
  • Updates can easily break many sites and then the support to fix it is slow to respond.

My view.

I like a quick fix, or one click solutions as much as the next person. But, the way to win online is to keep one step ahead of the competition in every respect. Mega themes tend to keep to the features that are easily to implements and look cool. These are not necessarily the best for a particular business. They also tend to be hard to change when a feature is not available.

Mega multi purpose themes are a great start for a business, but there should come a time when you have a set of requirements, for your theme to deliver, that suits you and your customers.  Not fitting into a generic box created by somebody else.

But content is still king

All that said, we need to remember the heart of the matter. It is the quality and frequency of your site content that really determines whether a site is successful or not.  A pretty site may keep attention for 10-20 seconds, but without some quality content –  and that means words and pictures, maybe videos, if appropriate, people have not the reason to read the next page, or return later.