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WordPress Themes & Plugins Explained

Posted by Mr WordPress on 06 07 2015. in WordPress

WordPress Themes & Plugins Explained

One of the main questions is the choice between WordPress theme functionality or WordPress plugin functionality. The current themes and plugins on offer for WordPress have a lot of cross-over nowadays. Much of the functionality you would expect to find in plugins, is actually often better offered by themes, or themes built with specific WordPress plugin integrations to listing engines or forum engines etc. Many things such as forums, Q&A sections, booking engines, are available in both theme and plugin form, and there are some key differences and advantages/disadvantages of each which are useful to understand. Generally, if you want your site to do one thing very well, then go for a theme suited specifically for that purpose – e.g. directory, membership, real estate, etc. These more “advanced” components have limited integration with your theme when they are used as standalone plugins, rarely anything beyond a few shortcodes and widgets.


Themes can…

  • Change the design and layout of your website.
  • Change the functionality of your website.
  • Add new functionality to your website.
  • Offer user experiences tailored to specific businesses, industries, or markets.
  • Come with a complete business model for paid content or advertising that you can implement for yourself.

Themes can’t…

  • Do anything beyond providing you the platform to create a website, the actual thing is up to you.
  • Provide you with imagery or content, you still need to find your own.
  • Make you unique. But with millions of WordPress themes out there, and billions of websites, you can still stand out.


Get Your Head Around Your Content

You have to get your head around two main things – your content, and the second is the capabilities of the platform, theme and plugins you choose. You have to fit one into the other, which takes a bit of brain power to figure out – this guide should help with the latter so you mainly have your content to worry about, and no one knows that better than you.


But I Think I Need a Custom Site

If I use WordPress I won’t be able to build my custom website functionality to interface with a specific system or platform? It’s possible WordPress has support for your specific integration but it may not, f it is a super complex project like a hotel booking engine or custom e-commerce system it’s unlikely you will build it anyway, it will actually turn out to be really, really hard and will take a while, but do not let me stop you going ahead – I’m all for people just diving in and having a go. But the point is, people often don’t realise quite what is involved in a super custom system, every little tweak and change can require huge amounts of coding work. Better to focus on your actual business and get a nice easy website with cool functionality for a fraction of the time and cost using themes and plugins. If you really need a custom solution, get ready to spend a sizable amount of money to get a good product, and make sure it’s an agency or developer that will stick around for a while to help you keep it updated, since it’s possible no one else will understand their code. Where custom work is concerned, anything that is hammered down on price and kept low cost will unlikely be up to the job, however good the intentions of the charming developer that is up for it because it sounds like a cool project for their portfolio.

Sometimes we need to know where to best focus our energy, and often your website needn’t be a major focus in order to get a good result.

Mr WordPress
Mr WordPress
WordPress Mechanic at Host Asean Ltd.
We use WordPress every day, and so do many of our customers. We post tips, tricks and WordPress guides on the HostAsean blog to help you put together your own powerful WordPress based website. Subscribe for the latest updates or check back regularly.

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