Multi-purpose Themes: Is the Trend Going to End?

Like clockwise, new tides of popular features and design trends in commercial WordPress themes market rise every year. It can be Theme Option Panel in year of 2012, then parallax one page design in year 2013, then content sliders and something else in a year later. Trends are tsunami in competitive marketplaces like ThemeForest that sweep away all theme developers and urge them to add these dead or alive features in new product update.
However, there has been one ongoing battle between multipurpose theme and minimal theme since the counter-attack of minimal themes in year of 2013. When it comes to 2014, the dominance seems to be in favor of multipurpose themes, proved by the fact that Avada – multipurpose theme by Theme Fusion has reach 94,835 sales up to now and more than 40,000 of them is in this year. Now, at the end of 2014, is it time for us to sit down and predict the trend of theme market in 2015? What should we learn from a sucessful multipurpose theme and adapt to our products?
Firstly, let’s take a look at most popular items on Theme Forest such as Avada, the X theme or Enfold to understand what they have in common. It’s easy to write down below:
– Tons of short codes and features
– Huge number of demos and menu of samples that may make you feel distracted, especially the sample data installation process.
– The overall design that are suitable for many purposes
And because the theme is to serve multipurposes, it will be a shortage not to mention its benefits to users
– Highly customizable
– Longevity – Multipurpose themes meet the demands of the vast of developers, hence big hitter has a crowded community of users to fund and supervise their improvements
– Pricing – They are all you can eat themes that you can used for various type of projects and don’t have to pay more for updates.
On the other hand, supporters of single-purpose theme may argue that the multipurpose theme developers often include these drawbacks in their products: slow speed and clunky short codes, lack of design uniqueness and features and a frustrated installation process. They seeks the answer for the question:” Do customers want to “completely control” or would they rather have a website that simply works?”
Yes, there is the fact that multipurpose theme takes more time to load and often score lower in speeding test. One reason is due to short codes that is built for all options and lead to redundant tags in post content. However, some of the aforementioned themes started to have their own visual editors, requiring little effort from the user. Furthermore, in return, with many built-in short codes that mostly satisfy all demands, they will save time installing plugins from unfamiliar authors, which makes sense of more secured.
Second accusation of multi-purpose theme is lack of design uniqueness and features that can be tailored to specific purposes. Nonetheless, with multipurpose themes at least we have a solution to adjust rather than none: by using child themes and functions.php to customize beyond the control panel capabilities. Furthermore, in my opinion, the way to combine short codes to create new creative layouts is somehow challenging and excited.
Another reason is that people who oppose to multipurpose theme, as far as I see, are often newbie webmaster that are not so familiar with WordPress. Their frustration of installation process is caused by aging documents and online video which the authors don’t not have time to update frequently and a heavy sample data package. Every first time is hard, when you get used to the theme, it’s pretty simple to understand how it works. With the great pricing policy, a large number of their customers are actually returned customers who come back to buy them for their next projects.
Anyway, there have to be the reasons why multipurpose themes are loved by so many clients for years although the choice is personal preference. With that sheer volume of reports from a large customer base usually ensures that the real problems get fixed fast and great suggestion for features in the next version.
If you need a specific themes, here is my suggestion: Array Studio, a great library of theme and landing page template that is highly focused on specific objectives. But if you are addicted to multi-purpose themes because of their flexibility and creativity challenges as I am, here is the list I would recommend:
+ Avada of ThemeFusion
+ X Theme of ThemeCo

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