What’s wrong with ‘off the shelf’?

An ‘off the shelf’ theme is what we call a WordPress template that has not been custom-coded and built to fulfil the exact needs of your website.

Instead, these pre-made website themes have been produced to work as a template for as many different types of uses as possible.

Themes like this can be purchased from a number of different outlets online including Australia’s very own Envato. The themes cost as little as $19, right up to $200 for a ‘premium’ theme.

When demoed with placeholder content these pre-made WordPress themes can look fairly professional but reproducing this quality with your with your own branding and content can be very difficult. The ‘one size fits all’ nature of the design means that the requirements of the site can be very rigid so your design and copy assets often won’t fit in the same way as the demo version does.

An off the shelf theme might be all you need to get started with you website but we would never recommend one to a Morning Studio client.  Here are a few reasons why:


Out of the box WordPress offers a range of flexible editing options but because these themes are not custom-coded they rely on ‘page builder’ plugins like Visual Composer, Divi Builder or WP Bakery.

Overall from our clients is that these page builders are unintuitive and buggy to use, and make it too easy to break a website’s layout.


Most of these themes offer multiple variants and styles of layout that you then override with your own branding colour scheme. That means that even though they are not in use, all the coding and styling required to build 100’s of versions of the website are baked into the site code.

Forget about getting an excellent Page Speed score, the resulting bloated website is unoptimised nightmare.


Ideally your website should be original and say something about the qualities of your brand or business. Having a cookie cutter website can send the wrong message to new users or clients.


Using this type of theme will increase the amount of maintenance required for the website. Not only will you need to keep WordPress Core up-to-date but you will also need to update the theme itself plus all the required plugins.

If you’re website is off the shelf, please don’t hesitate to get in touch so Morning Studio can show you what a custom-coded could do for your brand and business!