Theme or Plugin? Which should I choose for my WordPress website?

When it comes to running yout broadcast, webcast, or podcast website on WordPress, there are many options to choose from and different paths to take. Some people like an all-on-one solution packaging all the features they need into a theme, while others want to cherry-pick a theme or page builder they want to use and then rely on a variety of plugins that do different things to round out the website. There are certainly pros and cons to each and in this article, I’ll walk through your options, which may help you decide what’s the best path for you.

Going All-in on a Theme w/ All the Bells and Whistles

Okay, so you’ve got it in mind that you want your theme to power the visual view and features of your WordPress website. Maybe you understand the features and believe that an all-encompassing theme is the best solution, or you might not realize that you could be locked into a theme and won’t be able to diverge from what resources the theme provides. There are a number of themes out there appealing to broadcasters, webcasters, and podcasters; so many, in fact, it’s very hard to discern which theme makes the most sense for your site. Most theme authors don’t allow you to trial a theme for free before you buy and once you do buy and are locked in, you find out there are other options, but you’re stuck with the theme you purchased. Fortunately, some provide 14-day or 30-day money-back guarantees, but that is not true for all themes out there.

Another issue with themes is, some of these themes are sold on marketplaces like ThemeForest. While ThemeForest is a great place to find high-quality themes, it’s a bit awkward in terms of licensing. If you purchase a theme from Theme Forest, it’s tied to your email account. At the time of this writing, I don’t believe you can assign a secondary admin to your Theme Forest account, which means if you are working with an agency or freelance web designer or developer, getting them access to download a version if the license is expired can be problematic. They have to wait for you to log in to your account and if expired, reset the license, then download and send the latest version.

In addition, many themes on Theme Forest come with a pre-set license to a page builder, like Theme Fusion, Visual Composer, or Beaver Builder. They also might prepackage a slider plugin like Revolution Slider. When the theme is up for renewal, you may renew the theme through your Theme Forest account, but are left to connect directly with the page builder company or third party packaged plugin slider plugin to license the associated software. It’s not very clear upfront when purchasing the theme from Theme Forest. When your license expires, all of a sudden you have to purchase two additional licenses to keep your site updated, so you get the latest upgrades and features of the pre-installed page builder and slider plugin.

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