I have to admit, I’m a little bit Halloween obsessed. I usually start planning my Halloween costume in July, and as soon as October hits, begin most conversations with “So what are you being for Halloween??”.
What does this have to do with web design? Hold on, I’m getting there!
I recently started another blog about costumes and makeup, and being in a rush to get it up before Halloween, I decided I wanted to buy a premium WordPress theme. That way I could design my site when I had more time, and could still have an attractive blog in the meantime.
I spent about four hours clicking around the internet (mostly on Template Monster) shopping for a theme. And you know what? They are all the same damn website.
They may look different at first, but the more hours you spend on that site, you realize that the creators of those themes only try for a ‘different enough’ looking homepage, and then just recycle the same subpage designs. They’ll tweak the colors, maybe throw in a big picture in the background, or make the content background a little translucent. Over the course of my search, I had narrowed it down to these two themes. When I went to compare them, I realized they were basically identical.
Obviously not every site is going to look completely different from every other site. But if you spend some time on a theme shop, you will almost definitely find that they are all a combination about five different general layouts, image sliders, gallery plugins, reshuffled to look “different” and usually made deceptively attractive by the magazine quality images, which will almost never apply to your business.
And you know what? It’s the same thing with all of the Halloween costumes. (Yes! Finally back on point!). Almost all of the store bought costumes are a variation of a tiny dress with a short puffy skirt. Whether it be a slutty nurse, or a Disney princess.
And you may think, “Oh, well a template is so much cheaper and easier, and I just need a site so I can get business.” or “A pre-made costume is so much cheaper and easier, and I just want to look good when I’m going out.”
Maybe you’re right.
I for one, prefer a little originality – even if it takes more time, or energy, or money. So for my costume blog, I decided to stick with the default WordPress theme for now. After all, if the site is going to look generic, it might as well be free, right?
BTW, how much more awesome is the homemade Buzz Lightyear (courtesy of Coolest Homemade Costumes) than the Amazon version on the left?