5 Frightening WordPress Theme Issues

5 Frightening WordPress Theme IssuesWith Halloween just around the corner, frightening things are popping up all over the place. However, one place to avoid scary surprises is your business website! Read on to learn five reasons you should choose your WordPress theme carefully.

It is no secret that CourseVector loves WordPress. We recommend it to our customers and use it when we design a majority of our sites. There are a lot of resources available to help with WordPress website design, one of the most popular being the theme.

A WordPress theme is a design template for a website. It’s what the user sees when they land at your domain. While a good portion of the theme is design, they also modify the site’s functionality, features and usability. In order to do this, the theme developer uses code. It does not affect WordPress ‘ underlying software.

While some themes are monitored and inspected by WordPress developers, not all themes created for WordPress are. Many third party companies design and develop themes for consumers to use. Some are free. Some cost money. All must be researched before they are installed. Installing a theme that was not programmed well can make your website vulnerable to a number of unwanted troubles.

Hackers – Many hackers look for an easy target. If a theme was built using insecure code, it is at risk for being hacked. Sometimes, hackers will attack a site just for the glory of it. Malicious code can be as simple as to promote someone else’s website. Other types of hacks are much more malicious. They can infect users’ computers without the user even realizing it.
Spam – One of the biggest problems CourseVector sees with cheap themes is that forms are improperly coded. As it stands now, business websites must have a way for the user to contact them. It is great to have a form right on the site so the user doesn’t have to go through their email account to ask a question or request information. However, hackers often take advantage here. Forms are begging for input. Hackers provide that input, blasting your inbox (and host server) with thousands of emails. If the attack is bad, it can shut down a server.
Lack of support – If the developer does not offer any type of support, and you are unfamiliar with making modifications to a theme, you might be stuck when the latest version of WordPress comes out or a security update is pushed.
Slow Running Site – Some themes can use excessive system resources slowing down the presentation of your pages. This is normally caused by poor programming and improperly sizing graphics. If a site runs slowly, users can get bored and leave without even viewing the content!
Horrible SEO – If your site happens to be attacked (either spam or hackers) you may as well kiss your search engine optimization goodbye. Google flags suspicious sites and penalizes them for being spammy. Not to mention, Google also penalizes sites for being too slow (see #4). This is the exact opposite of what you paid good money to accomplish during your SEO campaign.
If any of these problems require you to rebuild your site, the financial impact will be great. Backups only provide so much help, often only with content rather than look, feel, and settings. It is better to vet your themes carefully prior to using them to build your business’ website. WordPress does have a Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC), which will scan a theme’s code. If any portion of the code is deemed potentially malicious, it is flagged. This plugin can help, but what do you do when you find potentially harmful code in your chosen WordPress theme? Also, many themes pass the test, but are still poorly written and contain security flaws, improper coding, etc.

If you do not have someone on your team with the technical expertise to research themes and other security issues, CourseVector would love to help. Our technical team has experience with a whole host of themes and their issues. Put our experience to work for you.

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