Who Buys the Wordpress Theme? Developer or Client?

This was my initial conundrum. Who buys the WordPress theme? The first two clients that I picked up both had a generic, free theme, and I suggested from the outset that they get a premium theme and let me customize it to their taste.

Yet, the lack of understanding of the need for a better WordPress theme, in addition to the unpopular idea of more money spent, did not seem at all appealing to them. What to do? I do not want to buy it either, especially since one of the projects I was doing for free!! So who buys the WordPress theme?

Thus, I ran quickly to the place where everyone seeks advice…..Google search. I then realized that this was actually a hotly debated topic and that there was no definitive answer or best practice.

Basically, on one side it is good for the client to buy their own WordPress theme, especially for the support, documentation, and upgrades that they get along with it. On the other hand, it is much easier for the developer to just do it themselves and add it to the invoice.


But there is a third option!

An option that I will take with my freelance business and perhaps you may want to consider with yours. It is this:

There are a number of companies that offer developer licenses or packages in which you pay a one time fee and are free to use that theme or framework on unlimited projects. 

To name a few there is Thesis, Canvas, iThemes builder, Elegant Themes and the one I have chosen and most of you have at least heard of: Genesis.


There are a number of reasons I have chosen this framework and there are tons of articles already on this subject so I will not beat a dead horse. However, here are a couple of my personal reasons:

  1. They have a Pro Package (wait for the sale) where you pay a one time fee and get the framework, ALL of the themes, and ALL of the FUTURE themes to come. In addition, you get the license to use these on as many sites as you wish including those of your clients. Thus, you can have your client browse their themes and pick the one they like and charge or not charge accordingly.
  2. It is not a "drag and drop" setup. There are no page builder plugins. I find these "helper tools" to be personally burdensome and I like the simplicity of the Genesis themes. At the same time, there is a systematic and well structured framework that, once understood, can be easily customized and manipulated to meet any need. Especially with tools like the Genesis Visual Hook Guide, there is no question as to where you should "hook" your code in.
  3. Genesis themes are simple and lightweight. This is great! The code is minimal from the start. This is a breath of fresh air compared to all the themes overloaded with code to "simplify" the options for the average Joe.
  4. They are well-known and trusted by the WordPress community. You are sure what you are getting as opposed to the risk you take with sites like Themeforest. Even Yoast boasts about it.
  5. Because it is always efficient to find something good and seek to master it. There are tons of tutorials and support articles to answer every question regarding this framework. Get to know the framework and how to customize it well and your workflow and efficiency increase. You get things done faster and more effectively, and this is the key to freelance work.
  6. Finally, it uses child themes. There is the Genesis framework that must be on every install, and then ALL of the themes are actually children to this framework. This takes out the need to create a child theme or working directly with the parent theme.


So who buys the WordPress theme? Well, you can still choose that answer, but make it easy on your end by having a predetermined selection, a selection that you are comfortable using and already own.

Who buys the WordPress theme in your freelance business? I would love to get your suggestions and practices in the comments below. 


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Travis of

Travis Media

Who Am I? I was 34 years old in a job I hated when I decided to learn to code. Read More

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