[RANT] Is it just me? Am I the idiot?



I am completely open to the possibility that I am a complete idiot that hasn’t got the two brain cells needed to use WordPress to it’s full potential. That could very well be the case….

But I cannot help but wonder if I am alone in seeing the WordPress universe as a giant scam.

I have purchased 4 themes (3 of them the amongst the most highly rated themes on themeforest) related to listing vacation rental properties on a website and I can’t get one of them to work as advertised.

Without naming them, the one I am working on now has an almost 5 out of 5 star rating, has been published on ThemeForest for almost 8 years and has sold coming up on 12,000 copies. So this should be a well-baked, well-supported theme that is pretty stable, right?


While their support is quite responsive to my issues, it has issues that an 8 year old theme just should not have. For instance…it has a custom color tab where you should pick the colors for the theme that suit you. The problem is that the current colors are not on the custom colors page. So, if you thought you’d look at the default colors of the demo theme and then find that color on the custom colors page and make a change, you’re out of luck.

So you should look for the item name, right? Tough! They don’t use proper names on many of the color settings’ labels. But, what about inspecting the element and looking for a class or id? Tough again! Those are not used in the color labels either.

And once you do change a color-refresh the demo page to check it-change it again- refresh the demo page…until you get it right, YOU STILL AREN’T DONE! More than a few of the widgets will have to have their colors changed by hand. EVERY WIDGET COLORED INDIVIDUALLY.

Why don’t they all use the global colors that you set in the Custom Colors tab? Why don’t they make use of the Global Colors in Elementor (since they claim to support Elementor)? Hell, I don’t know! That’s why I’m on a rant! And remember….this is after EIGHT YEARS of development, almost 12,000 sales and damn near a perfect 5.0 rating from over 500 customers!

Once you give up on the color thing, then you open the Elementor custom home pages that come with the demo only to find that 5 of 7 of them don’t work because of some PHP error that you can’t even read on the screen because it gets cut off in it’s little container.

Then its on to the single property listing pages. Only 2 of 5 work without leaving a big gaping hole near the bottom of the listing from some full width Google map widget that there seems to be no way to disable or get rid of. WTF?

Only 2 of 5 listing pages are usable and only 2 of 7 home page demos work and this is almost a 5 star theme with nearly 12,000 sales? How does that work? Maybe I should write crappy themes and clean up on ThemeForest….

Props to their customer support team for being so responsive to the many support tickets I have filed with them. But at this point, I am working more for them than for my client – and I paid THEM to do this work on their theme.

It isn’t just them or just this theme. Take a look at Elementor. Going on 9 million users and they can’t even keep their documentation and videos current for their Pro users. Really? I always thought Elementor built its business on making WordPress easier for the masses. Well, you can’t do that with old docs.

And the other 3 themes (one of which was a dog from the start) are the same. Buggy, buggy, buggy.

Nowhere else would this poor workmanship be accepted for a second. Why is it not just acceptable in the WordPress world, but THE NORM?

I am not a PHP/JavaScript developer. That’s why I chose WordPress and why I bought so many themes over the years (always thinking that next time the theme will work). I feel like a compulsive gambler….just hoping that the next roll of the WordPress dice will do the trick.

But, if I’ve learned anything from the THOUSANDS of dollars that I have spent on WordPress themes and plugins over the past 8 years, it is that it won’t get any better and people who think it will are compulsive gamblers like myself.

You will NEVER download a theme with any real functionality (like listing vacation rentals) that will just work. NEVER. You will never find themes or plugins over 2 years old with up to date videos and documentation. NEVER. You will never be able to please business clients with WordPress alone. NEVER.

My advice to you is the advice I am taking myself….learn PHP really well. Learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript really well. Then write your own themes and plugins – or just do a custom site without WordPress at all. As I see it, that really is the *only* option for anything more than a blog site with WordPress.


  1. I think for a lot of this stuff, it’s about the audience. A lot of the pro-level tooling was not created with general consumers in mind.

    I use Elementor Pro and haven’t had an issue with the documentation – mainly because I don’t rely solely on Elementor for documentation. There are a lot of other sites out there with tips and tricks when I get stuck, so when I do, I just use Google to find things.

  2. I think you need to be fair and consider that 8 years and their number of sales are nothing compared to the theme builder sales out there and use.

    Then you’ll realize why they have such little sales compared to that given you the more fair perspective.

    You get what you pay for.

  3. If all the themes you’re trying are all on theme forest, then maybe that’s the problem.

    Try an all purpose theme and a plugin for what you’re trying to do instead, like Kadence or Astra. Much better bang for your buck, because they are .org themes with a premium version and exist with standards.

    Theme forest themes really are the wild West, they don’t have the same type of rules for what they should and shouldn’t be doing. They are also more difficult to setup than your average install and activate from the WordPress repo.

  4. It feels like you’re confusing WordPress with Wix, or some other grab and drop builder. I can do incredibly complex things with WordPress. If you are expecting to buy a theme and have all your wishes a few clicks away, that’s not what WordPress is.

    If that’s what you’re after, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  5. No shade intended: You’re not an idiot but it sounds like you *are* a novice. A lot of theme demos *look* great and that can be very “deceiving” to newbies. Your content won’t look like theirs. In fact you’ll probably have a *lot* less. And you can’t necessarily tell if the design elements are efficiently built or if your site will perform well. Plus by the time you substitute your images, the look of the site will change substantially anyway.

    The theme was cheap so it’s pretty attractive compared to hiring a designer or a developer. I can’t really blame you for finding that attractive. But the trade off is having to do all the work yourself and not knowing what the quality of the tool is like. It’s like remodeling your kitchen. You could probably do 60-70% of it yourself by watching some YouTube videos and talking to some friends. But that last 30-40% is significant. Ya know?

    You can definitely accomplish a lot on your own but you’re going to have to absorb a bunch of info, do some trial and error, etc. Altho you might want to consider hiring someone hourly to coach you on it.


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