UpThemes a WordPress theme provider is the latest WordPress theme company to announce that they are no longer producing WordPress themes that have tons of theme options packaged within their themes. For me this is a fantastic step forward for UpThemes as these options should never really be packaged within a theme to begin with but is bad practice that has grown to become more common over the years.
It’s my opinion that a theme should do a single job and that’s is to change the design or layout of your website and this is really the only job a theme should be doing on a WordPress site. A theme should definitely not be adding custom post types or hundreds of options to changes colours for a links, navigation menus, selecting custom fonts, adding advertising banners, slider controls, site layouts and many many more unrequired settings.
Over the past five years the bad practice of adding these types of settings to themes has become the normal procedure and marketing jive like “Over 1000 theme settings to change every possible aspect of your site” has become the normal sales lingo and is now generally accepted by customers of what a WordPress theme should provide feature wise.
This is simply wrong as a theme should simply be a product that changes the design of your website an nothing else.
There are many other and better approaches to allow customers to change elements of a theme and using theme hooks and filters is a prime example of this and how themes should allow content to be changed. For CSS customizations like colour changes and for storing your hooks and filters this should be done via a WordPress Child Theme.
What’s your thought’s on popular theme providers scaling back on the amount of theme options they provide in their products, let us know in the comments as I’m sure there area many different opinions on this and it would be great to hear some feedback.