Which theme are you using and why?

First off, thank you so much Craig for your hard work. You are a credit to the open source community.

Onto the topic of this post …

From what I can gather, there are 2 popular paid for themes: Ultimo and Porto. The latter is beautiful and I bought it when I was playing around with Magento 1.9.3 a few years back but appears to have become quite bloated and buggy. Documentation is not up-to-date, not detailed and in poor English. In fact, I can’t even successfully install it on a clean Magento 2.2.5 instance. Still trying to get support to just get it going.

So, the other choice … Ultimo … I like the fact that they advertise it as being very configurable. There are a lot of built-in CMS blocks and the user manual seems to be very comprehensive. But, out of the box, it’s not as good looking as Porto.

I don’t want to be throwing money at different themes just to try them out.

The million dollar question, for Craig I suppose who seems to have had a good play with Ultimo. How quickly can someone adapt this theme to make it look good?

What other themes are people using out there?

Hey @magetester, welcome to the community (and this extremely new forum).

It’s early and I’ve not had my coffee yet, so let’s see how this goes :smiley:

You’ve asked a great question, clearly based on your past experience.

To start, my experience with Porto (M2) has been a pleasure. The toolbox is pretty comprehensive and it comes packaged with a couple of lite modules by Mageplaza (Layered Navigation and Search).

My experience with Ultimo has been extremely limited to the Let’s Build Series I recently recorded. I found the documentation to be extensive, if not slightly flawed in places (e.g. out of date references because it’s written for M1 and M2). As you may have noticed, I didn’t really go in with a plan as to what I wanted it to look like so I didn’t too much effort into it.

Based on my experience of setting up so many sites, I think there’s a couple of factors at play that can make Theme Customisation spin out of control:

  • Not going in with a plan. It’s like building a puzzle without seeing the picture on the box.
  • Spending too much time on features (e.g. “Oh, this option looks cool. I wonder what that would look like if I…” Then 4 hours of your life just disappear whilst messing about).

To attempt to answer your question (rather than ramble on like I have), I reckon you could make Ultimo “look good”:

  • Within 1 week (If working on it full-time)
  • Maybe over 2 weeks (If you’re working on it in the evenings)

Not having a plan and going in blind will massively affect these timescales.

During my career so far, I’ve used:

  • Shopper (M1)
  • Fortis (M1)
  • Buyshop (M1)
  • Porto (M2)
  • Ultimo (M2)

Aside from Ultimo, each of those themes are currently the backbone of a current production site. Most of these purchases were shortlisted based ‘Best Sellers’ on Themeforest.

Based on some brief conversations I’ve had in the comments section of my videos, I get the impression that a lot of people are just sticking with Luma. I guess that’s what most people feel comfortable using right now as they are just starting to learn Magento. And I can’t argue with that logic really. But as I mentioned, Themeforest will give you a good idea as to what’s popular based on ‘Best Sellers’.

Anyway, I hope this reply helps (or makes some sense). Feel free to post an update once you’ve made a decision. It’ll be good to get some honest feedback in a real-case scenario.

Now, I’m off to get some coffee. Good luck :+1:

Not a bad reply for early morning without coffee! :wink:

The way I see it, most of us are going down this DIY path either because:

  1. We can’t afford developer costs (I’ve been quoted £40k by a local very reputable agency - partly because my project requires multi-store functionality)!

  2. We enjoy playing around, love hitting our heads against the wall, etc. :wink:

I guess there is a trade-off with buying off-the-shelf themes.

Yes, they have to be customisable because you don’t want to look like everyone else and you want good support. And that “support” also means that the theme is regularly updated to keep up with Magento updates.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. A $99 theme can only get you so far. I get that. Otherwise pay someone to develop a custom theme.

When I looked into buying themes when I first flirted with Magento 1.9.3, I chose Porto because it was a beautiful looking theme and was selling well compared with “the old guard” Ultimo which looked a bit dated even 3 years ago.

As someone who has run an ecommerce business for nearly 13 years (Magento didn’t exist when I started so I have a custom solution for selling in 2 “base” currencies and 3 languages), I look at a theme also from the point of view of UX and the features it contains to for high conversions. Beauty is only skin deep!

I looked at Magento when v2 just came out but held off migrating our platform because M2 was very buggy when launched and I didn’t want to be migrating to the old 1.9.3 version and then have to go through the pain of migrating a few years later. Now that I’m looking at Magento 2 again, I obviously want to use Porto because I have some familiarity with it. However, for days, I’ve been struggling with simple issues such as installing the theme! Their support kept blaming my web host (a reputable UK Magento specialist) and even Mageplaza.

I’ll stop tearing my hear out soon and probably go with Ultimo.

Holy crap, that’s a big quote! And I bet there were after sales costs involved too!

I just found myself nodding and agreeing to every single point you have made. I’m surprised to be seeing anyone mentioned “UX” on here - Your experience is clearly shining through.

Yeah, M2 was super buggy at first. To be honest, as someone who’d spent so many years working with M1 I kinda had my fingers in my ears going “la la la” when it came out. Mostly, due to me needing to learn everything from scratch. It seemed like I’d wasted my time and I felt useless again. But look where we are now…

Exactly, so many developers offer after-sales support. But when they can’t answer the question their first response is usually to point fingers, which frustrates the living hell out of me. Whenever I raise a ticket these days, I go into so much detail about the issues and what I’ve tried just to cut through some of the BS.

In your case, I don’t understand how a theme can be affected by a hosting environment when the core platform (Magento) works fine. Out of curiosity, what issues are you running into? Sometimes it helps to throw some ideas about…

After uploading the theme files and running the setup:upgrade command, I wouldn’t be able to login to the backend anymore.

Porto asked me to check that ownership and file permissions are correctly set up. When I quoted the error listing, which involved Mageplaza_Core, they then referred me to Mageplaza. I had to do a bit of Googling and accidentally discovered that the Mageplaza_Core wasn’t even installed. In fact, composer.json and registration.php files were missing from the Mageplaza_Core directory in the unzipped theme folder. When I pointed this out to Porto, they refused to admit any fault and said that everything was fine at their end with their testing.

Porto issued a new update this morning. Upon checking, they had sneakily added the missing files!

After successfully managing to install the previous version of the theme, I then discovered that the homepage (which hadn’t been setup properly yet so just had “CMS content goes here”) displayed fine but, as soon as I wanted to click on a category page, there was an error message on the front end.

Haven’t gotten around to checking the latest update to see how that fares.

Let me know how you get on. As I mentioned, my day job has me developing a Magento 2.2.5 store using Porto 3.1.3. I can’t relate to those issues, but I installed Porto over a year ago. I’ve just been patching it ever since. But if you need a second opinion on anything just shout :+1:

Thanks so much for the offer.

The error I was getting was

1 exception(s): Exception #0 (Exception): Notice: Undefined index: move_title in

This was a bit bizzare given it was a clean installation. Anyway, Porto support has sorted me out for the time being. Their reply was “Please try go Save configure for Porto Setting panel and Porto Design Panel and check the issue again” which, strangely, worked. I suppose someone such as yourself with more Magento experience isn’t surprised by this!

Just finding my way around Porto again after 3 years absence. I might come back to you on tips though once I’ve had a good look around.

1 Like

Hi guys!

What you think of this theme?

When I shortlist a handful of themes, I always check the following:

  • Is it compatible with my version of Magento
  • Are there many upset people in the Comments
  • How do the ratings appear
  • How often do they update their product (i.e. Did they put it on the market for a quick buck and forget about it until they absolutely have to update it)

Unfortunately, the one thing that you’re now going to know until you purchase the theme is how easy is it to make changes. Some themes go all out to make as many options as possible in the backend. Whereas others go just enough to look like they’ve tried - Therefore you still end up having to do some coding. This issue is something you end up taking a chance on.

As for the theme itself, it looks clean and professional. But ultimately you have to ask yourself if it reflects your brand and appeals to your target audience. Targeting everyone is a quick way to not make any sales. Targeting to a tight niche is where it’s at. But buyer psychology is a whole other topic :slight_smile:

Absolutely agree with you.