We’ve been working with WordPress for about seven years now and absolutely love it. We use it on pretty much every website we build because of how easy it is to understand and teach. Depending on what your goals are and what your budget is really determines which route you should go.
WordPress Themes vs. Custom WordPress Development – What is the difference?
A WordPress theme is something you buy from a marketplace such as ThemeForest. These are meant to be sold over and over again to suit simple business needs. Custom WordPress Development is the process of wireframing, designing, and developing a custom website to fit your business needs in the best way possible.
WordPress Themes – Pros:
1) You will save some money
For a small business just trying to get a simple website up this could be a great option. You can buy WordPress themes anywhere from $40 – $65 on ThemeForest. Keep in mind, each of these themes are very different and have their own caveats and learning curves. Once you’ve bought the theme, you will most likely still want to change around some elements and customize it to fit your needs which can take some time to learn since each one is has their own plugins and be managed totally differently.
2) You will save some time
If your goal is to get something up quickly and you’re okay with throwing something together on the fly then this could be a good option for you. The amount of planning that goes into a theme is greatly reduced since you are using pre-built landing pages and elements. You can get a theme up and running in as quick as 1-2 weeks.
3) You have a lot of options
On ThemeForest alone, there are 6,884 themes for sale (at the time of this post). That is a lot to choose from and there are definitely some quality themes there for pretty much every industry. This gives you a great starting point for your business and can even help provide some inspiration!
WordPress Themes – Cons:
1) Lots of unnecessary code
To try and fit the needs of as many people as possible the theme authors usually try to jam-pack every single feature they can into their themes. This is a great selling point but you most likely won’t use everything they provide which leaves a lot of unneeded code / features. This can cause unwanted symptoms on your site that include security vulnerabilities and impact page speed and SEO.
2) Poor quality
You never really know what you’re getting when you buy a theme, some authors are better than others and it’s important to know who you’re buying from to see how well they’ll be able to support you if you have any issues. When choosing a theme it’s always best to check reviews and the number of sales it has to determine if it’s a good choice for you.
3) Poor user experience
Each theme allows you to customize and edit it but it’s different depending on the theme you choose. Some are easier than others but for some people it could be very difficult to update certain elements on their website because of a poorly built page builders. You want to make sure you go with a theme that supports one of the bigger page builders like Elementor or WP Bakery.
If you need help building your website we can help!
Custom WordPress Development – Pros:
1) You’re in complete control
With Custom WordPress Development, a good web developer will make sure you have complete control of your website and will be able to make content edits anytime you want without any assistance. WordPress has something called Custom Post Types which helps developers create simple interfaces for our clients to use and edit their website with.
2) It’s built for your business
Every business is different and has its own unique brand, and so should your website. You’ll be able to work with a designer to create the perfect web design for your company versus just customizing a theme, if done properly can help elevate your brand and conversion rate. It’s important to choose the right company to design and develop your website since you want it to be structured and built properly, read our guide on what to look for when hiring a website design company!
3) Future proof
A custom built theme will be built to spec and make use of as minimal amounts of plugins possible. The less amount of plugins your website is reliant on, the better. When WordPress Core updates and your website is running a new version the rest of your website needs to be compatible so everything runs smoothly.
Custom WordPress Development – Cons:
It definitely takes longer to plan, design, develop, and launch your website when you’re building it from scratch. The discovery process and planning how to lay out all the elements in a way that your audience will understand is crucial to your business. The average timeline for custom WordPress development is about 2-3 months.
Since it is time intensive the cost goes up. A lot of people don’t understand the process that goes into building a website so I’ll share ours:
- Wireframe (Rough Design)
The cost of a custom website can be anywhere from $4,500 – $15,000.
WordPress Themes vs Custom WordPress Development, Which One is Better?
I think there is a use case for both options and depending on the stage of your business determines which route you should take. WordPress Themes will be cheaper to build and will be done faster but Custom WordPress Development will be an overall better product at the end of the day if you’re willing to invest in your online presence.
Overall we believe Custom WordPress Development makes the most sense if you’re really trying to maximize your business performance online.