Custom WordPress theme vs ready-made

Lukasz, Front-End Developer, WordPress Developer

The WordPress theme provides all of the front-end styling and most of the back-end configuration options of your WordPress site. There are thousands of ready-made multipurpose themes on the market that you can use. So, why bother with a custom WordPress theme?

What is a custom WordPress theme?

Custom WordPress theme is a design, configuration options and architecture created for your website from scratch. You decide how your website should look and a dedicated team of professional web developers will implement all your wishes.

Pros of custom WordPress theme

1. Uniqueness
With a custom and unique design your business will be recognized by thousands of users. As we know, companies that can’t stand out of the crowd will likely lose the battle for the consumers wallets.

2. Seamless customization
Easy to use content editing tools and customization options that you really need .. and no coding knowledge required.

3. Optimized and fast website
These days, speed on the internet is most important. Website made by an experienced team guarantees fast loading time and will reduce the use of unnecessary files, third party scripts and plugins.

4. Security and complex testing
Custom WordPress themes created with clean, well tested code and using only proven plugins guarantees that your website will be harder to break into by hackers.

5. Reliable support
You’ll be sure that any bugs or security issues after WordPress core and plugins update will be fixed as soon as possible.

Disadvantages of custom themes

1. Longer development time
Creating a unique design and custom edit options take more time to implement. Often that will include the designing process.

2. Total project cost
Custom design and development takes more time and involves a lot of people. However, in the long term your unique and easy to manage website will pay back with lower maintenance costs and happy customers who will keep coming back to your business.

On the left is ready-made WordPress theme, on the right custom WordPress theme
Ready-made WordPress theme vs custom WordPress theme

Ready-made multipurpose WordPress themes

Pros of ready-made themes

There are many minimal and advanced multipurpose WordPress themes on the market. Let’s consider some pros and cons of them:

1. High Availability
Number of WordPress themes on the market is huge. You can easily find dozens of themes that meet your expectations.

2. Cost saving
The price range varies from a few to around a hundred dollars, but of course you’ll find many of the free ones.

3. Development time saving
Using ready-made themes can save you a hefty amount of time. There’s only one “but” – you stick to the design provided by the theme developer.

Disadvantages of multipurpose themes

1. Setup and configuration
In theory themes should be created in such a way that they can be used pretty easily, so anyone should be able to set up a website without programming knowledge. But most of the advanced multipurpose themes come with hundreds of configuration options that may be confusing even for advanced users.

2. Documentation
Usually premium theme developers provide extensive support and good documentation. But there are cases when documentation doesn’t exist or it’s poorly written.

3. Customization and code quality
Ready-made themes are often designed to use what is given out of the box and not to change most of the elements. Some of them might be coded without flexibility and even small changes in the code may cause serious errors. Also any change or bug fix will require hiring experienced development team.

4. Optimization
Ready-made themes are not always SEO-optimized and packed up with excessive code, third party scripts and plugins which, even well written, can slow your website down.

5. Update issues
Most of the WordPress themes are rarely updated. Even when we find a bug or problem, fixing it by the theme author may take days, weeks or even months. Also you’ll not be sure your theme will work properly after WordPress core or any of the plugins update.

6. Lack of uniqueness
Originality in business and marketing is a very important thing. Using a standard theme, you will not be able to stand out from the crowd.

Many of us have experienced disappointment with ready-made WordPress themes. Have you ever purchased the best looking ready-made theme with lots of options and struggling now with configuration? Or what’s worse, your website doesn’t look like the beautiful demo you’ve seen before purchase?

Maybe you should consider building a custom, fast and easy to use WordPress theme for your next website?

As you can see, ready-made WordPress themes not always suit serious and large businesses. They’re great for small sites where a low budget is most important. However, it is not recommended to change ready-made themes too much, this can cause various problems, and in the worst cases you’ll need to hire a development team to fix those issues.

In spite of higher cost and development time, creating a custom WordPress theme for your next website will probably bring more benefits for your business and customers.

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