WordPress Custom Builds vs Commercial Themes
WordPress Custom Builds vs Commercial Themes is a question that comes up often. In particular, it gets asked during the planning of a new website, or the redesign of an existing one. In response, the correct way forward depends on a number of factors.
Narrowing the Choices: Custom or Ready-made Themes for WordPress Websites?
Which is better? Should you opt for a custom made WordPress Theme or buy one of the many ready -made commercial themes out there? And importantly, how do you know what to look for when making your choice? Also what’s best for your particular circumstance? The answer depends on a number of broad factors.
- Whether or not there’s a commercial theme that meets your needs as a fresh installation;
- and if not: How much customising would be needed to meet your needs?
- Are you able to engage a web designer who works with WordPress to do the graphics?
- Do you have strict design guidelines based on branding / head-office instructions?
- What level of growth will the theme support? In saying that, not all themes support online shops.
- How well is the Theme coded- will you be competing against well-made and well-optimised websites with regards to SEO? Are you pursuing SEO services? Many commercial themes have been made with appearance and not seo optimisation in mind. In turn, this will negatively impact your Google rank.
Great commercial WordPress themes exist. By same token, a custom built theme for a WordPress website is best when page layouts vary from standard designs.
Additionally, the Editor or page builder used by the theme plays a huge role.
Firstly, some editors are self-contained systems, which carry defined widgets written in a specific way to blend seamlessly with the editor. In theory this sounds great. However in practice the results are sometimes different. Limited optimising opportunity and bloated code makes off-the-shelf WordPress themes lose some sparkle in the light of day. Furthermore, some systems carry a yearly licence fee which adds to the cost of site ownership.
When is a Commercial WordPress Theme the Right Choice?
A ready-made or commercially produced WordPress Theme is the best choice for your project when you can look at the demo and see that your content and final vision for your website matches or closely resembles- the demo.
Moreover, the menu style, placement, footer design and overall look and feel are so close to your requirement that minimal- if any- adjustments are called for. Following on, check that widgets and plugins you need are supported by the theme. Investigate the editor and page builder. In particular- is customising allowed? Also- how is CSS managed? CSS refers to Cascading Style Sheets- these control ‘look’ of a web page. Themes that cause style rules to load afresh each time a page is requested, slow down load times. In turn, this impacts your user experience and core web vitals metrics.
When is a Custom-made WordPress Theme the Best Choice?
Having a WordPress theme custom-made is the best way forward when you have specific brand requirements. Also if you employ a graphics person or web designer to take care of the visuals, then it follows on to have a custom theme built.
WordPress Custom Builds vs Commercial Themes in Conclusion
Seek expert advice on this before you start a rebuild.