WordPress alone is responsible for hosting 34% of the entire Internet; with no intention of stopping!
A huge reason for WordPress’ success can be chalked up to its ultimate customizability and interface personalization – that allows each website to have its signature look and feel.
On the surface, this could be considered a major positive.
However, to some, creating a custom WordPress theme from scratch might be ever so daunting.
But are there different approaches to coming up with a WordPress theme?
There are two roads often traveled here. Of course, you could design a custom WordPress theme from the ground up. If not, buying a premium theme is also a great idea!
Understand that the third (and probably less suitable option) are free, somewhat-customizable WordPress themes you can find on random crevices of the Internet.
We’re skipping this option as a whole because it’s not the best idea if you want a professional-looking website that’s going to be viewed by a whole lot of other people.
Before we delve into comparing the two, let’s hit it off with the basics.
What’s a WordPress theme?
Your WordPress theme is responsible for the entirety of your website’s design. Everything from the “about” section to a homepage is decorated with a theme!
This includes other added features like:
· Headers, sliders, menus.
· The desired color palette.
· Typeface and font.
· Any vectors, widgets, animations or other graphics.
· General style and aesthetics (vibrant, sophisticated, minimal, etc…)
So what sets a custom-designed WordPress theme apart from a premium one?
Most importantly – which one is going to suit your brand better?
1. Custom WordPress themes
Pros of using a custom WordPress theme:
· A distinct website that stands out from the rest.
· Customizable with millions of available plugins and add-ons.
· Full freedom and functionality in the future for admins working through the dashboard.
Cons of using a custom WordPress theme:
· Not budget-friendly.
· Risk of encountering developers that don’t code the theme properly.
Personalized to your every whim -the custom theme is one that can be tweaked and designed to fit the feel and tone of your website intimately.
Custom WordPress themes require the help of a developer; or WordPress website designer with additional coding experience for that matter. They are then tasked with creating the entire interface design, webpage layouts, and templates according to specific branding vision.
Like an artist using existing brushes, oil, and tools to paint a masterpiece -a unique website is then born from these efforts!
Because of this, it’s commonly referred to as a “one-off” theme. One that is made solely to mirror your niche, branding specifications, design needs, and custom code that no one on the world wide web would have.
We’re not entirely sure why, but there seems to be a misbelief out there about custom themes not updating with WordPress’ security and bug fixes.
This is the furthest thing from the truth.
Custom-made themes are made with page layers built on top of the already existing code. When regular updates are carried out, it’s only the core of the code that’s involved -which means that the entire process is carried out just fine!
Any decent WordPress developer would also understand the importance of using solid, recognized plugins when developing a custom theme. This does three things in particular:
· Doubles down on your security by preventing hackers and other threats from messing with your code.
· Streamlines page load times and increases the efficient rendering of graphics.
· Dashboard becomes fully customizable and ready for future tweaking. If you’re a freelancer working on a custom WordPress theme as a project; you can hand control over to your client when you’re done!
But without a few cons, everyone would be on the custom-made bandwagon already, wouldn’t they?
One of the major downfalls of this theme creation strategy is its major budget requirements, and there’s a good reason for that!
Developers and designers are essentially designing your theme from a skeleton code – or nothing at all. So you can bet that all the good ones are going to cost a pretty penny.
It’s also a risky business if you end up paying a good fortune to an amateur developer that does a bang-up job of designing and coding. This could definitely spell out disaster in the future; such as page crashes, elements getting mixed up with each other, annoying bugs, etc.
If you have the budget for it, it’s advisable to hire the services of a qualified team of web developers, renowned freelancer, or certified digital web agency.
Fiverr is an excellent place to start! Plus, it helps that you can check feedback from other clients they’ve served.
Do your homework about their past experiences, look through their portfolio, and everything else that would deem if they’re up for the job.
2. Premium WordPress themes
Pros of using a premium WordPress theme:
· Hassle-free, budget-friendly.
· Not as customizable as custom themes, but still editable.
· Strong support from community and developers for troubleshooting issues.
Cons of using a premium WordPress theme:
· Difficult to implement future functionality changes.
· Sensitive to page crashes, unresponsive site errors after tweaking the code.
When it comes to a premium theme, the page templates you’re working are prepped and ready to go.
Just a download button away, premium themes can be integrated seamlessly into your website -complete with proper widgets, graphics, sliders, and everything else.
Needless to say, it saves you a considerable amount of time and money.
Using a WordPress theme also means that you don’t need to hire developers (all themes are built by WordPress pros), and they’re usually in the cool $10-$60 price range; instead of the thousands that you’d spend on hiring someone to work up a custom theme.
It’s important to note that although premium themes are not as customizable as creating something from square one -it stills pulls weight!
Most themes come with built-in codes that allow you to switch up color palettes, choose icons, and make other minor configurations here and there.
Plus, they’ve got their own support community that’s always a click away to help out with troubleshooting, bug fixes, and the like.
Unlike the one-off services of a freelancer or agency, you’d be able to get help from your theme’s developers for free as long as you’ve paid for the template.
So shouldn’t this be an open and shut comparison?
Premium WordPress themes can tend to get pretty dicey when it comes to implementing future changes to the website.
In worst-case scenarios, developers have to sometimes redesign all webpage layouts from scratch -if the code does not support the intended functionality change.
Another issue also lies in its update sensitivities.
With premium themes, a common grievance is having a website crash or become completely unresponsive because the theme has just been ever so slightly modified.
Mindlessly downloading a paid theme is a recipe for disaster! You want to triple check the suitability of its page templates, diversity of graphic and visual options, and other elements so that it mirrors as much of your vision as possible.
Bought WordPress themes vs Custom WordPress Themes
So, all things considered, which one is best suited for your business?
If you have some wiggle room with the budget, prefer a one-off website that’s not like the rest out there – opt for a custom WordPress theme.
If you need a site done fast, are working with some budget limitations and predict that you might change your mind in the future when it comes to design – a premium WordPress theme is the better option.
There’s no right or wrong answer; no matter what you decide!
Do you think that a simple, professional-looking theme would be enough to get the message across? Go for premium.
Would you want to implement future functionality updates and personalized elements to make your website your own? Start finding a developer that can create a custom theme, then!
Our final parting words would have to be that before you make this decision -consider the ultimate purpose you want your website to serve.
To really power up your WordPress blog and drive more traffic each day; check out our list of the best blogging tools to use in 2019!
Jesslyn has been a senior content strategist and writer for personal finance and side hustles for the past 4 years. She believes in the power of an idea and breaking the rules whenever necessary. Above all, balance is everything. When she’s not writing up a mad scramble, she leans towards wine bars and yoga studios on the weekends.