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To Theme or Go Custom…

Last Updated on October 14, 2021

WordPress, one of the internet’s most popular Content Management Systems, has helped organizations of all sizes build out their websites with ease. As WordPress has grown in features and complexity, website owners and content creators have had to choose how to display their content

When it comes to making their site look good, should they have a custom WordPress website built? Or should they use a pre-made WordPress theme?

When it’s your turn to face this decision, it’ll help to have all of the information in front of you. In this post, we will take a look at the pros and cons of both pre-made themes and custom builds so you can make the best choice for your needs.

What is a WordPress theme?

A WordPress theme is a pre-styled layout for your website. Once you select a theme and add it to WordPress, that theme can transform the overall look-n-feel of your entire site (from the style of your footer to the color of your buttons). 

There are countless sources for premade themes on the internet. There are also many developers who create themes catered to specific industries. Each theme may have different levels of customization or things that the site owner can change. Each theme might also have different features to help appeal to the site user, such as the capability for interactive forms or other site functions. 

Themes come in a variety of costs, from free to $100+. The cost typically depends on the features, overall front-end look, and the amount of ongoing support or regular updates that the theme receives. 

A theme allows you to get a decent-looking website up fast, with minimal (or even zero) coding required. You may still want the help of a web designer to get things looking great within your theme, but you won’t need to spend the time or resources starting from scratch on the base UI or UX. Once you have set up hosting and added your WordPress theme, the work of customizing can begin.

Can you customize a WordPress theme? 

Customization can be a big challenge with any WordPress theme. 

As you and your team write page content, you may discover not every pre-built themed page works the way you want. You may feel that you’re limited by the theme you chose. 

This may mean that you end up purchasing additional plugins to add new features or choose to work with a developer to update the code to your liking. This can frustrate you and end up costing you time and money. You may even spend enough going down the customization rabbit hole that you’ll wonder if you should have selected another theme, or considered going custom in the first place. 

With that said, let’s talk about custom WordPress builds.

What’s a custom WordPress build? 

A custom WordPress website is just that: Custom. 

In a nutshell, if you’re ready to invest in a unique website that offers a seamless user experience, with a custom WordPress build, the sky’s the limit! 

To get the specific look and feel you want, you’ll work with an experienced designer and developer. They’ll talk with you and research your company to figure out exactly the form and function your website needs, and then they’ll make it happen. Simple as that! 

The result: You end up with a website that’s like no one else’s — and, most importantly — a website that feels tailor-made for your brand (which makes sense, because it is!).

Can I build a custom WordPress theme for myself? 

(Or, perhaps a better question is: Should you?) 

If you’ve got creative coders and content strategists on your team, you could technically start to develop your own site for your organization. However, you’ll find that reality will soon set in…with several challenges. 

The first? Time. Building out a custom theme takes a lot of big-picture brainstorming and hours (or weeks) spent on technical troubleshooting. While you’re focusing on your business, you likely don’t have that kind of extra time on your hands. 

Cost is also a factor. Even if you’re building something on your own, you’ll need to invest in some level of resources. (And, of course, your time is also valuable in itself!) 

Finally, maybe you simply don’t have tech wizards or a team of writers on hand to dedicate to building your site. Expertise and experience is critical, here: You need to lean on a solid team of content writers, designers, and developers. Otherwise, you’ll waste time (and money) coding and creating down the wrong path…winding up with little you can actually use for your site. 

However, if you work with a great website development team to tackle the challenges, you’ll find that a custom approach comes with benefits. Your investment in a custom build will ensure your website has staying power and long-term value.

After reading this, you may still have questions on which approach is right for you. We’d love to help figure out the best option for your needs. Contact us today and let’s talk.

Megan Logsdon Image Alt

By: Megan Logsdon

Megan is a Developer at USDP.
She likes to play tennis and loves Marvel superheroes.