WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems, powering over an astonishing 43% of the total websites on the internet today. One of the key decisions website owners must make is whether they can use a prebuilt off-the-shelf theme vs. a custom theme for their website.
You might straight up think, hey why should we be even thinking about building a custom theme when I can begin my journey using a prebuilt theme?
Well, we cannot point our fingers and say this is THE best way for you. But, what we can do is, walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of prebuilt themes vs. custom themes and the best possible solution for your niche of website.
So, without me typing and you reading much, let’s dive deep into the matter at hand.
Prebuilt themes are ready made and the best off-the-shelf solution to build your website fairly quickly available in the WordPress theme directory, from third party resources, and theme developers.
Now, let’s chat about the good and not-so-good stuff when it comes to using these prebuilt themes!
Pros of Using Prebuilt Themes
Ease of Use
Prebuilt themes are built using one of the most important factor in mind – User-friendliness. The ease of use and user-friendliness have made off-the-shelf themes be used effectively even by individuals with limited technical knowledge. These off-the-shelf solutions typically come with intuitive customization options and user interfaces that simplify the process of setting up and customizing your website. This ease of use extends to various aspects such as layout adjustments, color schemes, fonts, and more, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
One of the most appealing aspects of prebuilt themes is their affordability. Many of these themes are available for free, and even premium options are often reasonably priced. This aspect of cost-effectiveness is majorly helpful for startups, small-scale businesses, and individuals operating on a knit tight budget. To put it simply, if you choose prebuilt themes, you can achieve a stunning and visually appealing website.
You can afford to waste anything but not time. Time is a precious resource and you need to be careful with it. Since the design and templates are already set with the prebuilt themes, you would save a significant amount of time by choosing this method over custom themes. This “Rapido” type of deployment would be much preferred if you’re on a tight-scheduled project or if you want to establish your online presence as soon as possible.
For years and for many years to come, WordPress developers have built a huge library of themes for you to use instantly. Whatever the business niche you want, the chances of finding the themes that replicate your business model and goals are pretty good though not definite. You can simply go through the themes of your choice and deploy your WordPress website in no time with prebuilt themes!
Cons of Using Prebuilt Themes
One of the primary drawbacks of choosing prebuilt themes over the themes developed by WordPress developers is that, the limited customization options that it has to offer. Moreover, these themes were designed and catered to a wider range of audience. While it seems so simple, the design of the prebuilt themes may not particularly align with your vision. This can hinder your desire to be unique among the herd of websites on the internet.
Prebuilt themes often come with many content and duplicate pages that your business would not need. If you have a bit of technical expertise on WordPress you can do the needful on your own. If not, you would have to rely on individuals with technical expertise to resolve these issues. Having dummy content can bring down the speed of the site, and can get indexed on Google, affecting your website SEO.
As time passes and your website grows along with your business, the prebuilt theme you chose might face compatibility issues. Once that happens, it defeats the purpose of choosing prebuilt themes over custom built ones since you’d eventually seek the expertise of WordPress developers to troubleshoot the issues.
Prebuilt themes may not always prioritize the best practices of SEO, which are crucial if you are to stay on the internet and want to grow your business even further. These themes would lack proper HTML hierarchy, optimized content structure, and other SEO elements that can affect your website rankings. Failing to address these issues can result in reduced traffic and your website’s overall ability to attract visitors from search engines.
Should You Choose a Pre-Built Theme for Your Website?
Since you read the colorful advantages, you might lean into the idea that a prebuilt theme would be the ideal choice for many. As much as we would like to say so, that’s not the case. It is indeed ideal for businesses with limited budgets, individuals lacking technical skills, and those with limited time. Furthermore, bloggers, content creators, and individuals organizing private events can utilize these themes to get their websites on the go.
However, if you are to stay in the game for a longer period to come, using a prebuilt theme over custom coded themes would not be recommended. We’ll tell you why in a second.
Custom themes are themes that are meticulously designed with a sole purpose in mind – YOU! With the expertise of WordPress developers, you will receive your website just like you envisioned. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons quickly now.
Pros of Custom WordPress Development
We could safely say that this is one of the major reasons why people prefer to go for custom-built themes. A custom theme allows you to craft a website that stands out from your competitors and is truly one of a kind. Having this uniqueness can help you establish a strong brand identity and leave a lasting impression on visitors.
With a custom design theme, you enjoy unparalleled control over every aspect of your website. From the user interface to the user experience and functionalities of your website, you will be king to decide! A custom theme would enable you to meet all your specific needs and goals, ensuring that your website aligns just right with your business model.
As your business grows and evolves over time, which it will, a custom themed website will evolve as well. The website can seamlessly adapt to accommodate various new features, plugins, content, and any changes that you would want. Hey, after all, it is your website, yes?!
Custom themes are typically built with efficiency in mind. With a streamlined code built throughout your website, the loading times will be crisp and sharp. This will ultimately result in a reduced bounce rate and better mobile responsiveness, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your website.
Cons of Custom Themes
If you are in a real hurry to live your website, custom built themes should not be on your list. Custom built theme development is a meticulous process and it does take some time to make the website align with your vision and goals. In the end, you can definitely reap the rewards of your waiting time but if you are in a hurry, like we said, this wouldn’t be a great idea.
A prebuilt theme would cost you nothing but a minimal amount of investment. This would be a barrier for small businesses and individuals with limited resources to spend on their websites. However, you can hire WordPress developers and WordPress development companies to make your website with a reasonable budget.
Custom theme requires ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure compatibility with changing technologies, security patches, and evolving best practices. This maintenance does indeed require technical expertise and cost if you need a professional to help you with these.
Custom themes may have limited support options compared to pre-built themes with active developers working on them. To overcome this, you would want to rely on the original WordPress developer or the WordPress development company to support the technical aspects of the site. So, choose wisely to whom you are committing your vision.
Should You Choose Custom WordPress Theme Development?
In the end, custom themes are the best and most fantastic choice for those seeking a unique and polished web presence. They’re especially recommended for small businesses and startups aiming to establish a strong brand identity. With the help of WordPress developers, you’ll look distinct from your competitors, hooking the visitors in a very positive manner.
If you’re someone looking to stay in the game for a longer period of time, you should choose custom themes over prebuilt themes without any second thoughts. The distinctive and seo friendly site that you’d eventually receive will definitely be worth all your time and effort!
Why Should You Choose Custom Theme Over Pre-Built Themes?
Like we said earlier, prebuilt themes and custom themes both have their advantages and disadvantageous. Which one you are willing to go for completely depends on your business goals. But, as a leading WordPress development company, we have always preferred and recommended custom theme development for our customers. And, there is a reason behind the same.
One of the most common mistakes that a small business makes is that they try to save costs by buying an off-the-shelf theme. But, it doesn’t end there. Pre-built themes can be extremely limiting in terms of customizations. Businesses often realize that they might need a new functionality on their website post launch. Now that the website is all ready and good, they want and try to customize the installed theme. And that’s when everything breaks loose. It is possible to do minimal customization on the installed theme, but anything major could do more harm than good. And, even a small customization takes a heavy lift.
There have been instances where we had to redo the entire website in a custom theme post-launch. So, it is important to be wise while choosing your options! Custom built websites should be considered an investment for your investment and it should not be overlooked as a cost-cutting measure.
What is Our Approach for Our Customers to Overcome the Pre-Built Theme Vs. Custom Theme Dilemma?
Sometimes the smallest of things can cause the biggest of dilemmas. So, we don’t want you or our clients to go through it just because of the pre-built vs. custom theme conundrum. The solution we propose to our clients is simple.
Do you like a theme? Bring it to us and we will recreate a design similar to the theme with your brand colors and guides. Once you give us the go-ahead with the design, we will create a custom theme that is scalable, customizable, and something that can be your brand identity for a long time.
Sounds good? Give us a call and we discuss more.