Why Custom WordPress Themes are Better for Your Business
When you’ve decided to build your business website in WordPress, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you plan to use an existing theme available through a mass marketplace or have something built custom for your business. While there are advantages to using a mass market existing theme like lower costs and expedited development timelines, custom themes can be a huge gamechanger for your business.
As a developer with ample experience in custom theme development, here are a few advantages I’ve found custom themes have over existing WordPress themes:
Custom WordPress themes tend to be more efficient.
While there are some existing themes that are well-built, a lot of mass market themes have a bloated codebase as they’re trying to be everything to everyone. Your site ends up carrying extra weight that it doesn’t need to execute features you aren’t using. This can negatively impact your website loading time, which in turn has negative SEO implications. By misstepping and choosing a woefully inefficient theme, you could be setting yourself up to wage a massive uphill battle to get SEO traction for your business.
Custom WordPress themes, on the other hand, are built for your site’s specific needs. They commonly have less technical debt as they aren’t bloated with a bunch of features you won’t be using. This often makes your site load faster, which in turn helps better position your site for search engine ranking success.
However, because custom themes are built-to-order, it’s very important to order everything you need. If you don’t include a blog, you won’t be able to just add a blog down the line without revisiting your custom theme to style out those templates.
Custom WordPress sites often have clearer admin experiences.
Because mass market themes have to cater to every type of user who might be trying to execute every type of feature or module on any given page, the admin experience can often be overwhelming and far from straightforward. You could be left navigating a convoluted mess of shortcodes or needing to make sure to configure a massive number of settings correctly in order for a module to appear like it should or similar frustrating experiences. Often, users are left even wondering how they can make the theme that they bought look anything like the demo that made them purchase it to begin with.
With custom themes, your needed layouts are often broken down into very clear fields that anyone can easily navigate. You’re not having to build up every layout from a massive library of overwhelming possibilities. It’s simple to change an image or modify text. You’re not lost having to constantly refer to extensive documentation to even make sense of anything.
One common misconception about custom themes is that you lose flexibility to create new layouts or pages. That absolutely does not need to be the case. Many of my clients design a “flex page” type of template with options they want to be able to use to create new landing pages or other interior pages.
The difference is the admin side is night and day difference with some mass produced themes in terms of the simplicity of putting these pages together. A major driving factor in your business likely choosing to go to WordPress in the first place is the idea that you can manage the website easily internally vs. relying on a technical person to do so. Shouldn’t those changes be less of a headache?
Custom WordPress themes can be optimized for your specific business goals and needs.
Mass market themes are created to appeal to the lowest common denominator of users and their needs. They are not concerned with your individual business model or what your specific userbase may be most interested in. They aren’t coming to the table with knowledge about how your site converts users or what the biggest actions you want your users to take on the site are.
A custom WordPress website allows you to create a user experience that is optimized for your business goals specifically. A designer can work with you to identify the primary purpose of your website and the actions you need users to take and design a conversion path to hit that. You’re building a website for your business, not figuring out how to force your business to fit a certain website.
Existing themes can be a great starting point to get something quickly off the ground but once you graduate to using a website created specifically for your business, you’ll quickly realize the difference it can make.
Want to talk custom WordPress development?
I’m a senior WordPress developer with over a decade of experience working with businesses across the country to better leverage their WordPress websites through use of a custom theme. Whether you’re utilizing a third party designer or putting the design together in house, let’s work together to bring it to life. Let’s start a conversation!