Development | Strategy | WordPress | 07.11.2018

Custom WordPress Theme Development: 5 Benefits to Consider

When it comes to your company or organization’s website, a big question comes to mind. Do we build this thing ourselves with an existing template? Or do we hire a web development company to build a custom WordPress theme tailored for our organization?

Though there are pros and cons to both, in this article I’d like to discuss the benefits of custom WordPress theme development.

Benefit #1: Speed – A Custom WordPress Themes is Faster

Well, at least it should be.

Here’s the scoop: If you have a WordPress development company create a custom WordPress theme for you, you’re loosing all of the bloat that comes with using ready-to-go themes.

Why? Well, in order for theme development companies to succeed, they need to create themes that will be purchased at a high-volume; otherwise, they won’t make any money. This means they’re trying to get every feature in that their users could want… and consequently, this adds bloat and ultimately slows your website down.

[blog_callout text=”In order for theme development companies to succeed, they need to create themes that will be purchased at a high-volume… this results in features that don’t matter to you and unnecessary bloat.”]

In contrast, when you use a WordPress agency to build a custom WordPress theme, they can ensure that only the features you need will be included in your theme. Less code and less bloat means an overall faster website. And considering that Google rewards faster websites, this is an important consideration.

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Benefit #2: Attraction – Custom WordPress Theme Designs aren’t “Cookie-Cutter”

When it comes to WordPress, custom theme design is a major way to distinguish your company and build attractional value. The fact remains: design is still uber important.

The challenge that comes with purchasing a high-volume, premium theme is that it can be very hard to get away from the original design. You’ve boxed yourself in and the existing design has a way of stifling creativity.

Instead of asking “What should this page look like?”, a purchased theme will require you to ask “What is possible inside of our theme?”. A solid WordPress development agency doesn’t care about theme limitations… they just build whatver you want.

[blog_callout text=’Instead of asking “What should this page look like?”, a purchased theme will require you to ask “What is possible inside of our theme?”‘]

WordPress shouldn’t be limiting your website’s aesthetics. If it is, you’re doing something wrong. You’ll find very few limitations with a professional WordPress theme designer and developer.

Benefit #3: Scale – Custom Theme Development is More Scalable

scalable wordpress development

The benefit of scale is somewhat related to my point about speed above. Because purchased WordPress theme designs are made for the masses, the bloat also gets in your way when it comes to scaling your website.

For example, if there are a bunch of WordPress setting pages, shortcodes and custom fields that come with you premium theme – but you’re not using them – it just adds to the confusion and bloat. If your website already has custom or complex needs, you’re going to have to add more settings, shortcodes, and fields on top of all of this… and unnecessary code and features are the enemies of scalability.

[blog_callout text=”Unnecessary code and features are the enemies of scalability.”]

On the other hand, a custom WordPress theme will scale better because you’ll only have the features you need. Additionally, your WordPress developer can create custom interfaces for your content such as staff profiles, case studies, and services. If your WordPress website is easier to manage, it will inherently scale better.

Additional scalability considerations:

  • More Plugins: Purchased themes may require you to rely more on plugins with additional unneeded functionality
  • Fewer Features: Strangely enough, though premium themes are built to have a wide array of features, you may find that your premium theme is actually lacking the features you need.
  • Limited Support: More to come on this below, but if your purchased theme doesn’t have good support, this can be a huge impediment to scale.

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Benefit #4: Focus – Working with a WordPress Agency will keep You Focused

Here’s an important question for you: Do you really want the headache of creating and managing your own WordPress website?

When you decide to work with a WordPress development company, you get something back: your focus. Consider this list of undesirable headaches when trying to create your own WordPress site:

  • Layout frustration: Layouts can be hard to create. If creating your own WordPress website, you’ll either need to 1) painstakingly work through the frustrations or more likely, 2) settle for layouts and designs that you don’t feel proud of.
  • WordPress or PHP bugs: PHP and WordPress bugs are inevitable. Remeber that even for professional WordPress developers, it can take hours to chase down certain types of bugs or errors. Are you sure you want to put yourself through that? Isn’t there a better use for your time?
  • Your website goes down: What is the true cost of your website going down? Is it worth the risk to you? Having a professional WordPress theme development company on contract can help you avoid disasters and keep you on the straight and narrow.
  • Distraction: You don’t make progress on anything else, because unfortunately, your website has taken over your job and your life. What else could you be doing if you were focusing not on your website, but instead, on what you do well?

Bottom line: you have bigger fish to fry. A mentor once told me, focus on what you do best and pay people to do what you stink at.

[blog_callout text=”A mentor once told me, focus on what you do best and pay people to do what you stink at.”]

Benefit #5: Support – A WordPress Agency can Afford Better Support

Who is going to serve you better? A WordPress theme development company that you paid $50 to? Or a WordPress agency who is more of a partner in your business?

Who is going to respond quicker? A premium theme company that has thousands of clients? Or a top-rated WordPress design agency with 10-15 active projects?

Look, I’m not saying that all agencies are trustworthy. You should do your research, make phone calls and pick a good firm. But after you’ve found a winning firm, support will be better. There’s just no way for the premium theme companies to compete. How much incentive would you have in serving a client that paid you $50 two years ago?

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So there you have it. My top 5 benefits of going the custom WordPress theme route. Speed, Attraction, Scale, Focus & Support. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: “What are the hidden costs of trying to do our website in-house?”. If a premium theme is your only option, then great. But, if your company has a budget then a custom-tailored WordPress theme is worth serious consideration.