WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system because it’s cheap. There, we said it. For years, the kind of things you can get for very low cost or even free through WordPress were prohibitively expensive for most businesses.
Still, there are good reasons not to cut corners when it comes to any website, WordPress included. Specifically, WordPress themes.
A WordPress theme is the backbone of how your website will look and, quite frequently, function. The theme controls all of the styles and basic structure of the website. If your car was a website, the core WordPress software would be the engine, but the WordPress theme would be the chassis.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of commercially available, pre-made WordPress themes that run from free to a couple hundred dollars. They can be extremely convenient, not to mention cost effective, especially for small businesses that can’t afford to spend much up front on a website. But, there are drawbacks, which is why Site Mender customers get only custom built WordPress themes for their websites. Here are five good reasons to consider a customer theme over pre-made.
With any commercially purchased WordPress theme, there are limitations on what it can do. Pre-made themes are built to provide everything in a single out-of-the-box solution, but it often means giving you loads of features you don’t need. It also can leave off features you do need or force you to use plugins to cover its shortcomings. Custom themes offer the flexibility of providing only what you need now, but with no limitations on future expansion. Essentially, you can build to fit your needs and the custom theme will grow with you.
In recent month, large changes to the WordPress core and to the server software that operates it (called PHP) have resulted in numerous conflicts with pre-made WordPress themes. Some of our maintenance customers with pre-made themes cannot upgrade to newer, safer software. Their themes are simply not compatible. Conflicts like these are, unfortunately, quite common unless your pre-made theme is regularly updated by its developer. Custom WordPress themes rarely suffer such conflicts.
One of the great benefits of a custom WordPress theme is its ability to adapt to virtually any need. It essentially offers unlimited expansion for functionality going forward. It grows with your business and doesn’t leave you needing to make costly and time-consuming changes down the road.
Perhaps the most overlooked feature of the custom WordPress theme is its stability. Pre-made themes often require plugins to run properly. They are also dependent upon certain functions of WordPress. As those things invariably change over time, and if the vendor who provided the theme doesn’t keep it current, the website will fail. Often, pre-made themes are abandoned by their developers leaving those who purchased them to deal with problems with little to no support. Custom themes can be serviced by any quality WordPress developer and rarely have specific requirements to remain stable and functional.
This might surprise you. Custom WordPress themes are certainly more costly up front. However, to keep pre-made themes working properly requires annual subscription fees. This includes both subscription fees for the theme itself and for any plugins that are required to keep it running properly. That may very will amount to hundreds of dollars per year. And, if anything breaks, you will still have to seek out someone who can repair the issues and help you sort out the problems. Custom themes, on the other hand, require no annual subscription fees whatsoever. The up-front cost might be higher, but it is likely to even out in the long term.
Pre-made WordPress themes may be cheap when you purchase them, and seem easy to maintain, but they can present real issues for your business. Before making a decision, consult an expert by calling us at 888-424-6363 or contact us today!