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Custom WordPress Themes vs Pre-Built, Which Is Right For Your Business?

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Times, they are a-changin’. After a whirlwind year, it seems like we’re finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Businesses are getting back to business, and here at PixelPeople we’re staying busy with requests for one of our core offerings: custom WordPress themes.

If your business has changed in the past year (whose hasn’t?!), it might be time for a website refresh. Whether you’ve changed the way you operate, added new products or services, or completely pivoted to a new niche to keep up with the changing times, our WordPress web development services are tailored to meet your needs and budget.

If you’re considering a website overhaul, you’ll need to choose between using a pre-built theme, or building a custom theme. Here’s the difference and some pros and cons of each.


Pre-Built WordPress Themes

Hands-down, the number one reason for choosing a pre-built WordPress theme is to save time and money. These themes are ready to use out-of-the-box, and come with loads of features. They’re also very easy to add onto in the future as your business grows and changes.

Premium pre-built WordPress themes, like Divi and Elementor feature a visual editor that allow you to control virtually every aspect of a web page, and to see your changes before you publish them. They provide hundreds of layout options and built-in modules for functionality. Their flexibility allows you to create a custom feel website without actually building a custom site from scratch.

But keep in mind, while pre-built themes work well for many businesses, there are definitely some drawbacks to consider:

  • Not truly unique. Hundreds of other websites may be using the same theme as you.
  • Difficult to customize. While pre-built themes do offer many options for customization, all of that flexibility comes with a learning curve. You’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and put on your developer hat to achieve true customization. And every visual builder works a bit differently.
  • Code bloat. Pre-built themes come loaded with features–many of which you may never use. Unfortunately, many of the bells and whistles are loaded in the background, whether you’re using them or not. They can bog down your site and make it load more slowly.
  • Content no longer portable. Using the classic WordPress editor or a custom-built theme that uses custom fields allows you to keep your content separate from the layout, so that you can change themes in the future without re-entering and re-formatting all of your content. But with visual editors, your content is embedded in the layout–once you choose a theme with a visual editor, you’re likely stuck with it until your next total rebuild.


Custom WordPress Themes

As the name implies, a custom theme allows you to create a truly one-of-a-kind website that perfectly fits your business’s needs and branding.

Compared to a pre-built theme, a custom theme is:

  • Truly unique. There will be no other website exactly like yours, and its unique design allows you to stand out from the competition.
  • Truly intuitive. A custom site is built around your content, making it more intuitive for customers to find information, whereas a pre-built theme may force you to fit your content to the layout.
  • Truly optimized. A custom built theme contains the exact features and functionality you need. There is nothing extra slowing your site down.
  • Truly simple. Custom themes can be built with a minimal learning curve. Managing a custom site can be as simple as copying/pasting plain text and selecting images. No formatting or layout knowledge needed.
  • Truly supported. With pre-built themes, you’re just one of hundreds or thousands of customers looking to have their needs met with the same theme. Need support? Get in line… But when you work with a developer on a custom site, you enjoy a one-to-one relationship with someone who understands your vision, has the expertise and skills to bring it to life, and will continue to support your site as your business changes.

As you can probably guess, the downside to a custom WordPress theme is cost and time. It’s naturally going to be more expensive and take longer to build a custom theme.

For businesses that are just starting out, a pre-built theme like Divi might be the best way to go. But clients with specific branding goals or functional needs, and clients with more heavily trafficked sites tend to go the custom route to build a more unique and robust website that stands out from the crowd. It really boils down to your needs, how you will use your website, and your budget when deciding which way to go.


With PixelPeople, You Can Have It Your Way!

We understand that no two businesses are alike. That’s why in your consultation we take the time to really get to know your business and understand how you plan to use your website. We will offer different options and pricing for a custom versus pre-built theme, and help you make the right choice for your business.

Give us a call at (877) 860-3903 or contact us online to learn more about our website design and development services. We’d love to hear from you!

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