It is a common scenario that we get potential clients coming to us who have already received a quote for a custom WordPress site.
I then need to explain the difference between what Flux specialises in, which is WordPress Theme Template sites and a Custom WordPress site.
So it thought that I would try to shed a bit of light on what the difference is for everyone, just in case you are ever quoted for a custom site, you will understand what that actually means.
Before I get into the pros and cons of theme v custom, let’s talk about what the words WordPress, Theme, Template and Custom actually mean.
WordPress: Is an open source platform (a free platform that anyone can develop code to enhance it), that without any enhancements is pretty basic. It allows you to create, pages, blog posts, add images and was originally created for blogging. It is very simple and a kind of ‘shell’ for your website.
Theme: WordPress includes some free themes for you to use, and what the themes do is change the look and feel of the basic WordPress website and also add extra functionality and style. The free themes are not as advanced as some paid themes that are available, we recommend Salient and Bridge which are 2 amazing themes you can purchase which will make creating your website A LOT easier and they look amazing.
Template: When you choose a paid theme, sometimes they will offer a selection of ‘templates’ or demos that will allow you to import a pre-designed look and feel, including dummy content. This means that you don’t need to start from scratch with your design, which is perfect if you are not a design orientated person. You import the template and then you can just change the copy and images of a professionally designed website.
Custom: What I mean by a custom website is when someone customises the WordPress code specifically for YOU! They take a brief from you on exactly what you want in terms of look, feel and functionality and they build it from scratch for you. This is usually a BIG undertaking in terms of time and money, as they are customising every aspect of the site.
FYI: Technically a theme is also a custom WordPress website, however, the difference is that a team of people customised the code of WordPress and are selling the customised theme to many people, which is why themes are so economical
Okay, now that we have got the terminology out of the way, let’s look at the pros and cons of each option
Using a WordPress Theme
- WordPress is a free or open source platform which has thousands of developers creating themes, plugins, and functionality for it
- WordPress is updated all the time, sometimes several times a month, so they will always be on top of the latest advancements in websites and including new security measures
- So if you purchase a public theme or a plugin made by a developer it will also have updates to stay compatible with WordPress
- If you are not familiar with working with WordPress updates we recommend that you hire someone to do a monthly checkup of your site and to updated your themes and plugins
- The WordPress themes we love to use have drop and drag technology and is super simple to use, if you can edit word, you can edit these themes
- The theme developers offer a support system where you can ask questions, get help and even request new functionality which they may consider including in future theme updates
A Custom Created Website
- A custom site is built from scratch specifically for you. The 2 main reasons this would be done is that you have very complex functionality that needs to be customised, which will be VERY expensive. Or perhaps an outsourced web developer is offering you a ‘custom site’ as a cheaper alternative and in those circumstances, you can guarantee you would get what you pay for
- The positive side to a completely custom site is that you may choose to NOT to update WordPress or your site indefinitely because it has been customised for you, there is the option to leave it ‘as is’
- However, the negative side is that it will never evolve or take on new functionality. Remember when mobile responsiveness came out; if you had a custom built site you would have to go back to the developer and get them to start again to include the new industry standard functionality or security updates
- If you find anything wrong with your site or decide you want some extra functionality, you generally have to go back to your developer and pay them to make any future changes, which means you will be tied to that developer in the future.
- We also find that most clients who come to us with a custom built site struggle to update even the smallest thing like changing an image or some text as the whole thing is custom coded and makes no sense to the average person
I tried to be unbiased with this summary … but … I think you figured that we are PRO using WordPress paid themes that are proven and updated regularly to incorporate not only the latest functionality but the latest security as well.
If you are thinking about or in the process of creating a website and are not sure where to start, I have created a FREE Website Preparation Course specifically for YOU, which will take you through everything from choosing a theme, preparing images, using photoshop, where to get good stock images, branding, website copy and more. It will mean the difference between a SO SO and a SENSATIONAL website!