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Advantages and Disadvantages of Custom WordPress Themes

Bob Baker

6 min read

Once your WordPress website has a design that is ready to be fleshed out, one of the first things that you need to decide is how to achieve that design’s look and feel. In the WordPress world, themes are the foundation on which your website is built. There are three main options when it comes to using themes:

Using a Prebuilt Theme

Prebuilt themes are perfect for those just starting a business or organization with little to no budget. Some prebuilt themes are free, or at a relatively low price and ready for immediate use. There are many beautiful themes that are ready for you; just add your colors, images, and content.

While this may be a great starting point for a WordPress website, these templates are often limited by lack of features, lack of flexibility, and are not likely to achieve your design that you’ve worked so hard on or paid a designer for.

And yes, there are possibly hundreds, or even thousands of other websites using the same theme, so your website could be lost in the crowd. But you’re stuck with what’s available if you lack web development experience. Additional features or design changes are not easily available.

If you run into problems with the theme, you’ll need to rely on the developers of the theme for updates, and that may be hard to come by. Your other options are to hire a developer to fix the theme, which can become costly, or invest in a maintenance plan.

Using Theme Builders

Theme builders such as Divi, Elementor & WP Bakery are great tools for building your website. They often come with easily customizable templates and tons of great features, like drag & drop elements, image galleries, form builders, and much more. However, if you’re not going to use these features, you may have bitten off more than your website can chew.

There’s a lot of extra code in there that can slow down your website, making the admin interface of your page editor very confusing, with the extra features that you don’t need.

Using Custom Themes

The beauty of custom themes is that you get the exact pixel-for-pixel design that you desire, the features that you need, and, from Curious Minds, you get the support that you need. A custom theme made specifically for you means that you have no limitations. If you can dream it, we can build it.

This means if you don’t want an image gallery, you won’t have one. If you need a pricing page, you’ll get it, and it will be built to your specifications, not a cookie-cutter template.

A slow website, especially in WordPress, can often be attributed to using a theme builder that has way too many features. Causes can also include a prebuilt theme lacking features, so you’ll need to resort to several plugins to achieve your needs.

With a correctly developed custom theme, you don’t get the bloat of too much code from too many features or plugins. Since it’s specific to your website, you get just what you need, thus speedy page loading. Zoom, zoom.

Pinpointing Issues

With any WordPress theme, you’re bound to eventually run into a problem. Problems may include a conflict in code amongst plugins, a plugin that is no longer in development, a new WordPress update that doesn’t agree with some of your features, or a design that doesn’t jive with certain browsers. Each theme has its own individual challenges.

Prebuilt Themes

Good luck getting support. A prebuilt theme can be one-off themes released by individuals, meaning once it’s released, that’s it. They’re off in the wild.

Theme Builders

A theme builder that has good support might take care of these issues quickly. Theme builders tend to have a team of developers who work only on that particular plugin or application. Or they have an online community to assist with support.

Custom Themes

Custom themes often have regular support. If you decide to have a custom theme created, unless you’re a developer, you want to be sure that you have that support in case you run into any problems.

This is where a maintenance plan comes into play. While yes, it is another expense, it is one that pays off in the short term, and long term. An experienced developer can handle those problems swiftly and efficiently.

Maintaining Themes

While custom-designed themes can be an excellent option for those who need a highly tailored website that delivers a great user experience, they do come with some significant pros and cons. On the one hand, custom themes offer more design options and flexibility, allowing you to create a website that truly fits your needs. Additionally, a custom-designed theme can help ensure that your website has a fast load time, which is critical for providing a positive user experience.

On the other hand, custom themes are typically more expensive and time-consuming to develop than pre-built themes. The cost and development time required will depend on the specific features and functionality that you require for your website. It's important to keep in mind that custom themes require ongoing support and updates, which may not be provided unless you have a developer on hand to assist with any issues.

Furthermore, custom themes may not always be compatible with the latest version of WordPress, which can cause issues with your website's performance and functionality. Additionally, a custom theme may not be the best choice for smaller businesses or organizations with limited budgets, as the cost may not be justified by the potential benefits.

Ultimately, the choice between pre-built and custom themes depends on your specific needs and budget. If you require a highly tailored website with specific features and functionality, a custom theme may be the best option. However, if you have a limited budget and are looking for a simpler solution, a pre-built theme or theme builder may be a better fit.

At Curious Minds, we offer custom WordPress theme development services that can help you achieve your website goals, regardless of which option you choose. We understand that every business has different needs, and we are committed to providing tailored solutions that meet those needs. So if you're ready to take your website to the next level, don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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