Custom themes for WordPress.

It’s not always clear why you’d want to have a custom theme developed rather than a ready-made WordPress theme. This article contains three of the main reasons why you should fork out for custom coding rather than buying a cheaper theme.

It’s Better Quality

There’s a lot of great themes out there. There’s also a lot of bad ones too. A bad theme can be stuffed with lots of unnecessary JavaScript and CSS, or won’t work properly on mobile or certain browsers. A bad theme can also be badly-maintained meaning security issues down the road. Not even far down the road, some of our clients have problems updating ready-made themes after as little as two months after publishing.

It’s Faster

Ready-made themes are created to appeal to the largest possible audience. You’ll often see theme demos with ‘Shop Demo’, ‘Blog Demo’ etc. This is to show off how flexible the theme is. The problem is that when you have made your site, chances are, you’ve only used half of options available which means your page is loaded down with scripts that you’re not using.

Many themes use page-builder plugins to make it easy to build different content types (sidebars and columns etc). Page builders are notorious for breaking down after updates and also include a lot of unnecessary code which bogs down the site.

Lifespan

A custom-coded theme is more expensive in the short run than a ready-made theme, however their lifespan is significantly shorter. Ready-made themes often rely on third party libraries and the themes need constant updating to stay secure and most themes have an update lifespan of about 6 months, after which they break. A custom theme will last years.

In Conclusion

Of course there are some really high quality themes and developers out there who keep their themes updated for years and focus on speed. StudioPress, and their Genesis Framework and themes all tend to focus on speed and content. The problem is that out of the box, there’s not that many customisation options and all the sites using the themes tend to look the same.

ThemeForest is a mish-mash of different quality types and just because a theme has a lot of sales/comments or a five star rating, doesn’t necessarily mean that the code is solid, usually it’s an indicator of how good the theme looks and how many options there are to customise it etc.

I hope this has given you something to think about for when you’re next setting up a site. A custom theme doesn’t have to cost the earth and when you’ve found a good graphic designer and have a design you’re happy with, then most of the work is already done. Then you need someone like us to code it.

Even if you have a ready-made theme now, the good news is that WordPress is infinitely changeable so you can always chop and change whenever you’d like 🙂 We’d recommend moving your site to a host that includes maintenance such as our service WP Ensure (shameless plug 😉 in order to keep your site in tip-top shape. Contact us if you have any questions and we’ll be glad to help you!

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