The most well known brand in the web development world.
But with good reason.
As of February 2017, over 27% of ALL sites on the internet were built with WordPress. For a business owner shopping a web company, they may think they have an echo in their ears, as they will hear the W word 9 out of 10 times. The truth is, that WordPress is enough for most websites, and that is why it is so popular. As businesses and individuals are deciding on a new website, once they choose WordPress as the platform, there is one other big question that they must answer.
Should I go with a purchased WordPress theme or a custom WordPress theme?
The Pro’s, the Cons, the Ramble-Ons
Off the shelf (OTS) WordPress themes
Sites like Theme Forest, Template Monster and the like sell 3rd party WordPress themes designed by individuals, small companies and larger agencies. These sites offer a diverse variety of styles and layouts.
Price – Most quality OTS WP themes can be purchased for $45 – $60. For this price you get 1 year of support and all the needed plugins.
Basic Set-up Time – OTS themes can generally get up and running in a short time by importing the demo data and then tweaking the pages from there.
Fine Tuning – I have yet to meet an OTS WordPress theme that is perfectly styled and ready for its close-up from the get go. These themes can take at least a little and as much as a ton of CSS tweaks and page layout tweaks to get close to the mark. So where you think you are saving time by purchasing a cookie-cutter theme, you are losing some of that time investment on the back end.
Upgrade, upgrade upgrade (or Upgrayedd if you prefer the Idiocracy spelling) – Many themes are getting updated and upgraded multiple times a year. Sometimes these are minor, and sometimes, well, they BREAK STUFF (Visual Composer, anyone?). This makes me sad.
Custom Built WordPress Themes
Fine Tuned on Launch – Since custom themes work off of approved static designs, these are clean and well-balanced upon launch. There is no CSS tweaking or page layout tweaking needed.
Basic Set-up Time – Surprisingly, the integration time is the same and sometimes LESS than an OTS theme. No, really.
Upgrades? Sheesh – Custom themes use little to no plugin dependencies, so any updates or additions made have a very low chance of causing any site issues or downtime.
Cost* – Custom themes can cost a little more initially, but what you are getting is a theme that has not been used on tons of other websites with minor differences. For example, one of the most popular OTS themes, AVEDA has been purchased over 341,234 times. Think about that.
Taking all things into consideration, after years of doing only OTS theme, we now do just as many custom themes, and the sites have gotten better for it.