Advantages of a Custom Built WordPress Theme
“A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software.”
Time for some brutal honesty: There really is no 100% custom theme for WordPress. A majority of the code is pre-written by a developer and kept in a library of routines, sometimes referred to as a “starter theme”. These routines are called by the various elements of the theme. The only thing custom is the layout and placement of the elements.
Complete Control: Your site is being developed on a “Blank Canvas”. You decide what functionality to add to your site, be it a slider, carousel, hero image, and layouts. Be it a Corporate, Business, Agency, Construction, Travel, Portfolio, Restaurant, Online Store, Showcase, or even a Blog, the theme is customized to your business and your target audience.
Efficiency: You decide what features you want in the theme. Pre-made themes usually come with features and code that you may never use. You may not have the option to not use that feature so the code stays in the template. This code may call unnecessary resources when pages load, causing the site to load slower than it should. A custom theme gives you efficient code.
Originality: A unique design to represent your business online. From the very start, you have the advantage of setting your business apart from your competitors.
Straightforward: You do not have to change your way of doing business, the template is designed to your way of doing business. Custom themes use custom post types and custom fields. The admin dashboard created specifically for managing your site. This means updating content is more intuitive.
The False Cons:
Extremely Expensive: Everything is developed from scratch, so it is more time consuming causing it to be more expensive. NOT TRUE with PW.A. We use a starter theme (see brutal honesty note) that has a majority of the elements and features that you want on your website. The features and elements can be turned off/on or quickly modified for your site. So the only time consumption is the visual layout changes.
Changes later to the template are expensive: Since it is all custom code, even little changes to the website require the developer’s time, which means more expensive. NOT TRUE with PW.A. Our templates are affordable by design. You can make changes to the layout, color, animations, features, and much more from the WordPress admin dashboard without needing us.
Problems Updating: Custom themes and pre-made themes share this feature but custom sites are harder to update and fix. NOT TRUE with PW.A. All of the custom sites we build include a staging area where updates are applied first. This way any potential problems are addressed in staging instead of the live site itself. P.W.A does updates to custom themes for free up to and including first major version changes. This means that if you have version 2.x of the theme library, we will apply all updates to the staging area and move to the live site, up to and including version 3.0. The average life of a website theme is approximately 30 months. One major version will usually cover that period.
The Real Con:
Requires More Time: This is a valid argument. But should be sated as requires open communications between the developer and the site owner. As long as the channels of communication are kept open, the more time required is minimized. At PW.A we set up a staging area for the client’s approval of predetermined phases. We keep our communication channels open and ask our clients to do the same.