WordPress is the biggest content management platform right now. Today, one-third of all World Wide Web addresses are built using WP themes and plugins. WordPress has managed to stand out among other CMS because it offers free themes and plugins. They come in handy for all the businesses bootstrapping their online and digital fronts. Besides free plugins and themes, you can also invest in premium options with more features.
However, all readymade WP themes come with one “built-in” issue.
Pre-Built WP Themes Are Not Exclusive
The problem with pre-built WP themes is that you can’t use them in an exclusive capacity. The enormous number of WP websites outnumbers them. Let’s do some quick math to understand how ready-made WP themes can’t be exclusive.
As of today, WordPress hosts around 455 million websites. In comparison, the number of free and premium WP themes is not more than a few thousand. One report suggests that there are 31010 total WordPress themes. This means around 14,500 websites are using a single WP theme. It is a rough estimation and doesn’t give the exact figure. But this gross disproportion suggests that tons of websites use the same WordPress theme, whether it is free or premium.
On the other hand, a customized WordPress theme is used by a single website that distinguishes it from the crowd. Apart from achieving that individuality, there are many reasons why you need to get a customized WP theme for your business website.
This post will walk you through all the functional and operational reasons why a customized WP theme will suit your business more than a pre-built option.
1. You Fulfill Your Exact Design Requirements
Website design plays an integral role in how visitors make out of your business. If your WP website doesn’t produce a good customer experience, you will struggle to increase dwell time and cut down your website’s bounce-off rate. WP themes play an integral role in making the user interface (UI) of your website.
Even though there are a variety of WP themes, you may not be able to fulfill your exact design and UX (user experience) requirements from pre-built options. For all your unique design requirements, customize WP themes will get the job done. When you customize a theme for your website, you tweak and adjust every element.
You can customize your WordPress theme for optimum design, and UX changes in many ways.
- Custom placements of the social sharing options
- Custom color combinations
- Unique widget formations
- Configure the page for retina-ready display
Many premium pre-built WP themes also come with many customization features. However, they still can’t match the personalization superiority of a custom-built WP theme.
2. You Achieve Consistency and Uniformity for a Hybrid Website
Have you ever noticed that the different pages of the same website look dissimilar? For instance, you open the blog section of a website, and it appears different than the landing and service pages. This usually happens when a website is a mix of CSS/HTML scripts and WordPress pages, e.g., when you fit in a pre-built WordPress theme with the existing web pages. If your business boasts such a hybrid website, you may need to develop a customized WP theme to avoid this inconsistency.
The right approach here is to hire an expert that can take care of CSS markups, HTML structures, PHP codes, and WP theme customization. Assign this work to a single developer or team. A single entity working on CSS/HTML scripts and a custom WP theme can maintain uniformity across the website.
3. A Better Option than Poorly Customized Free WP Themes
Many people try to get a “customized” theme by hacking into the code and script of existing free WP themes. Their idea is to add some custom features to the theme without disturbing its core structure with less hassle and quicker turnaround. However, this approach often proves to be counterproductive.
Breaking into the script of an existing theme can become an exhaustive and time-consuming process and may not offer the desired results. In contrast, when you work on a new custom WP theme from scratch, it remains easy and ends up giving you propriety content for your website.
4. WP Custom Themes Boast Better Security
All the pre-built WP themes are accessible to a wider audience that may also include cybercriminals. They can dissect their codes and exploit them for their vulnerabilities. Using all those exposed and exploited themes can also put the security of your website in jeopardy. Plus, pre-built themes are more likely to encounter more bugs.
In contrast, a customized WP theme boasts better website security. To begin with, it is not available at WordPress store, online forums, and websites. Moreover, a regular custom-made theme is developed with a limited set of features and shorter code. This minimalistic back-end is less vulnerable to security issues and bugs.
Even if you encounter a security loophole or bug in your custom WP theme, you don’t have to wait for a third-party vendor to develop and introduce the security patch. You can take care of it on your own as soon as you identify the issue.
5. Custom WP Theme Can Cut Down Your Dependence on Plugins
Plugins improve the functionality of a WordPress theme. However, they can also slow it down. When you use a pre-built theme with a definite set of features, you don’t have any other option but to use the plugins needed to run your business’s digital front.
Custom WordPress themes also work better because they can cut down your dependence on third-party plugins. If you are working with a seasoned WP theme developer, you can ask them to build many plugins’ functionality into your custom-made theme. Developers can incorporate the plugin features used for content and layout customization.
When you don’t have to inject plugin codes at run time, it helps keep the theme lighter and agile. Moreover, when you use a lesser number of third-party plugins, you also limit your website’s exposure to potential bugs and other issues.
6. Customized WP Themes Also Help with SEO
If you are operating in a competitive digital landscape, you need to ace your website’s SEO to stay ahead of your competitors. There are many ways to improve your WP site’s Google optimization, and a custom-built theme can play a crucial role in that.
There are multiple SEO factors that you can take into account when designing the theme. This way, you will be able to support your website with an SEO-friendly theme. Having these features will eventually help your rank better than your competitors on the relevant SERPs.
The following are some features that you can incorporate in your customized WP theme to make it SEO-friendly.
- Have a well-thought-out SEO-compliant HTML markup where you can use h1, h2 headings, and other Meta tags in the right context and position. Keep in mind that the HTML markup is at the core of what search engine crawls on your site. If a WP theme has those markups messed up, it will make it harder for crawlers to scan through the website, consequently affecting its ranking.
- You can also ensure that your custom-built WP theme remains SEO-friendly by keeping it responsive. More than half of users now use their mobile devices to surf the internet. Therefore, search engine algorithms now also factor in the responsiveness of websites while ranking them. Build a WP theme that uses the same CSS code for all screen widths to guarantee a good, responsive design.
- When you go with a customized WP theme, you can keep it no-frill. A simplistic theme with streamlined coding improves the website’s loading speed. Apart from users, search algorithms like a webpage with a quick loading speed and rank them higher than those slow to load.
In short, a theme boasting a good design and a more structured layout doesn’t just improve the UX but also the optimization score of the website.
7. You Get Excellent Customer Support for Maintenance and Management
If you are using a third-party WordPress theme, you can’t expect exclusive and special treatment by its developer. As mentioned earlier, a pre-built theme is likely to be used by thousands of websites where developers can’t attend to every customer query. They often release maintenance and security updates in the light of their testing and aggregate user feedback.
In contrast, when you work with a developer for a custom WP theme, you can ask for maintenance and management updates that come at a quick turnaround. If you come across any issue in your custom-built theme, you can directly discuss it with the developer and have it sorted without experiencing any downtime.
Such privilege is not available when you work even with a premium pre-built WP theme. If you encounter any issue, you will have to write an email to the firm’s customer desk that developed the theme or rely on online forums to find the solution.
8. A Customized Theme Is Suitable for Scalability
Gone are the days when a website would continue to show the same layout and UI for years. Today, you will have to continuously update and modify your website as your business grows and expands. Suppose you have just started in the digital domain, and the prospects of expansion are bright for your business. In that case, you need to put together a website that can match your operational scalability.
In the scalability context, a customized WP theme fares better than the rest. When you develop a theme with its unique blueprint, you can further customize it for more features and layout requirements without needing too much back-end grinding. With pre-built options, you may have to change a theme altogether and replace it with a brand new theme to meet the scalability requirement.
Things to Watch Out for Before Using a Custom-Built WP Theme
Before wrapping up the article, we would like to discuss some of the potential downsides of a custom-built WP theme you need to be aware of. The first thing you need to know that creating a custom WordPress theme means working from scratch with no existing structure and frame to build on. In other words, building a custom website entails a lot of trials and errors and therefore takes more time to get materialized in its final form.
If you are treading the tight deadline with your website launch, going with a custom-built theme might not be the best option. It is better to work with a full-fledged pre-built WordPress theme than a half-boiled custom option finalized in a hurry.
The other factor you need to consider is the upfront cost of having a custom WP theme. The market is brimming with pre-built premium WP theme options. This cutthroat environment has decreased the overall prices. Therefore, you may find the expenses of having a custom-built theme higher than the price tag of a suitable pre-built option.
But it is essential to mention here that the high price of a custom-built WP theme is justified in the long run. Apart from giving your website a unique identity, it may also save you from theme revamp and management and plugin development costs.
If your website development timeline is well-managed and you are not facing any budget constraints either, you should go with a custom-built WordPress theme for your business. A well-designed and well-structured custom WP theme will not only make your website stand out among others. It will also help you with scalability, search engine optimization, better user experience, and improved website security.
However, if you are tight on budget and don’t much time on your hand, you should opt for any well-thought-out pre-built WP theme.