WordPress started way back in 2003. In the meantime, it has grown from a simple blogging platform to a widely popular user-friendly website builder. People today use it as the best content management system. The templated modular design and WYSIWYG builder are behind the simplicity of WordPress. WYSIWYG stands for “what you see is what you get.
The format of web development uses the functions of a well-known editor system. It is similar to Microsoft Word and other popular applications used for word processing. These types of websites are frequently nowadays. Today, out of all the live websites, 34% are built on the WordPress platform. They have a revenue share of 60% in the CMS market.
The websites built using WordPress operates through one of the three theme types. A custom, a premium, or a free theme. Below we will be examining the difference between the two layouts that can be helpful when seen from a business perspective.
Using Plugins and modules to build
To customize a website according to your need, a user can navigate through different elements of a web page like header, footer, gallery, body, and many more. Further customization of a site is possible, in which you can choose from more than a hundred pre-made themes to make your website good and meet your needs.
By providing streamlined customization and an easy-to-use interface, WordPress has been able to surpass its rival Blogspot. It also helped WordPress grow from website builders used by amateur content creators to professional businesses, including small scale-large scale industry.
Plugins used in WordPress works in the same way as applications on a smartphone. With the help of plugins, you can develop websites accompanying WordPress plugins such as Yoast for SEO, WooCommerce for e-commerce, Akismet for spam blocking, and Jetpack for security and site analytics have improved further the functionality of WordPress.
WordPress has gained much popularity in being accessible to the layperson to build a website for a professional. It has made a robust backend that allows expert web developers to customize code, change functionality and add features to create unique and organized websites. Due to various functionalities available on the website, one can get confused while deciding the best approach. But you can learn the best ways to build a responsive website on the platform.
At Froglab, most people that approach us have heard about WordPress and its various advantages. But the question that arises when designing a website is whether they should purchase a premium theme or have a web design agency that can help them create a custom theme for their business.
We have listed some advantages and disadvantages of each approach below. Checking them can help you to see how these differences can impact the development and operate business sites. If you are having trouble deciding whether to go for a premium or custom with your website, we hope the given steps would help you understand each approach and make informed choices.
Word press themes: what are they and how to use them?
When you visit any website made on WordPress, you will always see a theme used to create it. From starter, free, custom, or premium theme developed by various design agencies for specific industry and business types. You can use themes as the base of your website design on WordPress. It determines the functionality and the user interface.
With the help of editable modules and other design aesthetics with color combinations, page layouts, and areas for the images, it is easy to achieve the desired functionality. Themes also come with the preselected groups of plugins and attributes, which are applied automatically while designing a website. These themes are further divided based on their appeal to e-commerce operations, photographers, media outlets, fashion brands, real estate, and many more.
These themes are easy to find and available in the admin interface, where you can browse them based on appearance, functionality, upload date, and many more. Many third-party market places provide word press themes that are more curated and provides a more detailed description of each theme’s capability.
Once you have decided upon a theme for your website, you can download and install it via the WordPress admin panel. The dashboard will look the same but, a layout will change the overall look of a website. You can control this with the help of WordPress by switching from default view to a new view of the site or changing your existing theme. Due to the installation of a new layout, existing plugins or content can break. So it is crucial to understand the way theme work and affects the content of your website.
Once the layout gets applied, you can change the texts present in the placeholder. The color palette and aesthetics are changeable depending upon the additional optimization options in it. You can also use other plugins on an active theme to customize the functionality and the way your website looks.
These are the layouts that have limited customization options. Free themes receive less support and updates for individual plugins leaving the website an easy target for hackers and spammers. These generally look cheaper or old in appearance, and it becomes difficult to implement the new web designs available in the market.
It is advisable to use a free theme when your business does not generate revenue, or you do not have to appear professional online or want to appear professional online. There are a small number of companies that fit in this category. You can use a premium version once you have planned out everything.
These themes are those that have been developed and updated by a web developer and listed for sale. Prices can vary significantly from a few hundred dollars to $1000+. The increased functionality of your site like a custom interface, media gallery, e-commerce will cost more. The more money you spend on a premium website, the more functionalities, and controls you would be getting in your hand.
High prices themes would look attractive and out of the box, but you would have to do some degree of tweaking to match it with your desired layout and functionality. Many themes offer ongoing support, so you should track reviews of various themes used by the developers.
Various drawbacks of using a premium theme
Let us look at some drawbacks of using a premium theme on WordPress.
Limited style and design
Your website would not be unique, and the design used would be limited to the WP theme that appeals to a larger audience rather than one made for your business. Due to the lack of customization to match your brand and default color combination, branding opportunities are limited.
As these layouts are self-managed, the business owner or someone on the team would have to manage and update the plugins and security.
Big codes and overlaps
The addition of various plugins to add functionality to your site can increase the amount of code on the backend. It makes your site slower. More code from plugins and layout menu options means there is a chance of conflict in the HTML and other errors that can prevent your website from operating. The addition of excess code from the WP plugins and themes can lead to slower loading of your site that can be annoying to your visitors. It is one of the crucial factors that determine your place in the google search algorithm.
Wait for updates from the third party
To keep your website running smoothly and function properly. Regularly update your premium layouts and maintain them with the help of developers. It means that to fix errors and keep your site working, you have to depend on a third party with whom you do not have direct contact.
Limited migrations and future changes
If you want to change your page builder or apply a custom theme, you cannot migrate your pages and content. You will have to start from the beginning. It is because of the use of pre-applied shortcuts in the theme, which does not work with migration.
Customized business needs or functionality may not get served
As explained above, themes get designed for a lot of users. So, unique business needs such as responsive maps, media portfolio, lead generation forms, CRM integration, visual effects, eCommerce, and customer or user panel may not get served by theme options or functionality. Integration of internal business systems and company databases is also a challenging task.
Custom WordPress themes and their various advantages
A custom WP layout gets designed from scratch for a specific website like healthcare, hospitality, and many more. In a custom theme, you can change the design to fit your needs. It is a concept created by a WordPress developer for a unique client.
The customization like choosing a color pallet helps match the company’s design, implementing its features, and creating features that serve the customer or user base. It is the type of design work that can range from thousands to ten thousand dollars. High traffic websites and e-commerce websites are generally cost more.
Let us look at some advantages of using a custom-made template. A web developer can unlock the extra features of WordPress by directly editing the source code.
Unique design according to your brand
If you are looking for a high-end design that closely matches your brand, a custom WP template can deliver a cohesive and better result. It is particularly true when it comes to developing a look for a website for the company working in graphics and content. Unique templates, subtle animations, custom designs, and heavily featured media are some examples that get applied to the custom WP theme.
With the help of custom modules and direct editing of the site code, WP developers can unlock its feature. The backend gets customized by integrating plugins with existing business systems and resources such as social media management, call center, point of sales, CMR’s, inventory management system, and many more.
Acustom-made site would have better performance and high speed because of its included functionality. It reduces the number of plugins used to run a website. A premium layout usually tries to appeal to a vast range of users and can run bloated with the features.
Maintenance by an expert
As the responsibility of maintaining a website is external, there is less need to worry about the layout and plugins updated. If you find any conflict in the update or a security vulnerability gets discovered, a team dedicated to solving the issue and edit the code comes to aid. A qualified team of WordPress web developers will also streamline the backend process of a website. It means no self-management of the site or updating of content is required. It involves less navigation to the control panel.
Design according to your business needs
A good developer will work on the website’s design that prioritizes the conversation rate for optimization. A conversion is unique for each business and organization. For a media outlet, it might be improving social media following. In the case of a consultant, it might mean submitting a request to their portal. For a single product e-commerce website, it might be signing up for a monthly subscription. With the help of a custom-made website, you can focus on improving conversion rates and user experience for a specific brand.
Digital marketing and search engine optimization(SEO)
With the proper implementation of SEO techniques and algorithms, a designer can improve how your target audience finds your site and improve conversion rate. It gets done by applying searched keywords to metadata, determining the website design, recommending content, building links, and listing all business data correctly.
Some drawbacks of a custom WordPress Theme
After looking at the advantages of a custom WP layout, let us look at some cons of using the same.
Time of development
Instead of relying on page builder tools to stack content in pre-designed layouts, custom sites depend upon content editing tools like advanced custom fields. Building an architecture of a website can be a hectic process. The process of coding involves quality assurance to ensure all the aspects of a website are working fine. It can lead to a series of feedback and testing of client sessions, which can take some time.
Having a team to customize your WP theme for your specific business or organization is expensive. If you are running low on cash, then it is recommended to stay away from WordPress design agencies. However, if your budget does allow custom development, it is advisable to select a designer that gives cost overages and other proposals with the cost breakdown.
Input from a client
Involvement and taking input from the client is essential for designing a custom website. It is to ensure the proper functioning of elements and the end product meets the client’s goal. The organization does not have time, people, and resources to be actively involved in the site development giving feedback on the information of architecture or playing a role in the design process. Then it may be good to wait until those are available.
While it’s a great idea to pick any theme of your choice from the library, you may find it challenging to customize the theme according to your preference with the help of a dedicated web development team. As the WP platform gives regular updates and patches, it is still accessible by hackers and scammers.
You can choose from the three types of layouts/templates offered by WordPress. Free, paid, and custom templates. You can start with the basic website design. The free templates are suitable for all businesses having a low online presence or fewer visitors.
In paid themes, you can choose from more customized layouts and customize them according to your need. If you want to invest in a more functional and dynamic website, then it is advised to choose custom-made templated made by a team of experienced web developers.