At the current time, at least 34 percent of websites use WordPress as their content management system (CMS). This is very significant and a good reason why many businesses use this CMS for their website(s).
There are many free and paid WordPress themes available. This is the beauty of the WordPress eco-system which makes small and mid-sized businesses question whether they should use a free theme for their site design, purchase a premium (paid) theme or go the custom development route?
In this article, we aim to look at what makes sense for companies from a strategic perspective.
Is a Premium WordPress Theme Better than a Free One?
A free theme is designed for people and organisations that want a fast, workable solution.
Click a few buttons, install WordPress, add a free theme, begin adding written copy and implement a navigation menu, and you’re already ready to launch!
But hold up there. Are there any negatives to free themes?
Yes, there are.
Many aren’t regularly updated, so when Automattic (the folks behind WordPress) release an update, it may create security holes or malfunctions within a free theme. Because the theme isn’t generating any money, the creator(s) usually will abandon it in favour of other projects sooner or later. Lastly, they also have fewer features and little to no ability to redesign them easily.
How About a Premium WordPress Theme?
Premium themes are far superior.
Indeed, some WordPress designers will start with the solid foundation of a premium theme that they know has a solid code base and then build a custom appearance over the top of that, rather than reinvent the wheel. This may or may not be faster compared to creating a theme from the ground up.
Strategically, using a paid theme looks far more professional and from a security standpoint, they tend to get updated regularly too. This is because there’s a team behind it and the operation is probably generating a profit. Therefore, it’s less likely to get abandoned. Also, when sticking with big-name premium themes, the likelihood of losing the developer and seeing the theme never get updated again is lowered even more.
Is a Custom WordPress Theme Worth It?
For businesses that have a clear strategy where they don’t want their web presence to look like anyone else’s, getting a completely new design via a custom WordPress theme makes the most sense.
A professional WordPress Agency London will have full-time developers, programmers and graphic designers on their team, so they are perfectly placed to craft a site design that matches the needs of the client perfectly. That’s easier to execute when building from the ground up and not starting from a premium theme and making customisations, but either works effectively.
For start-ups, a custom look is vital to establish the brand early. Finding a development team that understands their goals and can create the right solution is important. However, for tiny businesses, using a premium theme and redeveloping that or a premium theme with just a few tweaks here and there is going to be more economical.
There’s no one right answer about what theme to use with WordPress and whether it should be a custom development or not. It comes down to the business that requires the site and what their needs and budget permit them to do.