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The Benefits of Custom WordPress Themes and the Horrors of Templates


In my early days of studying website design and development, WordPress quickly became my choice to invest my time into studying it and learning to push the CMS to its limits. WordPress did start out as a blog publishing platform, but over the course if its lifetime since May 27, 2003, it has become the rich content management system large organizations have come to depend on.

Some of the newest websites powered by WordPress include The Walt Disney Company, WIRED Magazine, Microsoft News Center, Mercedes-Benz, Kaiser Family Foundation, and WNBA just to name a few. Needless to say, if you’re choosing to have your website powered by WordPress, you’re in great company.

Your Options

When utilizing WordPress, you’ll have access to thousands of pre-built themes made by varied skilled developers. Some are built quite well, while others fall short. If your website represents your business, you’ll need to select the best theme you can get your hands on, but how do you go about that? What’s the best way to customize it, and what about creating a new theme from scratch?

Current State of WordPress Theme Development

It seems many website design and development firms claiming to specialize in WordPress website development, have opted to purchase pre-built themes from third party developers and simply pass them off as their own to unsuspecting clients. This approach has a slew of issues, not to mention being disingenuous to clients.

BewilderedWhenever working with a pre-built theme, the deceptive advantage is the speed of its customization. Since most of the hard work of coding PHP and wrangling HTML, CSS, and JavaScript has already been sorted out, all is left to do is include some custom colors and upload a logo. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, it’s nothing but.

Businesses need the flexibility to change their website’s design at a moments notice. A diligent business will surely review their analytic reports and should intelligently make appropriate changes to their website for maximum performance with a return on their investment.

Themes developed by third party outlets make it exceedingly difficult to alter their default design. Theme developers usually design their themes to fit into a handful of scenarios and more often than not, your businesses’ needs weren’t on their forefront. Therefore any attempts to altering their handy-work will result in a crippled layout, poor usability, and ultimately serious compromises.

Custom WordPress Themes to the Rescue

WordPress comes with a slew of powerful functionality that when utilized professionally can be wielded to shape your online presence to its fullest potential. Not only does having a custom theme allow you to have exactly the website you want, but it can also be easily modified and react to changes in your business. This is especially critical when needing to conform to any unforeseen businesses’ needs. As your business grows, your website should too.

WinnerConstructing a custom theme also drastically reduces development time, because so much time can be sank into wrangling someone else’s code, usually not done with best practices in mind, whereby additional time is required to fix the pre-existing problems brought on by other developers. Starting from scratch has the benefit of including the code you need and excluding bloat you don’t.

This results in a lean, fast, and a strong start to having a website that will not only work well, but allow for quick updates and changes. Since the theme is custom built, its developer knows exactly where to go and make that change for their client. Without having the need to construct extra features that third party themes often do, to address various potential scenarios, navigating the code is a breeze. This results in happy developers, happy clients, and an online presence capable of expanding exponentially.

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