A company’s website is the cornerstone of its online image and reputation. What your property looks like, and what functions it offers to the user is often the first impression your business makes on a new customer.
With WordPress, it’s easy to create a stunning and unique web solution that shows your style, represents your brand identity and provides a hassle-free user experience. However, there are different ways to achieve this.
Companies may opt for a completely custom solution or buy an out-of-the-box premium WordPress template, and there are a few other options in-between. The choice determines how customizable the website will be and how much it will cost.
Building a unique design for your website usually costs around $2,000 – $10,000 and, unless brand uniqueness is the main purpose of your project, you may want to consider other options.
Premium WordPress templates, on the other hand, are the easiest and least expensive solution that’s affordable to any business. However, they have significant customization limitations, and may also cause security risks that shouldn’t be neglected.
So how to make a choice?
In this article, we discuss the different ways to create a WordPress theme and template, and how to make a choice between them, depending on the type of project and the client’s budget.
Creating a Custom WordPress Design From Scratch
The cleanest option is building a custom design from scratch.
Creating a unique WordPress theme starts with a designer providing the mockup of how your website will look, and the static images. Then a frontend developer converts them to a static template, and a backend developer integrates them to a WordPress theme and adds the required website functionality. This process is usually time-consuming and often the most expensive option you can choose when looking for a premium WordPress template.
If you have very specific design requirements or want to ensure that the front end is under your complete control, this would be the best option for your company.
Creating a WordPress Design from Starter Theme
Another viable alternative to a ready-made premium WordPress template is creating a custom design based on a starter theme.
There are WordPress themes such as Underscores that provide part of the features that you would need for your design. The main website structure is included, with no styling whatsoever.
If you want a fairly standard website structure and are looking for a compliant and well-maintained code, that’s the way to go. You will still need a designer, but part of the frontend development process will be saved by the started theme.
This way you will reduce the development costs, but will still be able to meet the clients’ unique requirements.
Creating a WordPress Theme from a Framework
WordPress theme frameworks such as Hybrid Core or Genesis include a large set of features and some theme backbone that you could use for your website. Some projects are compliant with the structure and features provided by said frameworks, and could leverage the existing codebase by saving hours for design and development.
Additionally, the most popular frameworks come with starter themes or premium WordPress themes that you could build on, and customize. Furthermore, with this approach you are able to easily switch designs without having to invest thousands of dollars for a new theme and migrating the content throughout designs.
However, not all themes provide shortcodes, widgets or post types for your dynamic data and that should be accounted for when planning the design.
All in all, this is a viable mid-range option for creating a WordPress theme that may have its limitations but can be both customizable and affordable.
Customizing a Premium WordPress Theme
A popular solution is purchasing a premium WordPress theme from a theme marketplace and customizing it slightly. The good news is that most themes cost $50 – $150 and provide administrative panels for theme customization.
However, the majority of the theme marketplaces pay no attention to the code quality and provide no guarantees. This means several things:
- Your theme may break your website if it’s incompatible with some plugins or a coming update of WordPress
- The premium theme could pose a high-security risk if it incorporates the wrong libraries.
- The theme could be heavy and overloaded with options, which would affect the user experience
The most important note is that customizing an existing theme has a lot of limitations and only minor changes are allowed., Bending a premium WordPress theme outside of its capabilities would lead to numerous regressions, and it may as well cost more than building a completely custom solution from scratch.
That’s why, before opting for the least expensive option, you should consider what customizations you’d like to make, and discuss with your web development agency how possible they are. By doing this, you can estimate if it’s really cost-effective or there’s a better alternative to meet your needs.
When it comes to building a website, there are always many factors to take into account. However, the customer’s budget and their specific business requirements should dictate how to approach the project.
While custom WordPress development is the best option for companies that can afford it, it may be too expensive for small businesses and startups. At the same time, choosing an out-of-the-box solution may seem like an affordable solution, but how reasonable a choice it is, depends largely on the quality of the product.
Every website project has its specifics and requires a unique approach. That’s why we at DevriX believe it’s important to understand the customer’s needs and vision, and strive to provide website solutions that will both meet their design and style requirements and will stay within budget.