Themes Versus Custom Websites

A custom website, designed and constructed from scratch, can be the perfect way to create a unique image and brand for your business, with precisely the features you want to offer site visitors. Unfortunately custom websites are expensive, often costing tens of thousands of dollars or more.

To reduce costs, many companies purchase commercial themes, which can be uploaded to your content management system to create an attractive, feature-rich website. Most themes allow a degree of customization, allowing some control over the website appearance.

However, there are potential problems when using commercial themes.

Themes are often designed to offer as many options and features as possible, thus increasing sales. But at the same time, to keep costs down, the companies that build themes may skimp on development and testing, resulting in features that simply don’t work, or are incompatible with other third-party plugins.

Also, in order to support a lot of features and design options, the theme may be made up of many large files, resulting in a site that is very slow to load. I’ve worked with commercial themes that downloaded over 100 files!

If you decide to use a commercial theme, choose one that has been downloaded many times (this information is generally shown on the developer’s website), and has good ratings. Plan on downloading and trying the theme before making a commitment. If you plan on using other plugins on your site, test them with the theme before investing time in completing the entire site.

Unless you have a lot of experience building websites, you may need to hire a professional web designer even if you use a commercial theme, and the cost to install, test, and configure the theme will likely costs more than the theme itself.

You may also choose to take a hybrid approach. Some web design shops use themes as a starting point, and then create a child theme with extensive customization to meet your specific needs.

Note that this website is built using a lightweight, responsive commercial theme from Mojo Marketplace.