Benefits of Custom WordPress Websites Over Free or Premium Themes
In a recent phone conversation with a potential client it came to light that most people who are not WordPress designers or developers have very little understanding of the full power of the open source software, much less any concept of how this power can be harnessed to accomplish very specific goals. Even the most experienced WordPress blogger does not typically delve into the inner workings of the code or attempt much more customization than changing a background color or header image. Through the course of this conversation I pointed out some things that I could do for this person’s website using WordPress to provide the best possible approaches, and at every juncture she was surprised and intrigued as I revealed concepts and solutions that she had never considered.
Of course, how could she possibly consider something she had no idea existed?
Many people and businesses are completely satisfied with purchasing a $30-$100 premium WordPress theme from one of several very reputable and wonderful resources. Others will go a step further and wade through the scores of roundups of free themes to find the one that best suits their needs. In fact, that’s what I did several years ago when I threw this blog together – I just didn’t have the time to build my own theme at that point. Someday I will find the time to create the theme I want, but for now this is serving the purpose. But I digress…
Anyone who has spent some time using WordPress usually knows their options in the free and premium theme markets. On occasion I have someone ask me if I can help customize a theme they found, or if I can recommend one to use. Other times in conversations with clients such as the one above I take the time to explain the numerous options and solutions that I can provide in WordPress should they decide to use my services. Seldom do most understand the significant benefits of having a professional WordPress designer and developer create a one-of-a-kind theme that is built from the ground up with the sole intention of fulfilling the client’s website needs to the fullest extent.
So in this post I will share some of the benefits I offer my clients when I build them a WordPress website. It’s not just a theme, but an entire site concept that is built, and the difference for the end user can be night and day from taking the do-it-yourself route.
Branding in the Details
I always start with the branding of the person or organization as the foundation of the site’s design. The logo and brand identity is almost always the heart of the design, from color palettes being derived and inspired, to the overall visual style and feel. The logo and identity style guide is included everywhere it should be on the front end and on the administrative backend, from the login screen to the dashboard, to the options screens – all the way down to the favicon (that tiny little 16×16 image you see in the address bar and on the tab of your browser window.) The custom theme is branded with the client’s brand, not the theme designer’s. Nowhere on the website will you see “This site or theme designed by bkmacdaddy designs”, and the only place you’ll see it on the backend is in the Themes menu, where it is customary to display the author of each theme.
Your custom website should put forth your brand, not the brand of the one who built it. So every element that can be utilized to promote your brand is used solely for that purpose.
Almost every WordPress theme built these days has some type of options page. In it the administrator can usually choose their own header image, maybe a choice of color schemes, and a variety of other tweaks that create the illusion of personalizing the theme.
I use the word ‘illusion’ because the reality is that no matter how many choices are offered, they are almost always part of a list of options that are most commonly desired by WordPress users. This is important for a theme author to include because the wider use and broader audience a particular theme can garner the more income the author makes from it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I salute the many brilliant theme authors who generate a significant aincome creating themes that thousands of people purchase.
But what if you don’t need all those options? Or what if your particular use calls for something less common?
Every single custom site I create is streamlined to the usage and needs of its owner. There are no options that they will never use, and there are unique options that ONLY they will ever use. There are not plugins for some of the things I have created for my clients because there is not enough widespread demand to motivate its creation. Yet for their particular need they are provided with a unique solution. This is, in my opinion, a huge benefit of a custom theme. It works exactly the way you want it to. Nothing more, nothing less.
No One Else Has It
If I had a dollar for every time someone came to me complaining that they had bought a theme that suddenly it appears everyone else is using, I could retire.
You know how it works. It’s the same as buying a new car. You search and research and find that seemingly unique color and style and set of options in a vehicle that suits you and you alone. No one else could possibly desire or own the same. Of course, as soon as you drive it off the lot you start seeing the exact same car EVERYWHERE!
If you’ve spent any significant amount of time surfing the blogosphere, you undoubtedly have come across sites sharing the same theme. It’s not uncommon at all, and I have helped clients change and tweak that theme they bought to do what we could to remove as much similarity as possible to those ‘other’ sites.
I’m sure many could care less, but for those who are looking to make a unique statement for their business, brand or online persona, this could be devastating. Yet with a custom WordPress website, you can rest assured that absolutely NO ONE will have the same site as you. Period. I don’t resell themes, nor could I, for that matter, because they are designed so purposely for their specific use that no one else would want them.
Personal Service and Support
I’ve interacted with some extremely wonderful and helpful theme designers and developers, so I don’t want to imply that theme authors who sell by the thousands don’t support their products. What a job that must be for them – I admire anyone who can manage that! I can’t imagine interacting with hundreds of customers a day and the various questions they may have.
On the other hand, my clients receive personal customer service from the first day we meet throughout their use of my services. This includes long after their site has been turned over to them and their bill has been paid. I believe in standing behind my work, and I never hesitate to help my clients whenever they have a question.
Purchasing a custom WordPress website from me involves constant communication to ensure that I grasp your vision, provide you with ideas and solutions that will best serve your purposes, and deliver the best possible website that will exceed your original expectations. It’s a personal process, and most of the time I actually become friends with my clients on some level, because of how closely we work together. Phone calls, emails, Skype and whatever else it takes along the way keep us connected in ways that no support form at a theme marketplace ever will.
You Get What You Pay For
I realize not everyone can afford to pay for a custom WordPress website, which is why theme marketplaces are so successful. Free and premium WordPress themes are a fantastic way to go if you are confined by lower budgets, and many of them will give your website a professional, polished look.
Just remember the old adage: “You get what you pay for”.
By hiring a professional WordPress designer and developer to create your custom website, you are entering into another sphere of website wonder, completely separate and set apart from that of the free and premium theme marketplaces. Personal and knowledgeable service, unique designs, customized options to suit your specific needs, and consistent, quality branding of your own identity throughout your website are just some of the benefits.
Ultimately, you get peace of mind, because you don’t have to wonder if you’ve found the best theme or plugin, you don’t have to spend hours researching and looking for solutions, and you know your website is in the hands of a knowledgeable and experienced professional who will guide you along the path to the website that will fulfill your needs and hopefully exceed your expectations.
Which Would You Choose?
My apologies if this post has sounded like an advertisement for bkmacdaddy designs’ custom WordPress website services. While it is definitely my desire to work with those who are looking for WordPress websites that are unique creations, the point of this writing is to help educate anyone who may be wondering why or if they should invest in such a thing. It is my hope that this will assist them in their decision making process. There are a number of of excellent WordPress designers and developers out there who will provide similar solutions, and I encourage you to shop around and talk with any of them to determine the best fit for your project. You are also more than welcome to take a look through my own portfolio and read some of the client testimonials I have received, should you desire to find out more about what I can do for you. And if you have any questions at all about this topic or my services, please feel free to ask them in the comments below – I will do my best to help however I can.
So now the question is this: which would you choose? Free and premium themes, or a custom WordPress website? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.