To Theme or not to Theme

If you’re a veteran of the website ownership world, or if you’ve been doing a little homework before jumping in, you would have heard the term ‘theme’ an awful lot.

For the uninitiated, a theme is simply the icing over your website’s basic functionality; many themes these days have an awful lot of functionality in their own right, however, and grant the user a lot of flexibility. When discussing WordPress there is always a theme involved, but generally speaking, people are talking about pre-built solutions you can download or buy to immediately make your website look professional and complete.

What’s the relevance to me?

I specialise in bespoke design, and build websites from the ground-up so that yours looks like no one else’s – but there is certainly a time and place for pre-built themes.

When might you want to simply use an existing theme?

  • You have a very limited budget, and need a good-looking website below a certain dollar value
  • You need your website complete NOW but you haven’t started building yet
  • You’ve seen one you know will match your branding and needs perfectly, you just need a designer to tweak it a bit

The cons:

  • They’re not unique: chances are, multiple other companies use the exact same theme
  • They’re not good performers: because they have to cover every customer’s use case, they’re full of features you’ll never use and, as a result, can be slow for users
  • Maintenance is on you: theme designers and web hosts may not be as helpful as you need if things go wrong

In short, using a theme will get you up and running fast and cheap, but it is a one-size-fits-all solution.

Why might a personalised website by a creative professional suit you more?

  • It’s entirely unique, sculpted for your brand
  • It’s created for your specific needs and doesn’t have the bloat needed to cover all use cases; as a result the website is far faster and less resource-intensive
  • Support is through an individual or agency you’ve already worked with

This may not be for you if:

  • You have a tight budget: web designers either charge hourly, or as a complete project at a set price, but invariably it will be more than a mass-produced theme
  • You need immediate turnaround: we’re fast, and we can burn the midnight oil to meet very tight deadlines, but we can’t beat pressing the ‘install’ button on a pre-digested solution

The good news is that both solutions are compatible with each other. If you start off with a theme to get yourself onto the web and generate content to suit, but find it’s not scratching the itch to the degree you need it to, you can later hire a designer to create a custom solution and integrate it into your existing CMS, whether it’s WordPress or otherwise.

If you need more information or would like to discuss your exact situation, please drop me a line!