Using a Theme vs. Creating Your Own

By in Development, Wordpress on August 4, 2016

I’ve been developing apps, software, and sites since my freshman year of high school. However, this WordPress theme you are seeing was found, downloaded, and installed from a simple Google search. This may seem counterintuitive given my background, until you consider all that’s involved in making a custom theme. This investment of time and effort isn’t worth it compared to the return for a simple site or blog like my own.

Let’s think about the steps involved to create a custom WordPress theme for this relatively new blog:

  1. Determine all of the features I want on the new site
  2. Either pay a designer, or talk one of my super awesome designer friends into getting on board to help me
  3. Communicate all of those requirements over to said designer
  4. Wait a month or so until that designer gets the designs done
  5. Request revisions to the design because it’s just not the shade of orange I’m looking for
  6. Slice up the PSD and realize that I don’t have some of the core functionality I really wanted and call the designer back up
  7. Get the last of the design and start implementing it into WordPress
  8. Build the theme
  9. ???
  10. Profit?

You may be reading this so far and thinking, “why would I ever contract out any part of my site if you say I can do it for basically free and it’s super easy?”, but the real point of this is don’t reinvent the wheel. While I could have paid someone to build out the entire site for me, would they have given me anything for a simple blog than I couldn’t get for free by finding a theme online? I don’t have any existing content to audit, there in no information to architect, I’m not building a brand, etc. Finding something that looks similar to what I wanted took me around 15 minutes to find, install, and tweak, and I ended up with exactly what I envisioned.

While I opted to go for a pre-built theme, going the custom theme route could be your best option given your needs. Here are some of the reasons to not opt for a pre-built theme:

  • You are an established brand looking for an refresh of your site
  • You are a new brand looking to make a splash in your vertical
  • You need a custom feature: e-commerce, API integration, etc
  • You need to have a certain level of compliance: 502 accessible, PCI, HIPAA, etc
  • You don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to setup, develop a site, and create a theme

If any of those apply to you, connecting with an agency or freelancer would be the best course of action in order to launch your new site. However, if you are like me and want to throw up a simple and clean WordPress theme, shoot me a line and I’ll give you some some good free resources!

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