Custom Designed WordPress Theme versus an Off-the-shelf Theme

The graphic design, or look and feel, is the first impression every visitor gets from a website. It’s a critical component in establishing credibility and inspiring people to stick around. Poorly or generically designed websites have higher bounce rates than professionally designed ones.

Bounce rate is a metric that Google uses to measure how many people come to your site and never get past your home page. If you happen to have a site that has only one page, then this might not be a big deal. However, for the rest of us, having visitors click past the home page is generally an indication that they found it interesting enough to go beyond the home page. This means better engagement with visitors and, ultimately, that means a better conversion rate from visitor to prospect.

So, reducing bounce rate is a good thing. There are many ways to do that, but the design and organization of your site is well-known to be one the primary factors.

There are two ways to establish the design, or theme, for a WordPress website. The first is to use an off-the-shelf pre-designed theme. The second is to develop a custom theme specific to the company’s brand. Each have their pros and cons.

Pre-designed themes are attractive, inexpensive and take very little time to implement. They can be customized to a degree, for instance adding your company’s logo, but significant customizations are not always cost-effective and can quickly add up to more than what it would cost to create a custom theme. Also pre-designed themes are widely available which means that the more attractive the theme, the more likely it is that many other websites are using the exact same one. They therefore do little to help a company build their brand.

Custom designed themes cost more and take longer to develop, but they are highly branded. These are the kinds of themes that all big companies use – designs that carry the color and style of the company’s brand throughout the website. They are unique and generally convey the personality of the company.

Ultimately, the choice you make between a custom theme and an off-the-shelf one will likely be based largely on budget. Companies that can afford to do so, almost always opt for a custom designed theme.


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