It’s not been that long ago that you would see web developers say that they did not use a template for building sites. That was a big deal because who wants their website to look exactly like everyone else? Having a unique, custom built site is always something that should be considered but they usually come with a pretty hefty price tag.
You may be asking what’s the difference? Well in someways there may not be much in others it can be drastic. A good analogy for it would be buying a car, or a suit. You can go to the department store and buy a suit off the rack. Some of these department store suits are cheaper, some more expensive but there are rows and rows of multiple suits that use the exact same pattern, you just have to pick your size. You make your purchase, have a suit that looks good, does it’s purpose and move on. While it’s great, it may not fit exactly right in every area, the pockets don’t exactly line up where you want them, and it could use a better liner. You can take a suit off the rack to a tailor, spend a little extra money on it and get it closer to what you would like. You could also start at the tailor, make a bit more of an investment and get a suit custom to you. Your exact style, size, fit everything. It yours.
Starting a Web Project
Starting a website project you’re faced with a similar decision, “off the rack”, or “tailor made”. Let’s look at the tailor made solution first. With this option there is usually at a bare minimum, 80 hours involved. You have to meet with a developer, come up with a color pattern, wireframes, a full design, and then that design has to be coded into your custom theme. In between each of those steps can be numerous rounds of revision and depending on the size and complexity of the project that 80 hours can balloon exponentially; and that’s before your site even goes live.
With a template you can scratch out all of those design hours, extra build hours etc. That will save you potentially thousands of dollars. Within WordPress there are now multiple prebuilt themes that with a tenth of the time to build something custom, you can “customize” with its settings a site that is pretty unique to you. Themes like Astra, Beaver Builder, and Divi are all great at this. Once you have a base layout customized in the theme, if needed you can have smaller custom components built if need be to get your exact functionality in place.
Which Should I Use?
This totally depends on your budget and functionality. Typically before I start a project I like to ask a customer if they have a budget in mind. This isn’t so I can max out there budget but it’s so I can see if there budget is more in line with a theme, that will still be a great site, or if they are in the range for something custom.
Your needed functionality should be a consideration. Themes are getting more advanced every day, in some situations though they will fall short. In those times its best to look at, do I need a completely custom build or do I need some custom modifications to a prebuilt theme? Sometimes even this can push you to using a prebuilt theme over a custom build.
If you have any questions on which option you should take, reach out and I will be glad to give you a consult. It could save you thousands.