I want to build a new website: Should I use a theme or create a custom design?

Lots of businesses go through these questions initially while planning their new website. What content management system (CMS) should we use? Should we code our own system? Should we use a theme? Should we design our own layout?

The reason for this short post is that I thought others could benefit from what I have learned throughout these past years working with various website development & design companies.

With that said, I do believe that using a theme is more beneficial. You may say: “Of course you will say that, you sell WordPress themes”, but that wouldn’t be the full story as Organized Themes now builds websites from scratch as well. Almost every job and task is welcomed.

Here are some of the benefits of using a theme versus creating a custom design:

  1. Using a theme saves the client and the developer time (when it’s properly coded).
  2. There are so many themes available, for every CMS (Content Management System) and you can easily choose something that suits your brand.
  3. A theme will cost the client a lot less than custom designing a website. It is easy to customize and can actually look completely different from the original theme (you need to be or hire a developer and designer for this part).
  4. In general, themes have the tools required to get you up and running, thus avoiding developing some custom functions. You’ll enjoy the features of being able to add widgets, sections, layouts, colors, and such elements. You can, with some work, adapt a theme to a complex website.
  5. Lastly, agreeing on a custom design is challenging. A designer will come up with a mock-up and the client may or may not like it, and then both will end up in a near never-ending feedback zone where both believe they have the right design in mind. A theme helps alleviate that challenge.

What are the benefits of building a custom design versus using a theme?

  1. Your website will look and feel unique and won’t be like everyone else’s.
  2. You can personalize it more to suit your brand.
  3. Your custom design can be taken and used in any CMS. For example, we can create a custom design for you and then make it work with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, OpenCart, or other systems.
  4. This point may be a bit different but here we go: You give work to and support developers. This leads to developers earning more income and being able to support their families.

The thing is, designs can be awesome. When we design themes, we find multiple ways of improving them because we want to make them unique and different. For example, placing an element in a certain section can look better than being placed elsewhere, and so on. It takes time, patience, attention to detail, and of course, the willingness to say “enough, it looks great here.”

Meanwhile, when you buy a theme, it reduces your challenges and forces you to take a decision on what matters, getting your website set up quicker.

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