The choice many small businesses need to make about their website is whether to hire a web design firm for a custom website, or to download a website theme that already exists and to customize that.
There’s a temptation to download a theme that has already been built because that’s a cheap option — cheap in cost and the resources required to launch the new site, but a pre-built theme is also cheap in how it represents a company.
Any business serious about setting themselves apart from their competition should hire a firm to create a custom website that is tailored for them.
WordPress Themes & Templates
A content management system (CMS) makes it easy to update content on a website without needing to know code.
WordPress is a popular CMS because standard websites can have a design that is integrated with it. The site can look like anything, and each part of it can be set up to be updated using WordPress — quickly and easily by content producers.
The design of a site that uses WordPress to save and display the content on the site is known as a WordPress theme, or a WordPress template, and there are factors to consider with both pre-built templates and custom themes.
Pre-Built WordPress Templates
For a website that needs to go live in the next week, download a pre-built theme from a WordPress theme repository. Rome and strong websites aren’t built in a day.
There are three good uses of pre-built WordPress themes:
- The business needs a temporary and professional-looking website while the full website is being developed.
- The budget for the company website hasn’t been set, or it won’t be set.
- Anything will do, just to have a website.
Custom WordPress Themes
A website is part of a company’s branding, and a unique website design for that business allows it reflect the character of that business and to stand out.
However, while it’s tempting to be lured largely by the visual appeal of a website, how it functions is as important as how it looks.
- A website should be easy to manage. Even if a website is built on WordPress, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the content on a page can be easy to edit. If a website is built the right way, with training, it’s easy for anyone at the company to update the content on the site.
- The website should be SEO-friendly. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making a website findable through major search engines — notably Google. You want your website to be seen by new customers who are looking for a company like yours. A website that is SEO-friendly has lean code, takes SEO standards into account (such as one h1 tag per page, editable meta tags and page slugs, and canonical URLs), and the website loads fast.
- WordPress should only have a few, high-quality plugins installed. WordPress is a solid base, and plugins enhance what a WordPress website can do. For example, many websites need a contact form, and there are contact form plugins that make setting up a contact form a breeze. There are thousands of WordPress plugins available to use on a site. Plugins are often updated, and if there are many plugins set up on a site at the same time, they can conflict with each other and cause a website to go down. Using a few high-quality plugins will ensure the site stays up, and that the feature that the plugins add to the site will last.
A custom-developed WordPress website is a long-term solution for a company that wants to show off its character with a durable, SEO-friendly, and easy-to-update website.