When you’re designing your website, you have two main options: using a pre-built template or a custom-coded solution. Both are viable choices, so it’s important to determine which one is right for your unique needs. Because there’s a wide variety of website hosting options — as in it might actually take forever to cover them all — we’ll look at WordPress sites specifically. Remember, you can always reach out if you have more specific questions about a different place to host your site.
The three main benefits of a pre-built template:
The three main benefits of custom theme coding:
In the most basic sense, theme or template-based design is exactly what it sounds like — starting with a theme that someone else coded. This means that the layout and coding are done for you, so you really only need to add images and copy to have a running site. There are hundreds of free and paid WordPress themes to choose from.
The drawbacks to a pre-built template or theme typically outweigh the benefits, however. The main issue is that the templates are coded for current times. For example, they might be mobile-friendly right now, but what about in five years when there are new iPhone versions available? Your mobile-friendly site would eventually be full of errors if the theme designer does not post regular updates. The theme is also coded with the current WordPress version in mind. When WordPress makes updates — which they often do — it could affect your website. And if you don’t have access to the developer of the theme, it could be hard to get your theme updated, causing you to have to start over.
Another huge drawback is that designers don’t include SEO elements, such as URL slugs or meta descriptions, as they are making templates because their template is meant to be used by as many people as possible. This typically means you’ll get extra code that could lead to slower page loading speeds.
Some things are worth the time and effort, and custom-theme coding is one of them. This option allows you to get exactly what you want in terms of the design, layout, and functionality of your website. With SEO, you’ll have control over helping your site achieve better performance. In particular, a custom site will allow you to optimize and have full control over things like page loading speed and quality. A somewhat overlooked benefit for custom themes is that your site will be able to evolve as your company does, as adding on additional features isn’t as hard as with a template.
The only caveat is that custom coding takes time and money. It can take weeks or months to get your custom site built and implemented, though it could take the same amount of time to fix the SEO issues that a theme-based coding template gives you.
While we can work with your CMS-themed sites, we prefer to create custom-coded sites so we can create the site with both content and SEO in mind. Our best asset to website development is giving you your own personal developer. For more information on our website design and development services, head here.