WordPress is undoubtedly the most dominant content management system (CMS) on the market covering up to 58.55% of the total share. In 2019, WordPress powers 34% of the internet which is a 4% rise from last year. WordPress has come a long way since its introduction in 2003 and it is not showing any signs of slowing down. As of now, investing in WordPress to launch your website will be one of the wisest decisions you will ever make.

If you have already decided that you want to build your website in WordPress platform, the first thing you need to know is to decide on whether your website needs a pre-made premium WordPress theme or a custom-built site one. Today, we will explore what makes both of them different from each other and what option is the best one for you.

Before, diving into the pros and cons of each alternative, it is essential to know what having a WordPress Premium Theme or a Custom-built site really means.

What is a WordPress Premium Theme?

When people say theme, they basically mean a pre-designed framework that has its own set of different page templates, visually appealing elements, and interactive layouts. Almost every theme is developed in certain ways which makes it easier for the users to integrate any needed plugins to extend or support its functionality. These themes are developed by different web developers and are made online on WordPress website as well as different sites like Themeforest and TemplateMonster.

WordPress offers a wide range of both free and premium themes that let you develop your own website without having to write any programming codes. Free themes are as per the name is free for the users to download. For any user who is willing to spend $50 to $100, you will be able to get to choose from a pool of premium themes available on different sites. What makes premium different than free themes is access to better support, stability, and flexibility for the users.

Advantages of using a premium theme and when should it be selected?

One of the major pros of using a premium theme is its affordability. Most of the premium themes are under the price range of $100. You also get access to different plugins that could provide better support for your theme. You can select from a wide variety of themes that meets all of your website demand. So. if you have a limited budget, going for the premium theme is a much better approach.

Another reason why selecting a pre-made theme can be justified is when you are in need of a small website that does not need longer development time. Premium themes are pre-made sites that can be launched as soon as the installation and content modification takes place. So if you are working under a strict time frame or trying to build a small scale website, you can easily work with premium themes.

The popularity of WordPress themes soared because it marketed itself to be a CMS that could be used by anyone who has minimum to no prior knowledge regarding programming language and codes. Anyone can literally build a website without having to do any more than just filling in the information regarding your own website. Today, a lot of themes offer simple drag and drop functionality which has made website building even more easy.

Besides these, one of the strong advantages of using a premium theme is future-proofing. The best ones in the market are always active in communities with regular updates and support system who will help you with your website’s issues and troubleshooting.

Using a premium theme comes with its fair share of issues and disadvantages too.

The first thing to consider when opting for a premium theme is knowing who to buy from. Often times, not enough research can lead to major problems.

One of the main issues with most premium themes is flexibility. They are pre-made frameworks that will only work to its fullest only when you follow the strict structure it has already created for you. Customization can be done up to a certain extent but changing it drastically by adding different custom solutions will only lead to further issues.

Codes are what your website is made up of. Codes need to be up to their coding standards. Apart from this, premium theme’s codes are written in a way that they are able to provide as much functionality as possible. This often leads to amassing a large number of codes that are hardly useful for every user. More codes result in heavy files and slow loading.

As much as theme developers and companies promise 24/7 support for your website troubleshooting, they might not always be responsive. A lot of times, if the conflicts arise due to the use of different plugins, they might not readily provide you consistent support. It is always suggested to choose a theme provider who is known for their excellent support system.

Another concerning issue is the lack of SEO in the WordPress premium theme. Every website needs to be SEO-friendly if they want enough traffic on their website. For these themes, extensive level of customization should be done in order to make them SEO-friendly.

Now, What is a Custom-Built site?

Custom-built sites are the sites that result from the precise design requests from clients that are first laid out as PSDs which is later converted into WordPress sites. They are basically built from scratch. Their primary focus is to create a website whose functionalities and designs can only be used for that particular website.

So, what makes Custom-built sites so appealing?

When you are in search of a visually appealing but unique looking website that matches your demands or functions of your business, you should go for a custom-built site. You will be responsible for how your site is going to look like and what types of features are to be included. Web developers will try to incorporate your ideas in a creative way and will always try to communicate the design results to you.

Custom-built sites are highly flexible and adaptable. If you want any sort of modification from adding new functionality to removing outdated designs, custom-built sites are much easier to work with. Also, since the site will be designed as per your business needs, they can easily be adapted as a brand representation for your business.

Your need for a lean and fast loading site will be fulfilled by using a custom-built site. Codings are up to a better standard and there are no unnecessary codes that could possibly slow down the page loading time.

Your custom-built site will be SEO-friendly as per your request. Since you are building your site from the scratch, it much easier and faster for the web developer to develop a more SEO-friendly site along the way.

With all the good things, there are some definite disadvantages to working with custom-built sites.

One of the biggest issues with a custom-built site is that they are really expensive. Thousands of dollars or any other currency is the first investment for a custom-built site. Website development includes a team of UI/UX designers, web designers, web developers, content writers, and SEO analysts. All of the work they do are quite costly. They also need to be paid frequently for all the new modifications on your website and constant support too. So, if you are budget constraint then, having a custom-built site is not for you.

Another thing to consider is time constraints. Custom-built sites take a lot longer time than pre-made theme websites. We are not talking days or weeks, sometimes it takes months to finalize on the final site design depending upon how complicated your site is.

The last thing to consider is that you need to keep up with all new WordPress updates for possible new bugs or maintenance. You need to always communicate with your developer to solve any new issues or conflicts arising from such updates.


Both WordPress premium themes and custom-built sites have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. At the bottom line, what matters most is how much are you ready to spend on your website including resources and time and what you want your website to look like. First, you have to look at your need for a website. If you are looking at website development as an investment, try to focus on getting the best of everything from the scratch but if you are looking for a quick fix, a pre-built theme might be the better option.

In the end, it is up to you to decide what is the best option for you.

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