Should You Use a Template Based WordPress Website or a Custom Design?

Business people dress and act a certain way. They’re polite, courteous, attentive, and smartly dressed. In other words they project professionalism. This is to inspire trust from the consumer and convey that they are part of a real business. This lets you know that when you pay them with your hard-earned money, you can count on them to deliver a quality service or product.

Projecting an image of trustworthiness and reliability is even more important online because there is no direct human contact. Appearance is important in this context, because our first judgments are based on that. This is the reason business people wear their suits and ties or at least dress smartly. It lets you know that they won’t cause¬†you physical harm or steal your money. It conveys that they want to win your business.

Your website’s appearance performs the same function as the attire worn by the business person. It conveys to the visitor that they needn’t worry about getting a virus or getting scammed by your website. It tells them that they are dealing with a real business. However, projecting a professional image does not mean a super elaborate or fancy website design. This is why business people don’t wear frilly and super elaborate tuxedos because it doesn’t project professionalism. Of course not all professionals wear suits and ties but they do act and dress in a way that is expected of them.

Once a website passes the professional appearance test, the rest is about who you are, what makes you different from the competition, your contact information, third-party validation, ease of use and navigation, clear calls to action, your level of expertise in your field, and your special offers. In other words, once your website passes the professional appearance test, the rest is about your content, the website’s functionality, and its ease of use.

The question now is, can this be accomplished with a template based WordPress website¬†or with a custom designed website? The answer is that either will work. The main difference between the two is time and cost. With a template based WordPress website, you get a several month head start over the custom designed website. A several month delay means lost opportunities for leads and sales. That’s several months worth of revenue. The money saved from not using a costly custom design can be put to use elsewhere such as your marketing.

What is a template based website?

A template is a pre-built WordPress theme. A theme controls the presentation of your content, affects how your visitors engage with your website, and has a set layout that may have a limited means of being adjusted. Many themes allow color adjustment. Simple CSS code adjustments can also be made (by a knowledgeable person) that can adjust and tweak the colors and form of the theme. Additional functionality can be added through the use of plugins or by coding adjustments.

Won’t my website look like every other website using the same template?

Some people who buy a theme, initially feel disappointed that it doesn’t look as great as the theme demo. This is because they aren’t using the same images and layout variation used by the demo itself. However, in theory they can make their websites look identical to the demo by using the same or similar images and layout. The fact that their website did not look like the demo proves that websites using the same theme won’t necessarily look the same. The uniqueness of your website depends on how you “dress it up.” While a knowledgeable coder can do a fair amount of customization, there will be certain similarities among websites using a common theme.

Isn’t it hard to find a template that matches my needs?

If you do enough research it is possible to find one that comes very close. That’s because there are so many (literally thousands) themes available today. A good web developer can usually find a close facsimile and then do some tweaks to the template so that it closely matches your needs. Between coding tweaks and use of the right plugins, your needs will likely be met.

So why use a custom website design?

If great functionality and conversions are achievable at a lower budget using a template based website, why would a business want a customized design? Businesses that go this route do so because branding and uniqueness of design are very important to them. They want a website that is 100% tailor designed with their image and branding in mind. This comes at the cost of taking longer to deploy and requiring a large development budget. Templates are less feasible because these companies need a design that is very specific to their business.

If you have any unanswered questions regarding the template based vs custom design consideration, feel free to contact us.