Custom-Built Site vs. WordPress Theme: Which is Better

Mar 7, 2019 | Web Design, WordPress | 0 comments

WordPress Theme or Custom Design

For everyone who decides to start their own website or completely revamp the old one, there’s one question that poses the most pressing concern: Should I do custom design or go for a WordPress theme?

The main difference between the two, obviously, is that with a custom site you’ll have to literally build from scratch, while with WordPress, if you go with a theme, you get an almost pre-made site.

Obviously, both options have their pros and cons. Custom sites are a better option for some businesses, while for the others WordPress themes are by far the most convenient solution.

In this article, we’re going to look into both options and, hopefully, help you decide how to proceed with your website.


Custom-Built Website

Custom-built websites are created literally from ground zero. As full custom products, they are able to tick every box on your list of must-have features. There is no design to start with – you are basically creating the design from on a blank canvas, often in a design application like Adobe Photoshop. In most case, people hire someone to do it for them, since building a custom site from scratch requires some serious knowledge.


  • Custom websites are unique. No other site in the world will look like yours (unless someone rips you off). Uniqueness is an essential trait for many businesses, so this one is a big plus for many users.
  • Custom websites are highly adaptable. You can make them fit your business needs perfectly, both in terms of design and functionality.
  • They are SEO-friendly. Sure, you can optimize a theme-based site as well, but when you build from scratch, you’re able to build it lean and search engine friendly. SEO is more than just keywords, it’s actually about building a site so that the crawlers can read each of your pages properly.
  • Custom-built websites are more scalable. As your business grows, your website will need to grow and adapt as well. If you or your web developer implement the right technologies to allow for that growth, the process will be smooth and seamless and shouldn’t require large investments in the future.



  • Custom-built sites are more expensive. A web developer’s and designer’s work is actually quite costly, and rightly so. The expenses you will have to incur with a custom website are much higher than purchasing an affordable WordPress theme that you usually just pay for once.
  • Custom sites take longer to build. In some cases, it may take months to finalize the site and get everything right, which is only logical, considering the amount of work that building from scratch requires.


WordPress Themes

Obviously, not all businesses and not all private bloggers require a custom-built website. In many cases, a WordPress theme is an excellent solution that doesn’t even fall that short behind custom-built sites. Plus, when you customize your theme to fit your brand and serve your needs, it can make a great performing, lead-generating site.


  • WordPress themes are more budget-friendly. There are free themes you can use but there are a lot of premium themes that are actually quite affordable. Also, a lot of add-ons and plugins are free, so that’s a money-saver right there, too.
  • Sites using themes have much shorter development time. If you’re working with a short timeframe, then using a WordPress theme can save you weeks or months. All the code is already there, you just have to tweak the design, add your content and your site is good to go.
  • WordPress themes do not require any special knowledge or skills. Basically anyone with a decent level of computer literacy can run a WordPress website based on a theme. On of my favorite themes is Divi and it is a simple drag-and-drop theme.



  • WordPress themes are less flexible. Yes, you can customize them, but only to a certain extent. Plus, you can’t really add a custom technology solution or just any add-on of your choice because themes are built on particular frameworks and structured systems that only support certain technologies.
  • Web themes usually come with less support. When you work with a developer or a designer, they will take care of every aspect of your site, including troubleshooting, debugging and resolving any issues you might have. Some themes do come with terrific 24/7 support, but they are not as common and in most cases you have to rely on quite limited support.
  • In most cases, WordPress themes are not automatically SEO-friendly. They may come with some built-in SEO solutions, but they need extensive customization to be truly SEO-friendly in their structure
  • WordPress themes generally have accessibility issues. So, in order for people with disabilities (a group that makes up more than 25% of adult Americans) to be able to fully access your WordPress website, you will need to invest in a WordPress accessibility plugin.


Bottom Line

As with everything, both custom-built websites and WordPress themes have their own advantages and disadvantages. Users and businesses who have more advanced needs and need a robust, highly customized site will do better with a custom-made site, provided they are willing to invest both the time and the resources into developing it. On the other hand, businesses who need a quick, easy and reliable solution for a starter website should definitely opt for WordPress and one of the themes.

Knowing all the pros and cons of both options, the decision is ultimately up to you. Carefully consider your needs and available resources and you will know which solution is better.

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