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WordPress themes – Stock themes VS bespoke builds

Danny Watkinson
Digital Marketing Executive, Adwords Professional and Technical SEO Wizard at dijitul.

During my time of working in the web industry, I’ve had a go at pretty much everything. I’ve experienced different methods used to create sites, some are great, but some are down right awful. When I work with a client, it’s in my best interest to create a site that not only looks great on the front end, but is also simple and easy to use in the back end, making it a better user experience for the client, and ensures they feel at ease with a basic interface that’s easy to use.

This is one reason why I love working with WordPress. It gives me the ability to create a great looking website, that functions well, is easy to use for the client, and makes the editing and maintaining process simpler and smooth.

However, with WordPress websites, it can be very easy to fall in some traps of where WordPress stock themes are used. In my experience, i’ve worked with some terrible stock themes. So in this blog post, i’m going to explain to you why you should choose a bespoke WordPress site over a ready made box theme.

1) Stock themes are way too bulky.

In a lot of cases, stock themes contain a lot of extra bits and chunks of functionality that you will never actually use. All of this extra baggage is most likely slowing your website down, so why is there any need for it to be there in the first place?

2) Stock themes are SO difficult to use.

I’ve encountered times where iIve spent hours trying to find/figure out how to edit something on a stock theme. Generally, the documentation supplied is quite good, but it is never detailed enough. Spending so much time trying to solve issues could be making you lose out on profits. I’ve found that most of the time, stock themes are aimed at developers to use rather than the actual clients themselves. Not everyone is comfortable with technology, and I’ve found that some themes are way too fiddly and confusing.

3) Even giving a stock theme to a developer can sometimes be challenging.

It was quite common that in the past, I would be given a stock theme and a design and was told to “make this look like that”. In some cases, this was actually almost impossible. The way stock themes are built and the way they work makes it really difficult to edit in some cases. I don’t know about others, but I definitely do not like diving in to other people’s code and trying to figure out how something works in order to change it’s appearance or layout.

4) Plugin or theme updates can quite often break something.

I was always hesitant towards updating any plugins or the actual theme itself on client sites. The stock themes contain so many components, updating something can have a knock on effect and break something else within the theme. This can cause major issues as time is then having to be spent finding what is broken, and how to fix it. If you then need technical support from the theme creator, well, most of the time I never got a reply.

5) Editing stock themes can get pretty expensive.

You might think you’re getting a really good bargain with a $45 stock theme from Theme Forest. Install it on a fresh WordPress install, add the theme, and away you go. Instant website. But wait? The theme doesn’t quite work how you want it to? Well, you may think that a web developer can change it pretty easily. In some cases, maybe, but in most cases (from my experience anyway), editing the functionality of a stock theme is difficult. If a developer isn’t familiar with the framework, it could take them hours to do a simple job, thus increasing the amount you need to pay. The way some stock themes work means changing the functionality of it and adding extra bits in can not be as straight forward as you may think.

I must admit, in some cases, using stock themes are pretty good. I’ve encountered quite a few decent stock themes that are easier than most to work with. But again, they contain too much extra stuff that some people may never use.

I’m quite lucky that I don’t work with stock themes any more. All WordPress builds I now do are fully bespoke. Here’s just a few brief reasons as to why bespoke sites are awesome:

  • The functionality can be made to exactly how you want it.
  • The look & layout is easy to change
  • There’s no extra baggage – all of the components of the site are there for a reason and are being used. The codebase is specific to the project, so there’s no bloat.
  • The developer will be familiar with their own work, making the editing process easy and straight forward
  • The back end interface will only contain the tools you need to maintain the website’s content. Nothing will be there for no reason.
  • The site will be simpler to edit, no bulky content builders or blocks of text hidden away in some option that’s not easy to find.
  • Bespoke themes could in most cases, cost the same to edit a stock theme.
  • Cutting edge, modern techniques can be used to make your bespoke site even better.
  • More likely to work with a variety of plugins, and wont break when you update them.

Some people may argue that stock themes are still better to use, but in the long term, I think bespoke themes are more cost effective. You get exactly what you want, no more, no less, and spend less time updating and editing the content. Having a bespoke site that looks great and works well can also help to increase conversions and get you more traffic and/or sales.

At Dijitul, we have a bespoke WordPress site solution for everyone, no matter how big or small your budget is. Our team can collaborate with you in order to create your ideal WordPress site. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your site in detail, just give us a ring on 01623 650333 or email info@dijitul.uk.

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