When it comes to setting up a website with WordPress, you generally have two choices: either you pick a free theme from the official WordPress theme directory or you purchase a premium theme from a marketplace such as ThemeForest or Creative Market. While both options may fulfill your design needs perfectly, they definitely don’t cut it when it’s about establishing a unique brand identity online. To stand out from your rivals and build a strong online presence, you’ll definitely need a custom WordPress theme.
What is a Custom WordPress Theme?
A custom WordPress theme is essentially a theme built specifically to meet your exclusive business requirements. Having a completely unique design, layout and set of functionalities available nowhere else on the web, it helps your company or brand stand out from the rest of the crowd by delivering your target audience exactly what they need. One of the main benefits of using a custom WordPress theme is that you’re no longer limited to use a pre-existing template or layout which is simultaneously being used by many of other websites on the web. With a custom WordPress theme, not only you get full freedom for design customization, but also you can get any specific functionality incorporated into your website anytime.
The process of developing a custom WordPress theme is pretty straightforward. Using an image editing software like Photoshop, your designer keeping your desired look, feel and functionality in mind design a custom theme for you. After that, you hire a professional WordPress developer or agency to get your custom PSD designs converted to a fully-functional custom WordPress theme. This process of transformation is called PSD to WordPress conversion, which is a quite popular technique nowadays for developing custom WordPress themes.
Why Should You Invest in a Custom WordPress Theme?
Since both custom design and custom functionality play a vital role in determining how successful and popular a WordPress site will be, investing in a custom WordPress theme becomes imperative for anyone looking for a competitive edge. Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons that make a custom-coded WordPress theme worth the investment!
Unique Design, Look and Feel:
Would you like your WordPress-powered site look and feel the same as others in your industry? No, definitely not at all! The Internet is getting more competitive day by day and you undoubtedly need a completely original, unique theme design to beat the cut-throat competition. Since a custom WordPress theme is built from ground up with your personal brand and specific requirements in mind, it is unique in every way – be it the design, look, feel or functionality.
Unlike a readymade theme that is incapable of establishing a recognized brand name for your business, a custom WordPress theme reflects your vision, mission, and goals through the visual components – such as the color scheme, typography, logo, images, etc. – of your website. This leads to a strong and memorable brand identity that anyone can recognize from afar. And as a matter of the fact, unique look and functionality make it possible for people to remember your brand.
Since a pre-built theme works like a “one size fits all” solution, you’re restricted to make only minor customizations to it. However, that is not the case with a custom WordPress theme. Whether it’s design, functionality or any other aspect, you have the complete over the customization of your WordPress site. There is indeed no limit to what you can do with a custom WordPress theme.
Faster Page Load Times with Clean Code:
As readymade themes are built with the mass market in mind, they contain a lot of bloated extra code and unnecessary features that slow your WordPress site down. On the contrary, every line of code in a custom WordPress theme is hand-written with your specific requirements in mind, which reduces the overall requests made to the database, making your site load at the speed of light.
Better Search Engine Optimization:
Since pre-built themes are designed to launch a WordPress site quickly and easily, they often don’t incorporate the best SEO techniques required to enhance the visibility and rankings of your site in SERPs. A custom WordPress theme, on the other hand, is hand-coded from the scratch with all the latest SEO standards in mind and therefore ensures higher rankings and better visibility in search engine result pages.
How Much Does a Custom WordPress Theme Actually Cost?
Well, this is indeed a tricky question since the cost of a custom WordPress theme depends on a number of factors, especially the requirements of the project. While you can buy a premium-quality, prebuilt WordPress theme for anywhere between $30 and $60, a custom WordPress theme costs considerably higher than a pre-made WordPress theme. The reason, each custom WordPress theme is tailored to meet the individual client’s requirements in mind. Listed below are some of the key factors that affect the overall cost of a Custom WordPress theme:
Individual Freelancer vs. Agency:
To get your custom WordPress theme developed, you primarily need two persons: a designer who can design and a developer who can code your theme. Having both designers and developers on their team, a full-service WordPress agency can sometimes be a bit more expensive than hiring individual freelancers but in fact; it is a great way to save your precious time and efforts that you put into searching for qualified WordPress freelancers here and there.
Experience and Expertise:
The cost of a custom WordPress theme is also determined by the experience and expertise an agency or freelancer has in WordPress arena. As a general rule, the more experience and expertise a developer has, the more reputable he becomes in the industry and consequently tends to charge more for his WordPress development services. What this actually means is that even an individual well-known expert developer can sometimes charge more than a full-stack WordPress agency.
Features, Functionalities, and Expectations:
The more features and functionalities your WordPress theme has, the higher the development cost and time will be. For example, if you want your WordPress theme to be retina display ready, your developer will have to work more and hence it will cost you more. Generally, most of the clients have high expectations with a limited budget while the reality is that high-quality custom work takes time, efforts and money.
Change Orders and Revisions:
Changing the scope of your project after the development work is started can also significantly increase the overall development cost of your custom WordPress theme. While a few minor changes in the middle of the process are not taken into consideration, freelancers and agencies may charge a change order fee every time you make a major change to your project.
After Delivery Maintenance and Support:
Whether you want to make a small change or a new functionality added to your custom WordPress theme, there is no denying that you’ll need support from the agency or developer who built your theme. Where some agencies and freelancers provide post deliver maintenance and support free of cost, on the other hand, others offer the same services at an additional cost. This factor also plays a vital role in determining how costly a custom WordPress theme will be.
As you can see there are various factors that impact the cost, it is quite difficult to calculate the exact development cost of a custom WordPress theme in fixed numbers. However, on the basis of the complexity and size, we can divide custom WordPress themes into four main types:
- Basic: Personal website or blog themes
- Advanced: Themes with additional built-in features or plugins
- eCommerce: An eCommerce platform, such as WooCommerce, powered WordPress themes
- Complex: Enterprise level custom WordPress themes
Depending on your functional requirements, a basic custom WordPress theme can cost anywhere between $300 and $500. A theme with advanced built-in functionalities or companion plugins could cost between $500 – $1000, while a theme powered with inbuilt eCommerce platform typically costs between $1000 and $6,000. And if your project falls into the last category, then it is not uncommon for the cost to go above $10000.
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