Why You (Probably) Don’t Need a Custom WordPress Theme in 2022

You’re ready to uplevel your website, and you want to hire a WordPress developer to do it on the right technical foot.

They’re telling you to go with a custom theme. It’d be completely be-spoke to your brand, load blazingly fast, is more secure, and differentiate you from others.

However, many of the arguments for custom themes are moot by now with high quality, versatile themes and page builders out on the market.

1. Speed

There are many lightweight themes that don’t slow down your websites. Unoptimized images is the main culprit of slow sites, which has nothing to do with the theme.

2. Security

The security of a theme backed by an entire development team following coding standards will be more secure than a theme built by one person who isn’t paid to keep maintaining it.

3. Unique design

As design patterns have matured, most designs can be accomplished in Gutenberg or other page builders. The branding and graphics make a website standout, not its layout.

Here are the common issues that I’ve seen with custom themes:

  • You can’t create new pages without the help of a developer.
  • Heck, you can’t even update the content without a developer sleuthing out where the content is stored.
  • Code quality vary from developer to developer, so you don’t know what you’re getting.
  • You only get designs that are created for your site. If you want to add a blog down the road, you have to get someone to custom code that part.
  • You don’t get updates, and your site might break several years later.

However, with lightweight themes like Astra:

  • You get designs and support for popular plugins like Woocommerce or LearnDash out of the box.
  • You get frequent updates from companies whose entire business revolves around their themes.
  • You don’t need to spend money re-inventing the wheel. Most design patterns for websites are well-established at this point.
  • They’re lightweight and don’t slow down your site. You can use caching to speed up your site even more.

Okay, but won’t your website look generic?

Not at all!

You can change the look of your theme with custom CSS or even replacing a template, like your blog posts, with a new design through a child theme.

If a developer is still recommending a custom theme for your standard business website, there are a few reasons:

  • They are still stuck in 2015 and how things were done back then.
  • They think that “real” developers don’t use themes and page builders.
  • They haven’t kept up to date with the latest developments in the WordPress ecosystem

My philosophy for using WordPress is to leverage top notch plugins for my clients and use a sprinkle of code to bridge the gap between your business needs and the plugin’s capabilities. This is the most effective way to achieve your goals for both time and money.

If this sounds like how you want to work, then book a discovery call with me.

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