Are Custom Web Designs Being Replaced By WordPress?

Posted by Mark Thompson - March 30, 2010 - Design/Development - 8 Comments

Typically, a fully custom website can cost anywhere from $10,000 – $50,000, depending on a number of factors including functionality and the size of the site and this is a bit more than any cheap cash advance you can get so keeping costs low is important.

I totally understand the need for a unique design to help your company stand out from the crowd, however would it be more beneficial to spend that additional money towards developing better content, than having a complete custom design?  Would it be just as effective to install WordPress, purchase a premium theme, and customized the look enough so it accomplishes the goal of being unique?

This seems to be the trend I have noticed recently.  Companies and organizations can accomplish exactly what they need, without having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to create a totally custom design.

Premium Themes

Regardless of the type of site you are looking for, you will find a WordPress premium theme you could use to accomplish your website goals.  Find themes for business, news, portfolios, shopping, forums, Q&A, membership, etc…

Most of the premium theme websites offer a number of CMS and functionality options that allow users without development knowledge to make changes and updates.  Here is a brief list of features I have seen for many of the premium themes.

Premium Theme Options

  • Layout Options
  • Custom Homepage
  • Integrated Lightbox/Image Gallery
  • jQuery Sliders and Plugins
  • Custom Widgets
  • Customized Color Scheme
  • Navigation Menu Control
  • Auto-Sizing Thumbnails
  • Integrated Blog
  • Cross Browser Compatibility
  • Stable Framework/Clean Code

Places to Download Premium Themes

Plugins

From a functionality standpoint, there is probably a plug-in already developed for what you need your site to do.  WordPress plugins are usually as simple as downloading the plugin, moving the files to the plugin folder and activating it.  There may be some additional styling, but the bulk of the work is already done for you.

Type of Plugins Available:

  • SEO
  • Social Media Sharing
  • RSS Feeds
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Comment Management
  • Google Analytics
  • Sidebar Features
  • Images
  • Page Load Time
  • e-Commerce
  • Advertisement Management
  • Contact Form Integration
  • and much more…

SEO Best Practices

WordPress out of the box is for the most part, SEO friendly.  There are of course tweaks you can make to further improve the SEO, but the foundation of WordPress is search friendly.  You can easily add keyword-rich title/meta tags, optimized url and directory structure, and clean html/css code.

WP Hacks

If you are unable to find a plugin to do exactly what you want, there are lots of WP blogs that focus on hacks, tips and tricks to assist you. There are lots of developers out there that love to share cool functionality that they have coded in WordPress.

Here are examples of awesome WordPress Hacks:

As you can see, this is just the tip of the iceberg of neat hacks you can do within WordPress.  Why spend potentially thousands of dollars to have a web development company create functionality from scratch, when there is probably something out there that has already been built.

So is it still worth it to pay 3x – 5x the cost for a custom site, when you could leverage what has already been built and designed?

About the Author

Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter