What is a custom WordPress theme?

I spend most of my time developing custom WordPress themes for my clients but what is a custom WordPress theme?

First of all, what is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system that is a fantastic base for building websites. It has an administrator dashboard that makes it relatively easy for those with no programming experience to edit the content of their site.

These days many hosting companies give clients a quick ‘one click installation’ option for installing WordPress so that it’s possible to set up your own site reasonably quickly. In the past, setting up WordPress used to involve copying hundreds of files across to the web server, creating a database and database user and editing configuration files. All a bit intimidating for many who were not used to programming and just wanted a website.

What is a standard WordPress theme?

When you install WordPress it comes with a standard theme installed. A WordPress theme contains all the design information for your site:

  • the overall design of the site (e.g. where the navigation is, where your headings are etc.)
  • the fonts and colours used on your site
  • etc.

The standard WordPress themes are nice enough and some hosting companies will include a few other free themes to choose from (some of these are alright and some are pretty ugly!). The problem with these themes are that they’re not unique so when you’re browsing the web you’ll come across many sites using the same standard themes. Although most themes have some customisation options they are often only limited to adding your own logo, selecting your font from a limited list of fonts etc.

What is a premium WordPress theme?

Premium WordPress themes are professionally designed and coded themes that you can buy. I’ve seen them priced as little as £10 or as much as £55. Many of these themes are very impressive, however there are still limitations as to how much you can customise these themes to fit in with your brand or the design you want for your site. It can be difficult to tell what design features you will be able to edit until you have paid for the theme which is frustrating as well as a waste of money. The more expensive premium themes have more customisation options but this can mean that they also become pretty complicated to use.

What is a custom WordPress theme?

A custom WordPress theme is a theme built specifically for you. This theme is built to the exact website design that you want and so design limitations are reduced to those of a usual website. The dashboard is customised to complement the design so that it is possible for you to edit every element on each page of your website. A custom WordPress theme ensures that content changes to your website are easy to manage because you don’t have to search through redundant theme options that don’t apply to the set up of your site.

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about custom WordPress themes.