Do you need a bespoke design or an off the shelf WordPress Theme?

There are many good commercial WordPress Themes that can be purchased for around $40  (marketplace sites like Theme Forrest are a good source).  Why pay for a bespoke design and WordPress theme?    As a web designer, I have to be honest, I am slightly biased, but I will try and stay as impartial as I can.

Lets look at the pro’s and Cons.

Commercial WordPress Theme


  • Wide variety of themes.
  • If you don’t like one over time, not too expensive to buy another.
  • Low cost.
  • Can be installed and configured yourself.
  • Don’t have to go through a design and build process with a web designer.


  • With so many themes to go through, it can still be hard to find one that fits your business perfectly.
  • An industry themed design maybe used by your competitors.
  • To allow for customization they can be slow loading.
  • You can add your own colours and images, but you are usually stuck with the layouts within the theme.
  • Popular themes are used by thousands of other sites.
  • Configuring them can be time consuming if you choose the wrong theme.
  • Quality can be variable and they don’t all come with good documentation.
  • May not work well with all your plugins.

Bespoke design and WordPress theme


  • You get an individual design.
  • The theme is built around your design, so is easier to maintain and edit.
  • If you find a good designer the quality will be a lot higher.
  • If you deal with a local designer they can give you face to face training.
  • The designer may install and configure it for you.
  • It  can be designed, from the start, to work with the plugins you want to use.


  • More expensive.  You have to pay for the design and development of a theme just for you.
  • You can’t buy it and install it the same day.
  • If you change your mind you can’t just buy another one for $40.

All in all a lot comes down to budget and return on investment.   If you have a low budget then a commercial theme can still create a good looking website.    Don’t underestimate the amount of time it will take you to create your website if you go down the DIY root.    If you have the budget you have to consider the value of your website to your business.   A well designed and structured website can more than bring back the return on investment.  The stress and time saved by not going the DIY route will also mean you can concentrate on your business and your customers.

Things to Consider when getting a bespoke design

As you are spending more money, here are some things to consider before you start.

  • Find a designer you trust and can work with.
  • A successful design is 50% design and 50% communication between you and your designer.
  • Look at the work they have done.  Do you like their style?
  • Check what layouts the design comes with.
  • List any plugins it needs to work e.g. Woocommerce or BuddyPress have complicated layouts that might need styling.

Things to Consider when buying a commercial website theme

  • Look at a demo site to get a feel for the design and features.
  • Check it supports the plugins you want to use.
  • Look for  a reputable developer or seller, that offers good support.
  • Check it supports the most recent version of WordPress.
  • Was it updated in the last 3 month?

Need help with WordPress?  Check out our WordPress Services.   We can create Bespoke designs and WordPress Theme or other training is you have a lower budget and just need technical help to go the DIY route.

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