One of the most popular systems that websites are built on now is a content management system called WordPress. 19% of the world’s websites run on WordPress which is a very large portion.
Because of its large market saturation, there are thousands of pre-made themes available to download for WordPress, both free and paid.
All of the content on a WordPress site (i.e. the text on your pages and articles) are all stored in a database. When a user loads the site, the theme determines how that page will look, and then the content is pulled in separately. This means that you can change the theme of the site as often as you want, and all the content within the site will stay the same.
If you’re getting your site done by someone who is not really a web professional, often what they will do is install WordPress and set-up a pre-made theme for you. There are even some web designers that simply purchase and install WordPress themes for you.
With all these themes available, it is super easy to get a website up and a design installed for very cheap. However, using pre-made WordPress themes is not a good choice for a small business that wants a professional and high-quality website.
Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t use pre-made WordPress themes:
If someone is installing and customizing your theme for you, they will probably add your logo onto the theme, and maybe even change the colours. But beyond that, there is not much else they can customize without really digging into the code (which they probably don’t know how to do if they are using a theme).
This means that your site will not match the rest of your visual identity.
Consistency is key to a recognizable brand, and your website is a crucial part of your marketing. You want people to instantly recognize that they are at YOUR website. A templated website just can’t do this for you.
Additionally, when you use a premade theme, your site could look like hundreds of other sites out there on the web that are using the same theme. This is like showing up to a party with the same outfit as someone else. If a customer comes across another website that looks JUST like yours, but with a different logo, its.. well, a little embarassing!
A lot of premade themes (especially paid ones in my experience) have severe feature bloat. This means they have a lot of extra bells and whistles included for you just in case you need them. You probably won’t ever use most of these extra features and they really weigh down your site and increase load time for your visitors.
Site speed is an important factor in the way Google ranks websites because it really impacts user experience. If a site visitor has to wait more than a few seconds on your site, they may decide its not worth the wait (and head to your competitor).
A premade theme can cost you valuable customers, and a lower rank on Google’s search results pages.
This is the biggest issue for me. I believe that a website should be custom made to help the business achieve their marketing goals. A WordPress theme is a very “cookie-cutter” way of making a website. There is little freedom in how the page is laid out, and if you need something specific for your business, then you’re pretty much out of luck.
Too often I see people trying to ram their content to fit into the design of a premade WordPress theme. But it should really be the other way around. The site should be designed around the content, as that is the most important part. The content is what your visitors are there for, and it is what will help you market your business effectively.
Additionally, I find that many themes are made to look trendy and flashy without much consideration for user experience. They use large image sliders and fancy menus, but these things have been proven time and time again to only drive visitors away.
Designers are problem solvers. When you hire a web designer to create a custom site for you, they will understand you and your business, your customers, and what your goals are with your website so that they can build the best website for you and your needs.
When most people hire a web designer, they are putting their trust in their designer to give them a great quality site. Often they don’t know enough about web development to tell a quality web designer from one who is not so great.
If you’re asking a web-savvy friend of a friend to make your site for you, you can’t really expect to get a quality site. You get what you pay for
If you’re hiring a web designer to create a site for you, get as much information as you can from them on how your site will be built. You can ask:
Informing yourself and getting educated is the first step to ensuring that your website is the quality that you deserve.
For more advice on getting a new website and how to make sure you are getting your money’s worth, download my free ebook: The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Getting a New Website.