Why we develop custom WordPress themes at Circle Media
Back in 2003, WordPress started its life as a blogging platform as a way for people to easily publish their content on the internet. It didn’t take long to gain a following, and the release of WordPress 1.5 in 2005 saw the introduction of themes as we now know them. Website developers quickly saw the potential for theme customisation, and soon WordPress became the flexible content management system it is today. If you’re thinking about having a custom website built for your brand or business, you should really consider using a custom WordPress theme. Here’s why we love custom WordPress themes at Circle Media – and why we don’t recommend off-the-shelf themes if you’re serious about your website.
Ease of use for you, and your website visitors
WordPress allows for the storage of custom data on the backend which can then be rendered on the frontend. What does this mean for your site? Essentially, any custom information that should be displayed on your site, can be. And it can be easily updated via the WordPress admin area. And the best bit – it can look exactly how you want it to. At Circle Media we make sure it is easy for our clients to add, edit and modify the content on their WordPress website.
Often commercial WordPress themes are shipped with pre-determined content sections. This can make it difficult to add new sections to a page and can also affect how the page appears. As soon as you commit to a commercial theme, you are also committing to the restrictions of that theme. This can mean outlaying more money that you anticipated to have it changed.
Customisation – your brand and your message
Sometimes businesses will try to save money on their website build by paying someone to modify a commercial theme. However, this can often end up looking like someone just stuck their logo on another person’s website – because this is pretty much what it is. Commercial themes are designed and developed to be ‘everything to everyone’. But that’s not necessarily the best solution for your business or brand.
Commercial themes often focus on a specific photo which shapes the appearance of the design. When these stock photos are replaced with images that relate to the actual business, the impact is often lost, and the website lacks the same aesthetic appeal.
When Circle Media design a custom WordPress theme from scratch, we start with your branding collateral and any media assets that you have available. This enables us to base your website design on your brand media, brand guidelines, and brand message. Once you sign off on the design, your website will be developed with your photos and videos. This will enhance your website message and aesthetics, not detract from them.
When it comes small to medium businesses and local services, if you want to stand out from your competition the first thing your website should do is communicate your message while matching your brand. Having a website specifically tailored to you instead of a generic theme is the first step.
Avoiding bugs and code conflicts
As mentioned before, commercial WordPress themes often try to be everything to everyone – which means including many features as possible.
In theory this makes sense. But it can also result in a lot of unnecessary code running on the frontend and backend of your website. It also means that the simple upkeep of your WordPress site – updating plugins or the WordPress core version – could ultimately break part or all of your website.
At Circle Media, our custom WordPress themes only include as much code as is needed for the specific client build. This means the theme won’t have unnecessary bloat and there is a much smaller chance for code conflicts.
We also use as few third-party plugins as possible, so that each of our WordPress websites do not have to rely on plugins for basic functionality.
Support, updates and management
When your website is built using a custom WordPress theme by Circle Media, it means that you are going to receive personalised support. This is particularly important during the first month or two after your website goes live. We want our clients to understand how to manage their websites, and when something isn’t quite as they’d expected, we’ll fix it quickly. The flexibility that comes with a custom WordPress theme also allows us to make changes and additions to your website once it’s gone live. If you’re looking at your website at work and it’s missing an element or a page, Circle Media will make the changes to fix it.
Commercial themes often come with the option of support for the first year, but it’s generally via a support queue with other users and you might be waiting days for a response. In most instances, commercial WordPress theme developers will not offer support for customisations or integration of third-party plugins or tools. So if part of your support request is for either of these things, you’ll likely be met with a no or charged hefty additional fees. This can quickly make this less affordable than investing in a custom theme in the first place.
When a WordPress theme or install is not up to date, the risk of security vulnerabilities, plugin conflicts, and code deprecation rises. At Circle Media, we will always develop your custom website theme for the most recent version of WordPress at the time – and with an eye on the direction of future versions. Using the recent WordPress codebase ensures there is a much lower risk of integrating third-party plugins.
Investing your time and money wisely
If you simply need to get your business online as quickly as possible for the lowest cost, purchasing a commercial WordPress theme can be tempting – and in some situations, this may be all your business requires. The headaches – and invoices – usually come when you need your commercial website theme to do something that meets your specific business needs.
If you plan to build a long-lasting, aesthetically-pleasing presence online that is tailored specifically to your brand and message, investing in a custom WordPress theme is your best bet. If you’re interested in learning more about Circle Media’s WordPress development services or seeing some of our custom WordPress work, contact us today.