This is a question you probably won’t know the answer to, but hopefully after reading this article, you will have a clear understanding of the options you have and what will suit your needs best.

At the end of the day, it’s about what you want, what you can afford and what you are willing to spend. You have the following options:

  • You can use a theme as is – there are many free themes and premium themes available
  • Customising a WordPress theme
  • Building your theme from scratch


Here are the pro’s and con’s of each:

Using an existing theme as is


  • It’s a quick and easy way to get a website
  • It’s the cheapest option. Themes range from R0 to R800+
  • Typically built for someone with limited technical WordPress experience, so you can do it yourself
  • It usually comes with tools to help you construct your site, such as columns, easily inserting images and sliders
  • If you are using a Premium theme, it usually comes with technical support, so you should be set if you run into some issues
  • You are limited to changing things. Some themes only allow certain fonts and colours, certain layouts
  • You can’t guarantee that the theme was built with quality code, so it may be a security risk
  • Some themes are really difficult to figure out
  • The result won’t be as good as a custom website
  • Reliance on theme developer for support and updates
  • You will have the same design as many other companies with the same theme


Customizing a WordPress theme


  • It is usually quicker to get done than to built a site from scratch, depending on the theme you choose. The more difficult the theme, the longer we have to spend on it, the more it costs
  • It’s usually way cheaper than a custom website, depending on the theme you choose
  • It’s functionality and styles are already built-in, that is a advantage if you already like the theme’s design, but a disadvantage if you want to change a lot, because some features are hard – or impossible to change
  • Because of the way some themes are built, it is really hard to customise, because they allow only certain fonts, colours and layouts
  • A bit more expensive than using the theme as is, depending on how long it takes to change the theme
  • Some themes are really complicated, and could take longer to figure out than it would’ve taken a developer to create it from scratch, that is also a contributing factor to the price increase


Building your site from scratch


  • Built specifically to meet business objectives
  • Your website will be more flexible for customisations
  • You can choose the  layout and design you want,
  • Nobody else will have a site like yours – your site will be completely unique
  • Building your site  can sometimes take longer, because everything must be built from scratch
  • It may be more expensive, depending on the design and functionality you want

You can do most of the set-up of your website yourself, but we really would recommend hiring a web developer/web development company to do it for you, it may cost you more, but you won’t be sorry, that is if you chose the right web developer. ( Read more about choosing your web developer HERE ).  Working with websites we have learnt that it takes little to nothing for a website to crash, and that you need someone who knows how to fix it when something like this does happen.

If you want to use a WordPress theme and decide that you want to make major changes to it, it may be time consuming to have a developer make changes to the layout of the theme. Every theme is developed differently and therefore the developer must first familiarise themselves with the way each individual theme was developed before making the changes.  If you need to make major changes to the theme, consider having a theme built from scratch to meet your needs instead. Because if you realise that you don’t like the theme and would like to customise a lot of things, it may end up costing you more than it would’ve cost to just build your site from scratch in the first place.

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