Do you have a WordPress website you generate income with? Then you certainly want to stand out in front of people looking for your services.

This starts with moving away from basic WordPress and maximizing your potential with Custom WordPress Development.

What is custom WordPress development?

Custom WordPress development is the development, design and implementation of unique features aligned with a business's unique needs, strategies and goals.

 Compared to just another WordPress site on the web, a custom developed WordPress website considers the complexities a site needs to account for.

For example, if a business website's goal is to convert prospects into buying customers, then the buyer's journey's satisfactory level, such that prospects convert into customers, is determined by how your website is developed.

For your customers

  • Does your website load fast?

  • How is your website UX and UI?

  • Is the buying process clear and easy to follow?

  • Is your website secure for sensitive information?

For your business

  • Is the website SEO friendly?

  • Are you achieving your goals?

  • Are you getting prospects to convert?

  • Are you appearing in front of the right people?

  • Is your website memorable and building brand awareness?

When developers map out a custom WordPress development plan that is specific to your website goals, they account for the above questions, making your website stand out to your customers and from competitors relying on ready-to-use templates and plugin installation.

Custom WordPress development website vs WordPress themes websites

If you don't opt for the Custom WordPress development route, then you settle for theme-based websites.

The major difference between the two is that theme websites are developed according to a pre-existing template and are limited to whatever the theme can and can't accommodate.

On the other hand, we develop a custom WordPress for the business goals which are translated through the website design/development.

The development implementations are also not limited to an existing template, making them endless.

What you should know about theme-based WordPress websites

  • Some themes are not SEO unfriendly

  • Themes can be a gateway for hackers 

  • They can slow down your website loading time.

  • You are limited to what the theme accommodates. 

  • They can be incompatible with some important features.

Despite the above list, theme-based WordPress sites are budget friendly. Thus, these websites are great for people who are not too concerned with growing their establishments for the better. We can say the opposite for Custom WordPress websites.

What you should know about Custom WordPress websites

  • You're guaranteed better security

  • Your website will always be SEO friendly

  • You will have complete control of your website

  • They will personalize the design to match your business goals.

  • You can develop, design and implement every feature you want to. 

Unlike theme-based websites, a custom developed website accommodates every complexity that comes with wanting to build a high-functioning WordPress website. Some may argue that custom developed websites are expensive compared to the former, but they achieve more results, making them worth it.

Custom WordPress website's main benefits

Custom WordPress websites have endless benefits because they are 360% projects. This means they account for every aspect of your website may need to consider.

For whatever unique reason you consider investing in a custom WordPress website, qualified developers will work around and for your unique goals.

Since custom websites give you full control over your site, you can implement new necessary features at the end of time without limitations.

Every benefit is available to you simply because you have a custom WordPress.

1. Secure security and little vulnerabilities 

It comes down to WordPress being an open-source platform. This means the code it operates on is public, making it vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Though beneficial, themes and plugins you install on your WordPress are also gateways for cyber attacks.

Therefore, you have to update both outdated WordPress versions, themes and plugins consistently.

On the other hand, we do not design a custom WordPress site according to a theme's pre-existing code, nor WordPress's open-source code.

 We develop a custom WordPress site according to your unique goals. This means developers account for efficiency, making custom sites require minimal updates with long-standing secure security.

2. SEO compatibility and friendliness

Whatever the reason you have a WordPress site, the goal is for it to rank on the search engine. Besides needing a good SEO strategy for this, how you develop your WordPress site affects your overall SEO success.

The theme you use can work against your SEO even when they claim it is SEO friendly. A theme on its own is also not enough to build a full functioning site, and thus, you need to install plugins too, which also adds to SEO dysfunction.

On the other hand, a custom WordPress website is built up keeping your goals and needed features in mind so to reduce the need for installations that may work against your SEO.

When you use a custom theme developed by an expert WordPress developer, the end goal is not to create a general theme that can appeal to many basic sites, but a theme that offers top performance, is SEO friendly and has functions aligned with your overall growth strategy.  

We expect that a custom WordPress developer will keep both technical and on-site SEO elements in mind. This includes sitemaps (especially for big websites), website speed, page and content optimization, URL structure, schema, etc.

3. Easy Customization

There is a debate about whether how your website looks affects the overall success of your WordPress. While these questions are valid, they cannot account for the complexity of customization.

Themes prioritize four customization areas, i.e. Home Page, Header, Footer and Menus. In extension of these elements, you can also customize your sidebar, blog page, widgets and overall look.

For a business website, assuming it has a lot to achieve through its website, these limited customization areas are not enough. You can't be worried about how your website looks without considering technical customization.

To maximize your WordPress's potential, you should be able to customize it without limitation. The customization should add needed functionalities that push business goals forward. A custom WordPress website allows for such customization.

4. Easy and minimal maintenance 

A website made of third party themes and many plugins will need maintenance without question.

This is because theme and plugin developers constantly release updated versions of their products to improve the overall experience of your website; to be compatible with preferred theme and plugins; and also minimizes security vulnerabilities that come with these respective elements.

By default, this makes a non-custom WordPress website subject to too many complicated maintenance actions compared to a custom WordPress website.  

5. Website is aligned with set business/growth goals

A simple non-custom website is definitely enough if you don't have ambitious goals to achieve through your WordPress. But if you do, a custom WordPress site is the one that will see that you achieve these goals.

 We do not limit custom WordPress websites to existing functionalities. We can model them around any feature, making them business strategy efficient.

How to decide if you need a Custom WordPress website

Having mentioned that not everyone needs a custom WordPress site, we have to define things one must consider in choosing the custom WordPress development route.

The main deciding factor are the goals you have as well as the things you want to do and accommodate through your website.

For example, a simple blog that only wants to capture its traffic's emails for a mailing list is simple compared to a website that encourages its users to create user accounts to access protected content and pages.

1. Define your WordPress site goals 

Before anything, outline the use you have for your website.

  • What main purpose will your website serve?

  • What website features do you need?

  • Will your website have just a few pages or a lot of pages?

  • Is the expected size of your website likely to slow it down?

Answering these questions should shed the light on what you stand to lose out on and gain depending on the choice you make.

Think about it broadly. For example, a large website with many pages has to be serious about its UX and UI. Despite the site's size, it should be pleasant to browse through in order to keep prospects' attention and convert them.

Above all, business websites with large strategies should opt for custom development. You should also be clear about your business' purpose  

  • What will you sell through your website?

  • Who do you want to attract to your business?

  • What does success look like for your business?

2. Map out needed features to match ideal UX and UI

What is certain about creating a custom WordPress website is that we build it with clear intentions.

Instead of just developing a website for the sake of it, a custom website caters to a specified target audience and strives to achieve set goals.

This means that the way the website will appear to a user (User Interface) is a carefully thought-through approach. The same is said for the way you want your customers to feel when they interact with your website (user experience).

This is the part where you will account for:

  • What technical requirements do I have to think about?

  • What website navigations and functions are non-negotiable?

  • What is a visually appealing look for my business / website?

  • What is considered a pleasant experience relative to my services or product?

  • What type of page layout would create a flowing website for the business I have?

Answering these questions through your custom WordPress design will help your website push your business goals forward.

How to hire the right WordPress developer for your website

Having considered the above information and concluded you indeed need to develop a custom WordPress website, you now have to think about hiring a WordPress developer who will deliver intended results.  

There are different WordPress developers, i.e. Freelance WordPress developers, WordPress designers and WordPress agencies.

For a custom WordPress development project, consider hiring a WordPress agency over a WordPress freelancer. This is because WordPress agencies will offer more skills and expertise compared to a one-man show.

Skills you might get from a WordPress agency.

  • A WordPress developer

  • A WordPress designer

  • A UX and UI designer

  • A project manager

  • A business analyst

  • A frontend developer

  • A backend developer

Since WordPress agencies are pricey compared to freelancers, sometimes you might find yourself inclined to hire the latter. Here, vet your freelancer to make sure they have WordPress developer key skills. 

Custom WordPress website costs

Just how much money you might spend developing a custom WordPress site depends on who you decide to hire between a freelance WordPress developer and a WordPress agency.

The price difference can range from as low as $5 per hour to $300 per hour. Another huge factor to your costs is the type of website you are looking to build; where you source the people / company you hire as well as the region of the hired respective.

Indian agencies or developers are typically the cheapest, with the USA one's being the most expensive.

E.g. Indian $10 to $50 per hour price vs USA'S $100 to $300 per hour.

Things that affect your website development costs

The region - where the person / company you hire is based will vary.

The type of website - The more complex the website, the more the number of hours put into it. This directly increases the price.

  • Landing page website

  • Portfolio website

  • Blog Website

  • E-Commerce website

  • Magazine/ News website

  • Saas Website

  • Directory Website

  • Service Business website

The prices for the above website types are certainly not the same. The difference in size, complexity and the committed hours affect the pricing.

Who you hire - Again, a WordPress agency will be more pricey than a WordPress freelancer.

Where you hire - Where you find someone to hire also speaks to their pricing point.

  • Marketplace hire - marketplaces are full of freelancers ranging from as cheap as $5 to $300 per hour. The choice is yours.

  • Outsourcing agency hire - Outsourcing agencies are more expensive than freelancers, but are typically cheaper than big agencies.

Development agency hire - Agencies are costly but usually worth it. Depending on the project, you can spend as low as $5000 to as high as $100 000.

Recap: Why a Custom WordPress website?

Consider getting a custom website developed because of the following benefits:

  • Secure security

  • Intentional UX and UI

  • Diverse functionality

  • Improved fast performance

  • Forever SEO friendly website

  • Minimal easy maintenance

  • Catering to a set target audience

  • Website aligned with business needs and goals

Looking for more insight before deciding?

Get a comprehensive audit that will identify working and missed opportunities for your website and business growth.

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John Hooley
President, Steward

John is a graduate of 10,000 Small Businesses, a certified Customer Acquisition Specialist, and a Zend Certified Engineer. He speaks and writes on connecting digital strategy to association goals. Outside of work he's an avid traveler, climber, diver, and a burgeoning sailor. He also volunteers with Rotary and Big Brothers Big Sisters.