Premium Themes VS Custom Themes VS Builders VS Everything – Muletown Digital

Premium Themes VS Custom Themes VS Builders VS Everything

So, you’re in the market for a new website. If you’ve been digging around online, you’ve likely found that there are a million ways to create a small business website. Notice I didn’t say there are a million “effective” ways to create a business website 😉 There is a LOT of confusion with our more website savvy clients about how to best approach building their sites, so I wanted to clear up the differences for you.

Wix. Weebly. Duda. Squarespace. WordPress.com

All the guys above are proprietary platforms meaning that you can utilize their system to build whatever type of site that system will allow you to create. You pay monthly or yearly, and you can do whatever you like with your space there. Most of them have a drag-and-drop builder tool so you can visually create your website there, and you can do it pretty fast and pretty cheap.

Upsides:

  • You do not have to have a website designer or developer.
  • If you’re a visual learner and you work best visually, these guys have great building tools that you can use to make your website quickly.
  • They are fairly cheap. If cost is important to you, these guys work great!
  • You do not have to have hosting; it’s part of their package, so your monthly costs are a little lower.

Downsides:

  • They are usually terrible when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is what allows prospective visitors to find your website. It doesn’t do you much good to have a great site that nobody can find.
  • You have to do it yourself or get a website professional to work on them for you. If you’re a business owner and expert website creator, this might not be a downside for you, but for most of us, this tends to be a problem. Plus, even if you are, do you have the time to sit down and build a site?
  • They are not very expandable. What you get is what you get. As your business grows, it can be very limiting.

WordPress Premium Themes

A premium theme in WordPress is a self-hosted website where you buy a template, install it, and can customize it from there. In my opinion, that is a step up from the builders we just talked about because while it’s a builder, you can customize it.

Upsides:

  • They are pretty inexpensive.
  • You’ll need a website developer to help you set it up, but from there, you can do it yourself without much assistance keeping your costs down.
  • They are more SEO-friendly than the typical builders are.
  • You can expand them into whatever you need them to be, which is helpful as your business grows.

Downsides:

  • They come with a plethora of things in there you don’t need. Bloated/unnecessary code = slower sites = less engagement = poorer results.
  • They are more prone to breaking. Theme updates tend to break things. We get hired to come in and fix these types of themes all the time.
  • You MUST maintain your website and deal with hosting or hire a hosting company to handle it for you.
  • Sometimes, while the design is pretty, they aren’t very effective at converting visitors into customers.

Custom Website

A custom website could be a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. It could be Craft CMS, or it could be a 100% coded custom site (yes, those do exist still, and with good reason).

Upsides:

  • They can be whatever you want or need them to be.
  • They are SEO-friendly and optimized for performance.
  • They are typically super fast, which means more engagement, better SEO, and improved results.
  • They can be expanded and built upon for years and years.
  • They do exactly what you need them to do for you and your users. They are NOT bloated with junk code and functions that you will never need or use.

Downsides:

  • They are more expensive than the other avenues we’ve discussed. You HAVE to hire a website agency or freelancer to do these. Do yourself a favor and avoid the freelancer unless you like managing website projects 🙂
  • You have to host and maintain them as long as you have them. Like buying a puppy, this baby is yours for as long as you need it to work.
  • They take more time to get up and running. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your website shouldn’t be either, but if you need something tomorrow, this is not going to work for you.

 

At the end of the day, there are many ways to build a website.

At Muletown Digital, we focus on building custom websites on a WordPress backbone and Muletown Express sites, which also use WordPress as a framework.

We’ve found that the combination of custom code, builders, and other tools in our WordPress arsenal provides the most value for the investment.

Everything we do is CUSTOM. There is HUGE value in approaching your website in a way where you’re meeting not only your needs but also the needs of your clients.

Need help getting your website started, updated, or fixed? Get in touch with us today!

 

PS – remember, you should always do what is BEST for your business over the long haul! Short-term fixes usually end up with longer-term problems. DO the best thing for your business today!

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