If you’re at all familiar with the WordPress content management / blogging system, you’ll be aware that WordPress sites are built around the WordPress application core (this provides the functionality) and a theme (this provides the design and, to some extent, the site structure), with plugins filling the gaps between what the core and theme provide and what you actually need.
All in all, WordPress is a great tool for producing smart, functional websites using less effort than building from scratch, as long as the functionality you need isn’t too outlandish. It also has a thriving theme community, with thousands of themes available free of charge and many more at a price.
But should you use a free third-party theme? Well, it depends. Let’s assume that you find a third party theme that looks roughly how you want your site to look (aside from changing the header image or the odd colour or font). Should you use it?
Of course, these pros and cons may be more or less relevant to you, depending on the purpose of your site. But if some of the disadvantages are show-stoppers, what alternatives do you have?
Using a commercial (i.e. not free) off-the-shelf theme may solve your problem. Some of the best commercial themes (I’m thinking of frameworks like Thesis) offer a huge level of flexibility, and support is often better, allowing you to get help with adjusting the theme to your exact requirements.
But that flexibility usually comes with a price – namely, a bewildering array of settings and options, often with several ways to achieve the same thing. And you may still find that the particular combination of plugins you want to use is not supported by the design or structure.
Another alternative is of course to create your own from scratch, or to completely gut and rebuild an existing free theme. However, if you have the necessary PHP and CSS skills to do that, you’re probably not reading this post, so it’s included here purely for completeness.
Clearly it depends on how much money you’ve got to spend, but going this route has a number of advantages:
Still with me? Consider adding ZigPress to your shortlist of developers 🙂
Custom WordPress themes created by ZigPress start from around €250 for a simple but smart design. A complete WordPress-based site (theme, setup, structure and initial content) can be provided from around €450 upwards, depending on requirements. Contact ZigPress for further details.