Paid Theme or Custom Development? We Compare Both Options

Paid Theme or Custom Development? We Compare Both Options

When starting a new project for your client, should you choose a paid theme or custom development?

Over 40% of all sites on the internet are powered by WordPress. The platform is highly customisable which can be a challenge for new users. One of the most common questions is, ‘What is The Difference Between Paid Themes and Custom Development?’


Paid Theme Vs Custom Development

The main difference between the two is that a custom site is built from scratch while paid themes are premade sites. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages and one option may be better for some business models over the other.

Custom WordPress Development

Custom WordPress development gives you the flexibility to bring your clients’ vision to life. As a white label development firm, Codeias can help you build page templates and customise site functionality to suit your client’s needs.

Custom themes are built with one specific site in mind so all parts of the site are designed to work collaboratively with no need for extra coding. Customised WordPress themes are also more expensive than paid themes, but they are almost always the ideal solution to offer your clients full control of the site.



  • Complete control- Custom WordPress themes give users complete control and allow them to make content edits.
  • Uniquely built- Custom WordPress themes are tailored with the user’s business in mind. Businesses trying to scale upwards need to stand out from the rest so a uniquely built site is a big plus.
  • Highly adaptable- Custom websites are built to fit your clients business in terms of both design and functionality.
  • SEO-Friendly- Custom sites are not only lean, but they are also search engine friendly. Crawlers can read every page on the site properly which boosts SEO.



  • Expensive- Hiring a web developer and designer is costly and building a custom WordPress theme from scratch is much more expensive than buying a paid theme.
  • Time- Custom theme sites also take longer to build. If you are starting a new project it can take months to get everything right.


Paid Theme

Not all businesses require custom-built websites. A paid WordPress theme can be customised to suit your client’s brand saving helping them generate leads and save time. Popular paid themes include Divi, Jupiter, Salient, and X Theme among others.

Paid themes are prefabricated page templates that contain the visual elements of the site and can be integrated with plugins to elevate functionality. Built by WordPress developers, paid themes are sold to as many users as possible.

Although paid themes offer some flexibility, users need additional code to accommodate more function combinations. Some offer too many functionalities when the user only needs a few.



  • Cost-effective- Paid themes are budget-friendly offering a plug-and-play approach for small businesses. These themes can also be customised using free plugins and add-ons.
  • Short development time- If you are working within short time frames, a paid theme is the way to go. Development time is greatly reduced with the pre-built website themes and designs can be tweaked in as little as two weeks.
  • Variety of options- There are lots of paid themes to choose from for every industry which offers small businesses an excellent starting point.
  • No special skills required- Paid themes do not require any special skills or knowledge to run. Some themes are simple drag-and-drop options that are very easy to use.



  • Higher learning curve- Paid themes are self-managed which means users have to manage and update site plugins, security, and WordPress updates themselves which can be challenging.
  • Excessive code- While paid themes will typically feature lots of features to try and fit the needs of multiple businesses, the result is an increased amount of backend code which may slow down the site and hurt its ranking.
  • Limited designs and styles- Paid themes are built to appeal to a wide audience and branding options are limited by default styles and designs.
  • Less support- Working with a developer ensures you have someone to take care of debugging, troubleshooting, and other issues. Paid themes come with limited support.
  • Limited migration and future changes- Businesses moving to a custom theme cannot migrate their content. The pre-applied shortcodes in the paid themes often break during migration and most businesses have to start from scratch.


Which WordPress Option is Right For Your Client’s Business?

Each business is unique with a specific target audience. While paid themes are cheaper and ideal for starter websites looking for a quick reliable solution, a business with more advanced needs would benefit from a robust, customised site.


Get in touch with us on 01257 758 078 or email us at to make further inquiries about paid themes and custom development options for an upcoming project.