Bespoke WordPress themes vs WordPress templates

Thinking about buying an off-the-shelf WordPress template or wondering if a bespoke WordPress theme would be better? In this blog we cover the pros and cons of both.

Turnaround time

WordPress templates can be a great option for small businesses just starting out. Those that are tech savvy could have a simple site up and running within a few hours, providing they have the content ready. On the other hand a bespoke theme would take longer to develop, but it would be entirely tailored to your business and geared towards meeting your business and marketing goals.


Commercial themes often contain options and plugins that you may never use. These unused features can create an increase in response times, and can cause your website to slow down. This can have a negative impact on the user experience and SEO rankings. In general, it is best to keep your WordPress installation down and use the minimum plugins possible. This will increase website speed and help maintain security.


If you use the theme in its default state you run the risk of another business using the same template – so your website may look exactly the same as another. This could cause brand confusion, diluting your business credibility. To make the website look different you’d need to spend a lot of development time modifying the theme styling. As well as being time consuming, it can be difficult to get the look you want within the constraints of the theme. Often this time could have been better spent designing a unique custom website that looks exactly the way you want and professionally represents your brand.

Ease of updates

The correct way to modify a WordPress theme is to use something called a ‘Child Theme’. This ensures that crucial updates can still be applied to the theme without affecting the modifications. If you (or a developer) modifies a theme without using a ‘Child Theme’, any updates that become available for the core theme may wipe out your custom styling. You may not be aware of this until it is too late, so you’ll waste time restoring the website from a backup, and potentially lose your latest content.

Another potential issue with buying themes is that updates for the theme aren’t always provided, or they require payment of an additional fee. This means that if there are any incompatibilities with the latest version of WordPress, your website could stop working. You are then forced to delay updating WordPress until an update has been developed, which will then leave your website open to potential hacks and viruses.


Many WordPress templates do come with WooCommerce functionality, but you’d need a custom developed theme if you have complex requirements. We’ve developed a number of  bespoke websites that integrate with WooCommerce, including Glastonbury Spring Water, Workplace Stuff and Hot Tub Necessities.


When buying a WordPress theme, there’s no way of knowing how well features have been coded. Sloppy code could lead to possible security holes which may allow a hacker to compromise your website.

Commercial themes could be used by thousands of different customers. Some of these customers may have purchased the theme with the main intention of looking for security vulnerabilities. If any are found, they know that there are potentially thousands of possible website targets. If you build a bespoke theme, the only person who can view the source code is yourself, which naturally increases the security of your website.

Are you still on the fence about which option best suits your business? Why not contact us today to arrange a free, no obligation meeting to discuss your requirements.

James PattenTechnical Director

Don't blend in, stand out from the crowd with a bespoke website from Cognique

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