Should you choose a premium or custom theme for your website?

Choosing the right website theme is critical for maximising a website’s success. The right theme will allow the website to achieve its web goals and thrive. The wrong selection will be costly and can cause major setbacks that will prevent the site performing to expectations. Several website owners and managers have faced this dilemma before and they’ve done their best to make the right calculated decision. However, the choice isn’t always clear-cut because the theme selection needs to consider either personal, business or web development interests that will allow the site to thrive.

Web development experts Pixelstorm have helped several clients when they are facing this type of scenario. Their leading web designer says that people or businesses that plan to develop websites must honestly ask and answer the following questions before deciding what theme to invest in.


Can you afford to spend more than $10,000 developing your website?

Developing a custom theme requires web developers, designers, SEOs and content publishers who can work together to create your perfect website. Because the website is being developed from scratch, there is a lot more planning, strategizing and testing that is required to make sure the website goes live.

The amount of time that’s needed from staff depends on the complexity of the website build. Furthermore, costs will need to be considered for maintaining and updating the website after it’s launch.

Another factor to consider is the cost of the infrastructure to build your custom website. Depending on the website’s foundation platform, purchasing or subscribing to a web CMS platform could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars every month.

If you need a cheaper solution, then purchasing a premium theme will be ideal. You can purchase professional themes from as little as $50USD and there is usually a web development team continually working to upgrade the theme behind the scene at no extra cost to you. Some of the premium themes also provide support which is either included in the theme’s purchase fee or can be paid for separately for an additional cost which is usually much cheaper than hiring a dedicated web developer.


Have you researched any premium themes that can provide the customisations that you want for your website?

A lot of people dismiss the option for customisable premium themes because they feel that it won’t provide them with everything that they need. However, there are several themes and web platforms that can be purchased with all of the functions that are offered in a custom theme.


Before making a choice, identify what essential things you need for your website. For example:

  • What kind of web template theme do you want? (Would you like to display your site as a brochure? Magazine, e-commerce, subscription site?)
  • What kind of CMS platform is the theme compatible with? (Do you need to run the site on WordPress, Drupal, Magento, BigCommerce, EpiServer, etc.)
  • How much automation does the website theme need to perform? (E.g. Capturing and processing emails, leads and sales)
  • Will the theme provide all of the SEO components that’s needed to make sure the site ranks well on Google?


Something to keep in mind with premium themes is that because it is an ‘off-the-shelf’ product, it is usually built with coding and plugins that will cater for different buyers. This means your site is more likely to be heavier and slower compared to a custom built theme. You can click here to read more about differences between custom and premium builds.

It’s important that you choose the right website theme from the outset. Websites that choose the wrong theme realise their mistake when it’s too late. By then, their choice is costing them hundreds, thousands or even millions of dollars in web maintenance, web development costs and lost sales opportunities. Identify what it is you want from your website, the budget that you can allocate to develop it and then decide whether to go ahead with a premium or custom theme.


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