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Explained: Custom Built Themes vs. Pre-Built Themes in WordPress

Shane McClelland of Wibble Web Design belfast
By Shane McClelland 15 September, 20215 MIN READ
Explained: Custom Built Themes v Pre-Built Themes | Wibble Web Design & Development | Blog

As a specialist WordPress web design studio in Belfast, it is our bread and butter to build high performing, fast and secure websites for SME’s from a wide range of industries in both the public and private sector. You might say “I can do that on my own by using a website builder and it will only cost me £350 – and the site will be live in 0.5 seconds”. And yes that may be correct, but it’s not the most reliable route to follow if you are serious about your business growth. 

In order for your business to grow and reach a larger target audience, it really helps to have a responsive website that can be customised, updated and monitored to ensure it is performing at a high level at all times. You do not want downtime – Google doesn’t like downtime. Google, and all search engines, also don’t like a slow website, a non-mobile friendly website, a slow server response time, poor accessibility as well as a lot of other KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).

This is the key reason why we build custom built WordPress themes and avoid pre-built or bought themes that come ready-made and act as budget friendly alternatives. At Wibble, we focus on quality at all times.

But, what’s the difference between a custom built and a pre built theme

Control | Explained: Custom Built Themes v Pre-Built Themes | Wibble Web Design & Development | Blog


With a custom built WordPress theme, you have control over how your website looks, the functions and features you want to have. You create the design from a blank canvas by liaising with our in-house designer. This will help you stand out from the crowd as it is a unique website to you. With a pre-built theme, you have little-to-no control over how your site looks and behaves. The theme is an out-of-box solution that cannot be easily edited.

Much like a building contractor delivering a ready-made house to your new site, it’s cheap and you will be able to move in quickly but you won’t have any control over how many rooms are in the house or how big the kitchen is. The house is also the exact same as your neighbours. Without question, there is a place for bought themes but these come as a compromise on other features that we introduce with a custom design and build.

Reliability & Adaptability

The development team at Wibble are highly proficient at building sites that are reliable with lightweight code which means that there is no unnecessary code adding weight to the page – improving the speed of the server response. There won’t be any unnecessary code or plugins that could slow down your website, or provide an opportunity for potential security breaches because everything is optimised.

With pre-built themes, there are functions that come with the theme that you might never use but they are part of the solution and cannot be removed. This unnecessary extra code that you might never use only becomes an issue for your site and could potentially cause problems in the future. 

Custom themes can also reduce any possible conflicts with plugins as the plugins that you need are the only plugins that are added. This also makes any updates more reliable in the future, enhancing your site even more. Pre-built themes possess plugins that are included in the package and any updates could cause issues especially if the version upgrade is major.

Scalability | Explained: Custom Built Themes v Pre-Built Themes | Wibble Web Design & Development | Blog


Custom-built websites are more scalable. As your business grows, your website will need to grow and adapt as well. With a custom theme, you can implement the right technologies to allow for that growth, the process will be smooth and seamless and shouldn’t require large investments in the future.

Whereas pre-built WordPress themes tend to be less flexible, they cannot be customised because they are built on particular frameworks and structured systems that only support certain technologies or changes. 

Support | Explained: Custom Built Themes v Pre-Built Themes | Wibble Web Design & Development | Blog

Expert Support

The biggest strength of Wibble is the strong bank of knowledge that exists for every component of WordPress in our team. Both during and after a site build, you have access to a developer for as long as you need them. With pre-built themes, you might only have support for 6 months after the site has launched. So what would you do when your site has a 500 Internal Server Error or a 408 Request Timeout Error?

Every project we work on includes a thorough planning, design, development, and testing process. That means every website we develop is tailor-made for specific business objectives, target audiences, and conversion goals.

We also offer a Wibble Support Package where we will run the necessary updates on a monthly basis to ensure that your site is always in the best condition possible.

If you want to learn more about the design and development process, you can have a look at our web design and development process. Or, feel free to contact us for a chat, we can help you better understand the costs, timeline, and benefits associated with your bespoke business and situation.

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Shane McClelland of Wibble Web Design belfast

Shane McClelland

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