Types of websites and what website works for you

So you’re looking at building a new website for your small business. You’ve found a developer you think you can trust. While talking with him/her, you decide you want to use WordPress for the backend. They then give you an option of taking a prebuilt theme and skinning it to match your branding or building a custom theme.

Which option should you take?

Well, that’s a pretty tough answer for me to answer here. After all, it’s your business, and I have no idea what your situation is. The good news is that there’s no really wrong answer here. It’s all about what works for you and your business.

So, here’s a closer look of what I consider to be the two main options when building a new website.

Taking stock of where you are

Before you do anything major with your business, you must first figure out where you are. That’s the only way to plan for the future. To find out where you must go, you must find out where you are.

I would definitely classify a new website as something major with your website. And you need to figure out where your business is so that you can plan for the correct type of website. If you’re just starting out or are struggling, you probably aren’t going to have the resources for a completely custom website. And that’s perfectly fine.

On the other side, if you’re doing well with a basic website and want to grow more, it’s probably time to put in the resources and effort for a completely custom website. This would give you complete control and separate you from the rest of the pack.

But the type of website (or theme if you’re going with WordPress) you need depends on where you are right now.

Prebuilt, skinned themes

If you don’t have a lot of resources to pour into a website, I would recommend having a prebuilt theme installed and changed to match your business’ style, if you were working with me.

While I understand that there might be some hesitation about using a prebuilt theme, if you’re in this situation, it’s going to be the best route. If you’re needing a new website on a small budget, you likely either have no website or a website that’s not very useful. Using a prebuilt theme will help get you a modern-looking website quick and fairly cheap.

And prebuilt themes on their own aren’t that bad. ThemeForest has a number of quality themes, and StudioPress is the standard for prebuilt themes. I’ve been using them for the past four years at my work with Faith Growth and they are top quality and very easy to customize.

And then we can change out the colors to match your logo and really make it your own website. There’s nothing wrong with going down this route.

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Completely custom themes

But, if you are established and have the resources, I would recommend you go with a completely custom theme if you were working with me.

Why? Well, a custom theme allows you to do just about anything you want with your website. Want a blog? No problem. Want an e-commerce store? No problem. Even want a forum? Again, no issue. The designer and developer can make that happen.

Plus, it allows you to stand out from the crowd. Ideally, if you’re at this stage, you’re really trying to grow your brand. And having a custom design that no one else has can really help you stand out. It’s something that says “this is your business”.

And it’s more likely that you won’t need a new website at least any time soon. Because of the control you have, you can have it set up to grow along with your business, meaning you don’t need to throw it out for a new one every year. And that saves time and money in the long run.

Which decision to make

So what decision should you make? What type of site is the best for you and your business? Well, I can’t tell you that right now. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide.

Again, you’re going to have to figure out where you are with your business and where you want it to go. And then there’s the pesky part about what can you put into a new site.

But no matter what direction you end up going, there isn’t necessarily a wrong one. It’s all about knowing what you can do and finding the right option for you.

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