When you get a WordPress web design, that typically means your web developer is creating or customizing a theme for you. There are two basic types of theme projects out there.

Customized theme: When your web designer buys a pre-made theme and edits it to include your logo and brand colors. There’s a diverse market of themes for sale which give web designers a head start and shorten the web development process.

Completely custom theme: When you want your web designer to build everything but the content management system (CMS) from scratch.

What type of project should you be looking at? It all depends on time and money. And because time is always short, I’ve broken down the project types based on budget.

Small Budgets

Pre-made themes provide a framework for your web developer to customize. They short-circuit the typically long development timeline. The time savings means a customized WordPress theme is often priced just right for small to medium budgets.

Note that I’m talking about getting a customized theme, not custom. This customizing approach gets its value from the time savings of building on a pre-set design. The project scope is narrow and the options are limited. You may not be able to pick your own font or change other pre-set features. Ask your web designer how they got their pricing and what options you can expect to have before signing a contract.

Big Budget

A completely custom design takes more time and more people to get exactly what you want. This approach is valuable for big enterprises with special needs. Or just very picky people.

A custom theme might use a kind of framework, but no pre-made design features. It’s all you, baby. Of course, you’re going to pay a premium to use the time, resources and man-power required for an all custom project.

Ready for a few bonus scenarios? A web design project isn’t always defined by budget. Sometimes it’s about time and project scope.


Dealing with a small budget or rush means the project scope must be incredibly narrow and focused. I can build a site with WordPress in hours with a partially custom theme. It will be very clean, simple and even Apple-like. But there will be few pages with minimal decoration and minimal customization to the base theme.

You also have to trust your web designer and agree to their first or second draft without nitpicking. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

If a rush requires narrow project scope, there’s another type of project that comes loaded with the widest scope and some of the longest time lines as a result.

Convert My Site To WordPress

Ah, the old CMS conversion. Depending on your existing website’s setup, the cost might be great or it might be right in your target budget. If you’re a small business with a basic setup, we can help with a partial-custom theme.

But maybe you’ve got custom modules to recreate and lots of costly data stored in the old system that must be preserved. Not to mention a large staff to retrain. If that’s you, start looking for a marketing company to advise on design and a development company with teams of programmers ready to tackle your project with a totally custom WordPress theme and even custom plugins.

Want more information about WordPress? We’ve got seminars all winter that cover the latest in marketing and WordPress. And if you’re looking for a customized theme, or just want help planning your website, we’d love to help out.