Waypoint Web Design builds websites using either pre-built website themes or custom website designs depending on the needs of the client. Each option has its own unique advantages and pitfalls which are highlighted below to help clients choose the best website for their needs.

Pre-built Themes

Pre-built themes are a single set of coded files that are sold multiple times. Pre-built themes produce websites which allow for some design modifications such as colors and layouts and the addition of logos, images, and text. Some of the most popular pre-built themes have been sold more than 200K times.

Custom Designed Themes

Custom designed themes are completely customized to the specific needs of the client. Based on website requirements, custom designed themes may be created using completely new code, or on top of frameworks or existing code bases. The goal is to find the right software / system for the website while also remaining within the client's budget.

Pre-built Theme Advantages

Cost is one of the major advantages of using a pre-built theme. Pre-built themes are normally very inexpensive (usually between $50 to $100) compared to a custom designed website theme since the pre-built theme creator is hoping to sell the same theme many different times, thereby spreading out the cost of web design and development onto many clients (over a hundred thousand if they are lucky). On the other hand, a custom built website theme is usually much more expensive because web designers who build custom websites usually do not resell their themes and must charge a single client the full cost of the custom designed theme's web design and development time.

Project duration is also another major advantage for pre-built websites. Usually, since no major web design or development work is required, a website using a pre-built theme can be launched very quickly compared to a custom designed theme.

Custom Website Advantages

Customization and uniqueness in both appearance and capabilities are a major advantage of custom designed themes. Many popular pre-built themes are sold over 100K times, and might even be used much more than their sales numbers imply (WordPress themes are GPL licensed themes, and as such, their reuse is not limited). Even though popular pre-built themes allow for some customization, as a whole, websites using the same theme will appear very similar, which is a disadvantage for many business which prefer to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Website load times are usually better for custom designed themes. As a general rule in the pre-built theme marketplace, features sell. To this end, pre-built theme makers load their themes with many different features which significantly add to the file size of the theme and its load time. As an example, the home page of one of the most popular themes makes over 130 different requests (JavaScript, images, etc) and weighs in at over 3.5 MB. The bloat of some themes is so great that a survey of pre-built themes found that almost 40% of pre-built theme demos are constructed to appear faster in their demo than they would within typical operating environments. Many pre-built theme demos run on fast dedicated servers whereas most businesses use slower shared hosting. Other pre-built theme makers have been caught intentionally modifying their theme demos with extra modifications that do not appear in the versions they sell to clients.

Website loading times are very important because a slow loading web page can turn away clients and cause them to bring their business to competitors. Also Google uses website load times as a factors to rank websites.

For Waypoint Web Design clients, long term website support is another advantage of custom designed themes. We are able to easily make updates and modifications to websites running custom themes we have created. For clients using pre-built themes, the client is responsible for all website and theme updates.