It’s always so easy to assume everyone knows the jargon when it comes to website design, but that’s not always the case! We thought we’d spend some time in this blog to really explain what a ‘theme’ is, and how this can help when choosing your platform for your new website – especially when it comes to future proofing!

As a website visitor, you’ll be looking at the frontend of a website when you’re browsing through. This means you’re looking at the content of the website, as well as its design. It’s this design which is called a ‘theme’ – this is how the website looks in terms of layout, colours, fonts and any stylish designs.

To confuse matters slightly, you refer to a theme whether or not it is one you have purchased out of the box, downloaded for free, or had developed by a website designer. This is where we see some confusion when it comes to costings from website designers (from the client point of view), so it’s always important to make sure you do know what you’re getting.

Free or Premium Themes

For the most part, with any platform you choose to create your website on, there will be a selection of free or premium themes (downloadable). This means the theme has already been created by a designer/developer, and you can download and use it straight away on your website. There are pros and cons to this of course!

The pros with this are really cutting down costs on design and development time. You can simply install the theme and away you go adding your content (pages, posts etc). If you choose a platform like WordPress, there are literally thousands of themes available, either for free, or premium themes (paid for) which have a little bit more flexibility and functionality, and prices really do range too.

The cons with choosing a pre-made theme are that they are of course available for others to use, so you may stumble on a website with your chosen theme. Another point is that often they are hard to change, for example it could be something as simple as wanting to make the menu centre aligned, or changing the font. Depending on the theme, and the customisation options it offers, this can be restrictive and frustrating.

Bespoke Themes

A bespoke theme is a design created completely for you, usually by a website designer or even yourself – depending on your expertise and time of course! No one else will have the theme, it’s completely created for you, your brand and your website requirements. So it is the ultimate way of getting a website that works especially for you, without making any compromises.

Bespoke theme costs vary hugely, and it will all depend on how the website company you might choose create the themes, or how you wish to do it depending on the platform you choose. As we specialise in WordPress, let’s use this as an example. You can download themes and plugins which enable you to basically make a website by drag and drop elements – of course, the more expertise you have the more swanky you can get, but in essence, you can create your own theme with these plugins/themes (e.g. Beaver Builder or Divi for example). Some will come with a cost, but if you’re going down the route of building yourself, this can be cheaper than paying a designer outright.

Shooting ourselves in the foot a little here aren’t we? Well, to be completely honest, we know a lot of people don’t have the budget or want to spend the time making their own website – it’s a fact and one we happily acknowledge.

So, when you’re looking for a new website and asking for quotes, it’s worth asking if the design will be a theme already created, or bespoke to you. We’ve seen quite a few designers recently quoting low prices, but with the small print of using themes already created. Remember the cons from above!

Futureproofing

Hopefully we’ve explained what a ‘theme’ is and how it work. Your theme is the look of the website, which means if you do choose a platform like WordPress, you can effectively change the look as often as you like. The structure, pages and content remain the same. This is a great way to futureproof your website, because you might feel after 2 years or so that your site is looking a tad old – but all it really needs is a new look. We’ve worked with a range of clients to do just this – no changes to the software, no changes to the structure or content. Just a fresh new look. It saves you money, because you don’t need to start from scratch.

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