WordPress has become the go-to Content Management System (CMS) for many brands and marketers. With over 65 percent market share with the CMS category, and publishing over 40 percent of all of the pages on the internet, the benefits are great. But the risks may often be greater.
For many non-mission critical websites, the vibrant open source WordPress community, free plugins and low-cost third-party themes, make launching and managing a new site every few years easy and affordable. For mission critical, scalable websites that need a robust technology platform, the selection of themes and plugins needs to be very well planned, purposefully built and easy to manage for dozens of content managers for 5-10 years.
At Up&Up, we believe that a custom theme/child theme built on top of WordPress has many long-term benefits for higher education website designs.
10 Benefits of a Custom WordPress Theme
- Pixel Perfect – Your website is your brand. It’s your first impression. Having a clear and compelling story told with a delightful website experience tailored for you and your users separates you from the sea of sameness across the education landscape.
- Better Accessibility – Your users are diverse and so are their needs. With 18 percent of the adult US population having some form of disability, your website needs to accommodate all users by being perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.
- Lightning Fast – A purpose-built, custom theme means no bells and whistles designed for the masses. This keeps your site looking fresh and makes training your team simple. Most importantly, it reduces code bloat and provides users with lightning-fast load times.
- Increases Traffic – 35 percent of internet searches start at Google. Our custom themes provide page-level content optimization that allows you to outrank your competitors and drive more organic search traffic.
- Longer Life – With a purpose-built theme, and a team of support developers on call, our goal is to provide you with a 10-year technology platform. To do this, we lessen the dependence on third-party plugins and themes and provide monthly maintenance to keep your site happy and healthy.
- Scalable Architecture – WordPress Custom Post Types enable easy-to-manage content templates that can easily scale from 100 to 100,000 as your content grows.
- Extensible Functionality – Your new website will be robust with new features, but you don’t have to stop there. As your needs grow and evolve, your custom theme can be enhanced with additional development and functionality.
- Greater Security – Your custom theme reduces the dependence on third-party themes that are often exploited or compromised.
- Easy Administration – Each Custom Post Type provides a structured administration experience that makes it easy to train users on how to best create content- curated for your user experience. There’s no need to know how to do it all and no complicated page builders. This feature ensures it’s simple to do what you need to do.
- Built To The Core – Last but not least, our themes are “almost” entirely built in WordPress’s core architecture. (We say “almost” because we still use Advanced Custom Fields Pro. When is Automattic going to buy them, anyway?) Unlike third-party themes that eventually may stop working or prevent database exports, your content and database is now always compatible with WordPress.
If you’re considering a WordPress website, keep these things in mind. If you’ve got additional benefits of a custom theme, I’d love to hear about them.