13 September 2012
WordPress Tips
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Hiring a Web Designer vs Using a WordPress Template

If you’re designing or re-designing a website for the first time, one of the most important questions you need to resolve before starting is whether to hire a web designer, or to use a ready-made WordPress template.

As you’re no doubt aware, this can be a tough decision to make. I want to help you with your decision and make the process easier by providing an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each option. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, instead it depends on the individual needs of your website and business.

Web designer vs WordPress templates

When thinking about whether to hire a web designer or use a WordPress template, it’s important to think about exactly what your website needs. Many advanced premium WordPress themes are now available that can add complex features and functions to a website for the fraction of the cost of a designer. If you need features that are unique to your particular website, however, you might want to explore the costs involved with hiring a web designer.

Hiring a designer

Web designers can be useful if you need some guidance on how to make your website user-friendly and optimize it for business. Some designers are programmers too, and all designers have at least some programming skills. Good web designers are good with Adobe Photoshop and scripting languages such as PHP and HTML, to help you create the appearance and structure of your website.

If needed, some designers can help you develop your branding, and will create a site that is consistent and unique for your business. It’s also possible to find web designers who will help you with your web copy, however this will cost extra on top of the design itself.

  • Advantages

    The main advantages of hiring a web designer are that you have a second pair of eyes looking at your website and thinking about how best to optimize it for your needs. Web designers have experience of looking at a site from a consumer’s perspective, and they also stay up-to-date with current trends in the design industry.

    A lot of designers have great artistic skill and can make your website look very attractive. The site will also be designed specifically for your business. Using a designer, you have a lot more flexibility to make your site stand out!

  • Disadvantages

    Web designers cost a lot. A small business website will cost an average of $2,000 to $4,000 dollars without copy. Depending on the amount of copy you need on your site, adding this could double the cost.

    Comprehensive web design can also take time. You will have to wait for your designer to complete their other projects or fit your site in around their other contracts. Then, it could take several weeks before the site is ready. If you’re not happy with an aspect of the site and want revisions, this could take even longer.

In summary, web designers can be helpful if you want a highly specialized website. The disadvantages to hiring a designers, however, are that your website set-up time will be longer and it will cost you thousands of dollars – a budget that most start-up websites don’t have.

Using WordPress Templates

You might have seen the free standard WordPress templates that are available through the WordPress dashboard. In this article I’m going to talk about two different types of template that you won’t find on the WordPress site: premium themes and framework themes.

Both types require either a one-off or annual payment, however they are much, much cheaper than hiring a web designer, even over several years!

Elegant Themes collection

Premium themes are ready-made themes that you can install and use immediately. You will need to customize the theme to suit your website but these themes are ready to go as soon as you download them.

Framework themes allow you to design your own site without having to learn any complicated coding. Themes like Headway use a drag and drop system that enables you to design your site visually, then creates the necessary code sheets for you.

  • Advantages

    As well as the obvious financial advantages, premium and framework themes give you a lot more control over the appearance of your website. Instead of having to try to communicate your design ideas to someone else, you can simply find a premium theme that best fits them, or create them using a framework theme!

    Additionally, using these types of themes will help you get your website live far quicker than hiring a professional designer. You aren’t restricted by someone else’s time frames and can do as much or as little work as you need to do to get your website live as quickly as possible.

  • Disadvantages

    The main disadvantage associated with purchasing a WordPress template is that it might take you time to get the template set up and customized to suit your website. As I pointed out above, however, this won’t take you nearly as much time as it takes a web designer to complete a custom build, so you can still have your website live faster.

Conclusion and Recommendations

When you’re just starting out with your website, budget and timing are going to be crucial. You want your website to go live as quickly as possible, and you need to save as much cash in the process as possible.

Speaking from personal experience, I can safely say that I will always choose to use premium themes. Having paid thousands of dollars for a web designer, I was not pleased with the results. Not only was the design not what I had envisaged, but because the designer had created the stylesheet and coding themselves, I couldn’t make any changes myself easily.

When someone else creates the coding for you, without providing instructions or a control panel for you to make changes, you lose control of your website. This wasn’t what I wanted, so I started to explore other alternative options instead.

Elegant Themes

The best solution I’ve found to the question of whether to hire a web designer or use a WordPress template is to find a product that gives me the best of both worlds! Elegant Themes is one of the best products I’ve found that fits this criteria, as it provides ready-made templates that are also highly customizable. Elegant Themes is easy to use, but no two themes will look the same, so you can hold on to your website’s individuality.

If you’re not already familiar with Elegant Themes, it’s a membership website that gives you 87 premium WordPress templates for a one-off fee of $69. Within each theme, you can customize much of the theme’s appearance using Elegant Themes’ special “ePanel control panel”.


The ePanel appears under the usual “Appearance” tab in WordPress. This provides you with an easy way to make changes to your website without having to alter the CSS or HTML manually.

Elegant Themes take the headache out of web design and save you the hassle of having to hire a web designer and work with contractors. With Elegant Themes, I can get a professional-standard website and have full control over its appearance and features. At the same time, I can get full access to their support forums, which give me all the answers I need to know about their themes and how to customize them.

Elegant themes support forum

I am a 100% satisfied Elegant Themes customer and highly recommend their services. With 87 templates available, I guarantee there will be a template there that’s right for you!

Visit ElegantThemes.com

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