WordPress vs. Custom Website Design: Which is Better?

By Jarod Peachey


WordPress is an amazing platform that makes building websites pretty simple for everyone. With themes, plugins, and customization, it's got lots of options for your website.

However, when you start putting all those things together, it gets cluttered, hard to use and confusing.

A custom built website is a great option to consider for your business. You can have anything you want on your website, without any of the bloat and clutter of WordPress.

However, a custom website has some downsides as well. It's harder to make tiny, minor changes, and it might not be the best option for everyone.

With that said, let's compare some of the benefits and downsides of WordPress and a custom website design.

On to the comparison 👇

Website SEO

SEO is arguably the most important part of a new website.

Without it, no one will be able to find your website through Google search without digging through 100's of results.

Wordpress comes out of the box with some simple SEO tools, but these are limited in their functionality.

A custom website allows full control over the code, so the entire site can be constructed from top-to-bottom to be SEO-friendly.

Wordpress SEO

Wordpress is a great option for some beginer SEO optimizations and tweaks. It's pretty simple to see your basic SEO metrics, but it's got some downsides as well.

SEO Plugins

Wordpress has many SEO plugins that allow you to optimize each blog post for SEO. One of these is Yoast SEO, which is a plugin that shows up right below each post you write.

This is a really cool feature because you can use a visual editor to understand your SEO better.

How to Use Yoast SEO on WordPress [Complete Tutorial]

Yoast (and other tools) are a nice way to see a quick summary of all the SEO optimizations on your site.

Hard to use

While SEO plugins are great, it's often difficult to change your SEO info. With all the plugins, configuration options, and themes, it's common to find SEO settings in 3-5 different places on your site, making it hard to optimize everything you can.

Custom website SEO

A custom website is also a great option for SEO for different reasons.

A custom website makes it easier to control every part of the SEO, from structure to copy, blog posts to images.

Complete SEO control

With a custom design, you'll get a website that's top-to-bottom optimized for SEO.

When you get a custom website built, you'll be working with people who have the ability to change anything and everything you want on your website, something that is a lot harder to do with WordPress.

It takes longer to set up

As is expected when comparing WordPress to anything else, a custom website will take longer to set up your SEO. Wordpress comes out-of-the-box with SEO optimizations.

A custom website, while better in the long run, will take a little more time to set up and get ready for SEO.

Website Design

After you've got people coming to your site, your website needs to look good.

You need to stand out as a business with a cohesive theme, copy style and feel to the website.

WordPress themes and design

WordPress comes with 1,000s of custom themes and design to choose from. Tons of them are free as well, so you can get a site up and running with a pretty similar design to what you need.

Most of the popular themes come with page builders, intuitive UI tools (most are drag-and-drop) that allow you to change the layout and design of your site with ease.

Theme compatibility

As great as WordPress themes are, they've got one major downside: they don't all work with the same design and content.

Because of the complexity of a website, when you create one using a certain theme, it requires specific set up.

However, if you switch themes, your new theme might not have the same structure as the old one, resulting in a broken website that's hard to get back to normal.

Auto updates + plugin conflicts

Plugins and themes and are the backbone of WordPress, which is a good and bad thing.

They're great for adding any kind of functionality to your website. There are tons of plugins to choose from, so you can always find what you're looking for.

However, plugins and themes get updated. And with each new update comes some new code that's not compatible with every plugin on your website.

Can you guess what happens?

Yep. The website breaks again.

And it's not the theme + plugin developers fault; it's hard to manually make sure your new updates work with all 50,000+ plugins and themes.

Sadly, it's just something to deal with on a WordPress site.

Custom website design

Arguably, the best part about a website is the fact that you have COMLETE control over how your website looks. You don't have to struggle with plugins, themes or design.

Brand cohesiveness

Since you have complete control over the design of your custom website, it's easy to make sure that your brand is properly represented by the website.

With a custom design, you'll get your brand's colors, logo and font style throughout the entire site. The backgrounds, buttons, navigation and text will all have the same styles, so your website will be a professional place to represent your business.

Ability to create a new design

With a custom website, you're not limited to tweaking a WordPress theme that someone else built 2 years ago.

You can create a design that's tailored 100% to your company. The possibilities are, quite literally, endless.

Website performance

A fast website is becoming more and more important to make your visitors happy, and to make Google happy with your business.

Wordpress performance

WordPress is by no means super slow. In fact, some of the fastest websites are highly-optimized WordPress sites.

However, it's a bit difficult to make your WordPress site faster. You need to choose the right hosting, choose the right performance plugin, limit how many plugins you use, and choose the fastest theme.

It's entirely possible, but there are some sacrifices along the way.

Custom website performance

With a custom website, there's no sacrifices.

It's built fully to your standards and needs.

So, if you say you want a fast website, you'll get a fast website.

But the best part it, a fast custom website doesn't sacrifice design, usability or SEO.

It's like the best of both (or all 4) worlds!

Which is best for you?

As much as we like custom websites, they're not always the best option.

WordPress is just super cool for a lot of things, and can be a great option for your new website.

WordPress is best for smaller personal sites

If you want a simple website, blog or something else small, WordPress is by far the best option.

Here's a few of the benefits:

  • It's easy to set up a minimal website
  • It's cheaper
  • 1000s of themes to choose from

WordPress was orignally built as a blogging platform, which is why it's one of the best options for a new blog (funny how that works).

Custom websites are best for, well, fully custom designs

While WordPress is great for some things, it just gets cluttered, hard-to-use and clunky as you start trying to get a super-customized theme, high-performance and great SEO.

With a custom website, you don't have to settle for someone else's website design.

You literally get your own design, that is unique to you and your business.

Plus, you don't have to sacrifice anything. Here's a few of the benefits of a custom site:

  • Faster. Like, blazing fast.
  • Total SEO control. We're talking images, text, headings, and structure.
  • Custom design unique to you


So, I hope after some super-intense study (just kidding, you don't need to study much), you've found your answer as to whether or not a custom website is better than WordPress for you.

If you HAVE decided that a brand-spanking new custom website sounds like a great fit for you, shoot us an email at jarod@jellydevelopment.com (you'll get a personal reply within 1 24 hours).

Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your new website 🔥

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or email us at jarod@jellydevelopment.com