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Your Guide to Developing a Custom WordPress Website in 2023

Your Guide to Developing a Custom WordPress Website in 2023


Are you a startup founder, serial entrepreneur, or head of marketing looking to build a custom WordPress site? Perhaps you need a tailored website for a unique business project? In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of custom WordPress website development, its benefits, the development process, team composition, challenges, and more!

Understanding Custom WordPress Website Development

Custom WordPress development involves designing and developing a site to meet the complex needs of a business, which cannot be achieved with a standard WordPress template.

To clarify, while creating a WordPress site, you can opt for a ready-made template and enhance it using various plugins. However, due to WordPress’s complexity, this approach might not be suitable for all startups or businesses. A pre-made site could be slow, buggy, or not user-friendly.

On the other hand, custom website development allows you to leverage WordPress as the site engine while avoiding the mentioned disadvantages. Notable examples of custom WordPress sites include Techcrunch, BBC America, CNN, and Time Magazine.

The Distinction: Custom WordPress Website Development vs. WordPress Theme Customization

The key difference between custom WordPress website development and the use of ready-made templates lies in the utilization of the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. This plugin enables developers to add features of any complexity to your WordPress site.

In contrast, WordPress theme customization involves adjusting an existing template to align with your brand’s style. It is generally suitable for simpler solutions and is quicker and cheaper to build.

Understanding Custom WordPress Themes

A custom WordPress theme refers to a design file that determines the appearance of your site. In contrast, a custom WordPress website includes a set of unique features created using both off-the-shelf and custom themes.

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com

There is a distinction between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is an open-source software that you can use to create and maintain the site yourself. On the other hand, WordPress.com is a service that helps you build a website using WordPress software and managed hosting.

Key Differences:

Domain NameBuy your domain name independentlyFree version uses sub-domain of wordpress.com
HostingWeb developer subscribes to a hosting packageHosting provided by WordPress.com
MaintenanceSelf-maintenance requiredWordPress.com handles updates
Backup & SecurityResponsibility of website developer/hosting company/third-partyInherent features in WordPress.com account

Advantages of Custom WordPress Website Development

Here are some essential benefits of developing a custom WordPress website:

1. Security: Custom WordPress sites are secure, backed by a dedicated security team that constantly works to protect the core technology. While no system is entirely immune to hacks, using best practices, like 2FA, plugins, and SSL, can enhance security.

2. Ease of Customization: Custom fields in WordPress enable developers to add functionalities tailored to your specific business needs.

3. SEO Compatibility: WordPress-based sites are highly compatible with search engine optimization, making them easier to optimize according to SEO guidelines.

4. Ease of Maintenance: Custom WordPress sites are easy to maintain, thanks to regular updates taking care of most backend processes. This often results in lower maintenance costs compared to non-WordPress custom sites.

The Development Process: Step-by-Step

To create a successful custom WordPress site, follow these steps:

  1. Define your goals and requirements.
  2. Assemble a skilled team of backend and frontend developers.
  3. Choose the right plugins and custom fields for your site.
  4. Develop and design your custom WordPress website.
  5. Perform thorough testing before launch.

Remember, a well-executed custom WordPress site can give your business a competitive edge, offering unique features that cater to your users’ needs.

Advantages of Custom WordPress Website Development

Understanding the advantages of developing a custom WordPress website is crucial for making informed decisions about your online presence. Let’s explore the benefits of a custom WordPress site:

Benefit 1: Custom WordPress Sites are Secure

Custom WordPress sites benefit from a robust security infrastructure maintained by a world-class security team. This team comprises over 50 experts, including security researchers and lead developers, dedicated to safeguarding the core technology.

The team consistently resolves vulnerabilities, such as the PHP XML parser, and collaborates with the WordPress community to address potential security issues. While no technology is entirely immune to hacks, you can further enhance your site’s security by following these best practices:

  • Implement 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) and utilize security plugins to reduce login attempts.
  • Add captchas to prevent automated attacks from bots.
  • Install a reliable WordPress security plugin and regularly scan your website for malware.
  • Use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to protect your visitors’ data during their interactions with your website.

Benefit 2: Ease of Customization

The key to building a successful custom WordPress site lies in utilizing custom fields. These WordPress-backed features enable developers to add functionalities and incorporate additional data tailored to the unique technical and business needs of your site.

With custom fields, you can tailor your website to meet your specific requirements and ensure a seamless user experience for your target audience.

Benefit 3: SEO Compatibility

WordPress-based sites are highly compatible with search engine optimization, making them the ideal choice for those focused on SEO strategies. WordPress holds an impressive market share of 43% of all websites, contributing to its popularity in the SEO community.

Both custom and template sites on WordPress can be easily optimized according to official or expert guidelines for technical SEO and on-site SEO. This includes optimizing elements like sitemaps, page speed, URL structure, schema markup, site navigation, and more.

The SEO-friendly nature of WordPress allows you to maximize your website’s visibility and organic traffic potential.

Benefit 4: Ease of Maintenance

Maintaining a custom WordPress site is relatively straightforward, and the time spent on maintenance tasks is typically shorter. WordPress regularly releases updates that take care of most backend maintenance processes, simplifying the management of your website.

Additionally, the cost of maintaining a custom WordPress site is often more budget-friendly compared to non-WordPress custom sites. For example, the maintenance cost of a non-WordPress custom e-commerce site might be around $5,000 per month, whereas a WP-based e-commerce custom website might cost around $2,000 per month.

Of course, the actual maintenance cost may vary based on specific intricacies, but overall, custom WordPress sites offer a cost-effective and efficient solution.

The Main Advantages of Custom WordPress Website Development

Now that you are aware of the benefits of building and maintaining custom WordPress sites, let’s guide you through the steps to develop one.

How to Develop a Custom WordPress Website?

Developing a successful custom WordPress site requires a clear understanding of the basics. Here’s a step-by-step checklist to guide you through the custom WordPress web development process:

  1. Define Your Business Goals: Clearly outline the objectives you wish to achieve with your custom WordPress site. Whether it’s to scale your business, sell products online, or test market response, having a well-defined goal is essential.
  2. UI/UX Design: Collaborate with a skilled UI/UX expert or a professional web design company to create a visually appealing and user-friendly interface. The design should align with your business and technical requirements.
  3. Development and Testing: Once the UI/UX design is ready, the development phase begins. Expert WordPress developers will transform the design into a functional website. Regular testing ensures that the website meets workflow and usability standards.
  4. Product Launch, Maintenance, and Updates: After launching your custom WordPress site, monitor user feedback and make necessary improvements. Budget for website maintenance, which should ideally be around 25% of your total development budget per year. Regularly update your site to keep it secure, functional, and up-to-date with the latest features.

By following these steps, you can build a customized WordPress website that aligns perfectly with your business objectives and delivers a seamless experience to your audience.

Whether your website is the final product or a way to gauge consumer interest in your app, the maintenance spending remains quite similar. Here are some key areas that require ongoing attention and investment for a custom WordPress website:

  1. Upgrades: Regular updates to WordPress core, themes, and plugins are essential to ensure that your site remains secure and functions optimally.
  2. New Features: As your business evolves, you may need to add new features or functionalities to your website to keep up with changing requirements and user expectations.
  3. Monitoring and Analytics: Continuous monitoring and analysis of your website’s performance, user behavior, and traffic are crucial for making data-driven decisions and improving user experience.
  4. Enhancement: Periodic enhancements to the user interface, user experience, and overall design help in keeping your website fresh, modern, and appealing to your audience.
  5. Support & Maintenance: Providing timely customer support and promptly addressing technical issues are essential for maintaining a positive user experience and preventing potential problems from escalating.
The Last Step: Launching, Maintaining, and Updating a Custom WordPress Website

Now, let’s discuss the proper team composition needed to execute the steps mentioned above effectively:

The Team Composition Required to Create a Custom Site on WordPress

While custom WordPress sites are comparatively easier to develop than fully custom-made websites, they still require a skilled team of experts to ensure a business and technical-friendly platform. The specific team composition may vary based on project requirements and functionality. Here’s a checklist of an ideal workforce for most custom WordPress projects:

  1. Project Manager: The project manager plays a pivotal role in understanding the project’s core objectives and effectively communicates the founder’s vision to all team members. They coordinate the activities of the team to ensure seamless collaboration and successful project delivery.
  2. Business Analyst: The business analyst formulates the necessary business requirements to achieve the founder’s goals. These requirements serve as the foundation for designing and developing the website.
  3. UI/UX Designer: The UI/UX designer collaborates with the founder to map out technical requirements and creates a custom design that shapes the user experience on the WordPress website.
  4. WordPress Developer: The WordPress developer is an expert in building products within the WordPress website infrastructure. They are responsible for creating custom websites and implementing in-theme development. Additionally, they ensure that all necessary software is up-to-date.
  5. QA Tester: The QA tester plays a crucial role in monitoring the design, development, and launch phases to ensure compliance with the company’s development standards. They help guarantee top-notch usability and security as per agile practices.
  6. DevOps Engineer: The DevOps engineer introduces processes, tools, and workflows to balance development needs throughout the software development life cycle. They test the tools required for optimum launch and maintenance.
The Team Composition for Creating a Custom WordPress Site

Even with a great team, custom WordPress sites may encounter some notable challenges:

Custom WordPress Website Development Challenges

  1. Data-Related Problems: Poor or no connectivity to the database can be a common challenge for developers. This issue can lead to error messages like “unable to connect to the database.” It may be caused by incorrect connection data or server/hosting provider errors. Double-checking the information and contacting your hosting platform can help resolve such issues.
  2. Over-Dependence on Plugins: While plugins are valuable tools for WordPress, overusing them can lead to performance issues. Relying solely on plugins without technical knowledge of HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript may result in a slow-loading website. Hiring a web development service with technical expertise can mitigate this challenge.
  3. Slow Website Load Time: Overloading your custom WordPress site with excessive content within a short timeframe can lead to slow loading times. This negatively impacts Google ranking and increases the bounce rate. Running the site on a dedicated hosting server, using a CDN, and implementing website caching can help improve loading speed.
Challenges Faced during Custom WordPress Website Development

Finally, let’s discuss the cost implications of developing a custom WordPress website:

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Custom WordPress Website?

The cost of developing a custom WordPress site varies depending on factors such as location, complexity, team composition, and additional features. In Eastern Europe, a custom WordPress site may cost around $35,000, while a similar site in the USA could cost approximately $90,000.

Remember that these figures are estimates, and the actual cost will depend on your specific project requirements. Prioritize clear communication with your development team to ensure transparency and alignment with your budget.

Developing a custom WordPress website can be a rewarding investment for your business, providing unique features and a tailored user experience. Take the time to plan, assemble the right team, and address potential challenges for a successful outcome.

Cost Implication of Developing a Custom WordPress Site by Region

If you are considering developing a custom WordPress site and wondering about the cost, here’s a spreadsheet showing the average cost in different regions:

LocationAverage Cost ($)
The USA90,000
The UK80,000
Western Europe70,000
Eastern Europe35,000

Please note that these figures are average costs and may vary based on project complexity, additional features, and the expertise of the development team.

For a more comprehensive understanding of the cost of building a website and the factors influencing these costs, we invite you to read our detailed guide on “How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Custom WordPress Website.”

Now, let’s discuss how you can find reliable WordPress development partners for your project.

How to Find Reliable WordPress Development Partners?

Finding the right WordPress development team for your project requires careful research and evaluation. Here are some places where you can look for partners online:

  • Freelance platforms, e.g., Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr
  • Business listings, e.g., Clutch
  • Search engine sites, e.g., Google, and Duckduckgo
  • LinkedIn
  • Online meetups, e.g., IndieHackers, OnlineGeniuses, and the UK Startup’s Conference

Additionally, you can seek recommendations and referrals from your network of colleagues, friends, and associates.

When considering a prospective development agency for your small business website, ask them essential questions to gauge their suitability:

  1. Tech Stacks: Inquire about the technologies and tools they use for WordPress development.
  2. Communication: Understand their communication approach and how they keep you informed throughout the project.
  3. Experience: Ask how many projects the agency has handled and whether they have experience with projects similar to yours.
  4. Cost: Get a clear understanding of the cost to design your website and ensure it fits within your budget.
  5. Differentiation: Learn what makes the agency stand out from others and why they are the right fit for your project.
  6. Project Updates: Inquire about the frequency of project updates and how they will keep you informed about progress.
Places to Look for Reliable WordPress Development Partners

Once you are satisfied with their responses and have thoroughly vetted their expertise, you can proceed to formalize your partnership with the chosen development agency.

What’s Next?

With nearly a decade of experience, Softosmith has successfully developed numerous projects, including custom WordPress sites. If you are looking for a reliable team to handle your custom WordPress development, we are here to bring your ideas to reality.

Take a glance at our portfolio to explore a range of completed projects. If you are interested in developing a custom WordPress website, feel free to contact us. We would be delighted to share our expertise in WP development and help create a new platform tailored to your needs.


Please feel free to reach out to us now to discuss your custom WordPress website development requirements. We look forward to collaborating with you on your exciting project.