I'm going to be bold here: the answer is always yes.
Sure, in some cases, the dough just isn't in the budget, and I understand that - but if it's at all possible, a custom WordPress website is absolutely worth it.
There are 2 big reasons that templates usually aren't good enough:
- They don't look unique, because they aren't.
- It's hard to test and improve marketing performance when you can't make layout changes.
I don't have anything against templates; they can get the job done. WordPress gives you access to thousands of themes (their term for templates), and you can often customize certain elements of the theme to fit your branding. You'll probably find something that looks decent, and you can tweak it to match your logo.
But that's one of the problems. With templates, you risk your website looking like every other site out there in your industry. Instead of standing out from the crowd, you'll just blend right in. Yes, there are some beautiful themes out there, but even the prettiest ones can fall short on functionality.
Templates are fine for those that just want something simple. All you need to do is install the theme you like and go through its options, changing whatever you can.
This is great and all, but what happens when you want to move the position of something on your website? Say your template calls for the navigation to appear above a main showcase image, but you want the navigation to go below that image. That's not possible with your pre-made template. Now what? From here, you have two options: you can either scrap your current theme and try and find one that has what you want, or you can just live with the navigation where it is.
There are some great templates out there that look awesome, but that doesn't mean they'll be effective for your business. With some templates, you can even customize your fonts and color scheme, but what happens to your layout? That's where templates fall short.
For an effective website, your site content needs to be organized in a way that guides visitors through your story. When templates don't let you customize the positioning of widgets, your layout may not be optimal for your marketing goals and you could miss your objectives completely. If your template won't let you change the positioning of a main "attract," how can you test whether it gets more clicks on the right or the left?
So, is a custom WordPress website worth the dough? The answer is always yes. Think of it as an investment, and in return you get something that is built around your branding and marketing needs.