Everything is digital nowadays, and businesses have more presence online than sources of entertainment. E-commerce businesses, however, require that strong online presence more than any other. Websites like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and so on spend fortunes on improving their online customer  experience because they realize that it’s where it counts. Your business can’t hope to sell any products unless the design and interface of the website are user-friendly and easy to use. If a customer logged in and found your e-commerce site rather uneasy to use, it’s a safe bet they won’t be coming back. For the above mentioned big players, it’s much easier to spend money to get the best web designs in the market. But for middle sized businesses and some starting ones, it’s much more complicated than that. This is where a platform like Magento comes in.

What is Magento?

Magento is an open source e-commerce platform that any business can use to create their online store to directly deal with clients. The great thing about Magento is the fact that it’s highly customizable, and you can tweak it as much as you want to suit your needs. Despite this fact, some people prefer to use pre-built themes for the Magento interface. The questions becomes, which is better for your business, a custom made design or a pre-set one?

Pre-set Magento themes

You can find countless pre-built Magento themes, but are they really the ones for your business? A pre-built theme is basically a set of files you’ll download and install, and like that you’ll have a ready Magento interface. While this option does have its fair share of pros, it does have its cons.

Pros of ready-made themes

For starters, a pre-built theme is often very cheap or even free. This is an option that might be very important to up and coming companies, because they might not have the budget to invest in something like this. While Magento itself is better suited for middle sized businesses, because of its complexity and very technical aspect, there are no restrictions against using it. So, smaller e-commerce stores can definitely use it if they’d like.

A pre-built theme is also very easy to implement and install. You basically download the thing and it’s good to go, which might save a lot of time you don’t even have. These themes are also tested and they already work, on the condition that you’re using standard Magento. They’re basically easy to use, affordable themes that are quite accessible. They even offer some sort of minimalistic customization, mostly in regard to fonts and colors. Still, do all these benefits mean that a pre-built theme will work best for you? Not necessarily.

Custom designed Magento stores

A custom designed Magento store is a thing of beauty, and it can do wonders for your business. One of the most important features of Magento is the fact that it is highly customizable. This means that you can do whatever you want with the store, and tweak all the tiny details and special pages to your best interests. This is something you cannot do with a pre-set theme.

Naturally, a custom designed Magento would cost more than a ready theme. You need to ask yourself, are you willing to make that investment? On average, a Magento developer could get charged between 20 and 80 dollars an hour, which is no small rate. But Magento prices are well worth the investment if you’re doing a custom design, because this is how you ensure you’ll get something completely unique to your business. In fact, a custom Magento theme can fit 100 percent to your corporate identity. This is something that cannot be fully achieved when you just opt for a premade theme. When it comes to Magento design, the price is an indicator of quality. Some freelancers might even charge up to 150-200$ an hour! The same rate can also be expected from companies working with agencies. Some agencies even charge as much as $250-$300 only to find out you’re buying a team experience and not the expertise of a single developer.

Sure, you can get very cool themes like Couture Fashion Responsive Theme which works best for fashion stores and modern clothing brand; it has several options like two homepage layouts, grid view lists, and products sliders. There’s also Minimalism Theme that is very product-centric and has a fixed header on the desktop so users can move easily across the web shop, Argento Responsive Theme which is known for its visually captivating design and unique themes within the same one, Ultimo which has an advanced admin module, Fastest which is compatible with pretty much everything, and Porto which is one of the most responsive Magento themes out there. Still, despite all these different themes with different options and features, will they work best for you?

Truth is, a ready theme misses out on a very important feature that a custom Magento design would give. A pre-set theme will not consider any unique features or special options your website might have. Most themes only cover the main Magento pages, home, category, basket, check-out, and account pages. This can seriously limit your options and mean you wouldn’t be able to spice things up in your store. What if you want to add a special product preview? Maybe you have some advanced features via JavaScript that you’d like to implement. Whatever the case may be and whatever aspect of the website you’d like to customize, a theme can’t help you with that. It’ll also severely limit your options in the future if you want to expand or upgrade your website. Quality control

Everything is digital nowadays, and businesses have more presence online than sources of entertainment. E-commerce businesses, however, require that strong online presence more than any other. Websites like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and so on spend fortunes on improving their online customer  experience because they realize that it’s where it counts. Your business can’t hope to sell any products unless the design and interface of the website are user-friendly and easy to use. If a customer logged in and found your e-commerce site rather uneasy to use, it’s a safe bet they won’t be coming back. For the above mentioned big players, it’s much easier to spend money to get the best web designs in the market. But for middle sized businesses and some starting ones, it’s much more complicated than that. This is where a platform like Magento comes in.

What is Magento?

Magento is an open source e-commerce platform that any business can use to create their online store to directly deal with clients. The great thing about Magento is the fact that it’s highly customizable, and you can tweak it as much as you want to suit your needs. Despite this fact, some people prefer to use pre-built themes for the Magento interface. The questions becomes, which is better for your business, a custom made design or a pre-set one?

Pre-set Magento themes

You can find countless pre-built Magento themes, but are they really the ones for your business? A pre-built theme is basically a set of files you’ll download and install, and like that you’ll have a ready Magento interface. While this option does have its fair share of pros, it does have its cons.

Pros of ready-made themes

For starters, a pre-built theme is often very cheap or even free. This is an option that might be very important to up and coming companies, because they might not have the budget to invest in something like this. While Magento itself is better suited for middle sized businesses, because of its complexity and very technical aspect, there are no restrictions against using it. So, smaller e-commerce stores can definitely use it if they’d like.

A pre-built theme is also very easy to implement and install. You basically download the thing and it’s good to go, which might save a lot of time you don’t even have. These themes are also tested and they already work, on the condition that you’re using standard Magento. They’re basically easy to use, affordable themes that are quite accessible. They even offer some sort of minimalistic customization, mostly in regard to fonts and colors. Still, do all these benefits mean that a pre-built theme will work best for you? Not necessarily.

Custom designed Magento stores

A custom designed Magento store is a thing of beauty, and it can do wonders for your business. One of the most important features of Magento is the fact that it is highly customizable. This means that you can do whatever you want with the store, and tweak all the tiny details and special pages to your best interests. This is something you cannot do with a pre-set theme.

Naturally, a custom designed Magento would cost more than a ready theme. You need to ask yourself, are you willing to make that investment? On average, a Magento developer could get charged between 20 and 80 dollars an hour, which is no small rate. But Magento prices are well worth the investment if you’re doing a custom design, because this is how you ensure you’ll get something completely unique to your business. When it comes to Magento design, the price is an indicator of quality. Some freelancers might even charge up to 150-200$ an hour! But at the end of the day, you get a bang for the buck.

Sure, you can get very cool themes like Couture Fashion Responsive Theme which works best for fashion stores and modern clothing brand; it has several options like two homepage layouts, grid view lists, and products sliders. There’s also Minimalism Theme that is very product-centric and has a fixed header on the desktop so users can move easily across the web shop, Argento Responsive Theme which is known for its visually captivating design and unique themes within the same one, Ultimo which has an advanced admin module, Fastest which is compatible with pretty much everything, and Porto which is one of the most responsive Magento themes out there. Still, despite all these different themes with different options and features, will they work best for you?

Truth is, a ready theme misses out on a very important feature that a custom Magento design would give. A pre-set theme will not consider any unique features or special options your website might have. Most themes only cover the main Magento pages, home, category, basket, check-out, and account pages. This can seriously limit your options and mean you wouldn’t be able to spice things up in your store. What if you want to add a special product preview? Maybe you have some advanced features via JavaScript that you’d like to implement. Whatever the case may be and whatever aspect of the website you’d like to customize, a theme can’t help you with that. It’ll also severely limit your options in the future if you want to expand or upgrade your website.

Quality control

A problem that concerns most websites using a Magento theme is quality control. You’re basically using a third party add-in that you have no idea about or no idea what the coding for is. It can be quite the risky to install a third party software to your site that you’re not entirely confident with, and it might even pose a security risk. This is not the case with custom designing, because everything that happens on the site is under your supervision and based on your direct commands. There are no unknowns and you can trace it all as far back as you want.

Personalization

Possibly the most important feature of a custom designed Magento website is the fact that it is personal. You need something to express your brand and the personality of your business, and a theme can’t help you get there. You’ll probably want to add features and designs that people would immediately associate with your business, and custom designs are the way to do so. When you get Magento developers, they don’t work on the site by themselves. They sit down with your team to discuss your brand and its personality, and how to best reflect those through designs.

At the end of the day, you might still feel a theme is more practical for your business, and it might just be. It’s cheap, easy to use, and fast. Maybe that is what your business needs at this stage of its lifecycle. Whatever the case may be, you have your options and the decision is eventually up to you.

A problem that concerns most websites using a Magento theme is quality control. You’re basically using a third party add-in that you have no idea about or no idea what the coding for is. It can be quite the risky to install a third party software to your site that you’re not entirely confident with, and it might even pose a security risk. This is not the case with custom designing, because everything that happens on the site is under your supervision and based on your direct commands. There are no unknowns and you can trace it all as far back as you want.

Personalization

Possibly the most important feature of a custom designed Magento website is the fact that it is personal. You need something to express your brand and the personality of your business, and a theme can’t help you get there. You’ll probably want to add features and designs that people would immediately associate with your business, and custom designs are the way to do so. When you get Magento developers, they don’t work on the site by themselves. They sit down with your team to discuss your brand and its personality, and how to best reflect those through designs.

At the end of the day, you might still feel a theme is more practical for your business, and it might just be. It’s cheap, easy to use, and fast. Maybe that is what your business needs at this stage of its lifecycle. Whatever the case may be, you have your options and the decision is eventually up to you.

About the Author

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mirko

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.