WordPress Frameworks:
Taking Customization to the Next Level

vertical shot of structure inside tower at the University of Illinois, photo by Dayne Topkin

Remember the last time you went shopping for a new home? You might have liked the floors and countertops of one house in particular, but you wished the kitchen was on the other side of the dining room, or that it had one more bedroom (or one fewer!). If you’ve ever had a home custom built, you know that it might take a bit longer but there is a high level of satisfaction in knowing that you got something unique to you and your wishes.

Building a website is a lot like building a house. WordPress and other content management systems enjoy a variety of templates (or themes) ready-made for easy building. But you also have the option of using frameworks, which are highly customizable and adaptable to almost any design ideas you can imagine. While both have their benefits, we at ThirdSide prefer to build all of our sites with frameworks. Here’s why:

Greater Satisfaction

While themes are a faster way to build, they also come with a host of design challenges. Remember when we talked about finding great houses that were just missing a little something? Something more than cosmetic changes? While there are hundreds of themes out there, we find more often than not that the end result when using a theme is generally less satisfying than we would prefer. With frameworks, we have much greater flexibility to accommodate design modifications as we build.

More Streamlined

Some themes try to be all things to all people. And while meeting a wide variety of needs is a great thing, this can lead to bloated code and unnecessarily slow page load times. We find this in particular with themes that are geared toward ecommerce; if you’re not selling something, you don’t need half of the “features” in that particular design. In contrast, frameworks allow you to mix in only the function modules your site actually needs, giving ultimate flexibility and lightning-fast load speeds.

Better Design

Paradoxically, while theme designers try to add as many functions as possible to their designs, the inherent limitation in customizing means there will probably be a number of websites out there that look a lot like yours. Building with a framework gives us the space to create virtually anything we can imagine. This ensures that your website design will stand out in a crowd. (And if we do say so ourselves, our designs are pretty eye-catching.)

More Secure

Because things keep evolving on the internet, it’s expected that the software that keeps your site running will need to be updated from time to time. Sometimes that’s because of emerging security threats or newly-discovered viruses. Sometimes it’s because the theme developer wanted to add something new to generate new interest and sales. But sometimes a theme update can unexpectedly change the look of your website, sometimes drastically! With WordPress frameworks, function and design are kept separate. For example, security patches have no effect on your established design. This means that software updates don’t come with an unwanted surprise in design—especially surprises that could cost a lot of money to fix.

For us, the choice is clear. Building with WordPress frameworks is the better choice for creating spaces on the web. With a more streamlined building process, greater flexibility in design, and superior security over time, building with frameworks gives both our clients and us the most satisfying experience.