There comes a time in every company’s life when you need to redesign your website. Whether you aim to improve UX or incorporate new branding and features, perhaps your time has come. Although, once you shop around for website redesign quotes, you may balk at the price of a fully custom website. (Yes, custom websites usually cost $20–$200K) Lucky for you, you don’t have to choose the custom route! You can use a WordPress theme to save money while achieving a beautiful result.
Sure, a custom build gives you greater flexibility in functionality, design, and longetivity—since the custom code doesn’t break with hosting updates and you can do whatever you want with it. However, there are thousands of professionally maintained and updated WordPress themes you can customize to reskin your site—complete with active customer service and responsive features. So whether you have large or small website issues to improve upon, you can use a WordPress theme for a budget-friendly solution that impresses your audience and closes sales.
The Best WordPress Themes of 2019
If you can’t tell, we love Divi. We currently use it on our site. For $250, you get access to the Divi template from Elegant Themes for life. Plus, you can choose between dozens and dozens of gorgeous, premade templates. We love Divi because it offers a variety of templates based on your industry. It prebuilds the functionality and flow it finds most useful for each type of business.
Take marketing for instance. Divi brings in a lead generation form, portfolio showcase, and contact bar at the very top of the theme. So in essence, you pay for a plug-and-play design that also provides a strategic content hierarchy for you too.
While Divi is easy enough for even the most amateur business owner to use and customize him or herself, it can become complex. We recommend hiring a website developer to stage your new site, tweak code, and flow in your branding and SEO metadata properly. DO NOT, we repeat, DO NOT execute a website redesign on a live site. You don’t want customers to bail on you and never come back because they visited while your site was under construction.
Divi Usability Score: 9.5 out of 10
We really have nothing but praise to say about the Divi WordPress theme. Just a few small nits to pick.
Pros of Divi WordPress Theme
- Active Customer Service. In January 2018, we launched a new site. In November 2018, we were told by Google we were going to be downgraded in rankings because the features were slow and outdated. This is what happens when you choose a WordPress Theme that looks pretty but doesn’t offer proper customer support or maintenance. Divi has no plans to slow down or go off the market. It’s safer to invest time and money into a WordPress theme that’s actively maintained and provides timely customer support. Divi does all of these things tremendously well. Hopefully, we don’t need to do major website development upgrades for a few more years this time around. Even with the monthly plan, you get access to customer service forever.
- Responsive and Modern. Divi abides by speed tests, SEO best practices, and everything Google’s algorithm loves.
- Very affordable. Divi is available monthly or $250 for lifetime ownership. In the web dev world, that’s pennies.
- User-friendly. Easy to customize even for the most novice website developer or business owner.
- Variety. Lots of themes to choose from and make your own—from restaurants to agencies to retail stores. Plus, WordPress has a plug-in for everything. If you can’t find the function you want in the Divi template, you certainly can with plug-ins.
- Professional. Makes a WordPress theme truly look and function like a custom build.
- Suitable for many industries. Great for portfolio, lead gen, or sales purposes.
Cons of Divi WordPress Theme
- Not for large e-commerce. If you have a very large e-commerce website, we wouldn’t recommend Divi. Custom code is in your future—or Shopify over WordPress.
- Not custom. Well, duh. There are not as many options as available in a custom build (This is true to any WordPress theme or template)
- Only 20 Templates. Compared to others like Ultra, this is only about half. However, Divi does have over 40 customizable elements for your pages, so that’s a lot of room to make a website your own.
The interface of Ultra has made it one of the top WordPress themes of 2019. It’s super simple to view as an amateur coder or experienced developer. Drag and drop modules, add text and video, or choose a template and stick with it—copying and pasting in your branding and content. It’s super easy, professional looking, and modern for your 2019 digital marketing demands.
Ultra Usability Score: 9 out of 10
Unlike Divi, which is the crème de la crème of WordPress themes, our biggest issue with Ultra is its customer service expiration and gated access to multiple templates.
Pros of Ultra WordPress Theme
- E-commerce friendly. If you have an e-commerce business, Ultra is compatible with this business model.
- Affordable. Memberships start at $59 for one theme and a year of support. You can buy a membership with access to more themes for $89, complete with longer customer service. You can also get lifetime access for $249 and unlimited support.
- User-friendly. Use this theme easily with the help of a developer or web dev beginner.
- Variety. Ultra offers 46 templates, which is a ton to play with—more than double that of Divy.
- Polished. Your site will look too legit to quit when you’re done with this template.
- Suitable for many industries. Great for portfolio, lead gen, or sales purposes—it also boasts being great for e-commerce.
Cons of Ultra WordPress Theme
- No lifetime customer service. Unlike Divi, you get cut off from customer service with certain monthly memberships. Generally, we don’t like any web service that cuts you off from help, but you can purchase the lifetime lump sum plan for $249 which will get you unlimited support.
Sydney is a viable option for business owners who don’t choose the custom website development route. Sydney is the only WordPress theme on this list that comes with a free option—literally costing you nothing if you have the chops to design and code your website yourself. Plus, it rivals Divi and Ultra with lifetime value—$249 for its lifetime plan that comes with all existing and newly added themes as well as customer support.
Sydney Usability Score: 8 out of 10
Sydney isn’t as fancy schmancy as Divi and Ultra—or come with as many themes. However, it does include everything you need for a professional, modern, and functional website.
Pros of Sydney WordPress Theme
- Free option. You can use a free version of Sydney. That’s fantastic for new business owners who want to learn the ropes before commiting to a pricey template or monthly membership.
- Very affordable. Sydney is available monthly or $249 for lifetime ownership or $59 for one theme or $99 annually.
- User-friendly. You can hand this theme off to your web developer to whip together quickly or do it yourself.
- Professional. Your site will look great once you’re finished
- Suitable for many industries. Great for portfolio, publishing, sales, ecommerce, and practically any industry
Cons of Sydney WordPress Theme
- Limited Templates. If you want more selection in pre-built WordPress theme templates, perhaps go with another company.
Shoppe is unique to our ranking list of the best WordPress themes of 2019 because it’s built specifically for the Woocommerce plug-in from WordPress. That simply means Shoppe is meant for e-commerce businesses and websites! It’s also made by Themify, the same company known for Ultra, so it has that going for it too.
Shoppe Usability Score: 9 out of 10
Shoppe sets itself apart as an affordable WordPress theme designed for e-commerce brands. It also comes with great features, designs, and easy-to-use elements.
Pros of Shoppe WordPress Theme
- Meant for E-commerce. If you prefer WordPress to Shopify, you can use Shoppe with Woocommerce to get your e-commerce business up and running cheaply and effectively.
- Very affordable. The pricing is exactly the same as Ultra because its made by the same company. It’s very close to Divi pricing and Sydney.
- User-friendly. Quickly and easily customize this theme to make it represent your brand entirely.
- Variety. Shoppe is a theme in itself, so it doesn’t have other themes to choose from per se. However, there are a ton of modules you can use to set your website up the way you like.
- Professional. Makes a WordPress theme truly look and function like a custom build
Cons of Shoppe WordPress Theme
- Only for e-commerce. We’re not really sure if this is really a con, but this theme is meant for e-commerce businesses. We wouldn’t recommend it for other industries as there are better templates suited to your niche.
- No lifetime customer service. Unlike Divi and just like Ultra, you get cut off from customer service with certain monthly memberships. You have to purchase the lifetime lump sum plan for $249 to get you unlimited support. If you buy one theme, your support expires in a year which isn’t the best.
Avada has a leg-up on themes because it has been the top selling theme of all WordPress themes for the past five years—and purportedly of all time. It also has the most templates of any WordPress theme on this list. There are seriously so many custom modules and layout options that it’s almost overwhelming. In short, you better go into your DIY website redesign with a plan or you could end up drowning in aesthetic and functionality possibilities.
Avada Usability Score: 9 out of 10
While Avada is the cheapest template on this list, it comes with the more limited customer service. However, it makes up for it with template and customization options. Plus, the people have spoken. It’s the number one selling WordPress theme of all time.
Pros of Avada WordPress Theme
- The Cheapest Option. Avada is available for $60. That’s the cheapest of all the WordPress themes on this list.
- User-friendly. There are SO many ways to customize this WordPress template.
- Variety. You get a ton of module and functionality customization with this template.
- Professional. Makes a WordPress theme truly look and function like a custom build.
- Suitable for many industries. Use this theme for most industries.
Cons of Avada WordPress Theme
- Limited Customer Service. With the base plan, you only get six months of customer support from Envato. Our original theme was monitored by Envato, and frankly, it sh*$ the bed. We had issues with customer support a couple of times because the structure of the site broke. Not necessarily the best sign for a web dev powerhouse!
- No Pricing Options. Even if you want to get more customer support by paying extra, you can’t. You can only extend support to 12 months for $18.
Who We Recommend WordPress Themes for Versus Custom Website Builds
There are pros and cons to choosing a WordPress Theme over a custom website build. However, the biggest pro of them all is cost savings. If you own a small business and don’t have $20K+ to invest in a custom site—and your business model doesn’t demand the functionality of a custom site—by all means go with a template.
However, if you do need a custom site, then you need to invest the money to do this right. Your website is the MOST IMPORTANT part of your online presence. Set it and the rest of your digital marketing strategy up for success by building a responsive, modern, and UX-centered website. If you have questions about website redesign and copy optimization, don’t be shy. Get in touch and we’ll steer you in the right direction.