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Wordpress Websites

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by retroandy, May 25, 2014.

  1. retroandy

    retroandy New Member


    I am new to this site and have only just come across it this evening. I am a freelance web designer who also provides some graphic design jobs. I don't see myself as an expert in either field but i have learnt everything from scratch myself. I am still currently in employment so have not had enough time to really progress with my development. This is where my question comes in.

    How common is it for web designers to use Wordpress now. I have noticed more and more sites built using pre-determined templates. Don't get me wrong, the sites look fantastic. i learnt the hard way with html and css but the time it takes me to make a site from scratch it doesn't seem worth it now i have discovered Wordpress.

    Obviously i want my clients sites to look unique and therefore try to change a lot of elements on the sites but basically i am still using a theme.

    I just wondered how many more designers out there have chosen this route ?

    Do you tell your customers that you have used a theme ?

  2. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Despite my own protests, I seem to have fallen into Wordpress development too but I think I'd consider myself a WP bastard rather than a developer. I can and do build WP themes from scratch but where the budget doesn't allow, I'll find a theme that just about suits my needs then hack it to bits in the pursuit of perfection.
  3. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    Using a theme can be a cost effective solution for a client on a budget. That said, there is a great deal of variation between one theme and another. I've also found the themes end up being pretty complex making the updates much more involved. This to a certain extent defeats one of the purposes of a CMS which is to provide a simple interface for non designers to update their website. You used to be able to point clients to WordPress videos but know they would need to digest a theme manual too. The code kicked out is usually bloated as themes aim to do absolutely everything you can think of and use more jQuery than you can throw a stick at. They almost always err on the side of looks rather than load time so the mobile user experience can be frustrating too.

    So pick wisely, test the demo theme on mobile & check out the source code for bloat.
  4. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    You might find something like HTML 5 Blank Master useful. Its whats known as a boiler plate, which is essentially a completely blank theme which includes all the files and fiddly bits required to make wordpress work but none of the content or styling of a premium theme.

    Oh and as for telling the customers when you use a theme.... yeah sure. I usually explain that it'll cut down production time and enable me to use functionality that would otherwise be out of their price range.
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
    Edge likes this.
  5. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    Or you can modify the WP 2012/2013/2014 themes that ship with WP which are pretty good.
  6. retroandy

    retroandy New Member


    Thanks for your replies people. Its been very useful. I agree about the telling the customers. For a customer to have a fully mobile optimized website with cms i would have to charge a whole lot more and my current client base is not really in that bracket so most are happy with a customised theme.

    Thanks again
  7. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    Just started another thread specifically about using 'premium themes'.
  8. shutterspeed

    shutterspeed New Member

    I have also moved to the WorpPress dark side and found that woothemes do a canvas theme (blank canvas) that is great to hack into. Canvas combined with WooCommerce is a great way to set up an ecommerce site.
  9. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    I don't quite understand why WP has 'developed' such a bad name. I think WP is great and is just one of a few ways of creating a good looking website. So from a designers point of view I have no problem with it. From a developers point of view (which I am not), I can understand that behind the scenes the code may be messy and frustrating to alter but clients don't see that, nor do they understand the difficulty/troubles of it. Most clients just care about having a quick, fully functioning, great looking website at as low a cost as possible. At the end of the day, WP ticks all those boxes.
  10. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    I understand that clients want something manageable that looks great - but from another point of view, I'm not a web coder but I presume the same applies from Print Design to Web Design.

    I can create a document in InDesign and I create a list of styles from the start for every section of the design - usually start with

    Paragraph Styles:
    Body - Grandparent

    Heading 1 - Parent
    Heading 2,3,4,5 etc as childs

    Bullet 1 - (parent to body <grandparent>)
    Bullet 2,3,4 etc - (child of bullet 1)

    Character Styles
    Bold Italic

    It doesn't matter what design template I use, if I copy text from one document to another - the style automatically changes as it inherits the current document styles.

    Therefore I could have:



    And copying that to another document where it's


    Ensures that I have a sound document structure - and that all text is always controlled with a style.

    This also goes towards making ammendents - space between Bullets, or increased leading throughout a 3,200 page book - can all be done with the flick of a Parent or Grandparent style in a matter of seconds.

    I'm sure not everyone works the same way I do - in fact I know they don't - I often get paid for design templates (as I don't have time sometimes) where the designer has neglected to use any sort of Paragraph/Character styles - making global changes a PITA.


    However, I am going off on a tangent.

    There's a way to make nice designs that are easy changed - and there's ways to make nice designs that are not easily changed.

    I'm sure web developers or people hired to make changes to a website prefer a nice clean code (the way I do with having styles all properly ordered).

    When it doesn't happen it makes the changes all that longer - which means more cash for more time spent.

    I'm not sure where I'm going with this - but we I think you get the gist - the cleaner the information already there - the easier it is to make the alterations.
    1 person likes this.
  11. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    lol I couldn't help but notice, you have basically said what I said but just in a long winded drawn out way lol.
  12. Robert Broley

    Robert Broley New Member

    I particularly like Wordpress. It has some great features. Themes can be useful. You only have to look at WordPress Themes | Website Templates | Create a Website | ThemeForest They have a wide selection of themes. Sometimes clients budgets wont stretch to a custom design hence why a theme is a great option. The client gets a website they are happy with and you still get paid.
  13. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    I didn't really read what anyone else wrote - just gave my 2cents.
  14. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    Development is a ball ache, it is heavily targeted by hackers and the code is more bloated than a week old corpse... Other than that it is brilliant :thumb:
  15. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Development is a huge ball ache.
  16. RDB

    RDB Member

  17. zaksingle

    zaksingle New Member

    I don't have much technical input for this conversation but what I can say is that Wordpress is fantastic from my (just a designer) point of view. To be able to have a website that looks fantastic and does the job for clients and personal use is brilliant. Can't ask for much more.
  18. marktea

    marktea New Member

    I use Wordpress a lot. As others have mentioned it enables your clients to incorporate functionality that would be outside of their budget as usually there's a plug in to do whatever it is you need to do. I've recently built a couple of Wordpress sites for a radio station which would have cost way more if we'd built everything from scratch. Although I would agree some of the code within themes and plug ins can be a real pain to edit if you need to tweak something slightly.
  19. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    Horses for courses. The fact that it is so popular now works against it as it is a major target for hackers.
    Whilst you can use it to develop functionality with, I'd prefer an MVC approach for the larger projects.
    It's at its best when you you have a list of functionality covered off by available plugins.
  20. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Having spent the past 2 weeks developing for Magento... Development for wordpress is a breeze!! lol

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