On other words, customization is an excellent option to hiring a traditional web designer.
The first decision is the most important one
Selecting the right theme is the first, and most important decision you will make. Making that choice is more than just choosing the most pleasing design. It requires thinking about the future of your site.e direction of your site
What is WordPress theme customization?
Simply put, it is the process of customizing a pre-designed WordPress theme for new users. By modifying the design elements, the theme takes on a unique character.
The customization process is radically different for each situation. At Webfour, we have customized WordPress websites that look nothing at all like the original theme. We have also done the opposite. It strictly depends upon the needs of the customer.
In most cases, the home page undergoes a complete transformation. New images and logos give an entirely now look. This transformation often occurs without making an structural modifications.
Contact forms and ‘about us’ pages always change. Most pre designed WordPress themes provide many options for interior pages. This is a big time saver and a luxury for both the web designer and client.
Reasons for growth in popularity
Appearance and function
The main reason for the growth in WordPress theme customization is the greatly improved quality of the themes themselves. A few years ago, pre designed themes had a generic, amateurish look. The situation today could not be more different.
Today’s pre designed themes are created by some of the world’s top web designers. They look amazing – and they provide an important starting point for the design process. For many end users and designer, the first design decision is often the most difficult. Pre designed WordPress themes give a big boost to the effort.
Far more than just a great looking pallet, pre designed themes provide basic graphic direction. They set the tone for the entire development.
Where to buy WordPress themes
WordPress themes are available from marketplace websites that serve both the buyer and the seller. They charge sellers a percentage of the sales price in exchange for making their themes available to a wide audience.
The marketplace sites are a resource for shoppes and designers alike. Each of the sites offer guarantees, but it is important to note that they guarantees are limited. Before making a purchase, read the guarantees carefully.
The marketplace sites defer to the individual designers to offer support.
There are two main marketplace websites.
ThemeForrest is part of Envato, described in their words:
Envato is an ecosystem of sites to help you get creative. It includes Envato Market, the leading marketplace for images, themes, project files and creative assets. Envato Studio connects clients with hand-picked freelance talent, and Tuts+ is home to thousands of tutorials and video courses. Our sites and services help millions of people around the world.
We have modest dreams…
To create an open marketplace for top rated designers and developers to shine in a world where design is becoming more competitive. We also wanted to build a go-to marketplace where anyone can find, rate and buy quality themes & templates all in one trusted place.
Looking at both sides of the spectrum, we’re on a mission to hit the internet full steam to get your MOJO back.
WordPress theme developers and frameworks
Not all WordPress themes are sold on the marketplace sites. There are many theme developers with a stable of customizable templates. They function quite differently that the marketplace sites, and in many cases, have developed proprietary WordPress overlay systems referred to as frameworks.
Some of these developers were among the early WordPress designers. In general, the themes created by this group of developers are less stylish – and feature rich than those available on the marketplace sites. However, in many cases, they offer excellent value. Here are some of the main WordPress developers and frameworks:
Top quality pre designed themes are still relatively inexpensive. As of April 2015, prices range between $50 – $60. As a indicator of their popularity, the prices have gone up considerably in the last year.
It’s important to know, of course, exactly what the themes include. Because WordPress pre designed theme development is a new business, the offerings change all the time. Here is a general breakdown of what can be expected:
Standard WordPress themes or templates
- Home page with several variations
- Slider or sliders
- Contact and about us pages
- Sales or landing page
- Blog page with several variations
- Numerous short codes
- A page building method or approach
Advanced WordPress page builder themes
- Home page with multiple variations
- Multiple sliders
- ‘Demo’s (unique designs)
- Extensive image library
- Portfolio or display pages
- Blog page with multiple variations
- Numerous short codes
- Multiple header formats
- Many page formats and templates
- Sophisticated page builder mechanism
Once again, its important to mention there are no standards. Competition seems to be what motivates theme developers. As the competition intensifies, the features of the themes grow.
The cost of the themes is far less than the retail price of the components – and this represents value. But the real value that comes with theme customization is the savings on development.
The growing market for customized WordPress themes has encouraged top designers from all over the world to market their best work. They use graphic techniques and provide layouts that exceed the capabilities of most web designers.
Many of the themes are created by teams of web designers and graphic artists. Team members are chosen for skills in specific applications. One team member may be an expert in Photoshop. Another team member may have expertise with Adobe Illustrator – and so on.
As mentioned above, the advanced themes offer a variety of ‘demos’ to encourage sales. The individual demos target specific industries and business types.
A few examples of industry specific demos offered by the advanced theme developers:
- Dental offices
- Pet businesses
- Cleaning businesses
- Various retail businesses
Many of the demos offer an extensive image library that can be used by the end user of the theme. The cost of these images alone can far exceed the selling price of the theme.
Here are a few of the larger WordPress theme developers. while we do not endorse their product, we do take note of their time in business. They provide support for their product that is independent of the seller.
Demos and individual pre designed themes are available just for e-commerce. These themes can be of enormous value.
E-commerce themes provide more than just appealing graphics and images. They integrate the e-commerce infra-structure directly into the theme. While this integration is not absolutely necessary, it is a tremendous benefit and time saver. It can cuts the cost of development by 30 – 40%.
E-commerce themes have been developed for numerous niches. Whether it’s a pet business, a fashion boutique, or just about any kind of store you can imagine, you will find an appropriate e-commerce theme.
Pre-designed e-commerce themes or demos offer an attractive alternative to premium website builders like Shopify. With that model, once the customization has been completed, there is an ongoing charge to use the e-commerce infrastructure.
While there are benefits to an all in one solution like Shopify, there is also the cost. Many web owners prefer the flexibility and lower cost of a WordPress e-commerce theme customization.
How theme customization works
Pre-designed themes still must be customized by a professional developer. While a novice can certainly make a go of it, the time required is extreme. The results are often quite disappointing.
The process begins when a client identifies the right theme. In most cases it is paid for directly to the merchant representing the developer. There are some independent sellers – but not many.
Theme in hand, the next step is finding a developer to do the specific customizing. While not difficult to find, not every web designer is interested in doing customizations. The projects are smaller, and generate less revenue.
When a web designer is chosen to do the customization, the process is similar to a custom web development – except easier. The starting point is what makes its so.
The web designer will typically learn the goals for the site. There will be a discussion regarding special features or added sections. Most of the web design work will focus on the home page.
The customization challenge
its important to know that the theme will never look quite the way it does in its original condition. The developer of the pre designed theme is working in a controlled environment. He or she does not have to be concerned with text that may be a few words to long to fit the exact space provided.
Products can be added or subtracted to accommodate space requirements, Logos have been created to harmonize with the color scheme. Unfortunately, in the real world, there are often less than perfect solutions.
The challenge for the customizer is to find a compromise. Knowing when design is less important than a clear expression of key information. Knowing when additional budget is needed for new images of graphic development.
What to look for in a theme customizer
There are no special requirements for a competent theme customizer. Basic WordPress design skills are of course needed. Skills with a variety of graphic arts programs are also needed, including photoshop.
The growth of WordPress creates demand
The exploding use of CMS platforms like WordPress have created demand for affordable design solutions. This growth has given birth to a cottage industry for pre designed themes.
Theme sellers abound on the internet. They typically create a market place bringing designer and buyer together. Many of the theme designers – or authors – have done very well.
Theme Forrest is one of the largest theme market places.
The growth of websites creates demand
WordPress and other CMS platforms are much less expensive to develop than previous web platforms. This encourages the use of product and service specific sites. It is common for businesses to have multiple sites, each appealing to a different niche.
While development on WordPress is comparatively easy, there is a strong need for visual graphics. In many respects, the coding of a website is easier than the graphic development.
This is where pre designed themes come into the picture. They provide a myriad of design and graphic options that far exceed the capabilities of most designers – let alone consumers.