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Any advice on starting a Wordpress business?

over 6 years ago from , Designer

I'm curious what you guys think about a business that designs Wordpress themes (customizes existing themes) for clients. I guess it would be more of a website design/dev agency.

Anyone have experience with this?

1 comment

  • Michael Collins, over 6 years ago

    It's definitely viable. Especially when you consider the fact that a wordpress site is a hell of a lot better than a huge number of websites out there.

    A good wordpress theme will bring a good, clean design, and a relatively decent user experience. Through customizing a theme, you can improve on this design even further, and make it unique to your client specifically.

    A few noteworthy points:

    Not all themes are created equally. If you want to run this type of business, which is great because of how easy it is to do, you need to get a core group of themes to work with. Don't wait to buy a theme until after you have a job, because you never know what the theme is going to consist of.

    A good company who makes easily customizable themes with great support is Gavick (http://gavick.com).

    Wordpress, by nature, requires attention. It's easy to look at a wordpress site like a "one and done" deal. But the reality is, Wordpress needs to be updated to be safe. And if it's not regularly updated, there's a good chance it can get hacked. Also, when you update a wordpress site, it can affect the theme. So you also need to update the theme, which can hurt some of your customizations.

    So the best way to design is to either A) not alter the core files of the theme, or B) design on a child theme.

    Know the advantages and disadvantages of Wordpress. Wordpress is awesome, because it lets us create nice websites quickly. And, with plugins, there's a hell of a lot it can do.

    However, it also has very strong limitations. And, although there are plugins which can solve most of these limitations, these plugins are not perfect solutions. Therefore, the more complex the job, the more likely you will need a more custom solution than wordpress.

    Sometimes, trying to do something complex in wordpress will lead to a hacked together creation at best, which breaks often and needs constant attention.

    Since you generally will be selling wordpress themes to lower budget clients (although you can definitely increase your price as you increase the value you deliver), if you promise something that wordpress can't deliver, and hack it together, you're in for a longterm headache.

    This can be a problem, because many clients want websites that Wordpress can almost handle. They want a pretty simple website… but then they want this one specific functionality. And so you offer to do the job and figure you can piece something together.

    So, as far as that's concerned, Wordpress is fantastic for simple sites. However, the more complex you get, the worse Wordpress is (unless you can do custom development on it).

    So know the platform, and know what kinds of jobs you can absolutely do. Then spend all your attention on getting those types of jobs.

    5 points