Premium WordPress themes can give any website a professional outlook. These themes are of great help as they provide the framework so you can spend less time creating a website altogether. Some might think these themes are good alternatives to web design altogether. So, the question to ask is are Premium WordPress themes killing web design?
I think not. There ought to be a difference between a layman, designing a website with a WordPress theme and a professional designer.
What sets you as a web designer apart from someone who can set up a website in minutes with themes is value-add. So let’s answer some vital questions, namely:
- Why embrace premium WordPress themes as an already established designer
- What you can do above and beyond WordPress themes
Why embrace premium WP themes as an already established designer
Instead of seeing WordPress themes as competition, think of it as a great help to your web design and development business. How? Here’s how.
1. Get your client on the same page with ready templates: When you and your customer sit to discuss the look of the website you’re going to build, there often might be a discrepancy in how you’ve imagined it and how your customer thinks it will be. That gap might prove to be a challenge as you progress. While you can never fully understand what you client has in mind, you can note all his requirements, go back to your office, go through WordPress themes that might be a close match to your clients’ requirements and get back to him with a realistic and an excellent sense of what to expect.
Not only is this professional, it builds trust and credibility. It also gives your client a sense of participating in the choice of the end-result.
2. Save time & thereby increase profitability: Building a site from scratch is fantastic but it’s also heavily time consuming. A premium theme might be more profitable as the foundation and framework are ready thereby decreasing your time spent on building a website.
Let’s work with an example. Say you charge Rs. 3000/ hr for designing.
|Task||WordPress Theme||Custom Website|
|Project Management||7 hours||7 + hours|
|Designing time||4 hours||15 hours|
|Development time||15 hours||40 hours|
|Content time||15 hours||15 hours|
With a total saving of 36 hours at the rate of Rs. 3000/hour, the difference would be more than Rs. 1,08,000. Even if you do not charge for the extra hours, you have a 1,0,8000rs. buffer to work with when you set your price.
If you choose to charge even 50% of the 1,08,000, you’ve made a pretty good profit, working less hours.
3. Theme categories help widen your design portfolio: While I mentioned above that themes save time, what it can also help with is widening your design portfolio to cater to clients in various industries.
Web designers / developers usually have a set of templates for various clients but while you can have multiple templates, you can’t always be prepared with templates for every type of industry. This is where WordPress templates help.
The theme categories are useful in that they help you serve a requirement for anything from an agriculture website to a cooking website to a fashion website with a ready-made framework.
4. Earn extra for Express orders: With a premium theme, you can dish out an excellent design within 1-2 days. You can use this to your advantage to charge fast service rates as a bonus.
What you can do above and beyond WordPress themes
If you, a web designer create a website with a theme only as good as an inexperienced designer with the same theme, you’ve got a problem.
Your aim as an experienced designer is to take themes and create a website that will wow your client by going beyond just the theme. Here’s what you can do to go over and above the theme design:
- You should be able to pick a font that fits perfectly with the brand identity, with the tone and with the overall design. An article I wrote earlier titled ‘What the Font’ tells you just how important typography is and how to pick the right one.
- Icons and calls-to-action buttons that come with a theme might be great but you as an experienced designer would be more likely to know placement, styling and text of these buttons that work best with your design. Use this to your advantage when you build. Guide to Choosing or Designing Icons in Web Design can be useful to you.
- Make sure you hit all the checkboxes on optimal user experience suggestions. Build your website in a way that it loads fast. Here are 8 tricks to increase Web Page Load Speed
- SEO is critical and a developer like yourself would know how to optimise a website best. We’ve got your back in case you’re still figuring your way through this one with Common Web Design Issues to Stay Clear of for Good SEO
- Building your site to be responsive is an advantage you as a developer have. Make sure your design is responsive and looks good on whichever device you view it on.
- Picking the right tones and colour matches is an area you are an expert at. Experiment with tones and don’t be afraid to move away from the colours within the template. This is what will set you apart from an inexperienced designer.
- Install Google Analytics and other tracking services. While, yes an inexperienced developer could do this, you have the experience to tell your customer what to do with the data he receives, how he can optimize the landing pages with the most hits, how to increase traffic etc. because you’re extremely familiar with this.
- Ensure security for your client’s site: Build your site with security in mind – secure your links with HTTPS especially for sites with payment transactions, and keep a backup of the site in case there is a security breach.
While using themes are great, here’s a word of advice: If your client has already seen the WordPress template before, you could run the risk of undermining your skills in his opinion. However, even if he has seen the theme you’re pitching before, ensure you let him know how you will improvise and your plan of action to make his website like no other!
Don’t be afraid to mess the code, play with colour palettes, fonts, typography, placement, etc. A theme is simply a template. Remember that you have the expertise and the skillset of a designer and a developer – that in itself puts you 10 steps ahead of anyone with access to readymade templates, threatening to take over your job. Remember you’re great at what you do and you can give your customer value.
Jump in there and embrace WordPress themes. It could just be your best friend!