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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Investment in a proper website concept is usually the least expensive option

Cost is a major factor for a lot of people who run small websites. Whether for a blog or for a small company, the main point of consideration at the start of a project is how much the site owner can afford to spend on a site.

The result of cost pressures is naturally that the “theme” – or layout and design of the site – should either be free or very inexpensive. Because of the proliferation of “theme sites” which offer pre-made website layouts, the cost has been driven down, with freelancers and agencies alike building a site template system, then using it (with visual modifications) for each client.

A vast number of theme sites have sprung up as self-maintained websites have become more and more popular. The official WordPress Theme Repository is a central, primarily non-commercial, quality resource. The quality which the official repository guarantees is critical: the last thing that a client wants is a website which is broken in Internet Explorer, or which looks unprofessional.

The question I get asked the most in the web community is, “can you recommend a good Theme for my WordPress site?” This question is probably asked for a simple reason: the sheer number of available options is pretty daunting. Even by restricting possible layouts to those in the Theme Repository, a site owner has to choose from well over 4,000 different layouts. This step is often taken before the site owner has even decided what the site will contain.

This is where the experience of an experienced web professional comes to the fore. Seeking an expert’s advice will probably cost a small business client from a few hundred francs for a basic site concept to a few thousand for a complex, detailed design and written concept paper.

Compare that, though, to the amount of time which a client working alone will need to spend searching for a suitable layout, finding out how to install it, and working out how to create content.

Searching through 4,000 site templates, and choosing a few to explore in detail will realistically take an inexperienced client at least a week. Convert that into internal costs at a moderate hourly rate, and you’re quickly up over the Fr. 1,000 mark. That’s before you’ve even begun to think about content, images, customization or even what site pages the site needs.