I get clients that ask all the time about WordPress themes. It seems everyone is under the assumption that you can buy a theme, make some simple customizations, throw in your content, and voilà, a stunning website is born.
Anyone who has spent even a little time trying to customize a WordPress theme knows they can be a royal pain in the ass. The demo content in the theme is supposed to make it look beautiful and easy. Once you start to put real content in it, however, the train quickly derails.
Many of my fellow WordPress developers agree with me that, most of the time, it’s easier to build a custom theme yourself than spend time hacking an existing theme to fit your exact needs. Doing so leaves code cluttered, CSS in disarray, and your website performance slower than it should be. It’s a shortcut, and shortcuts are usually a cheaper, crappier version of the real thing.
Now, this isn’t the case for very simple websites that only need a basic homepage and a blogroll–maybe a couple of interior pages. But if you want more than that, if you have products or services with screenshots to showcase, if you want your website to actually perform like a well-oiled machine, you need at least some customizations. And I mean well-oiled in terms of both performance (speed) and conversions (money).
It’s time to start giving your website (and all your marketing for that matter) the respect it deserves. It’s a member of your sales team. Hell, it’s the first impression most people have of your business. How much is a good first impression worth to you? Your website likely plays a part in nearly every sale you make—some more than others. If you could pay $15,000 a year to have a sales person that helped you close more deals, would you do it? I know I would. Hell, I’d pay $30,000 if I knew I would make $90,000.
Now, you don’t need to spend $30,000 a year on a website to kick some major butt online. But you do need to treat your website as an investment in your company, your sales team, and your bottom line. Do you know of anything in your industry that allows you to spend $50 and a couple of hours to make an extra $30,000 a year? What about even an extra $10,000? I don’t. Your website isn’t one either. However, if you spent $5,000 on your website, I guarantee you’d make at least triple that in sales.
So the next time you decide to get a quote on a new website design, reframe your thoughts on the investment and potential return of your online presence. Start taking its importance and contributions more seriously. And please, give it a budget worthy of its task.