Long before I understood GPL & before WordPress decided to yank over 200 non GPL-compatible themes from its Theme Viewer, I struggled with the seeming hypocrisy of charging $ for a theme when what you were really selling was WordPress, itself. Lets get real. Nothing I design to be used with WordPress could be more than static html pages without WordPress. Without WordPress I would have to write my own CMS and database queries and PHP code which I don’t know how to do. Without WordPress it might take me up to 6 months to make a dynamic website. Even then I would have to practically live at PHP Classes and SourceForge. It would be slow and painful. Why? Because I am not a programmer. I am a designer. And I know very well how the 2 things are not the same thing. Lets just say I have been down that road and the results as well as the experience were not that nice.
If YOU SELL YOUR THEMES AREN’T YOU ALSO SELLING WORDPRESS?
If I wanted to I could act as if I was the one making the client’s website so awesome. I never did act this way. I steered clear of any ethical monkey business, I felt, by making it very clear to my clients they were paying me for design and the limitless, call me on my personal cell phone Sunday night at 12 midnight kind of support I provide not for the CMS powering their websites.
A woman contacted me asking for a custom theme for her already set up WordPress powered site/blog. She had been given a comprehensive list of instructions and actions to follow on how to get a WP site up and running and she had followed them successfully. What she was stuck on was how to get a better theme. She’d seen the free themes available and she know she could install them directly to her server just by downloading them from the built in theme viewer and clicking activate. What she didn’t have was a theme designed just for her using her logo, her font-choices & colors and her desire to have a fully fluid width website. And when it came to knowing about plugins, well lets just say her list had not included anything about plugins.
When she paid me she paid me for what I know about WordPress and my design made expressly for her website.
The end results made her very happy. She not only got a website that doesn’t look like “just another WordPress blog” she got a website that doesn’t look that much like other websites. And if I have learned anything doing this job people want a unique looking website. Because she had already installed WordPress she know she was not paying me for WordPress! She knew what was available on the WordPress Theme Viewer and she knew that what she ended up with was not available on the WordPress Theme Viewer!
BUT THIS IS A BUSINESS! IF I CAN’T SELL THEMES WHAT CAN I SELL?
Well, actually I could sell my themes. I could pack them into a zip file and sell them using PayPal. There is nothing stopping me from doing this. Because not a single theme of mine is in the WordPress Theme Viewer and my business does not depend on luring people to my other “Premium” (Paid) themes using a free theme as bait.
WHAT I GET PAID TO DO
When I get a new customer we work together on developing the feel of the design which I then create.I train them how to use the site. I also perform upgrades and updates and maintenance. If they have the willingness to learn how to use WordPress I don’t have to do updates for them at all. Depending on how complicated the theme is to use (I strive to keep it simple) most times everything just depends on using the right category to publish posts.
WHAT THEY GET FOR THE
- A Unique Design
- A unique design speaks for itself.
- Support can mean anything from design refreshing to SEO to fixing a page for them when they don’t close a list tag.
- Maintenance can mean anything from setting up a cron job to stop their Apple Mail.app from flooding the Process Manager with never ending IMAP processes thereby taking down their website every hour on the hour (true story) to transferring their database and files to a new host.
- I code by hand, no templates pre packaged and re sold here. Consequently nothing I code was churned out by Dream Weaver.
I hate working on IIS.
I hate TABLES FOR LAYOUT
I will NAG you to Update your Website!