Why we build on WordPress
As a content creator or small business web site owner, WordPress lets you edit your blog posts and web pages as easily as a document in Microsoft Word. 23% of the web runs on WordPress, making it the number one content management system (CMS) platform in the world. WordPress provides regular free update releases.
Thesis 2 provides a powerful, fast loading, search-engine-optimized middle layer, between the CMS and skin, that elevates WordPress to a higher level.
Many do-it-yourself website owners are familiar with the Thesis 2 framework. For about two hundred dollars, they purchased Thesis Framework from DIY Themes. Quite a few skin designers make off-the-shelf designs available for quick installation and they selected one they liked. And for an entry level website owner, that did the trick.
But not everyone wants a store-bought design already in use on hundreds or even thousands of other sites. For a small business, branding, consideration for targeted user personas and the company's conversion strategy usually dictate a unique custom design is needed.
This is where we come in. We create very affordable custom Thesis 2 skins for bloggers and small businesses that want their own unique design and branding. The custom Thesis 2 skin we develop gives your website its own unique look and feel. By keeping the "design" of the site separate from the core code, both WordPress and the Thesis 2 framework can be upgraded, as new releases come out, without impacting the appearance or functionality of your website. It's a brilliant system!
Our custom designed Thesis skins come with 4 standard templates: home page, standard inner content page, blog archive and blog single post layouts. The skin's code is clean and well documented with comments.
Responsive / mobile ready design
Like it or not, the internet is moving towards mobile. Many of our client sites show mobile user traffic between 50 and 70%, and mobile users are on the increase. Search engines strive to rank only websites that provide a quality user experience for all devices on the first page of results, and responsive web design is usually the most cost effective approach to delivering that experience. All of our projects in 2015 are built responsive. Basic responsiveness includes scaling or cropping of items like image sliders and content areas on the fly, shifting of widget panels as required, and a basic mobile menu at cell phone resolutions. (Advanced mobile menus are available for an additional cost.)
Training tutorials On a custom WordPress/Thesis project, we include tutorial videos actually created on your site. You will learn how to add and edit web pages, and blog posts. Where applicable, you will be taught how to update image slider and gallery images. We will also address updating core software and plugins, as new versions become available, and making regular backups.
Our process and web design pricing
Discovery On a custom web design/development project, we begin by discussing your needs, goals and vision, your target market and content requirements. A sitemap is created, to map out your website's architecture. A functional specification document is prepared to set out in detail everything the website must do. We then create wireframes (simple visual layouts) of each of the page types we will be building.
Design In the design phase we produce mock-ups in Photoshop, based upon all the requirements approved in the Discovery process. Mock-ups are reviewed by you and refined/revised until approved. Upon sign-off on the design, the project is ready to move to production.
The discovery and design process can take anywhere from a few days, to a month or more, depending on the complexity of the design, the number of decision makers that must approve the work and how easy clients are to work with. The first two phases typically come in between $1,500 and $3,500 CAD. (Canadian dollar)
Production (Web development) In the production, or "code" phase of the project, the approved design is converted from the Photoshop (PSD) layouts into a functional website. We build sites on our local server. Upon completion, we provide a video walk-through of the entire site, with commentary. Upon approval, the website is completed, and it's ready for population with content. It is usually then moved to a beta location, where content can be added and edited on a live server. When the content has been entered, the new site is launched.
The development process typically takes from 10 - 20 days, for a standard 4 template Thesis 2/WordPress website, and starts at $3,000 CAD. Where there are more than the standard templates, add-on components like e-commerce, or special features, the process can take a bit longer, and that will affect the price.
Content Populating your web pages and blog posts with content can vary greatly from project to project, and therefore is priced separately from the design and development process. On most ROI-centric web design projects, we are also hired as the SEO copywriters, and will provide a quote for the initial content and then release regular content, under a retainer agreement, for months or years to come. On other redesign projects, we are contracted to migrate all of the content from the former site into the new platform, and reconfigure it so it works in the new responsive design.