Let me be up front here: this site was built with a purchased WordPress theme that I customized for the CaseCam folks. I’m including it in this terrificwebdesign.net not as an example of my ability to code sites from scratch and come up with stunning designs, but as an example of finding the right solution for a client’s needs.
CaseCam is a startup. An engineer had an idea for an iPhone case that, when paired with an app, would allow you to take photos remotely from someone else’s phone. Pretty great idea, right? The engineer found funding and then took the idea to Kickstarter.
For their website, what they needed was a site that would look professional (and expensive) but that would a) be fast to build and b) wouldn’t cost six figures. I walked them through their reasonable options:
I could custom code their site, as I do most sites. The advantages here would be that they could do almost anything they wanted, and they’d get a unique and awesome site that would look professional and would cost less than if they had a big firm do it. The disadvantages: it’d take some time and would be their most expensive option; getting all the details perfect on a site takes quite a bit of development.
We could use a template of some sort. These range from front-end frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation (which still require some coding skills) to something like Wix or Squarespace , which let you build great-looking sites without doing much (if any) coding. The advantages: they’d be cheaper and faster than a custom site. The disadvantages: the site wouldn’t be as distinctive as it could be, and it might not be as easy to customize it as we’d like.
We could purchase a WordPress theme and customize it. Advantages: if we could find a theme we loved, we wouldn’t have to do a ton of customization to get the site we wanted, so it’d be relatively inexpensive and fast. But it could still be distinct — the number of people using any given paid WordPress them is less than the number of people using templating frameworks. Disadvantages: it wouldn’t be truly custom, and we’d have some limitations to what we could do, since you don’t want to work against the grain of your theme.
I steered them toward the WordPress theme, and after quite a bit of customization, we’re all quite happy with how it turned out. Yes, it goes against my purist web design instincts, and the end product was slower and heavier than I like sites to be, but it was the right thing to do for the client.