Building Your Electronic Gadgets

Converting to WordPress Cautions

Be very wary of anyone offering to convert your website to WordPress at a low cost! I got some pretty interesting offers for converting my existing site of primarily static pages.

When I decided to convert my website to WordPress, I knew I could do it myself but didn’t want to take the time. When I got a quote for $1800 with unlimited revisions and conversion of all the content, I said, “Sure, go for it!” However, after spending a month on a logo and general appearance without getting any satisfactory results, I cancelled the project. Most of the money was spent but I needed to move on. I ended with some interesting logo ideas, but that was all.

I consulted some other WordPress developers but didn’t get a warm, fuzzy feeling that they understood what I wanted. There was a lot of smiling, nodding and agreeing with what I was saying, but…there was no “mind-meld”! I did get a roughly $8,000 quote to do a “traditional”, non-WP website. Shoot, I’d pay myself to do it for that. So, not seeing any viable alternative to getting this done in a timely fashion, I slotted the coding chip and dove in!

A serious amount of time was spent establishing the look and feel of the site. This sort of thing is highly subjective and it’s understandable that if you’re working with a designer that it might take a while for a design to “click”. If you’re not sitting next to him or her then there’s a lot of back and forth involved, which takes time. If the designer is in another time-zone altogether, it gets even more interesting. Clearly, if you’re paying someone by the hour, you’ll want to do some serious homework here.

In short, I selected a theme (U-Design), created a child theme, built a style.css to give me the look I wanted, and started converting the static pages. A few plugins helped. I did not have to make any changes to the PHP code, everything is done in CSS and HTML. Not including time spent with color charts, looking at other websites, tracking down the best theme, etc., I spent about 80 hours! And I’ve been developing and maintaining webs sites for since there was such a thing, so I’m no slouch when it comes to CSS, HTML and even PHP. A reasonable consulting rate, at the low end in San Antonio, is probably around $65. So my cost is $5200. Now, that makes a lot more sense for the effort involved.

Here are some key things I learned:

  • Beware of websites offering a quote based on some simple questions.
  • Talk with the designer, face-to-face, to be sure you’re in sync.
  • Expect to pay for quality.
  • And, if you really want it done right, do it yourself!

That last one, of course, assumes you have the skills to do that.

Now that I have that rant out of the way, future postings will focus on what I’m really about: Custom Electronic Gadgets.