Where to find a custom Wordpress theme designer?
March 4, 2009 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a professional and inexpensive Wordpress theme designer for my small law firm client's redesigned website. I can't seem to find one anywhere!

I have a small law firm client that is looking to redesign their website. I'd like to have it created on the Wordpress platform to make it easy for them to update and add content on their own.

I've been checking on WarriorForum for freelance designers but so far no luck. Where can I go to find a good freelance Wordpress theme designer who has a strong understanding of what is needed to make a nice law firm site (and not some crappy theme I could buy for $5 off any old theme site)?

Of course there's a catch...I need this done cheap ($100-200 max) as I am eating the costs of this (long story, don't ask).

I would be providing the designer with a full strategic creative brief, architecture and direction throughout the project but want someone who can do a competent job on the coding and making it optimized for search.

Where can I send out requests? Also, if you fit the needs here, post a link to your portfolio and I'll be sure to take a look.

I'm not opposed to outsourcing this to India via Rentacoder or eLance or something like that, but I've never used them and have no idea how to tell if a company is reputable or not or whether they'll be able to do a good job and have a good understanding of english.

Ideally I'd like to find someone locally in Chicago but they'll probably charge a lot more.
posted by Elminster24 to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
For your price range, you should really consider purchasing a pre-built, search engine optimized theme. There are a lot of good ones. One of the designers that I work with has themes on this site: http://ithemes.com/
posted by annathea at 7:18 PM on March 4, 2009


Guh, why do I always think those will link automatically? Here: http://ithemes.com/
posted by annathea at 7:18 PM on March 4, 2009


Look, that's simply not enough money. "Direction throughout the project?" How long do you expect them to spend on this? Someone with the qualifications you're looking for can probably charge that much an hour. This is a job that will take much longer than that, and you can't expect to get someone who knows what they're doing at that price. Try elance, or annathea's suggestion. You need to lower your expectations here.
posted by oulipian at 7:20 PM on March 4, 2009


I consider myself cheap, and would do something like this for $40/hr.

Unfortunately, when it's all said and done, you really just can't get this done in only 5 hours. The bulk of the work maybe, but the last 30% is going to be a ton of slow polishing-up and communication, and it'll be at least twice that for a rinky dink quickie, should be even more. You're better off finding a theme or something and doing the thinking, integration, polish, etc. yourself.
posted by floam at 7:30 PM on March 4, 2009


You have vastly overinflated expectations of what can be purchased for that amount of money.

have no idea how to tell if a company is reputable or not or whether they'll be able to do a good job and have a good understanding of english

If they are willing to take on a job for that budget, they are not reputable and will not do a good job. They'll probably speak english though.

Use a prebuilt default theme.
posted by ook at 7:40 PM on March 4, 2009


Hm.

There were a lot of good suggestions in this thread, for example.
posted by ook at 7:45 PM on March 4, 2009


$200 is just not a large enough budget for the amount of work you're looking for. You could try to find a student willing to work on this for practice, maybe.

A pre-built theme is the way to go for you.
posted by lemuria at 8:04 PM on March 4, 2009


As everyone above said, you seem to have dropped a zero somewhere when estimating this project. It might have rolled under the couch.
posted by rokusan at 8:08 PM on March 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Students are a good suggestion, I'll check with some design schools. And ook, while there were SOME suggestions in that thread that I originally posted, they obviously didn't do the trick or I wouldn't be posting this one.

So it looks like it will be too expensive to do this in the US since everybody charges Western rates. Any suggestions on outsourcing this? That looks like it might be the only way I can afford this if students don't work out.
posted by Elminster24 at 8:46 PM on March 4, 2009


I can't seem to find one anywhere!

really? what a surprise…

Where can I go to find a good freelance Wordpress theme designer who has a strong understanding of what is needed to make a nice law firm site (and not some crappy theme I could buy for $5 off any old theme site)…I would be providing the designer with a full strategic creative brief, architecture and direction throughout the project but want someone who can do a competent job on the coding and making it optimized for search…done cheap ($100-200 max)

i'll do it if one of those lawyers would be interested in taking on a case for me for $100-200 and be at my beck and call until the case is resolved. cause that's what you're asking from a designer. of course, i could always call some ambulance chaser—and you can always get some hack.
posted by violetk at 9:13 PM on March 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


A student might be a good idea. But, you're going to have to absolutely accept that the quality of service is going to be below professional. The technical quality of the work may well be totally acceptable, but in terms of the customer service aspect of things, it's unlikely that you're going to get good service. This is especially true if you're going to be providing a "a full strategic creative brief, architecture and direction throughout the project"... they'll have no idea how to manage a project, and are going to miss things that you feel are absolutely critical. I say this as someone who took a fair amount of programming and architecture work as a student... I definitely screwed some stuff up and pissed off a number of clients before I got the hang of it. It also took me about three to four times as long for each of those projects than it takes me now for equivalent projects, simply because I had so much other shit going on with school.

Also be aware that a student (or anybody you're underpaying) is going to eventually tell you to fuck off if you're constantly nitpicking their work. That is, $200 might be worth it to a student if he can finish it in a week with two client meetings and you're happy with it, even if it doesn't exactly match the picture in your head. If you draw it out over a month and demand half a dozen revisions, they're simply going to terminate the relationship.

As for Indian designers, you need to evaluate portfolios the same way you evaluate anybody's portfolio. Keep in mind, though, that you're dealing with somebody thousands of miles away who does not fear you in any way. You can't hurt his reputation, you can't sue him, and you can't press charges. Unless he's the exception to the rule, he's going to do the bare minimum necessary to get your money. Go through rentacoder and use their escrow service to minimize this risk.

In either situation, you're getting a cut rate in exchange for your lenience and flexibility. You are giving up the privilege to demand perfection. I can almost promise that the final result will not precisely line up with your mental picture of the site. It may be very close, but the designer has zero impetus to spend the extra tedious hours making sure that it's exactly what you dreamed of.

$200 is about 15-25% of what you're really looking at in professional design here. And, to be frank, if I received an inquiry letter or phonecall worded the way you've worded this question, even if you didn't mention your budget, you'd get the "you have no know idea what you're talking about" form letter and all subsequent correspondence would be deleted. With your budget, it's clear you undervalue the service in the first place, so you'd undervalue all of the time that I'd spend fixing "mistakes".

$200 would buy about three hours of my time, by the way. I'm not a designer, and I've never worked with wordpress, but I'm straight up certain a theme can't be built in three hours. My guess is more like fifteen to twenty-five. You're asking somebody who's put in every bit as much effort and time learning their craft* as the lawyers of your practice to work at unskilled-labor wages. It's insulting.

*No, I didn't go to school for 7 years. But, no lawyer went to law school for 7 years either. They did 4 years of unrelated bullshit and then 3 years of law school. On the other hand, I did around 600-1000 hours of computer science classes, and several thousand more hours sitting in the dark at home staring at a computer screen on my own time perfecting my craft, and continue to do so today. Most of the designers I know have similar backgrounds. I don't know any lawyers who practice law in their spare time.
posted by Netzapper at 10:45 PM on March 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also be aware that a student (or anybody you're underpaying) is going to eventually tell you to fuck off if you're constantly nitpicking their work

Yeah. Just to clarify about my suggestion of a student: this will only work out if you dramatically cut your expectations. It's just not worth the $200 to anyone if you end up wanting 30 hours of work, even if it's good practice for them.

Basically your question comes down to wanting to find someone willing to do a competent job and also be drastically underpaid. This is going to be difficult to pull off.
posted by lemuria at 11:08 PM on March 4, 2009


The only constructive suggestion I can make (rather than joining the chorus of disgust ;) ) is to find a cheap/free ready-made theme that's really close to what you want or can tolerate, then hire someone to make minor cosmetic changes (drop in your logo, adjust colours, maybe strip out a few bits of clutter). That might be realistic for your budget if you're lucky, but you'll have to reign in your expectations.
posted by malevolent at 11:41 PM on March 4, 2009


I don't know any lawyers who practice law in their spare time.

You know lawyers with spare time? Also, the number of lawyers that actually do legal work in what spare time they have is pretty high. You're going to have a tough time trying to earn cred by claiming you out-work lawyers.

That said, as a law school grad and web developer/designer, I'll just chime in here that what is being asked for is beyond ridiculous.

You might be able to get a passable design, in illustrator/photoshop format, for $200 (maybe, probably not). You might be able to get an already done design converted into a passable WP theme for $200 (maybe, probably not), but you're not asking for one of them done passably, you're asking for both of them done professionally. You're essentially asking for two experts for the price of one rank amateur.

Buy a pre-built theme and call it a day. I would bet that the pre-built theme is going to look better than the student's work anyway.
posted by toomuchpete at 12:51 AM on March 5, 2009


Yes, yes and yes. Just buy a theme and be done with it if you have to stay within that budget. A wordpress theme is tricky to work with if you don't know what you're doing. Even an *experienced* css/html/photoshop folk will need at least 1/2 day to understand the structure and all the pieces if they've never seen one before.
posted by jeremias at 4:37 AM on March 5, 2009


Any suggestions on outsourcing this?

Only one: you will get what you pay for. Same thing if you try to take advantage of some poor student.
posted by ook at 5:50 AM on March 5, 2009


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