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Wordpress custom theme: how long to build one

Posted on 2014-04-16
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Last Modified: 2014-04-21
I'm acting as a middle man between a client and a web designer/developer.

The client has an older site that is not mobile-ready. A redesign is in order, and in the process I suggested a move to Wordpress, as the current CMS is hard to use and unstable.

I contacted a designer and he estimated about 20 hours for the redesign (using Bootstrap) and transfer of the current content (about 70 pages).

As it is usually the case, the client is not particularly happy about the redesign (it's about the same as the old one, naturally, since that was the initial requirement) and asked the designer for 2 more options.

The designer said it's going to take him another 20 hours for each variant.

I'm no Wordpress expert, but I find that estimate suspect. 20 hours for the design and transfer and then 20 hours for the design alone?

For experts here that have done custom Wordpress themes: how much time does is take to do a custom theme? I assume it's the same process where you do a mockup in Photoshop/Illustrator/whatever and then use that to create a theme.

Thank you.
Dan
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Question by:Dan Craciun
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by:eemit
eemit earned 200 total points
ID: 40003716
The fastest it would be if you take a standard free responsive WordPress theme e.g. Twenty Twelve or Twenty Fourteen and then make adjustments through creation a child theme.
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Jason C. Levine earned 300 total points
ID: 40005094
If you are building from the ground up (a completely custom theme, no shortcuts) then 20 hours from design to implementation is reasonable.

That being said, get rid of this designer because their approach and pricing schema is not really appropriate.  As the expert above says, starting from an existing responsive theme and customizing is a much simpler and less expensive proposition.  There are tons of good, responsive frameworks out there for WordPress and it should require this level of financial commitment to get a theme running.
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Expert Comment

by:jmpg_70
ID: 40012388
I believe if the original designer has responded to the client brief and created a website in 20 hours then I would have thought it reasonable to say each variation would take 20 hours to create, as this is additional work.

However maybe the designer only needs to produce two or three example pages of the UI and graphic design. This will save the designer time and be more cost effective for the customer.

If the customer wants a bespoke site 20 hours isn't unreasonable. However a lot of thought and design resolutions need to be developed before committing to development cost. If the modification of templates within CMS is what the client NEEDS go ahead, however respect the designers integrity as anyone can make (turn on) a templated website and it will only appear as a templated website. If the client needs to differentiate, get the designer to create a couple of mock-ups.

The mock-ups might take two or three hours or they might take more, it depends on how good the brief is to the designer and how much the client wants to spend on originality and good responsible design. Separate the graphic design and development.

No-one wants to spend money, so spend it wisely.
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