WordPress and the identical party dress

There’s no hiding it. WordPress continues to wow the online world. What was once a blogging platform has developed into a full-featured content management system that is blowing others clearly out of the water with it’s ease of use. Upgrades continue to make significant improvements to an already powerful platform for publishing websites of all sizes.
WordPress is essentially a publishing engine and its design is determined by a ‘theme’ laid on top. Those who build their own site will tend to use a free theme or pay for a premium one if they feel it’s worth it.
As an Open Source product, which means it’s free to download and modify, it’s worth noting that being free is the exception to the rule that you get what you pay for.
Make no mistake about it, if it did have a price tag, it still would be a hugely successful product, but it has grown up in an Open Source environment, and we can only thank the owners at Automattic for giving us this rock-solid, regularly-upgraded, award-winning product, totally free-of-charge.
At the beginning of 2011, I blogged that more developers would turn to it as a base for their websites and looking around me today, that would certainly seem to be the case. Statistics from the ‘State of the Word’ conference earlier this year also give us numbers that highlight its continued success:

  • 14.7% of all websites on the internet use WordPress
  • WordPress currently being installed on 22% of every new domain bought
  • WordPress is being used as a website CMS on 92% of its installations
  • Developers who use WordPress have an average of 25 sites on the platform

So how do we make all those websites look different?
How can you be sure you’re not going to bump into a lookalike site? That could be embarrassing!
For the hobby and home user, there are thousands of free themes to pick from and occasionally we spot those ‘theme twins’ in our journeys around the internet. It’s like two women wearing the same dress to a party. It’s embarrassing, but if your budget is zero, your choice is limited.
At Canary Dwarf we offer a custom theme design service to prevent this. If you choose this service, we design for you only and no-one gets the that theme again. Ever. Guaranteed.
The amount of work we put into a custom theme or a bespoke theme will ultimately determine the price of the design element of the project, and you are unlikely to spot WordPress traits in our bespoke or custom projects.
A WordPress site doesn’t have to look like a WordPress site.
But it’s an unfortunate product of its success that there are also shady developers cashing in on the WordPress bandwagon, presenting out-of-the-box free themes on businesses websites, and being told they’re unique. These ‘developers’ will be long gone when the party dress scenario rears its ugly head, and you have to handle the embarrassing situation yourself.
But what about those who don’t have a ‘custom’ budget nor the skills to build it themselves?
Where budgets are tight, we can be flexible and we customise premium themes, or provide a ‘theme only’ with logo. We can even go right down to a hosting-only package with a raw installation of WordPress on it, ready for you to get started. The beauty of this is that you know you’ve always got us to hand if you need help.
What we do ensure, is that the customer knows exactly what they are getting, and what they are paying for.
The illusion that WordPress is free, so it must be ‘cheap’ is misplaced. It can certainly be used in low-budget, and indeed no-budget, projects, but where a developer puts their time and expertise into making WordPress work for your business, cost becomes value, as you’ll get a reliable, robust, flexible and easy-to-use content management system that will last, literally, forever.