My Web Design Work

This WordPress blog displays an example of my web design and development work. The layout and display of this blog is not what it was when I installed the theme. In fact, the original theme; “Blog Start” was far more basic in design than what it is now. This theme was a free theme from WordPress.org. At the time of writing this page, you can find that entry here.

Why did I choose a free theme when I encourage customers to get a premium theme?

The reason has to do with the purpose. For me, getting a free theme for this blog is to show what I can do with it and at any time I will make more changes when the time comes. That would not work for clients since doing repeated design changes would cost money and getting a premium theme for them provides longer term dependability, a theme they can use and have something consistent to depend on.

Plus, a more complex theme would present more restrictions on what I can add or change. To get myself a premium theme would look great and fancy, but that would not allow me to make deeper changes without hitting up against its framework that could have a negative effect against its functions. With a free theme, it is pretty guaranteed that it will be a simplified version from its premium counterpart and would allow me to make deeper changes, … to show you what I can do.

 

The Original Layout of This Theme

To the right, is a screen shot of the original theme when I installed it.

BlogStart Theme Before Mods Screenshot
Click | Tap to Enlarge

It is a decent looking theme, nicely laid out, simple and clean. It was not a fancy theme (a purposeful choice). The color and layout was good, but I needed to change it to make the theme and blog have a Form Web Design color to it. That is what you see now.

I changed the following,

  • Colors were changed for the menu and hover color on the menu items.
  • Colors changed for the text color and link colors.
  • My business logo added. This theme did not provide the option to add a logo.
  • Background image (drafting grid design) to main body of the page
  • “Read More” button colors changed.
  • Re-aligned the Social media icons at the top.
  • Changed the right side widget column layout.
  • Removed the standard bullets in the right column widget. I replaced them with icon images I made.
  • Footer Widgets Created. The theme did not have any, now it does.
  • Added background image to each footer widget (left and right side).
  • Footer background color changed and added another section to display my “Theme Customized by…” text and logo.
  • Fixed the layout for better display in mobile devices (it was not laid out well).
  • (…more coming, in time).

Did you ask if I used a plugin to make these changes, add the footer widgets, etc?

No, these changes were manually coded. The only plugin that helped was the Jetpack plugin which provides the Custom CSS editor where I can enter my CSS code and save it to affect the theme and website.

What does this show you?

 

A Web Designer That Knows What He Is Doing

This is very important to any client who seeks the services of a web designer / developer.

I have met people who claim to do web design and they are not skilled or properly trained to do the work.

One web designer qualifies himself as ” being involved with the internet since 8 years old” and claims he can build a professional WordPress website. I found many elements on the websites he worked as either broken or misaligned, even on his own business website. His own website is not mobile friendly, yet he claims he knows what he is doing.

To have the proper training, skills, experience is always crucial to provide the best web design service possible. Whether it is me or another web designer, these qualities are very important. There is no WordPress, Joomla or  Drupal theme that works 100% in mobile screens right out of the box. I have inspected hundreds of themes, free and premium. There is always something to fix, change or modify to make it work fluidly between Desktop and Mobile browsers.

Qualifications” should be a key word in your search for a web designer. You can read more about my qualifications here.

To modify this theme and actually create more features where there were none, requires knowledge and skills in reading, writing and understanding HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL databases.

 

What About The Do It Yourself Web Building Sites?

Sure, you can go to any one of these “do it yourself” sites like Wix, but these services have to build restrictions into their framework. It is basically “what you see is what you get” and this greatly limits design freedoms.

For some that may be enough and some don’t care much beyond that, which may be fine for them and all the power to them, but even with the “do it yourself” sites, you have to spend time on your end to build these sites. Nothing is click once and all is done. The time spent includes the learning curve time too.

What I find happens a lot with these “do it yourself” sites is the person cannot figure out what to do to change some things. Maybe a tag line needs to be bigger and cannot get it that way, or change how a page title looks. Maybe some element is overlapping another and there is seems no way to fix it (I see this a lot with those who install their own WordPress sites and theme). With sites like Wix, your limited to what they give.

Do a WordPress site from scratch yourself?

To modify a WordPress theme is never a click and fix effort, it requires going into source coding to do so, especially when WordPress themes do not come out of the box pre-installed according to their demos.

It is true, many theme designers provide “demo packages” you can “click to install”, but is it that easy?

No, you still have to replace his generic images and maybe an element or two requires realignment to suit your desire for the site, or you need to remove other elements and cannot figure out how. Ah, that horrible learning curve again, drats.

This is why many don’t bother because it is something that is takes time. To understand any website coding is like reading an alien language, and rightly so, there are better things in your life to focus on than learning web design coding, but…

…this is where I can come in and why I built this blog in a way that shows my work.

Your web designer Mark  🙂