You may not recognize a custom theme when you see one but I do. And so do a lot of other webmasters. Trust me. Every time I see a unique looking theme I scroll down to the footer to see who created it. And if it’s custom I usually just sit here and drool. If you have the skills, then get thyself a website, sir, (or madam) because you could be making lots of money online building custom WordPress themes.
I know there are a lot of content management systems out there like Joomla and… well, I don’t really know the other names, because I only use WordPress. And I think, if I remember correctly, it’s the most popular CMS on the Web.
The only thing is, even though there are hundreds of WordPress themes available, after a while you start to see yourself coming and going. I have a customizable WordPress theme on my blog right now. The graphics and everything are my own creation. And even at that I still notice when other sites are using the same free theme I’m using.
Having a unique and professional looking website is just as important as wearing your very best ever suit to a job interview. You only get one chance to make a good first impression – even if the guy reading your site for the first time is probably sitting there in his underwear with a beer in his hand.
What Is A Custom WordPress Theme
Calling a WordPress theme ‘Custom’ can cover a lot of territory and before you start accepting gigs you need to understand what the buyer is looking for. Like I said, my blog is considered ‘custom’ and all I did was change the color scheme and graphics.
Customizing a WordPress theme might include adding and setting up plug-ins, adding the Adsense scripting, re-configuring columns and sidebars, adding a store, setting up widgets, adding an opt-in form, adding special software or scripts, creating a membership site – anything that you do to that theme that makes it unique is considered customization. And completely designing a WordPress theme from scratch is about as custom as you can get!
How to Make Money Designing Custom WordPress Themes
First you need to determine what type of customization you’re going to provide. Will you do new headers and graphics? Can you install and set up plug-ins. What about installing special software like shopping carts or membership programs? The more you know how to do the more demand for your services – and the more you can charge.
Note: Keep in mind, there are a lot of WordPress themes out there these days that are easy for webmasters with no programming skills to customize themselves. If you’re just offering basic customization, like changing colors and graphics, don’t expect to be able to charge a lot of many. The real money comes in being able to actually work with the coding and do major, behind-the-scenes reconfigurations.
Next, you need to look around for some quality WordPress themes to work with. Some of the free themes are fine, like Atahualpa, but you might want to consider purchasing a premium theme like Thesis. Premium themes generally have a little bit better built-in SEO and they’re more flexible to make it easier to add plug-ins and software. Be careful of free themes. You don’t want to go to all that trouble designing a custom theme and then have it crash the first time your client gets a good bit of traffic.
Like any other online service provider, you can find a lot of people looking for help when you visit the freelance sites like Elance.com or Freelancer.com. Since you’re customizing websites, visit Internet Marketing forums like The Warrior Forum and advertise your service.
But if you really want to make money online building custom WordPress themes, why not set up a really cool custom site to show off your talents? I love cruising those theme sites and so do a lot of other people. Just look at the comments on those sites! Give away a basic theme to get people to sign up to a list and then market a new theme every week or every month and offer your services as a custom designer.
And let me know when you do. My blog needs some help!