Recently, Franky asked how much you think a WordPress installation is worth to you, and if you would be willing to pay for it if you had to. For most WordPress users, WP runs as a personal publishing platform. For some of us, though, we run sites on WordPress for a living. This means WP is used as a tool of the trade.
Now I ask, how much would you pay for blog design? How much do you think your blog’s look and feel is worth to you? For most who run personal blogs, free themes would suffice, just as running on a hosted blogging platform under a subdomain (or subdirectory) would be okay. For those who are picky enough to have to run a self-hosted software (such as WordPress) under one’s own domain, perhaps a custom design would be next in your to-do list.
A couple of years back, Chris Pearson wrote that he can design basic–and he means basic–blog themes for $1,500. And he says that’s less expensive compared to other designers he has benchmarked against. That was two years ago. Now considering inflation, the dollar’s decline and other factors, I reckon the starting price point for themes is higher.
On Splashpress Media, we usually run sites on their own custom designs whenever possible. For new sites, we try to set them up with custom themes prior to launch. For acquired sites, we try to redesign within a couple of months of taking over. Still, some sites have retained their old designs, because either the audience is not that big yet, or that the original design is part of the brand. This is especially so, if the cost of design has been incorporated in the valuation of a blog.
The preference in the network is for custom design because we feel we can better establish a blog’s identity with a unique look and feel. Also, we take into consideration the other aspects of design aside from aesthetics, which I think is actually more important than just how a blog looks. The user interface, the flow of information, and the underlying code are also very important, and can make or break a blog.
But to an individual blogger, does it matter at all? How about to corporate bloggers or business bloggers?
I can understand if an individual blogger would have qualms about paying $2,000 for a theme, unless one earns big from a blog (or set of blogs) and can recover the costs quickly enough. A big company who wants to blog can perhaps afford this, and even more. But a startup with a small budget might want to try out free designs first.
So I ask you, how much would you be willing to pay for blog design? Should you stick with free? Would you go cheap? Or would you pay top dollar for top designers?
And as a disclosure, I manage bLogics, a blog logistics consultancy under Splashpress Media. We do have a set starting price for blog design, but knowing your opinion (hopefully from both designers’ and users’ points of view) would help me determine whether this price is fair.