An in-depth look at my WordPress theme development process

Want to know how my WordPress Theme Development service works? In this post I share my 11 step process, from enquiry to launch.

My signature service is WordPress Theme Development. But what is it, and how does it work?

My WordPress Theme Development service is for web designers who love designing websites but hate the coding side of bringing websites to life.

The web designer will design the website in their prototyping tool of choice (such as Adobe XD or Figma), and I will take these designs and turn them into a fully functioning WordPress website for their client.

In this post I’m going to give you an in depth look at my WordPress theme development process, from the moment a web designer enquires to launch of the finished website.

1 | Web designer enquires

The process begins when a web designer reaches out to me about collaborating on a potential project. I have an enquiry form on my website for them to fill in, but if I have worked with a web designer before they will usually just reach out to me via email.

The majority of the time web designers will contact me when they have a potential client lined up for a project. However I always encourage web designers who have not worked with me before to reach out for a chat before they have a client ready to go so that they can find out more about how I work, ask me any questions they have, and just get to know me a bit better.

2 | Introductory call and proposal

After the initial enquiry and a quick chat via email, we will arrange to hop on a Zoom call to discuss their client’s requirements for their website.

Using the information I’ve gathered from the call I’ll get to work putting together a proposal for the web designer, outlining what we have discussed so far, the goals and requirements for the website and the different ways in which we can work together. The proposal will also include prices and estimated timelines.

I then send the proposal over for the web designer to review. They can either share this directly with their client or include the information within their own proposal. Some designers like to create a package for their client that includes my prices, while others like to give their clients my proposal so they can see the costs of design and development separately.

If a web designer has worked with me before they might not require a detailed proposal. Sometimes they just want to know the cost and timelines.

3 | Project confirmation

If the client and web designer are happy with everything in the proposal then I’ll send over my contract and invoice for the deposit (30% of the total cost of the project).

Once the contract has been signed and the deposit has been paid the project is secured in my schedule. I’ll send the web designer a list of everything I’ll need to develop the website for them and then they can get to work creating the website designs.

4 | Review designs

A week or two before development is due to start I like to review the designs that the web designer has created.

It’s important for me to check over the designs before I start developing the website to ensure that everything is within the scope of the project, and to make sure everything is possible to implement.

I usually ask the web designer a lot of questions at this stage because I want to avoid any delays once I start developing the website.

If there are any changes that need to be made to the designs then the web designer can make these changes before sending them over to the client for them to review for a final time.

5 | Client signs off on the designs

Once I’ve review the designs and I’m happy with everything I see, the web designer will go back to their client to get their final approval and to sign off on the designs.

I encourage the web designer to remind their client that what ever is in the designs is what I will build so they must be 100% happy with the designs. Any changes to the designs after the client has signed off will incur additional costs.

The second payment (30% of the total cost of the project) is due at this point before development can begin.

6 | Development begins

This is my favourite step in the process, of course! This is when I actually get to work turning the designs into a fully functioning website.

The development phase typically takes 3 weeks, however it might be slightly longer than this if the client requires additional functionality such as ecommerce or membership functionality.

The order in which I develop a WordPress theme varies from project to project, but generally I work on the most challenging aspects of the build first.

I carry out the development on a non-indexed (so search engines can’t find it!) demo website that I set up on my hosting account. If the client has an existing website with content such as blog posts, I’ll copy across some of that content to the demo website so I have something to work with, and so that the client can get a better idea of what the website will look like with their own content in place.

7 | Two rounds of revisions

Once I have complete the first draft of the website I will send a link to the demo website to the web designer for them to look at and to share with their client. This is their time to check over the website and make a list of any revisions they would like to make to the website.

Revisions are small tweaks to the website to ensure that it matches the designs as closely as possible, and to make sure that everything is working as it should be. All my projects include two rounds of revisions and these typically take 2 weeks altogether. The sooner a designer gets their revisions to me, the sooner I can start working on them.

8 | Final version sign off

Once all of the revisions have been carried out, the development side of the project is complete!

I’ll send over the final invoice (40% of the total cost of the project) and as soon as this has been paid we can arrange to install the client’s new website on their hosting account.

9 | Installation

The installation stage of the project is when I take the WordPress theme I have built for the client and install it on their own hosting account.

If the client already has a WordPress website up and running, the website will either be put into maintenance mode while I install the theme, or (if their hosting account allows) I’ll install the theme on a staging version of their website.

If the client doesn’t already have a WordPress website up and running, I will set up a fresh WordPress installation for them and install their theme on this.

10 | Training

Training is one of the most important steps in my process. I want your client to know exactly how to use their own website and feel confident every time they open up their WordPress dashboard.

I provide training in the form of short, pre-recorded videos. In each video I’ll cover a certain aspect of the client’s website and show them exactly how to use it.

The videos will be uploaded to a private training portal and I’ll provide the client with log in details so they can access this when ever they like. They can watch the videos at their own pace and re-watch them as many times as they wish.

11 | Launch and support period

It’s finally time for the most exciting part of the process; launching!

We’ll confirm a launch date and on that day I’ll be on hand to help with any teething issues that might crop up. I’ll make the website live and then it will be ready for the world to see!

The web designer and their client will receive 30 days of technical support from me, but we can set up a support retainer if the client requires additional support after this support period.

Are you ready to outsource your website development?

If you’re a web designer who loves creating beautiful websites but hates the coding side of things, I can help!

I specialise in turning designs into fully-functioning WordPress that not only look beautiful but that are also functional, strategic and fast.