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BelIblis says

I already told him I can’t build from scratch. And I don’t have a problem with being honest about it, because I see myself as a webDESIGNER, and not a developer. If he wanted to have some really fancy website – with multiple parallax scrolling, or total 100% speed optimisation via sprites and all that – I would tell him to go elsewhere, or that I could get a developer on board.

But: He wants something really simple. Basically: - flat design, white background - 4-5 sections max (home, about, contact, portfolio - 3 column portfolio - no sidebar - simple footer with newsletter subscription button

no fancy effects or anything… but bundled with woocommerce (which unfortunately means: wordpress)

And for that kind of thing, there’s plenty of templates to choose from. I keep thinking it’s a psychological thing. “Template = no good”.

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Gareth_Gillman says

I already told him I can’t build from scratch. And I don’t have a problem with being honest about it, because I see myself as a webDESIGNER, and not a developer. If he wanted to have some really fancy website – with multiple parallax scrolling, or total 100% speed optimisation via sprites and all that – I would tell him to go elsewhere, or that I could get a developer on board.

But: He wants something really simple. Basically: - flat design, white background - 4-5 sections max (home, about, contact, portfolio - 3 column portfolio - no sidebar - simple footer with newsletter subscription button

no fancy effects or anything… but bundled with woocommerce (which unfortunately means: wordpress)

And for that kind of thing, there’s plenty of templates to choose from. I keep thinking it’s a psychological thing. “Template = no good”.

It could well be but it could also be for the following 2 reasons:

1) Competition – If 2000 other people have bought the theme, that means there are 2000 potential people with a similar website. I have a lot of clients that won’t go near templates for this reason

2) Branding – When you’re using a template, you’re shoe horning their brand into someone elses ideas but if you build from scratch then you build it from the base and they feel like they are getting something unique which is built for them.

Most clients I offer 2 options, pre-built theme and custom theme and 9/10 choose the custom, even though there is a 500% price difference.

A custom site isn’t always about the custom features, it can be as simple as a different layout that they want to use or just want something a bit more than what a template offers.

At the end of the day it’s all down to perception and I don’t think you’re going to change their mind, they know what they want so it’s upto you to help them get what they want, as they are paying your wages :)

I have a load of people I outsource work I can’t / don’t want to do. it’s a good idea if you can build up a list like this so when this comes up in future, instead of fighting them you can quickly say I can do this, and get the other guys to do it under your brand, it makes you look better and you’re not turning work away.

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BelIblis says

Thanks for all your above advice, guys. So – a few days on, and I have now looked into buying into a framework. I narrowed it down to 3: Ultimatum, Genesis or Headway

Anyone got any experience with either of these?

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WPWiseOwl says

Out of those 3, Genesis gets my vote. If you go the Genesis route, you wish to consider this too – http://cobaltapps.com/downloads/dynamik-website-builder/

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BelIblis says

Yep, I’ve seen that. looks neat. Just researched a bit more on Ultimatum…. seems like some users weren’t happy with their support (long response time from the developers at times…)

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WPWiseOwl says

I confess to having bought a developer license (lifetime updates) for Ultimatum way back before I knew how to code WP themes but to this day, I’ve never used it to make a site that actually launched / get used. Throughout the updates, I still take a peak now and again. Though I just have never been satisfied with handing what it can create to a client for reasons too many to go into here.

I have no experience with Headway, iThemes Builder or PageLines DMS. They look too much like Ultimatum and so I stay away. I’ve never had a good enough reason to ever try them in lieu of what already works.

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BelIblis says

That’s interesting! Would you mind just mentioning 2 or 3 things that Ultimatum can not handle? I’m curious…

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WPWiseOwl says

I really don’t like to speak badly of Ultimatum since it’s still an impressive product that the author has spent much time on. I’m sure there’s also plenty of people that just love it because they couldn’t have potentially built their site any other way. Let’s see, here’s a few off the top of my head though…

Monitors are not tiny anymore these days. Last I checked, it still uses a now very limited 960 grid system. It’s particularly inflexible if you want a 12 column 1170 design instead or want to do 16 columns for 2560. Before anyone asks…Yes, I actually have requests for this. If you understand grid based design, you won’t appreciate the limitations placed on the developer to make the layout builder work correctly for the enduser.

IE was even a bigger PITA to debug with all the ultimatum code running. IE 10/11 are better though. Browsers (Firefox and Chrome especially) are iterating faster than ever. Ultimatum can’t be relied on to react quickly enough.

It also seemed to me in the past to require so much more RAM than I’m used to. So shared hosting services don’t always suffice. Clients aren’t always interested in more expensive hosting options.

Last I checked, it’s based on the now much older Bootstrap v2 series. Bootstrap v3 has been out and has had several updates since it’s release last year. Now v3.1 just came out days ago. For the longest time it wasn’t even responsive. It always seem to be behind on current trends and staying current / ahead is what clients expect from me (especially those paying for bespoke sites).

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BelIblis says

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, WPWiseOwl! I agree – don’t like speaking badly about good products… after all, different websites/different people have different needs. Ultimatum does look pretty neat & well thought-through.

I’ve found an interesting combination someone mentioned in another forum: Genesis + Dynamik Website Builder + Themify Builder

I can’t figure out, though, if the Themify Builder license is multi-site or not… Does anyone know about this?

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WPWiseOwl says

I can’t figure out, though, if the Themify Builder license is multi-site or not… Does anyone know about this?

Their builder is not included in the Developer subscription (which allows “Unlimited Sites”) since they consider it a separate product. However, it is included with every theme. The version that comes with the themes isn’t standalone though as the standalone one is licensed separately in a “single site” fashion (not site license available AFAIK). Whether it supports use on a Multi-site network install of WP, I don’t know. Your best bet would be to contact them.

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