Custom RapidWeaver themes

A custom theme is a bit like a custom car or self-build home, in that it's developed to your exact design and specifications. Unlike a normal 'off-the-shelf' theme, custom themes can only be used exclusively by yourself, and no one else has access to the same theme. Custom themes are installed and work exactly like a standard RapidWeaver theme. Often they can be built to include required style or colour settings. All custom themes are developed and tested to the same high standards as a regular RapidWeaver theme is.

In these tough economic times, custom themes make sense. In exchange for a one-off fee, you can obtain a professionally developed theme, which makes site design and deployment in RapidWeaver very easy. If you are building a personal website for yourself, a custom theme combined with RapidWeaver enables you to work independently, without the ongoing costs and time of hiring a webmaster. If you are a web designer building websites for others in RapidWeaver, a custom theme offers a robust framework, that can be reused time and time again. Rather than starting with a blank canvas, custom themes fast-track you to the point of putting content together and publishing the completed project.

In the past, many custom RapidWeaver themes have been successfully created, based on existing website designs, templates and themes. Likewise new designs have been crafted from Photoshop mockups or through drawing inspiration from other websites. The exact cost of custom theme development tends to vary, depending on the complexity. Often code may be recycled from other themes, to keep development costs as low as possible. After a custom theme is complete, any further modifications, updates and support are often free.

Paul Dixon Pictures

Custom RapidWeaver stacks

Stacks has proven itself as a fantastic third-party plugin for building flexible page layouts. One major attraction with stacks is the ability to reuse the same stacks or layout across multiple pages – which keeps websites looking clean, functional and consistent. Just like custom themes, custom Stacks can be created. In the past custom stacks have been created to serve purposes like product information grids, custom tabbed interfaces, paginations, comparison tables and photo page layouts. By using a single custom stack, you can easily drag your stack into a page, populate it with your content and publish for instant results.

As an example, each of the premium theme pages on this website were created using a custom stack - the top banner, purchase buttons, detail boxes and content are laid out and styled automatically using a single custom stack. This achieves consistent results over multiple pages and makes page layout incredibly simple. Often the stack can be built to include a dozen or so settings under the HUD and a guidance-based editing interface. Custom stacks are built to the same standards as normal stacks, fully browser tested and exclusive to your project. In the past I've built various stack elements for clients, including calculators, image sliders, audio and video players, social networking stacks etc.

Tony Hart Photography

General web development

Although RapidWeaver is the main area of work focused on, in the past several projects have been successfully completed, which have focused around other publishing platforms like Wordpress and Espresso. Typically these projects have required improvements website accessibility, browser compatibility and page optimisation. On some occasions existing websites have started to look very tired and broken, so work has been done to renovate and rejuvenate. The advantage of having a RapidWeaver background is that a number of practical design and development skills and be brought to the table - aspects such as HTML5, CSS, jQuery, PHP, MooTools, XML etc.

"I turned to Will after reaching the limits of my own web design abilities. I was looking to upgrade the menubar on my website while keeping the new navigation as in keeping with the site as possible. Will quoted me a very reasonable price and then proceeded to build and extremely good job on the first past. He then worked closely with me on a number of revisions to get the layout and behaviour exactly as I wanted it, always replying promptly to communications and implementing my needs quickly and effectively. His technical knowledge was very impressive and his business manner impeccable. I really can't say enough good things about him.

As someone who has done my own web design up until this point I was cautious of outsourcing the work, both for fear of spiralling costs and difficulty getting my vision across to the designer and seeing this in the results. Will completely squashed these fears and I won't hesitate to return to him in the future. His work has been simply outstanding and I'd recommend him to anyone.

Tony Hart, Professional Wedding Photographer

Wordpress and concrete5

I have good practical knowledge of both of these powerful publishing platforms forms. Especially projects relating to the construction and deployment of custom themes. Wordpress is great for blogs and concrete5 is ideally suited for large-scale commercial websites with complex requirements. I've overseen many successful projects with both platforms.

Weekend workshops

This is the lose term used to describe short, low-budget projects. Tasks which typically only take a few days to do and which I can often fit-in at short notice around other commitments. Previously some of these projects have included the following sorts of things:
  • Setup of website SSL security certificates
  • Migration of websites and databases between different hosting providers
  • Website SEO (search engine optimisation) health checks
  • Improvements to website speed, rendering and bandwidth
  • Debugging of websites in older web browsers to improve compatibility
  • Bulk-optimisation of website images
  • Automated scanning and repairing of broken website links
  • Incorporation of social media and social bookmarking links / icons
  • Minifying website source code files like HTML, CSS and Javascript to improve performance
  • Minor modifications to RapidWeaver themes and stacks developed by other companies
  • Temporary management and publication of websites while you're away on vacation etc.
  • Email newsletter templates

How does hiring me work?

Typically the way I work is broken-down into the following stages:
  1. You contact me by email with details of what you want doing, mockups, prototypes, designs etc.
  2. I'll give you a rough estimate of the cost, timescale and any other details you need from me
  3. You provide me with your contact details and I issue you with a SOW (statement of work contract) and a formal quote
  4. Within 15 days, you either approve or reject the quote
  5. If the quote is approved, I will get the work done for you
  6. If you're satisfied with the work completed, the quote is converted into an invoice, payable within 30 days
  7. Upon full payment, the goods or services legally become your property.

I very rarely charge upfront fees or deposits. Typically these will only be requested if the project is considered "high risk" or if additional products or services need to be purchased (like addons or web hosting).

Contact me

For a non-obligatory discussion about your upcoming projects and for details of availability and costs, please get in contact. Project proposals, mockups or links are always useful and can enable an estimate to be created. For full or part website design, copywriting, RapidWeaver consultation and mentoring, contact RapidWeaver Central who have a great reputation and are experts in the field.