Watching an episode of Better Call Saul got me thinking about client work. At a meetup group yesterday someone asked me which website “platform” they should use. They also asked why they should hire a web designer when they can choose from a themed service. In the second season of Better Call Saul, Kim Wexler tries to convince a potential client to hire her over a large corporate law firm. She looks the client straight in the eye and says:
Why would you prefer a tailor-made suit? Because it fits you, and you alone. Every stitch was threaded over with you in mind. Either you fit the jacket, or the jacket fits you.
And so here are my thoughts on WordPress themes and the like. Themed sites are great to start with. They are cost-effective and offer a way to get your business off the ground so you can make money. But for the medium to long-term, or if you have a decent budget, I generally think off-the-shelf website themes sell your business short—from both a marketing and functionality perspective.
Running with the jacket analogy a bit more—let's say you want to be able to go outside in the Winter. Well—just get a decent jacket, right? So you can get yourself out there. Fast forward a year, and you decide to start dating, or maybe you're going to business meetings. You want to attract a certain class of person—after all, “clothes maketh the man”/woman, as Shakespeare once said. At this point, you want a jacket that makes you look good. You want it to fit snug around your body; you want people to realise you care. You also want to spend a bit more, but if it lasts you a few years, you don't mind…
I'd say the jacket metaphor works pretty well for websites.