Building WordPress Websites With Artisteer

There are a lot of CMS packages to choose from. Three of the most popular are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Which one you use depends on many factors, but two of these will have to do with your client. If the client is not highly skilled in manipulating the internet, WordPress is probably the correct CMS for them. On the other hand, if they are experienced CMS operators and want to build a large scalable site, then it may be better to point them toward Drupal.

Choosing WordPress for today’s article then begs the question: How do you design a WordPress site theme? There is a myriad of excellent advice on the WordPress site, but it tends to lead the designer into hard coding, which is not necessarily the most efficient way to go about this process.

Take, for example, the following process. The client approaches the website designer and requests a new design, logo, and general business design package. The designer has worked in the design business for 20 years and is at the top of their game regarding visual skills.

The situation then arises that complicates and waters down employing such an experienced and talented designer. If he is so well thought of as a designer, will he likely have the necessary coding skills to create a theme based on his design?


I think the obvious answer is not very likely at all. So, the next step is to employ a web developer to convert the designer’s imaginative and creative design into a theme that will work on a new WordPress site and grow easily as the area becomes more populated with articles, dynamic instructiveness, and general advances. Of course, all this extra labor made available at the website designer’s business begins to add overheads that are not practical when trying to compete in the website design market. A $1500 project suddenly looks like a $3000-$10,000 project to cover the massive overhead increase from carrying all these extra staff.

Luckily, programs on the market can almost entirely remove one of these steps. I say nearly as if there are caveats, and they are important. Artisteer produces software with a great drag-and-drop UI, which allows anyone with a modicum of experience using a computer to create fully working templates/themes for several of the more popular CMS packages.

For the WordPress CMS, having spent quite some time with the graphic designer getting the site’s basic layout, it is easy to translate what the designer has created into a fully functioning but basic WordPress theme. Themes that have 70 -90 widget positions or, in the case of Rocket Themes, an almost infinite number of widget areas due to the use of the Gantry framework. These Artisteer-created themes for WordPress will always include sidebars and widget areas but are not always terribly adaptable to the current theming in the top professional theming houses such as YooTheemes, Woothemes, etc. RocketThemes, whose templates are fantastic but fairly pricey.

It is possible, though, to avoid the further expense and, in reality, time, as these commercial themes do suffer from over-complication sometimes. The solution still lies with Artisteer and a nifty little add-on package called Artisteer TT. TT stands for Templeteer and is provided by a separate organization.

The TT add-on only works with the WordPress themes produced by Artisteer. However, it adds great functionality to the music missing from the original Artisteer product. For example, the header image Wor,dPress site title, and tagline are not easily manipulated in Artisteer. Using the TT add-on makes it possible to add widget areas in the header, change the Site Tite and saying to a clickable image, and many other multi-sidebar additions that simplify templating/theming in WordPress.

However, there is always a, as with all time-saving pieces of software, the ruder, the more purist style website developer will turn their noses up at the way the code and the CSS, in particular, is generated. It is heavily bloated, but it has to cope with the different browsers this software has to deal with. Of course, once the theme has been exported as a WordPress theme, it is straightforward to edit the CSS to suit. But it is important, and it is also important to note that most of the articles do not pass strict CSS or HTML testing. These days, it isn’t quite so important; however, since the search engines do consider the validity of the code, it would be a good idea to validate it as much as possible before releasing the final theme version.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.