The advantage, imo, of using a non-WordPress theme is that when you start building the actual product, you're using the exact same files. As far as I know, if you get a WordPress theme, you'll have to scratch it when you start building your actual site. Am I wrong about this?
Bonus points: you don't have to be an engineer to do it, so if you have a business guy, he can go be useful for a change. (I kid, I kid.)
One more question. You wrote: "If you want to make your application match your Wordpress theme (not sure if that is necessarily a good idea)".
Now, say I want to put up an MVP of some application, which is just a landing page. Shouldn't I include some kind of screenshot of what the application will look like?
If so, what design do you use for screenshots of the application itself? Do you use the same theme? A completely different design?
My MVP used a cheap ThemeForest theme for the Rails part which shows minimal functionality, but the hero shot image is a racially ambiguous caryoon character, showing the successful businesswoman busy killing it because she was smart and bought my service. It is downright frightening to the engineer in me how radically that increased the number of requests for info I got from ladies. The marketer in me has to soul crush him some days.
This point stolen shamelessly from slide 9 of my Business of Software 2010 talk on selling software to women. I spent all day today on it today (well, when not breaking into Diaspora).
Then, to rebuild the backend template, one can do a 'curl' and then post-process using a script. So when the BizPeople change the layout, one can regenerate the backend template immediately.
It's on GitHub : contributions (of code) welcome.
sudo tasksel install lamp-server
You won't have to start over when building your actual site if you build/use a WordPress theme. At my dayjob we build most of our client sites in WordPress so my starting framework is in WP (it's basically a combination of HTML5 Boilerplate + Blueprint + Starkers).
When I need to build a non-WP site or convert a WP site to HTML/CSS, I go to my framework WordPress site, view the source and save it as index.html.
There's only a few things that need to be changed, like the path to the stylesheet and images.
In a second phase, you can go back and do it from scratch, when you have more time and resources.
Wordpress allows you to decouple the "info site" stack from the web app stack, which are not necessarily the same technologies - and so this can go way beyond just MVP.
Some of my favorite wordpress themes form themeforest:
This one lets you sell digital downloads: http://themeforest.net/item/the-furniture-store-wordpress-ec...
These themes aren't well suited for ecommerce, they are really just variations on an iPhone App landing page, but they are nice tools to get something commercial looking up fast.
This article inspired me to share (ahead of schedule) some info on a new service we’re building to provide some of the lean startup metrics Tor mentioned, designed specifically for SaaS products.
We’re looking for folks interested in beta testing and providing customer development feedback at StartMetrics (http://startmetrics.com).
Plus, I think it’s fitting that we’ve been using one of the themes Tor listed. Took just a few hours to get the basic design up and running, which gives us more time to work on our MVP
I agree on using caution with a technical audience though... perhaps using a cheapy $30 template with a little customization so you don't have to have an attribution link and it doesn't look like everything else?
1. A concept web site to help explain what problem you solve
2. A source of leads to early adopters. Potentially invaluable.
And when it comes to feedback, the handful of customer I have talked to in person (you know the customer development part) has helped me 1000% more than the hundreds of emails collected here. (most of which will never respond to your email when you send it out).
Volume is a poor measurement of effort and value when it comes to design (and coding for that matter).
Given that I can run Drupal w/ Postgres (the DB I'm already using), its a nice value proposition.