Those who’re still paying people to design a basic WordPress website from scratch — or paying $50+ for one off-the-shelf “limited number of sales” template to get a margin of exclusivity (yep, I’ve been there) — might do well to first investigate the unique Artisteer WordPress design software.

Despite its own rather naff website design, the Artisteer software ($50/$130) is excellent, semi-generative, and works as advertised. The UK’s major PC Pro magazine reviewed it positively here. It can also make templates for Joomla, Drupal, and Blogger (who they?). PC Pro wrote…

“The good news is that the Artisteer approach works brilliantly. It’s clear that, rather than changing parameters at random, [the ‘suggest feature’ ] intelligently varies groups of elements together to produce consistent, coherent and attractive designs. And the advanced dropdown menus and use of generated bitmap textures show Artisteer is going well beyond straight CSS.”

It’s true the results are indeed fairly instant, but once you get into tinkering and fine-tuning the hours soon start to fly by. A perfectionist might find they’re spending half a day day fiddling with every little niggle, and getting the theme exactly as they want it. Once you’re done, it outputs everything you need to upload to your WordPress themes directory. Don’t forget to lock down the ‘write’ permissions on your “themes” directory after you upload, for security reasons.