WordPress is rapidly becoming one of the most popular and versatile ways to create websites in general, not just blogs. The ease of installation, huge number of plugins and massive support community make it easy to get up and running with a WP site in hours. But one thing that’s harder to do is convert an existing website design into a WordPress theme, which usually involves hiring an expensive coder/designer.
A new service called Theme Matcher aims to change all that by letting anyone create a full WordPress theme culled from any website design in seconds. All you have to do is enter in the target website address, select the main content area you want to include, and press the Create Theme button.
You can also select sidebar areas, and refine your content selection by using a clever wizard arrangement of + and – buttons. It’s fast and simple to do. The idea of the service is to let people a) either quickly add a matching WordPress blog to their existing site or b) transfer their static website into a WordPress site to make it easier to manage and tweak.
Once you have done the selections, you select the level of service you want, from the basic $47 version with 2 free revisions and standard support, up to premium support and CSS tweaks so you can get exactly the result you want.
We tried it out and found that with a simple static website, it was trivially easy to copy over the design and spit out a WordPress theme in seconds. The header and navigation sections came out perfectly, and we just needed to do a small amount of work on refining the layout of the pages and getting the content looking how we wanted it.
Even with the automation, there’s always going to be a need for some knowledge of CSS, or WordPress structure, so it’s not a service your grandma can use, but certainly young Jimmy with his WordPress smarts could probably get a good result quite quickly.
We also tried it on a slightly more complex custom built ecommerce site, and the system didn’t pick up on the content at all, so we suspect that it’s constrained to working with websites which are fairly simple in terms of HTML and also written to proper standard. But that’s a reasonable expectation.
All in all, it’s a nice little tool, and while it’s never going to replace the need for real expertise when it comes to design and WP customization, it’s a solid way to get quick results for a lot of conversion needs. A nice little tool.