WordPress has surged in popularity over time, becoming one of the most popular content management systems currently. With more than 65 million WordPress websites currently in use, coding enthusiasts specializing in web development should devote their learning sessions towards acquiring skills on how to code WordPress themes. If you intend to start your coding journey, the guide below can help you learn how to code WordPress themes with ease.
Designing a WordPress Theme
Theoretically, it might sound easy to build a WordPress theme. Before you get down to build a WordPress theme, you should have some designs to work with. Fortunately, several design courses are available to guide you on creating the best WordPress themes designs. The courses provide guidance on the fundamentals and design considerations you should look into, for small to large and most complex WordPress pages.
WordPress themes are integral components as they determine the content presentation on your website. As such, make sure that you start building with a strong foundation. For these, Bootstrap and Underscores courses provide important insights on how you can establish a solid foundation for your WordPress theme. Bootstrap is an open-source framework designed to provide a head start for coders building mobile responsive projects on the web. Underscores, on the other hand, is developed by WordPress and gives coders a 1000-hour head start on theme creation.
Apart from a strong foundation, you should ensure that you design a WordPress theme compatible with the legacy and latest versions of WordPress. The WordPress marketplace is also quite strict and insists on the importance of designing secure themes. Your design should match WordPress coding standards, such as proper licensing, compatible with WordPress APIs, and other common plugins. Therefore, your designs should factor in how other facets of WordPress can support the theme.
Building the Theme
Once you have laid down the design and foundation, you can proceed with the creation process. The best place to begin is by checking the code structure of existing themes to get some gist on how the coding structure should look. Some of the best structures to check out include “X” from Themeforest and Twenty Fourteen Theme integrated into WordPress 3.8. The two themes provide great insights into the basic WordPress structure you can follow.
From the structure, you will note that you should work on 12 core files during the building process. The files include:
- functions.php – it allows change of core functionality without necessarily editing the core files
- single.php – for individual posts
- archive.php – for posts, authors, dates, categories, and more
- page.php – for static pages
As you build these core files, you should follow WordPress submission guides for your theme to be accepted. For instance, one of the requirements is that WordPress should be spelled as it is. That aside, your coding should be clean and free of errors.
Customizing WordPress Themes
The process of building a WordPress doesn’t stop after coding. You should leverage several ways of customizing the theme to enhance its functionality. Creating a complete package makes it powerful and marketable to your clients and buyers. For this, you can take advantage of several tools, including;
- WordPress Gutenberg – it is an interactive WordPress specialized editing interface. By learning the basics of this tool, you can create blocks using specialized WordPress plugins that enhance the theme’s functionality.
- WPBakery Page Builder – initially known as Visual Composer, it is a popular WordPress page builder with more than 350,000 sales. As you learn how to code with WordPress themes, learning how to integrate and customize this page builder in your theme enhances the theme’s functionality.
- Theme templates – templates are essential for every WordPress theme. Therefore, if you have started creating themes, you should have some experience coding template files. If you don’t, learn from various template coding courses to customize themes with advanced templates.
- Frontpage – WordPress has a good theme that can be used to create an amazing website. However, sometimes you might need to customize the front page for a better response.
Other areas of theme customization include content types, themes options page, WordPress admin, and more.
The Bottom Line
Web developers are currently unconsciously partial to WordPress themes for several reasons. Among them is that most clients request specifically for a WordPress website as others prefer its simplicity. This also explains the reason behind the surge in popularity of this content management software. If you were previously working with other CMSs such as Drupal and Joomla, you could consider migrating as well.
Unfortunately, beginner and experienced coders who want to learn how to code WordPress themes face financial challenges, bearing in mind that learning to code or attending a coding Bootcamp is expensive. However, you should take advantage of various financial aids meant for coders. You may be able to find financial aid for taking online coding courses, such as benefits from the G.I Bill, loans from private lenders, and scholarships.