WordPress themes are basically files which are working together in order to create the desired layout and functionality of any WordPress sites as per the need of the site owners. There are different themes and umpteen of choices for the site owners to select from in order to instantly change the look and feel of their website. Developers usually design WordPress themes for their own use, client projects, as well as to submit them to the WordPress Theme Directory for the users to make use of. The basic purposes of developing WordPress themes are as pointed below:
- In order to create a unique and stylish look for a WordPress site.
- To take advantage of the templates, tags, and the WordPress Loop in order to develop different website looks.
- To provide alternate templates for specific website functionality like a category page or search result page.
- To instantly switch in between two site layouts in order to change the look and feel of the site.
A WordPress theme separates the template files from the system files so that the site gets upgraded without experiencing drastic changes in the visuals during the process. Another unique advantage of a WordPress theme is that it allows the customization of the site’s functionality unique to the assigned theme. Also it allows an instant change of the visual design and layout of a WordPress page. A pre-fabricated WordPress theme eradicates the need for the site owners to have the knowledge of design tools like HTML, CSS or PHP web programming in order to create a good-looking website.
Building your own WordPress Theme is a really exciting and challenging experience. It gives you an opportunity to learn more about HTML, CSS and PHP and to enjoy a creative experience. However, while building a theme, there are a few points to be noted. We will discuss here about them to help you attempt WordPress theme building.
Don’t hard code the full URL in your themes: While designing your themes, many a times when the images are being used for social media or RSS feed icons, you may want to code the complete URL; but it has to be noted that this may cause some errors in the website when another person using this particular theme tries to change the theme folder’s name. The proper coding to be used in order to pull the URL dynamically is as below:
<?php bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’); ?>/images/image.jpg
Use the template tags as many times as possible: WordPress does have the facility to lay out all the template tags one can use, so you can use them as much as possible. This will be a favor you do to yourself as well as to the other people who may choose to use your themes. By using template tags, you will be able to assure that your themes do not show up errors or are getting broken while others try to set it up and run it.
Don’t ever forget about the codes for navigation drop down: While building a WordPress theme, developers used to overlook the drop down codes in the navigation. This is an important point to be noted in your design checklist. It is true that some themes may not need the navigation set up on not utilizing the multi-level URLs and keeping everything in a single row, but in other cases like using multiple child pages for each parent page, navigation is necessary. To learn how to do it, you can refer to the materials related to multi-level menus using CSS and JQUERY.
Make your theme widget ready to be edited by users: If you develop a WordPress theme for the users, don’t ask your users to take care of the task of customizing the sections with hard coding. You should have to widgetize your sidebars as well as various other places in your theme, making them easy for others to edit. Check out the widgetizing tutorials if you want to learn how to do this task most effectively.
Keep your users saved from the need for using a lot of plug-ins: If you are releasing your themes for public or making commercial themes for WordPress, then it is important that you should take care of your user’s best interest while materializing your themes. Try to set up all the plug-ins in your themes automatically so that the users can use them instantly without the need for taking any overburden.
Show the search term on the search results page: Simple, but most frequently overlooked. It is very easy to implement this to your themes. Use a one-line code, which will allow the theme to remind the visitors what they have just searched for. The code to be used for this is as below:
<h2>Search Results for <em><?php the_search_query() ?></em> </h2>
By making use of the above tips, you can succeed in your attempt to develop user-friendly WordPress themes and become a successful commercial or a hobbyist WordPress theme developer.
About Author:Mini Belwal works with PixelCrayons, an IT consultancy company. PixelCrayons helps its partners meet their long-term goals, not just the short-term ones. With services such as custom CMS development, mobile development, the company aims at giving true value to the investment of its clients. You may get in touch with PixelCrayons if you are planning to hire wordpress developers for your web project.