Charles van Veen | NMOAmsterdam

How to Build a Wordpress Theme in a Snap!

Sep 10th 2010 at 1:11 PM

Wordpress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world today. Millions of website owners use Wordpress as their CMS of choice because it can be easily installed to the server, it is easy to maintain, and the CMS has a powerful list of features to make a webmaster's life easy as well as the capacity for Wordpress's functionality to be extended via plugins. The best Wordpress feature is that a Wordpress site's theme layout can be easily customized, updated and maintained without changing every single page of the website. There are a lot of amateur and freelance web designers who have made a lot of wordpress themes. Some of these themes are available for free online while there are also sites that offer premium wordpress themes for a fair price. If you want to learn how to build a wordpress theme, you first need to understand how a wordpress theme works.

In order to design your own wordpress theme, you must at least have some knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP as well as some skills in using image manipulation software. Wordpress theme design takes a lot of CSS, PHP and HTML coding. If you have these knowledge and skills, learning how to design a Wordpress theme will be much easier. The first thing you need to learn will be the fundamental structure of a wordpress theme. This means learning what are the wordpress files that run the theme engine as well as how to build a wordpress theme files are connected to the whole wordpress setup. 

A wordpress theme is composed of three kinds of files. The first kind of file is called the stylesheet. The stylesheet controls the visual layout of the pages and this is stored in a file called style.css. The second kind is the functions.php file which controls any optional functions that a designer wants to add to their wordpress site. The rest of the files are called the template files which governs the way the the pages will get the data from the wordpress database and display it in the site. Most theme development concentrates on making the stylesheet work with the template files. As a wordpress page loads, it will first call on the stylesheet to know how the site should look and then load the template files in order to know what data to present.

Making your own wordpress theme is a great way to ensure that your websites overall look will be original. Using a free theme that you find online will run the chance that your site will look exactly like other sites online. Using a popular wordpress theme will run the risk that your site will not standout to visitors and might give them the impression that you are not really serious with your website as you did not care enough to come up with an original look. Originality is a great way to grab the attention of your site visitors in order to make them come back to your site. Using your own wordpress theme will be a big step towards originality.

You can start learning how to build a wordpress theme by taking a free theme online and learning how it works. There are themes online whose designers allow other people to make modifications on their theme files. Learning wordpress theme design on these free themes can be done by modifying the theme stylesheet and see what these modifications can do to the overall look. It is that easy.

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