How to Design a WordPress Theme
Owning a business means acquiring a wide variety of skills that allow you to be more productive and run companies more efficiently. One of the skills required in this day and age is the ability to make a website using platforms like WordPress.
There are numerous reasons entrepreneurs and business owners need to master creating functional and attractive websites, such as:
- Saving money on web developers
- Post content without programmers
- Create and share content faster
Learning how to design your own theme enables you to cut out some of the middleman and be more in control of the timing of content as well as the design of it. You can build the project from scratch and make it your own, showing off your creativity and skill.
Why Choose WordPress?
There is a vast array of platforms you can use to create a stunning website, so you may be wondering what’s so great about WordPress. This platform is one of many Content Management Systems, abbreviated to CMS, that function to allow you to build and edit website content with no coding knowledge. Users often find that many CMS look similar to platforms like Facebook. While they look simple, they give you the ability to create documents or site pages and publish them.
Over 30% of websites use WordPress as their platform, and there are plenty of reasons they come out on top. WordPress is:
- Open source
Now, let’s look at how you can design a website you’re proud of using this popular and versatile platform.
Designing a Theme on WordPress
Building a theme on WordPress isn’t as simple as some other platforms, as you’ll need to acquire new skills and learn the ins and outs of the site to create a beautiful and functional theme for your website. However, once you’ve become familiar with WordPress, you’ll see that it’s highly effective and makes the process of building themes simple.
You don’t need to know how to code to make a website that your audience and clients love. It’s also very budget-friendly, so you won’t need to make any large initial investments.
If you’re ready to begin working on your site, there are numerous things that need to be done to craft a theme your audience will love.
Master the WordPress UI
Before you dive into building your site, it’s important to get familiar with the layout of the platform you’re using. Take some time to get to know the user interface, or UI, that you will be working with. There are numerous areas on the site to explore that will aid you in the task of getting your website set up and ready to go.
Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be able to see a list of handy shortcuts, site status, content management tools, and more. By mastering the WordPress UI, you’ll have an easier time navigating the site and completing your site.
Look for Ideas
Have you heard the saying that there is nothing new under the sun? Well, that applies to websites as well, so don’t be afraid to look for inspiration and ideas from other sites and blogs. This doesn’t mean you should copy someone else’s work but rather using it as a template and gathering useful ideas.
Using the ideas of others can be a great help, especially to beginners with no prior knowledge of WordPress or building a website theme. If you see something that goes with your vision or resonates with you, make it your own and use it when designing your site.
Lay Your Foundation
Many times, the function of a website outweighs the focus on beauty. If you want to have a great website at your disposal, it’s important to focus on its functionality and the results that you plan to achieve.
Understand exactly what you want your website to do, which should be one overarching goal, you’ll be able to effectively build your site around it. Some of the more popular goals that business owners set for their websites include lead generation, selling products, enhancing awareness of their brand, and more.
Pick a Domain Name
Names can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the process of creating a website. You have full freedom to be creative and fun, allowing you to come up with a catchy and memorable name for your site. However, you’ll need to keep some things in mind when choosing a domain name.
There are over 1.5 billion websites, so you’ll need to find a way to stand out from the crowd and set yourself apart. A good idea is to come up with a name that is related to your organization, service, niche market, or some other word or phrase that is brandable. In short, the domain you choose should ideally:
- Be easy to memorize
- Be brandable
- Include keywords related to your niche
- Be easy to spell
- Be as short as possible
You will also need to make sure that your domain name is available, so coming up with a few ideas is recommended. There are also domain name generators that can be used to find or inspire names for your website.
Choose Your Host
Choosing a hosting package for your website can seem intimidating and complicated at first, but there is nothing to be afraid of. The process is straightforward, and you don’t need to have any technical wisdom to get things set up.
A web host is a service that stores the information and files on your website, allowing users that visit the site to access this content. Maintaining your own server is typically not practical for businesses, so a web host is often used.
If you would like your site to be seen and functional, a web host is essential. There are hundreds of companies offering domain hosting services, so you have plenty of options. Let’s look at some of the features you should keep in mind when looking for web hosting services.
- Good reputation
- 99% uptime
- Diverse plan options
- 24/7 customer support
- Intuitive interface
- Support resources
- Site migration is supported
- Domain name management
- Security services
One feature that WordPress users love is the ability to use a wide variety of plugins to add different functions to their site. Plugins are basically programs that, once installed on your website, allow for different actions to take place. Some functions of plugins include:
- Improving visibility of websites
- Enhancing search rankings
- Creating customizable contact forms
- Fighting spam
- Network security
- Improving web traffic
- Speeding up websites
- Social media sharing
- Customizing user interfaces
- Increasing space on servers
There are thousands of plugins available, so you’ll need to determine what you want to present on your site and find plugins that fit your needs.
Use Quality Images
When it comes to the content on your website, visually appealing images are a must-have. Without images that capture the attention of users, your engagement rates will decrease, and users will spend less time browsing your site.
One of the first images you should focus on is the icon for your brand. This logo is what initially grabs the attention of potential customers and clients, giving them a small glimpse into your company.
The imagery you put into the world should make a strong and positive impression while being memorable and unique, setting you apart from your competition. It should also be representative of your brand in some way, such as using an image of a telemarketer if your business provides these services.
To Code or to Template?
There are two ways a WordPress site is usually built – using a template from a ready-made theme or creating a theme from scratch using coding knowledge. If you know how to code and are willing to put in the time and effort needed to create a theme, you may find that you have more freedom when it comes to creativity and getting your site exactly how you want it. However, working from a template can produce great results and is a good choice for anyone with minimal knowledge of website design.
When working with a template, you are customizing an existing theme so that it aligns with what you want your website to look like and how you want it to function. It’s much easier to start with a template than it is to build a site from the ground up and there are tons of free and budget-friendly themes you can take advantage of. If you want to make simple changes with minimal knowledge of how to code, you’ll be able to find plenty of tutorials on how to accomplish the task at hand.
Building a website theme from scratch takes time as well as basic coding knowledge. If you plan on coding, you’ll need to learn how to use the WordPress Codex, which contains a vast amount of information on templates, functions, plugins, and more. You can also find tutorials on using and developing themes as well as WordPress sites. This bank of knowledge is highly useful for those interested in having full control of the design of their site and all of its functions.
Create a Title & Tagline
Because of how many websites there are, it’s become more difficult for businesses to make their websites stand out from others. The competition is fierce, which means it is essential to take advantage of every opportunity to catch the attention of users and increase traffic to your site.
When looking at your site, the first thing that will be seen is the title of your site and its tagline. To make a good first impression, these will need to be attention-grabbing as well as unique, making an impact on the user and persuading them to check out your content.
Your title and tagline should be built around the focus of your brand as well as your company’s purpose. Be clever and use keywords, avoid being repetitive, keep it short and sweet, and use phrases that resonate with what your brand stands for and what services or products you provide.
Enable or Disable Comments
One of the most frequent questions asked by users is whether or not to disable comments on their WordPress site. Whether your site is already established or if you’re building a brand-new site, this question is common. There are several advantages and drawbacks of comments, so it comes down to your personal preference and the goal of your website. Though to help you make a decision for your site, let’s look at some of the reasons comments are commonly turned on and why they are commonly turned off.
1. Why keep comments on?
Some of the common reasons you may choose to keep comments on your website include:
- Allowing users to share information and stories
- Gathering ideas from users for future content
- Building a rapport with site users
- Increasing return users and views
- Building a community of engaged users
- Showing users their feedback is valued
- Provide social proof to boost brand image
2. Why turn comments off?
There are also reasons business owners choose to have comments turned off, some of which include:
- Difficulty moderating comments
- Not responding may hurt brand image
- Comments can become filled with spam
- Comments don’t add to visitor site experience
- Users can troll or advertise their own brand
- Not getting enough comments
WordPress is an excellent option for anyone that wants to use a budget and user-friendly platform. With all of these tips, there is no reason to delay in starting the process of building a great site.
The process described above can be done by beginners, so there’s no need to hire a professional to design your entire website. Learn the workings of WordPress, gather ideas, build a solid foundation, decide on your approach, find high quality images, and make use of plugins. Some other tips for building a high-quality website on this platform include keeping your end goal in mind and maintain engagement with your audience as well as clients.