There are a number of great, pre-designed themes available to help you customize your WordPress site, but sometimes nothing quite fits the look and feel you’re looking for. Creating your own WordPress theme allows you to tailor your site to your exact vision. In this article, we’ll cover 3 of the most common approaches to creating a theme in WordPress.
Develop a theme from scratch
If you are comfortable coding in CSS, HTML, and PHP, you can develop a WordPress theme on your own. Developing your own WordPress theme is a great way to sharpen your skills and improve your WordPress site. The WordPress Codex has a guideline for web developers who want to get started creating themes.
Themes reside in the “wp-content/themes/” directory by default. They consist of stylesheet files, template files, and an optional functions file. Technically, a WordPress theme could be made with just the index.php and style.css files, but in practice themes are usually significantly more involved. If you’re interested in a starter theme, _s (a.k.a. underscores), was created with this goal in mind.
Create a child theme
Alternatively, if you’re not quite ready to dive into developing a theme from scratch or just want to tweak some of the functionality of an already existing theme, you can develop a child theme.
Child themes are based on other WordPress themes called parent themes. The parent theme name is defined in the Template field of a child theme’s style.css file.
An option for non-developers
What if you don’t have the requisite development skills? Are you left out? No, not at all. There are a variety of drag-and-drop or similar graphical user interface (GUI) based theme builders available for WordPress. While these type of tools are inherently a little less flexible than doing the coding yourself, they are a great way to build a WordPress theme without coding skills.
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