Pro Tips to Build Modern Themes for WordPress Websites and Blogs

WordPress is now heading to latest v4.6+ version, and we have seen plenty of changes in the ecosystem in favor of the developers and users. It becomes more and easier with each version for the WP developers to create multifaceted themes by using dozens of customizable features for posts, styles, templates, taxonomies, and alternate home page designs.

To make use of all these features at best, one should know how these work in an actual theme development pipeline. In this article, we will share a few pro tips and tricks which the devs can apply in WordPress theme making. Here, you will get a basic idea about how to weave brilliant and alluring themes from scratch and customize them further with the latest and most modern WordPress features. Let’s get started with the most advanced theme architecture methods.

WordPress dashboard – Some basic facts to be known

The most advanced WP themes may have many PHP files and added template files as category templates. These needed to be in the root file; however, the other files can be reorganized to the corresponding subfolders. Maintain the ‘styles.css’ file in the root, but you can create /CSS/ folder to host any additional CSS files. You can also create the ‘assets’ folder to keep the images and web fonts which are theme specific.

If you tend to do a lot of PHP-based development, then one must create an additional folder. This is an ideal way to add the PHP libraries to the theme and keep the functions separated into various files. It is also ideal to break up the functions.php file to keep the code separated into various include files. This can help keep the functions file clean and make it much easier to find the code snippets for easy editing.

This approach is called ‘modular development’ as the code is ultimately broken into different modules, which can be edited separately or individually copied and pasted onto other themes if needed. For advanced WordPress theme development, it is ideal to stick to modular development mode. Separate the CSS files, JS files, and PHP files based on the functionality of each. This makes the management and upgrading of your theme much easier.

WordPress Admin Features

WordPress dashboard allows the users to enjoy a fair amount of customization without a single line of code. You can instantly change the logo of the site, images, background, color theme, and also drag and drop the sidebars to match to the theme design.

When you look through the pre-set magazine themes, you can often find many homepages there with different features to adjust the placement, size, and context. But, such features needed to be coded into the theme to work properly. If you add these features to each theme you build, this is made much easier to manage and also gives a professional outlook to work.

In many websites,run on WordPress 4.5+ version, developers used the option of partially updating it and seeing how these look in real. This is based on a Customizer API which that allows the developers to register partials for rearranging the page layout in a better way. The partials now come in various styles, but ultimately defines the parts of a page in the theme. The entities you can customize this way are:

  • Sidebars
  • Header
  • Footer
  • 404 content
  • Page content or post content
  • Comments area etc.

With newer versions, WordPress will surely come up with more admin features.

Maintaining a theme framework

WordPress framework is one of the essential tool developers need to have in their arsenal. Frameworks offer a lot of custom features, security features, and a lot of pre-built components which work right out of the box. No one needs to write custom code for development but can simply build on top of the features to create mighty WordPress websites.

You can see Unyson Framework as one of the mightiest frameworks on WP, which runs in more than 40,000 installs. They also update it to be competent with the latest versions of WordPress. Unyson helps the developers to decrease the WP development timeframe exponentially. There are a large number of built-in widgets, custom backup feature, contact builder, and easy to use drag and drop editor for the site content. Interestingly, it is entirely free to use.

Choosing theme-specific plugins

If you are building extra features which can be used across a WordPress site you build, then the best ideal is to build these into a separate plugin. However, there is nothing wrong in developers coding unique features as a part of the theme so that it runs only while that particular theme is active.

However, this approach is heavily content among the WP developers, and many tend to add features right into a particular theme. This help relieves the bloat and makes the native implementation of a function class into the theme much easier. These extra functions can add many simple features as customized drop-down menus, different post types, short codes API, or additional buttons in WP editor by using Quick tags API. The advantage of WP Quick tags is that it adds the necessary buttons dynamically so the users need not have to hand the code over Quick tags API.

An ideal WordPress theme will be able to add all necessary features into the code by default and avoid the chaos for users to track down individual plugins to solve every minute problem. A developer need not have to restrain from building extra features and get those tied directly to your personalized theme. Most of the times, at a professional level, it becomes necessary too based on the theme type you choose.

On the other hand, it is also a smarter approach to let the actual plugin developers take over the complex tasks. Say, or example, caching with the W3 Total is a more time-saving and easier approach than trying to build your customized caching engine. But, if you cannot find intelligent solutions which work the best for you, then it is recommended to try and role out by your own.

Author bio: Simon Morris is an experienced and skilled Business consultant and Financial advisor in the USA.He helps clients both personal and professional in long-term wealth building plans.During his spare time he loves to write on Business, Finance, Marketing,Social Media.He loves to share his knowledge and Experts tips with his readers.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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