WordPress is the easiest and most popular way to create your very own website. You can create a variety of websites. For example, WordPress hosts business websites, eCommerce shops, blogs, portfolios, resumés, and any other kind of website you can think of. WordPress is so popular because of its versatility and user friendliness. You don’t need to be an expert coder or UX/UI designer to create the perfect website.
In this article, you will learn all about WordPress website templates, design, and themes.
WordPress Website Templates
In WordPress, a template is the portion of a web page that is generated by a theme. (You will learn more about WordPress themes towards the end of this article). Most themes have default templates that will output in HTML. For example, header.php is a template used in most themes. These WordPress templates make it easy to build your WordPress website because you don’t need to worry about any of the coding.
WordPress template hierarchy determines which file will be used and when the file will be used. In other words, template hierarchy will result in the final HTML for your website page. Usually, to use different themes on a website, you have to go through the complicated process of writing different kinds of complex code. However, template hierarchy solves this issue, making it a painless and easy process to build your website.
There are a few basic templates that you will most likely use while creating your WordPress website. For your home page, you might use something called a Site Front Page. This template file will show your blog posts on your site’s home page. For a single page, you might use a Static Page. This template file is one of WordPress’ default posts.
Static Page will allow you to make static pages instead of posts. There is a difference between posts and pages. The type of template file for a category archive will display related pages on a page. For example, your website is a cooking blog. On a page about the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, some related pages might be a snickerdoodle recipe, sugar cookie recipe, shortbread cookie, and so on. Basically, through the category archive template, it can figure out which pages are similar to others on your site.
There are many other basic templates that you will definitely use while creating your WordPress website. These were just a couple examples to understand what a template can do for your WordPress website.
Now you know a little bit about WordPress template hierarchy, which is very important if you are planning on building your own WordPress website.
Designing your WordPress website can be a fun and exciting experience. You have two choices before you start building your website. Do you want to build your site by yourself? Or, do you want to hire someone to build your site for you? If you feel too overwhelmed or are too busy to design and build your own WordPress website, that’s okay.
Luckily for you, you do not have to build your website if you do not want to. There are companies that specialize in creating outstanding websites for various clients. For example, here, at SEO Design Chicago, one of our areas of expertise is designing WordPress websites. On the other hand, if you are up for the challenge of designing your own WordPress website, follow these WordPress design tips to create an amazing website.
Lay the Groundwork
What does laying the groundwork even mean? It’s quite a vague statement; but, it is a crucial step in your WordPress design process. Think of laying the groundwork as your website plan. What do you want to achieve through this website? Do you want to sell a product? Do you want to educate people through blog posts? Do you want to raise awareness for specific issues or organizations? Whatever your objective may be, make sure you have a solid goal before moving forward with the website design process.
Choose an Effective Name
A domain name identifies your website. A domain name is not the same as a URL. The domain name is part of the URL. Choosing an effective name can be difficult, especially if you are branding something popular. You do not want to commit copyright infringement, so make sure to check if your domain name is already taken. Even if you accidentally take someone else’s name or idea, it is still considered infringement. Once you find a legal name that works for your website, you should consider buying that domain name. It is not required to buy your domain; however, it will protect you from infringement.
To state the obvious, you will need to purchase a WordPress plan. There are a few different options. You can start off with a free account. A personal account is $4 per month. A premium account, which is the most popular, is $8 per month. A business account is $25 per month. An eCommerce account is $45 per month. Once you have your WordPress account, you will need to consider how you will upload content up on your site. Will you use Adobe Photoshop for photos? Will you use Dropbox or Google Drive to store documents? These are just some tools to consider when designing your WordPress website.
Answer the Question: Are You Building Your Website From Scratch?
There are two ways to design your WordPress website: you can utilize the WordPress templates and themes, or you can build your site from scratch. If you are tech savvy, you might go with the second option. However, if you are more comfortable using templates and making adjustments to them as you see fit, then use all the templates and themes you want.
If you decide to use the templates and themes, you can make changes if you would like. But, making modifications is easier than starting with nothing, especially if you are not quite sure where to begin. Whether or not you use templates and themes versus starting from scratch depends on your experience level and what kind of website you are trying to create.
Content creation is pretty self-explanatory. It’s everything you are going to put onto your website. Content creation can consist of blog posts, photos, social media posts, etc. If you are not quite sure where to start, there are companies that can point you in the right direction.
Companies like SEO Design Chicago that assist in all sorts of content creation and marketing. It is crucial to have great website content because you want as many people to visit your site as possible. If you have a well-designed website and outstanding content, your WordPress website will thrive!
A WordPress theme is a group of templates and stylesheets that you can use for your WordPress website. Using themes will make each page on your website look put together and connected, making your website aesthetically pleasing. If you want to, you can even make changes to the themes. There are many free WordPress themes available, as well as themes that you can pay for. You can find these various themes on WordPress or through other websites.
How to Create A WordPress Theme
- Local Environment
First, you need to create a local development environment. A local environment is a server on your computer that you can use to manage your WordPress website. A local environment is the perfect place to safely create themes and manage your site. There are many ways to create a local environment. DesktopServer is a fast, easy, and free way to install a local version of WordPress. It is also compatible with Apple and Windows computers.
- Starter Theme
Underscores is a very easy way to get started with your theme. All you need to do is go to Underscores’ website and create your theme name. Once you create your name, download the .zip file. Place that .zip file in your local site.
Now it’s time to customize your theme, making it perfect for your website. Here are two ways that will allow you to make some basic customizations. You can add hooks which allow you to add styling and show other information. Or, you can use CSS to change the appearance of the content on your site. There are many other ways to add styling and make adjustments, but hooks and CSS are a couple common, simple methods.
- Export Theme to Your Site
Lastly, once you have finished designing your theme, it’s time to apply it to your site. You can use a test version of your data which allows you to upload variations of the theme. Once you decide on the theme, export the theme to apply it to your site!
Three Things to Consider
Sometimes more is not always better. Many themes come with lots of colors, complex styling, and other over the top details. Sometimes you might want those flashy aspects. However, most of the time, you don’t need them. Always look for a theme that will go well with your website brand versus something complex and extravagant.
A responsive theme will adjust its layout depending on the type of device or screen you are using. For example, with a responsive theme, your website will look the same on a computer and on a phone. This is important because many people don’t just look at websites on their computers, but also on smart devices and/or tablets.
- Reviews and Ratings
Reviews and ratings are helpful because it can help you determine if you would like to use that particular WordPress theme. Through the reviews, you can see what other people have to say about that specific theme. This is helpful because you can analyze the pros and cons of a theme before applying it to your website.
Now that you know about how to build a WordPress website using templates and themes, what are you waiting for? Go out and design your WordPress website!
Reach out to SEO Design Chicago today if you need help optimizing your website or creating extraordinary content to increase website traffic.