Top 10 Theme Development Tutorials for WordPress

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WordPress is the most popular CMS platform on the internet; so popular that a hefty 19.1% of all websites run on it. It’s easy to setup, use, and customize; no coding-knowledge required whatsoever. All you do is download the theme you like, add the plugins for functions you want, pray nothing messes up, and Bam! You’re ready to show your little blog/site to the world.

But no matter how far you look, no theme will be ‘exactly’ what you want. There will always be a little widget area or a font type that just won’t stop making your eye twitch. So you decide to take matters in your own hands (figuratively speaking) by delving into doing all the sweet, sweet customizing yourself.

You can learn it all without moving up from your chair. There are thousands of tutorials to teach you how to make a theme for WordPress. It’s easy, fun, and lucrative if enough people like your work and are willing to pay for it.
Note: You need a basic, working knowledge of web technologies like HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript (optional), and MySQL (optional). Understanding of server side technologies will be handy, but not necessarily required.
Let’s get your started!

1. Siteground Shows How to Create a Basic Theme

 

All WordPress sites and blogs are built with a simple basic anatomy as the base. The static parts of your site (header, footer, and sidebar) remain the same everywhere. The way they look is described in their respective template files. They reside in a folder within your Theme folder. To change the way they look (and trust me, you’ll absolutely want to), you’ll hack into these.

If that terrifies you, check out how easy it is to make a basic theme with the only header, footer, sidebar, archive, and a standard CSS file in the first place.

2. Smashing Magazine Has a Complete Guide to Custom Post Types

 

Regular post types are great, but variety is the spice (and requirement) of your site. You’ll need different types of page types based on what you are posting. For instance, a book-review post would become nice (and easy) with custom meta boxes for specifications like author, series, page count, genre, rating, etc. So instead of just playing with fonts, you add those meta boxes and save the entire thing as a custom post type.

You can learn how to do it from this Complete Guide to Custom Post Types.

3. WordPress Codex is the Go-To Resource on Theme Development

 

This isn’t a tutorial, more of a textbook set of steps A-to-Z to develop your own theme. It has the code and teaches you clean, standard-compliant code.

Take a look at Theme Development page in WordPress Codex if you’re just starting out with WordPress, and are, in no way, a novice in coding department.

4. Start Blogging Online Has a Downloadable Cheat Sheet

 

Even people who have been developing for long enough can sometimes have trouble remembering all the file names. And really, who’s got the time (or brain space) necessary to store them all?

To make matters easier, here’s a nifty little cheat sheet to keep everything running smoothly. You’re welcome, new WordPress developers.

5. Team TreeHouse Explains How to Build Responsive Themes with Bootstrap

 

No more fixed-width layouts! Users, admins, developers, and designers everywhere know that the only way to keep a major chunk of audience happy is to behave nicely with their mobiles.

There are front-end frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation, which will help you create responsive designs. Here’s Zac Gordon of Team Treehouse telling you the basics of building a responsive theme for WordPress using Bootstrap.

6. Creative Bloq Emphasizes Making your Responsive Themes Future-proof

 

Now we may all want fluid grids and responsive designs, but they are very liable to break and mess up everything on a site, simply because the concept and tech are new. How many screen widths and resolutions can you work with when there is a seemingly endless number?

Instead of cursing the manufacturers of new devices (and inept admins), we can learn about making responsive WordPress themes infallible.

7. Six Revisions teaches how to Set up WP Theme development environment with XAMPP

 

Most professionals don’t develop live on the internet. They develop and test their themes locally before releasing it into the wild… ahem, wide web.

You can also learn how to set up a development environment for WordPress themes with the XAMPP stack. It speeds up the developing and testing process like crazy.

8. Wpmudev explains how to Use Ajax with WordPress

 

There is no questioning it, Ajax will let a server breathe easy and provide a better, faster user experience on dynamic sites. There are plugins that can integrate Ajax features (like infinite scroll, lazy-load, etc.) in WordPress sites.

But plugins can fail, so it’s worth learning how to add Ajax to your WordPress theme.

9. Creative Bloq Has Tips on Making Your Theme Accessibility-Ready

 

Being accessibility-ready makes your theme friendly for users who need assistive technology. It’s a legal requirement, a validation standard for sites, and has general bonuses of being all around non-discriminating, awesome, and search-engine friendly.

It’s very easy to learn how to make your WordPress theme accessible and be nice and accommodating.

10. Smashing Magazine Can Help Refine Your Theme Development Process

 

Step up from ‘rookie’ to ‘adept’ theme developer with some simple changes, a handler selection of tools, writing cleaner code, and over-all better techniques for developing themes.

You can learn from the pros as they share tips on how to refine and improve your WordPress theme development process.

We are extremely thankful to Lucy Barret who is a WordPress Developer and a blogger by hobby. She works as an expert of converting PSD to WordPress at HireWPGeeks and handles a team of experienced developers. She is a passionate writer and loves to share her knowledge with other bloggers.

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