Making a WordPress Theme: Part 1

I have no idea why I decided to design and code an entire WordPress theme on my own. I mean I don’t even have my own domain where I can use the theme (I’m currently working on that!). Maybe it was a way for me to keep my mind off the fact that I was spending five and a half hours trying to register for classes. That was a disaster. But anyways! I decided to code my own theme! I know that can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really cool to see your project slowly come together! In this post, I’m going to cover how far I’ve gotten so far and what the struggles have been!

coding a wordpress theme from scratch

Now, I’m not a complete amateur when it comes to coding. I took Web Design and Web Design 2 in high school so I have a pretty good understanding of CSS and HTML. I’ve coded websites here and there, and even coded a national award-winning website for my Virtual Enterprise class in my senior year of high school! Currently I’m a Computer Information Systems major so I’m learning JAVA at the moment. JAVA is very similar to JavaScript which is a big part of web design. When I started researching about creating a WordPress theme, I saw that you need to know how to code PHP. PHP is one language that I’ve steered far away from. I think it’s the whole <?php that scared me. I mean look at that. You use a question mark to just open the code! Scary!

After going through blog posts and videos, I found out that it’s not really that difficult. The hardest part was installing a  LAMP program. Nope that’s not a floor lamp. It’s a software bundle that includes all the stuff you need to set up a local server on your computer to test your website! After like two hours of trying to get it to work, I was successfully able to install WAMP which is a version of the bundle. Note that this is only for Windows. If you have a mac, there are versions out there  for you too.

I’ve been following the tutorials by LearnWebCode on YouTube. He goes everything step by step and it’s super easy to follow! I would say that even if you have no coding experience at all, you could still easily follow his tutorials. Although you may have no idea what he’s talking about, you’ll still be able to create your own WordPress theme. You can check out his videos here!

coding a wordpress theme from scratch

This is what my site looks like so far. I know. Super exciting. It should win an award or something. Actually, to be quite honest, the site is really ugly at the moment. I’m currently working on the structure of pages, individual posts, the home page, etc.

coding a wordpress theme from scratch

Here’s an example of the CSS sheet! Like I said before, I’m working on getting the main structure down first. And this isn’t my current blog. This a complete test site, but hopefully I’ll be able to use the finished theme on my site once it’s done!

coding a wordpress theme from scratch

Now, this is PHP. See what I mean about it being scary! I can code JAVA, HTML, and CSS all day, but for some reason, the look of PHP just scares me! I’m currently using Dreamweaver to edit the .php and .css files, but if you don’t have Dreamweaver, don’t fret! You can actually code the entire thing in notepad or wordpad or whatever text editor you have!

What are your thoughts on creating your own theme? Would you ever try it? I think it’s really fun and interesting to see what each line of code does! Here’s some links to get you started if you want to try your hand at coding:

Step-by-step written tutorial on coding your own WordPress theme. This is a great tutorial, in fact this is where I started! You might need some prior knowledge about computers, but check it out for yourself!

Intro to HTML W3Schools is a great resource for any coding question. I refer to it all of the time, and their tutorials and answers are really easy to follow!

If you have any questions about coding or making your own theme, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or e-mail me! I lvoe to answer questions!

-Abigail T.

  • This is super cool! Coding was actually something I did in like middle school when I had a lot of time on my hands. It is actually super embarrassing why I started, but basically Neopets used to have this option to where you could customize your pages and I learned CSS. I lost most of those skills through high school though, because I had no use for them. It’s something I am definitely planning on re-learning at some point though, because they are handy skills and especially important if you have your own blog/website! This post is definitely motivational 🙂

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss

    • There’s no shame in Neopets. I wasted so many hours of my childhood on that website! I think the hardest part about learning a new computing language is the initial learning curve. I’m currently working on JAVA and I was so discouraged at the beginning but now I think it’s super easy.

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