Tips to Building a Strong Foundation for WordPress Theme Development

January 27, 2016 Emily Johns Wordpress

WordPress has become the buzzword today. Every webmaster switching to WordPress for their web development needs. The reason is quite simple – it offers flexibility and ease of use.

Whether you are looking to build an informative blog or an online store, WordPress helps you power any type of website.

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Why WordPress Theme Development?

The popularity of WordPress has also given birth to custom WordPress development services. Though WordPress itself comes with a wide variety of themes and templates, there are many web developers who have taken a step forward to help WordPress users to make their websites stand out. Also, offering customized WP themes offer an opportunity to developers to earn extra cash. However, WordPress Theme Development is no laughing matter since it needs in-depth knowledge, patience, and technical know-how to perform the job.

We have been in this field for the past 5 years and have developed more than 1000 themes for our clients. Therefore, we know exactly how to go about WP themes and work to develop attractive and fully functional themes. Today, we are sharing some of our favorite tricks and tips to follow while developing WordPress theme to stay on the right track especially if you are just starting out with theme development. Moreover, whether you are just starting out or have years of experience in this field, you are sure to learn few things that will save you plenty of time, money and efforts.

WordPress theme development tips:

Follow the tips stated below for WordPress Theme Development.

1. WordPress theme Coding standards

Yes, there are certain coding standards that you need to take care of while developing a theme. You need to follow some type of logic whenever you set the code to screen. Probably you are the only person who compiles that logic, but you still put a lot of efforts. The reason for following WordPress theme coding standards is to set a common logic for everyone. This is simply to make the code sensible and understandable by other developers.

Why code formatting matters?

Even though you are developing a theme just for your website, the coding format tells a lot about your style and developer environment. Code that is well written shows quality whereas messy coding generates sloppy development.

Easier to modify:You probably know what you are doing today, but what about a few months from now? Putting few extra hours in structuring your work will save you many hours of work in the future.

You probably know what you are doing today, but what about a few months from now? Putting few extra hours in structuring your work will save you many hours of work in the future.

Multi-developer code:

No two developers have the same style of writing the code which makes it difficult for them to understand each other’s code and thus leads to confusion and chaos. However, following the same coding standard makes it easier for the developers to read and modify the code without wasting any time in understanding it first. It is always in the project’s best interest that you facilitate by standard coding formatting.

Easier to maintain code:

As a matter of fact, standards-compliant formatting assists in maintaining the code. There are many standards that suggest you to cut out if statements and various other code blocks. Making the code less crowded make “Error on line 270” a lot easier to fix.

2. No need to start from the scratch

The first thought that strikes developers when developing a theme is building it from scratch. However, this is not the “only” option for you. While it might be a bright idea for beginners to start our WP development from scratch with slate and clean code, however, when you get acquainted with it, you can always consider utilizing starter themes to give your idea a platform. Not only it will save you plenty of time, efforts, and money but also prevent you from winding up with a messy code. You can always consider using a starter theme developed by an experienced and reliable developer that has been used by many other developers countless times. Nonetheless, you can always create your own starter theme to kick off your WordPress theme development.

3. Enqueue Scripts and styles

A website may be running more than one plugin which can often lead to conflicts between two plugins. Fortunately, WordPress comes with a solution for this problem in the form of enqueue scripts and styles. You can have a neat solution for avoiding complication between two plugins by integrating a queue system. Instead of coding them directly into header files, try to use wp_enqueue_script and wp_enqueue_style and allow WP to look after the rest of the job. This also allows you to easily write child themes and remove the scripts and styles when necessary.

4. Keep track of latest WordPress development changes

The online world is changing at a rapid pace with the passage of every minute. What once was the buzzword of the web industry becomes outdated in no time. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to keep track of the latest development changes to follow them religiously and becomes a reliable source. These development changes include highest security standards, features and more. Well, as a matter of fact, building a theme for an older version of WordPress depreciates the value of your theme since it might not run on the latest version of the WP which significantly affect your reputation and sales and make your theme vulnerable to unnecessary threats.

5. Internationalize your theme

WordPress is certainly the most widely used platform for creating websites today that is used by hundreds and thousands of developers from around the world. Therefore, it was launched in more than 90 different languages to assist developers from different countries to develop and launch their websites without having to mess with the coding. This brings us to the need of making your theme multi-lingual. In order to set a strong foot in the WordPress industry (which probably is your focus), you need to make your theme compatible with different languages.

Adding the below-mentioned code in your theme’s functions.php file will help you make your theme multi-lingual.

$lang = TEMPLATE_PATH. ‘/lang’
Load_theme_textdomain(‘theme_textdomain’, $lang);
_e(‘Some string’, ‘theme_textdomain’);
Echo ‘<h2>’ . __(‘Some String’, ‘theme_textdomain’). ‘</h2>’;

6. SEO Optimization

WordPress comes equipped with a support for SEO in the form of plugins and widgets. However, making your theme SEO optimized by integrating SEO Meta tags helps you set a strong foundation for the theme development industry. Search engine optimization plays a crucial role in the online world, which makes it quite mandatory for every theme developer to incorporate it with the help of Meta tags. Besides this, it is always suggested to add a theme options panel for your users to easily customize the theme options.

Conclusion

If you don’t pay close attentions to the details and tricks you can use while development then WordPress theme development can be a heck of a job. We have tried our best to guide you with our experience and knowledge. Hope you find it useful!