This lesson covers three extra options that you can add to each post. Else, post ID, and link title value. Although they’re optional, you can find all three of them within every one of my free themes because you never know what people will use your themes for.
First, don’t forget to start Xampp Control. (more…)
Today, we tackle the postmetadata: date, categories, author, number of comments, and any miscellaneous information attached to each post.
We’re at lesson 5C now so I assume you’re getting a grip of this. You’ll notice that my instructions will be grouped in bigger chunks (less steps). Before we begin, open the Xampp Control, theme folder, browser, and index.php file. (more…)
For those that don’t know, free WordPress theme sponsoring is the practice of paying the author/designer of a certain theme to link to your site through a footer link (usually in the copyright area).
The designer gets paid and the sponsor’s site gets promoted for being linked by hundreds of blogs. (It’s almost guaranteed that each free WordPress theme gets downloaded at least one hundred times. Several of my themes have been downloaded by the thousands.) The main benefit for the sponsor’s site is Google Pagerank. Pagerank is only important to people that know what it is. If you don’t know then forget about it.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that, to some, theme sponsoring is considered spam. Right now, sponsored themes are up for downloads just like regular free themes. You download and use it for your blog, but you don’t know the sponsored link is in the footer of your site (unless you check for it), which means you’re unwillingly linking to the sponsor’s site without knowing it.
How come this is happening?
Not all bloggers, downloading themes for their blogs, are checking for the sponsored links. Not all bloggers are aware of this in the first place. Sponsored themes are being uploaded onto free-theme-download sites just like the rest of the free themes. It’s hard to tell unless you actually check theme-by-theme to make sure you’re not downloading a sponsored theme. And last, but not least, the theme designers are not warning us up front.
So what’s my take on it?
I am not against it if the theme designers make sure that people know what they’re downloading. If you know that it’s a sponsored theme and know that there will be a site-wide link at the bottom of your blog (to whatever site), yet you still download and install it, that’s acceptable to me.
Personally, I chose not to offer theme sponsorship.
Advice for WordPress theme designers
I know it takes quite a few hours to put a theme together and all of us should get rewarded for that, but try to be transparent and up front with what you’re putting out there. Then, you should be fine.
In this lesson, we’ll tackle what really matters. How do you get the content of your blog to show? Then, you’ll add some more invisible boxes or DIVs to separate the content from the post titles that we called for, yesterday.
(Note: Yesterday’s lesson is very, very important. If you didn’t fully understand what I showed yesterday, you need to re-read and ask me questions until it’s clear to you.) (more…)
The Loop calls for your blog’s entries. It’s the most important set of PHP codes. By now, you should already know what to do before this lesson, of my tutorial series, begin. Go ahead and do that first, then let’s review what we’ve learned so far.
So far, you’ve learned:
Alright, this the fourth lesson of the WordPress tutorial series. I shouldn’t have to say it, but I’ll say it one last time; make sure you read the previous lessons. Otherwise, you will not understand one thing in this lesson. We have a quick lesson today to wrap up the header template and introduce the box model. (more…)
If you haven’t already, follow my WordPress theme tutorial series from the beginning. If you don’t, good luck. Yesterday, I showed you how to turn on Xampp Control, install your theme, and introduced you to PHP. Today, we’ll continue with PHP and learn how to call for your site’s or blog’s title.
Remember, type every code. DO NOT copy and paste the codes that I give you. The whole point is to get you to remember what you learn. (more…)
Starting Index.php is the third lesson of my WordPress theme tutorial series. If you haven’t read lesson one and two, I’d suggest you read them. Otherwise, you will not have a clue of what I’ll show you in this lesson.
It’s time to stop reading and start creating your WordPress Theme. In this lesson, you’ll get your hands dirty with some WordPress codes. This is the part where you really need a WordPress blog installed on your computer, not an online blog because offline is more convenient. (more…)
Template files and Templates is the second lesson of my WordPress theme tutorial series. If you haven’t read Lesson #1, stop right now and go read lesson one. Otherwise, you will not understand the terms used in lesson two.
Now that we’ve gotten passed the rules and terminology, this lesson will get you familiar with template files, templates, and the structure of each page.
The one thing to remember is that each page of your blog is made up of multiple template files. (more…)
Intro is the first lesson of my tutorial series about creating WordPress themes. I will not teach you everything all at once. That will only confuse you. What I’ll show you is not a reference. It’s meant to teach you step-by-step, level-by-level. If you want a reference to everything WordPress themes, then read WordPress.org’s documentations, Design and Layout. Otherwise, learn from my lessons.
This lesson covers:
- Basic Rules
- Lingo / Terminology
Creating a WordPress theme from scratch is not hard. I’ll hold your hand through it.
Tutorials on this topic have been written before and the WordPress website also has guides for you to follow. But are those tutorials and guides really helpful to you when you don’t understand the lingo? Even I got lost while reading the WordPress guides.
Tools – Before we get started tomorrow, you’ll need:
- WordPress installed on your computer. Follow the instructions on Installing WordPress Locally Under Windows XP. If you can’t install WordPress on your computer for whatever reason, no worries, just make a dummy WordPress install on your website.
- Notepad or other text editors. I use Notepad.
- SmartFTP – If you’ll be testing your theme online, I’d suggest that you download and install SmartFTP or another FTP program to upload your theme files.
- Bookmark XHTML Validator and CSS Validator. You’ll need those tools to validate your theme. They also come in handy when you need to spot and fix errors.
I published one WordPress theme per day for 32 consecutive days to complete my ridiculously mind-numbing WordPress self-challenge. The last record, held by WP Diva in August 2006, was 31. Check out my themes.
Stepping into the challenge, I knew I could create a theme from scratch within one day; I’ve done it before. But multiple themes, consecutively? I had to find out.
With WordPress themes, once you’ve created a template and gotten familiar with skinning designs for it, you’re good to go. Even WP Diva suggested to work off of one basic template. So I thought, how hard could copy and paste be? Let me tell you, I got my butt kicked.
The challenge was nothing short of its name. I was exhausted, mainly because I didn’t follow a basic template. My designs were structurally far different from each other. The 32 themes range from one to four column themes. One of them was named Exhausted.
Tools I Used
- Each theme started with a design, all of them originated from Photoshop 7.0.
- Thanks to Geeks Are Sexy, I was able to test the themes from a WordPress installation on my computer instead of having to upload them online. It’s much faster when you don’t have to keep overwriting your files through FTP to see changes you’ve made to your theme.
- After completing each theme, I validated my codes: xhtml and css.
- Let’s not forget the blue Stick Pens with medium point and super smooth ink used to sketch the basic concept of each theme.
Tips for WordPress Designers
- Pick a topic – After that, It’s much easier to come up with ideas. For example: movies, favorite band, fruits, gadgets, etc.
- Sketch it first – On paper, you can scribble and throw away basic concepts faster than you can write. Keeping your topic in mind, lay out where you want your main content, sidebar, title, description, and etc. to be.
- Steal from the best – There are really advance WordPress designers and coders out there that you can learn from. Download their themes. Read their source codes. Learn from it and incorporate it into your own theme.
- No hard coding – WordPress has a template function for almost everything. Try to stay away from using text and links in your themes that bloggers can’t modify without editing the actual template files. For example – don’t hard link to the default About page. Not every blogger uses customized permalinks.
- Horizontal menus – When your theme involves a horizontal menu that uses the wp_list_pages() function, remember to add depth=”1″ to prevent your menu from breaking the layout.
- Quality not quantity – If you want your theme downloaded, remember that one high quality theme equals ten average themes. My top themes recorded thousands and thousands of downloads. On the other hand, my average themes are all under five-hundred downloads. If you’re theme is really well made and designed, you’ll also get mentioned on WordPress design blogs that will send you loads of traffic.
- Validate, Validate, Validate – I have mild OCD so I validate my themes usually three times each. With each validation, there are multiple pages, including the style.css file.
- Keep it simple – After all, bloggers want their theme to be unique, if we can’t modify your theme then we’ll find another one.
- Expect and prepare for requests – Decide in the beginning whether you want to take on custom projects. With traffic and new readers come bloggers that are interested in hiring you for their blog’s theme. Ask questions until you clearly understand what your client is trying to do. And don’t forget to set your prices.
Big thanks to:
- everyone that have been following and mentioning my challenge on your own blog for the support.
- Lorelle for mentioning my challenge on BlogHerald’s WordPress Wednesday.
- Mark and Ajay of WeblogToolsCollection for featuring my crappy themes over and over again. I know their readers are tired of me.
- John of JohnTP for de-marking my comment as spam when I kept submitting long list of theme links to his list of WordPress Themes.