Designing a WordPress Theme in Record Time

It doesn’t matter if you have decided to design your first WordPress theme or have been at it for a while, there a few simple tips that might be able to streamline your process a little bit without sacrificing the end product. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, everyone wants to complete their projects faster. Here are a few things that might be able to help out.

1. Focus On WordPress
It might sound like common sense, but by designing specifically with WordPress in mind, especially it’s standard format. This will help you make sure that during the initial design phase, you create element styles consistent, which will help you later on.

2. Use a Good Text Editor
When you create a WordPress theme, your text editor could end up being your best friend or worst enemy. The first thing to do is completely forget about the standard WordPress theme editor. While it can be convenient for users trying to make minor modifications, it is definitely not designed for use during the actual development process. When you do choose your syntax editor, it might be a good idea to have features like text highlighting. The most important thing is to be comfortable with the tools that you are using.

3. Plan First
If you start developing your theme before you actually have a solid plan, then you are in for a lot of trouble. There are thousands of ways to do something wrong and only a handful of ways (or less) to do it right. Pay special attention to how you plan on separating the HTML and CSS. If you are going to budget a large percentage of your time to one task, then this is the one.

4. Less Files Is Ideal
Always try to use as few theme files as possible. The more files you create, the higher the chances that there will be a problem. Plus, if you need 25 different files, your design probably wasn’t planned out very efficiently. Using WordPress Conditional commands is the ideal solution to increase your control and flexibility, while still keeping your total file count low.

5. Have Some Content Ready to Test
When you start testing your theme, it is vital that you have content available to use. You can always use the Lorem Ipsum text, however having unique content is ideal because it can give you a better “feel” for how everything will look. Also make sure to test content in every way possible including lists, tables, block quotes, etc. It’s better to test out content in ways that you may never use it, rather than need to do something, only to find out that you forget to add it into your theme.

6. Create a Shortlist of Plugins
When developing a theme, there is one thing that you can’t control and that is how other people develop their plugins. It is always a good idea to create a shortlist of plugins to test with your theme. The plugins you should include several different social bookmarking plugins (Sexy Bookmarks and Share This), Page Navigation Plugins, and Contact Forms.

Everyone has their own system or routine to develop WordPress themes, but these 6 tips can go a long way in saving time and helping ensure that you get everything done right the first time. There are literally hundreds of other tips and tricks that can be implemented, but they tend to favor personal preferences much more often than not.