Choosing a WordPress Theme is Simple, Right?


corrissa neal

Posted by Corrissa N. FastTrack Student

I just completed the second week of WP Code Academy and so far, so good. Although I don’t consider myself a pro user of WordPress, it’s not all unfamiliar to me. That’s why when we learned how to choose a theme, I was surprised at how much I learned. I didn’t think there was much to choosing a theme other than what it looked like and the features it had. But in class, I learned to look at ratings and reviews, how long ago the theme was last updated, the documentation provided, whether or not the theme is responsive, and more importantly, whether or not it has a child theme.

In addition to those things, I was also surprised to actually learn cool tips such as keeping an extra theme handy just in case the main one quits working, and why it’s important not to have too many themes downloaded, whether activated or not. On previous sites I’ve built with WordPress I merely considered whether or not a theme had the cool features I wanted.

With the website I’m building in this course, which is a small website to promote two digital products, I used the tips Kori taught us in class and was able to narrow down hundreds of themes to eight, and from there find the one theme that had everything I wanted, a free theme called Alexandria by Theme Alley.

I should’ve listened the first time

Another cool thing I learned in class was to create a flowchart for my web layout using Lucid Chart which is a free drag and drop tool to design layouts for everything from web pages to android apps. At first I only created a layout for my Home page and thought I didn’t really need to do each page of my site since it’d just be faster for me to play around in my theme and go from there. Boy, was I wrong!

Design a web page with a flowchart

I can now say that I fully understand the importance of creating a flowchart for web pages before building it out in the theme. I must’ve created and deleted pages, moved this there, moved that there, for hours before coming to terms with what Kori taught us in class to create a flowchart first. When I finally did so, I went back to my WordPress site and had all of my pages up and looking the way I wanted within minutes!

Don’t fear the code

The next class, Kori took us a bit deeper into WordPress by teaching us how to read HTML and CSS. As intimidating as these topics can be for a non-coder like myself, she explained it in a way that was easy to follow and understand. Kori walked us through each step and what she was doing and why, so that we could also follow along on our own computers. She even showed us some tools called Colorzilla and Firebug that web developers use to see and manipulate HTML and CSS code from web pages.

I was so excited that night after class that I stayed up for hours using what I had just learned to make changes to the HTML and CSS on my own project. It was pretty cool.

I can’t wait to see what we learn in the next class.

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