Best-selling themes never happen by accident. Effective WordPress theme design requires more than just excellent coding skills – you need to spend quite some time researching and planning your next theme long before you touch a single line of code. Even though the number of available WordPress themes on the market is growing exponentially on a daily basis, there are some things all successful themes have in common.
Effective WordPress Theme Design Is Easier Than You Think
Designing a theme can feel like a daunting task, especially when you consider all the choices you’re going to have to make. What industry are you designing for? What features are you going to include? What about colors? Or plugins? How about the price? These are all the questions you’ll have to answer at some point during the design process. By making a solid plan before you start coding, you will be able to answer them a lot easier, and you will keep the process streamlined and straightforward. Define your audience, their needs and preferences, and plan accordingly. Of course, you’ll make additional changes along the way, but the plan will keep you on the right track.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
WordPress themes are all about accessibility. Buyers want to quickly set up a website without having to delve too much into the code, and without spending a fortune on a traditional website design. This means you can’t afford to spend ages coding and tweaking your theme that will look outdated by the time you finish it. There are some shortcuts that can help you create a more effective WordPress theme design like using child themes, or buying third-party plugins to instantly add features to your theme.
There are many starter themes available, so you don’t have to code absolutely every element. They’ve been tested and proven to work by many developers, and they offer basic structure and functionality for your theme. Or, if you’re a more experienced developer, you can also create your own starter theme. A child theme has all the template files of the parent theme, except for style.css and functions.php, which enables you to customize it to create a new, improved, unique theme without starting from scratch.
The Devil Is In The Details
Unless you want to spend hours and hours replying to customer emails after you publish your theme, you will want to include a detailed, well-organized documentation of your code, so your buyers can customize it easily, without having to email you with every single question. Keep in mind, though, that your work is far from being over when you finish coding your theme. In order to make your buyers feel safe, it’s a good idea to offer customer support, as well as regular updates with bug fixes and new features your buyers are asking for. Don’t ignore their feedback; remember, you’re not only developing a WordPress theme, you’re building a reputation as well.