I’m honored to have, as a guest blogger; My friend and fellow WordPress theme blogger Small Potato from Wp Designer .com
All You Need to Know About WordPress Themes
From finding inspiration, coding, and designing for a WordPress theme to speeding up the process of theme development, making money with WordPress themes, and where I think the theme community is heading toward, below are all you need to know about WordPress themes.
With hundreds of CSS gallery sites out there like CSS Mania and CSS Remix highlighting the best of blog design, inspiration isn’t hard to find. What you should focus on is filtering all the design ideas and make them your own. Make sure you don’t spend too much time at design galleries. If you do, you’ll be on a slippery slope from simply creating inspired work to accidentally ripping off a design.
After brainstorming and wire framing your ideas, your design should depend on the purpose of the theme you’re trying to create. Are you creating it for a client? Or is it for public use? For a client, focus on giving the design a personality. For public use, go for generic looks while using enough graphic eye candies to grab more downloads for your theme.
Furthermore about designing a free theme for public use, you need to allow room for theme users to modify the design. Avoid inline images, irrelevant banner pictures and / or messages, logos, and custom fonts that the average theme users might not have.
Beyond design, if you don’t know how to code a WordPress theme yet, you can find a tutorial series detailing the entire process of coding a theme on my blog. Also, I recently released an ebook version that teaches you how to create a WordPress theme from scratch. But, remember that learning the basis isn’t enough. Download themes from established WordPress theme authors and look at their source codes. Learn the techniques they’re using. Also, frequent the WordPress.org Codex to learn everything about developing WordPress themes. Regardless of how detailed a tutorial is, the WordPress Codex is generally the best resource.
Coding for a client is typically easier than coding a theme for everyone to use. The client knows what they want and you know what to code for, specifically. On the other hand, coding a public theme requires a lot of patience. You need to code and style for almost every possibility while keeping the design flexible because you never know how people will use your theme and what they will use it for. For example, just because you don’t use the calendar widget, it doesn’t mean every else will follow your lead.
While coding and styling based on flexibility is good practice, you need something more. You need a locally installed blog with all the features turned on to quickly and efficiently stress test your theme. Test it in Firefox; test it in in Internet Explorer, Safari, etc. Test it with comments and without comments. How about password protected posts and categ ory descriptions?
Once you are comfortable with coding, styling, and testing your theme. Review your personal process to make shortcuts in order to speed up the overall WordPress theme development process. For example, you could create a folder containing the core templates that you’ll use for future themes instead of having to code every theme from scratch.
Making Money With WordPress Themes
At this point, it’s best to target the small business niche. Those are the clients that are willing to pay you the most for your work. Sometimes, they’re the only ones willing to pay what you deserve.
Promoting Free WordPress Themes
Promoting your free for public use themes depends on what your goal is. Do you want many downloads or a bunch of traffic coming back to your blog? If you want downloads, upload your theme to the WordPress theme viewer. If you want traffic, submit it to blogs like WeblogToolsCollection.com. Even if your theme is not the best around, WeblogToolsCollection will send you a decent amount of traffic.
Now that you know where to get inspiration, how to design, what to code and style for, how to test your theme, what group of clients you should aim for, and how to promote free themes, you need to know where the WordPress theme community is heading toward. It’s important to note that this is pure speculation on my part.
In my opinion, the future of WordPress themes isn’t better WordPress theme-ming, it’s WordPress skinning. Expect to read the names of skinnable themes like Sandbox over and over again. (Of course, there won’t be any universal themes anytime soon.) Imagine theme users not having to download another new theme ever again and imagine them shopping for style.css and functions.php based skins, which they can download for less than $5 to $10 each.
By Small Potato from Wp Designer .com