Premium Theme, Free Theme, Child Theme or Custom WordPress theme?

Choosing a WordPress theme is hard. To complicate matters, choosing between a premium theme, free theme, child theme or building a custom theme can be daunting! It can also have a significant impact on your business.

What are your options for a WordPress theme?

When it comes to WordPress themes, generally you have 4 options. You can …

  1. Install a free theme 
  2. Buy a premium theme
  3. Modify a theme with a child theme
  4. Build a custom theme

Which one is right for your business totally depends.

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Code, Themes

Pure javascript multi-level navigation in WordPress

For some time now I have been using a pure javascript drop down menu script called Drop in my WordPress themes for simple mobile friendly multi-level navigation. I really like it because it doesn’t rely on any external libraries like jQuery. The library was created and is maintained by Chris Ferdindandi.

For the latest versions of Drop (version 6.1.1 at the time of this writing) I have needed to create a custom Walker Nav to add data attributes to list items which have sub-menus, initialize drop with some custom options, and use another small library called Astro (also maintained by Chris, and also written in pure javascript) to expand and collapse the menu on small screens.

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Content, Themes

Information Architecture and WordPress Projects

Here is the video I gave at WordCamp Atlanta in 2014. Information Architecture or IA is very important to your WordPress projects. In fact, before building a custom theme for a client you should have a clear understanding of their mission, goals, and content in order to design and build a more effective WordPress theme.

In this video I explain the basics of Information Architecture and WordPress:

If you are tasked with putting together a WordPress theme for a client organization or business the theme you select is very important. Perhaps your first inclination is to choose a theme that looks great or let your client choose a theme that they are happy with. This practice however can have negative repercussions for your client. This talk discusses how to appropriately choose a theme or build a theme that supports your clients goals. Using information architecture we can better select themes or build new ones.  – 

Watch on


Code, Themes

Responsive Featured Image function in WordPress themes

[UPDATE – May 23rd ’14]

I have included an update to this article which features new code and a downloadable plugin. Please note that this post simply shows a method I use to implement featured images into projects I am working on. If you attempt to use this method in your projects you could run into unforeseen issues. This is especially true if you are not familiar with developing in PHP or WordPress. I don’t recommend trying to implement this into your theme as such as it is not simply obtained by copy and paste. This article simply shows a method I use.

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Code, Themes

Simple Featured Image Function for your WordPress theme!

Many times in theme development when we want to include a featured image we may just include the post thumbnail function like this example taken from the codex:

if ( has_post_thumbnail() ) { // check if the post has a Post Thumbnail assigned to it.
<?php the_content(); ?>

This may be fine. But what if you want to include the featured image in various places in your theme with different attributes such as image size? You could paste this function like this the_post_thumbnail('large'); but you also want to check if the post or page has a featured image in which you would paste the code above with the if statement has_post_thumbnail() as shown above.

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Plugins, Themes

WordPress Plugin Integration with Custom Theme Development

(Warning: this article contains heavy usage of the word “custom”, and it may or may not be surrounded in quotations)

I just built a custom WordPress theme that relies heavily on the Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) plugin. This is the first time I’ve ever done this, and I was reluctant to do so. I didn’t want to have a theme hinged upon this one plugin.

But it doesn’t have to be …

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Plugins, Themes

The shortfalls of [shortcodes]

One of the greatest things about WordPress plugins and themes is the ability to add shortcodes to do something fancy to your post content. Introduced in version 2.5, shortcodes are a simple set of functions for creating macro codes for use in post content. The most common of these is of course the gallery shortcode.

It enables plugin developers to create special kinds of content (e.g. forms, content generators) that users can attach to certain pages by adding the corresponding shortcode into the page text.
WordPress Codex on the shortcode API

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