Support » Themes and Templates » Coding custom themes

  • Resolved rlefebvre


    Ok, so I am new to this, and I want to use WordPress as a CMS, I understand that wordpress uses a folder for a theme and it is filled with files that make the theme work. Here is where my confusion lies, I want to know how to manipulate the site to work like a CMS, I want to be able to create static pages with a content area, and I want complete control on where all the elements are on the page (If I want the header of the page to be at the bottom, I want to know how to put it there, for example). However, I get frustrated because everywhere I look the tutorials are the same, “use this file and place it here, put this block of code in this file” and that’s not where I’m confused.

    The CMS I am accustomed to using uses smarty tags, and I know that if I write a template I can write it like this:

    /*head content*/
    {menu} /*NAV BAR SHOWS UP HERE*/
    {content} /*allows custom content to be input here

    (obviously this code is sloppy, just an example)

    Then I can style the page how I want with CSS. Am I overthinking the wordpress layout? should I be less focused on the html/php side and more on the CSS? Any imput provided is going to be extremely helpful. Thank you so much!

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • No, that seems about right. But I would recommend using HTML5 markup. If you want to see how a good WordPress theme works, check out . It is a starter theme for building robust themes 🙂

    Please read the documentation for theme development.

    I would highly recommend using a base theme such as responsive, adding a child theme, and editing that to get the look you want.

    Mrtom414: Those are exactly the types of documentation that confuse me. I understand how the file structure works in the themes folder, I don’t understand how to tell wordpress that I want a user where to be able to edit content, where my navigation is and how it works. I have read that document 500 times with the same results, I don’t understand how to code my own theme. I don’t know where to declare my content areas, I don’t know where to declare that my navigation bar should be underneath of my logo and that it should be a drop-down navigation.

    Arty9k: That would be fine if I knew where all of those declarations were at and knew how to manipulate them. That’s the kind of advice I’m looking for. I don’t mean to take my frustration out on you guys, I am just frustrated in general at the fact that everyone says how easy wordpress is and how simple it is to get started using it as a CMS (I don’t want blogging at all, and if I do use blogging aspect I want it to act as a news column not a blog), but when it comes to making wordpress look and react how I want it, I don’t know where to start with that, so yeah, I would use another theme, but I need to know how that theme works in order to make it do what I want it to do.

    James, yeah I wasn’t even trying to write proper code for the example, I just wanted the point to get across that in the CMS we are using now, I can tell wordpress where I want the content to go, then I can move it around with CSS. In wordpress, I see five different files and almost no HTML or little chunks, and I don’t know where to start with the stylesheet, I don’t know how to add my own custom DIV’s in to create a layout.

    I know it can be confusing.

    There are several books on and if you want videos than has several video series on developing themes. They cover a lot of ground.

    The easies book I have seen is a kindle book “Building a Word Press Theme From Scratch: The Basics”. It walks you though step by step building a theme.

    The book has one major problem that it configures everything for use with bootstrap but fails to tell you how to enqueue bootstrap into your wordpress theme.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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