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Custom Template Design

  • Hi,

    O.k., I’m totally confused so bear with me here. I want to design custom wordpress templates to sell. I have no clue how to start. Do I use a premade child theme and start with that basic code and customize from there? Do I design it in my own WordPress hosting account then copy the code and give it to my customer after they purchase it? Does that mean I can only do one design at a time since it’s attached to my personal domain name in my hosting account??? Will my domain show up in the code if I do it this way? I see a ton of people selling these templates but can’t figure out how they are doing it. What is the process? Do I start from total scratch and design a template in Dreamweaver or with another platform? Does anyone know where I can find instructions on how to go about this? I can only find basic info that is not helpful. I know how to customize the templates with CSS and HTML, so that is not the issue. I just don’t understand how to “start”. Hope this makes sense.


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Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
  • First thing first you will have to start from scratch. You can not use other peoples code and then sell it (you can but is very frowned upon and go as far as being sued).

    Start off by learning the template hierarchy. Learn more by visiting http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Hierarchy

    You can also start tearing down themes that are already made to see how they work. I recommend to stay away from premium theme for the time being (Since you are just starting out.). Beware some themes are very complicated.

    To show a demo if the site you could possibly use a plugin (If there is anything out there) or just use Multi Site setup a new site each time you have a theme ready.

    To sell the templates you can use a e-commerce plugin to handle transactions, accounts and downloadable goods.

    Your post make perfect sense but it is just way to much to type if you want someone to break it down. I would start by reading and poking around. If you have a question about a specific question, you will get better results that way.

    Thanks for the reply. I’m not interested in building wordpress themes from complete scratch. I don’t want to be a developer I am just a graphic designer with a need to place my graphics into a blog or website. I didn’t mean stealing someone elses custom template code and reselling it. What I meant was downloading one of the free templates and starting out with some amount of code even if it’s very basic rather than starting from scratch. Then I would customize the CSS to my liking and sell the custom design. I believe I am allowed to do that as everyone is doing it that way, it’s nothing unusual but very common.

    I am also wanting to do the same for blogger templates but again, have no clue where to start, same questions apply.

    This should be the easiest part of the whole thing and shouldn’t even require explanation but for some odd reason I can’t figure it out, been trying for weeks to find some instruction on the steps to take. So frustrated I just want to kill myself at this point :/

    I understand that you don’t want to be a developer, but you must make your theme to sell your theme. There is no such thing as buying a stylesheet for a set theme (At least that I know of).

    I would customize the CSS to my liking and sell the custom design. I believe I am allowed to do that as everyone is doing it that way, it’s nothing unusual but very common.

    Who is doing this? This is very illegal. If you have permission from the original author, then maybe it would be ok. What you just said is illegal and can result in you being sued, if the author feels the need. Just because code is open source, does not make it free to call your own.

    As a fellow WordPress users, I highly recommend you take some time to sit down and learn WordPress. There is no feeling like, seeing something of your own come alive. Its even better once you start seeing your download counter go up. And yet even better when they come to you for support.

    Take a deep breath and step back from the computer is you feel the need to jump off a bridge. We don’t want that ;)… The forums here are very helpful. Like I stated before, if you come to the forums and ask “How do I make a theme”. You will more than likely get a link to the WordPress Codex library. Maybe even a short explanation. Now if if come to the forum and ask how to do something like add a sidebar or create a custom menu, you are more than likely going to get a step by step walk through of the process. Breaking it down will get you better results.

    The link I sent you is (to me) the first step of creating a basic theme. I highly recommend joining the team and learn as mush as you can. It is extremely rewarding to do your own stuff.

    Forget to mention. If someone made a custom design after touching the code. The theme will more than likely be used as thier own and not sold.

    Another note: Look into children theme as you can modify the theme without actually touching the authors code. If you make a child theme I can see you seeing your design without any issue.

    What??? Nevermind, you aren’t understanding what I’m saying. I don’t plan on stealing and never would and I don’t know how else to explain what I want to do. So, go do a search on Etsy.com for WordPress themes and look at the listings. Are ALL these people doing something illegal by selling these? I can see when I look at certain ones that the code is from a simple child theme layout and they are just customizing it with their own graphics or whatever and making a CUSTOM design. Obviously, they started with a simple bit of code and built upon it. Is this really illegal? I’ve read other forums that say it is not.

    going now to look for the nearest, highest bridge….



    Forum Moderator

    @lisamv – are you talking about creating a theme to sell or using an existing theme to create a site?



    Forum Moderator

    Also relevant here is the GPL license – which is applicable to WordPress Core and any themes from the repository on this site as well as any other themes that use it. Please see:


    So ANY theme whether you purchase it or it’s free is for personal use ONLY??? So, people are buying themes and using free themes and NONE of them are using those themes to create websites for their customers? That makes no sense.


    If you go to Etsy.com and search wordpress theme/template you will see exactly what I’m talking about. That is what I want to do.


    Yes, I want to create a site NOT make themes to sell.



    Forum Moderator

    You can use GPL free themes to make sites for clients – and yes, people do that all the time. What you cannot do is claim that anyone else’s work is your own and you must also release your work under GPL. It’s also considered good form to maintain the credits to the original author(s) in the style.css header. So you might have:

    Site design by lisamv using a child theme of John Doe's XYZ theme

    Keeping the GPL and credit to WP is usual as well.



    Forum Moderator

    Do be aware that there are plenty of unscrupulous or unaware people who don’t follow GPL or copyright laws, whether intentionally or not.

    That’s perfectly fine, I don’t care who’s name is on the template and I have no intention or desire to claim anyone’s work. I want to do this with blogger too as I said and people are doing it the same way. Using the code from one of the simple templates then customizing it with graphics, etc. If a customer asked me for a custom wordpress or blogger template I would not tell them, well, you can’t use any of themes available because I will have to code it from scratch, that wouldn’t make much sense.

    This has become so confusing. I think my question is fairly simple and straightforward and don’t know why I can’t get the answers.

    Moderator Andrew Nevins


    Forum moderator

    Some clear and straightforward questions aren’t answered for years on these forums, you still have hope yet.



    Forum Moderator

    The GPL license has grey areas, so yes, it’s confusing.

    What is not clear about what I said?

    EDIT- AN – LOL!

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
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