WordPress has completely and totally unlock ridiculous leverage for anyone looking to create their very own website in record speed. Maybe the most popular CMS out there today, it gives anyone – including people with almost no technical knowledge whatsoever – the power to carve out their own little chunk of the Internet.
That being said, there are a number of common mistakes that people make when they are creating WordPress themes – especially in the developmental stages. These are relatively easy to spot and avoid if you know what they are, and can save you an endless amount of time and frustration.
Common WordPress Theme Development Mistakes
Understanding exactly what kind of licensing you are working with
If you’ve been paying attention to the WordPress development world for any amount of time, you will understand the major issue that the creators of WordPress and a professional WordPress developer responsible for the theme Thesis had and continue to have. While WordPress is a GPL open-source solution – making it free to use, change, and edit as you see fit – this doesn’t mean that each and every WordPress tool, theme, or option out there is. You could be getting yourself into some very interesting legal hot water by operating under the assumption that everything involved with WordPress is open source and free to edit or change however you please – making it mission critical that you focus on the specific license for every detail you hope to change.
Cluttering up your code or creating semantics that only you will understand
This is another major issue that a lot of WordPress theme developers really struggle with, simply because they are used to working under their own workflow. But when you’re talking about a tool like WordPress, going into it understanding that folks are going to want to edit, change, and modify whatever they feel like whenever they feel like, putting out bad code only will frustrate and aggravate all of your potential customers or clients.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to operate under only the strictest web standards – which can in and of itself be a gigantic headache – but at the very least you should use easy to understand markup and semantics as often as you possibly can. Keep your code clean and neat, and offer whatever assistance you can up front to avoid a lot of customer service and support requests in the future.
Bloat your WordPress theme simply because you don’t know how to strip it down
This goes hand-in-hand with the tip included above, and is just as – if not more so – important. WordPress is world-renowned for being a quick and lightweight CMS, but the amount of coding that you do behind the scenes for your particular WordPress theme can have a devastating effect on the load times that all of your customers and clients are able to enjoy. Make sure that you strip and rip all unnecessary details out, leaving only what is essential and necessary to get the job done, make your code clean and understandable, and provide the flexibility and performance that people are expecting.