If you’re looking to build a website or a blog, WordPress is a great platform to use. It’s free, easy to use, and has a large community of developers and users. However, to create a unique and custom website, you need to use a custom WordPress theme.

What is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme is a collection of files that control the look and feel of a WordPress website. The theme files include the style.css file, which controls the visual design of the site, and the index.php file, which controls the layout of the site.

What You Need to Create a WordPress Theme

To create a WordPress theme, you’ll need a text editor, such as Sublime Text or Atom, and a local development environment, such as XAMPP or MAMP. You’ll also need a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and PHP.

Step 1: Creating a New Folder for Your Theme

The first step in creating a WordPress theme is to create a new folder for your theme. The name of the folder should be the name of your theme. For example, if your theme is called “My Custom Theme,” you would create a folder called “my-custom-theme.”

Step 2: Creating the style.css File

The next step is to create the style.css file. This file controls the visual design of your WordPress theme. You can use a pre-built CSS framework, such as Bootstrap or Foundation, to help you style your theme.

In the style.css file, you’ll need to add a few lines of code to define the name, description, and version of your theme. Here’s an example:

Theme Name: My Custom Theme
Theme URI: https://www.example.com/
Description: A custom WordPress theme created by me
Version: 1.0
Author: Your Name
Author URI: https://www.example.com/

Step 3: Creating the index.php File

The index.php file controls the layout of your WordPress theme. It’s the file that WordPress uses to display your content.

You can use WordPress template tags to display your content in the index.php file. Here’s an example:

<?php get_header(); ?>

<main id=”main” class=”site-main” role=”main”>

<?php if ( have_posts() ) : ?>

<?php while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>

<?php get_template_part( ‘template-parts/content’, get_post_format() ); ?>

<?php endwhile; ?>

<?php else : ?>

<p><?php esc_html_e( ‘Sorry, no posts found.’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ); ?></p>

<?php endif; ?>

</main><!– #main –>

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

<?php get_footer(); ?>

Step 4: Adding the Header and Footer Files

The header.php and footer.php files control the header and footer sections of your WordPress theme.

In the header.php file, you’ll need to add the HTML code for the header section of your theme, such as the site title, logo, and navigation menu. Here’s an example:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html <?php language_attributes(); ?>>
<meta charset=”<?php bloginfo( ‘charset’ ); ?>”>
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″>
<title><?php wp_title(); ?></title>
<?php wp_head(); ?>
<body <?php body_class(); ?>>

<header id=”masthead” class=”site-header” role=”banner”>
<div class=”site-branding”>
<?php if ( has_custom_logo() ) : ?>
<?php the_custom_logo(); ?>
<?php else : ?>
<h1 class=”site-title”><?php bloginfo( ‘name’ ); ?></h1>
<p class=”site-description”><?php bloginfo( ‘description’ ); ?></p>
<?php endif; ?>
</div><!– .site-branding –>

<nav id=”site-navigation” class=”main-navigation” role=”navigation”>
<?php wp_nav_menu( array( ‘theme_location’ => ‘primary’, ‘menu_id’ => ‘primary-menu’ ) ); ?>
</nav><!– #site-navigation –>
</header><!– #masthead –>

In the footer.php file, you’ll need to add the HTML code for the footer section of your theme, such as copyright information and links to social media profiles. Here’s an example:

<footer id=”colophon” class=”site-footer” role=”contentinfo”>
<div class=”site-info”>
<?php printf( esc_html__( ‘Copyright ¬© %1$s %2$s.’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
date( ‘Y’ ),
get_bloginfo( ‘name’ )
); ?>
</div><!– .site-info –>
</footer><!– #colophon –>

<?php wp_footer(); ?>


Step 5: Adding the Sidebar File

The sidebar.php file controls the sidebar section of your WordPress theme. You can use WordPress widgets to add content to your sidebar. Here’s an example:

<aside id=”secondary” class=”widget-area” role=”complementary”>
<?php dynamic_sidebar( ‘sidebar-1’ ); ?>
</aside><!– #secondary –>

Step 6: Adding Custom Pages

You can create custom page templates for your WordPress theme. This allows you to create unique layouts for specific pages on your website.

To create a custom page template, you’ll need to create a new PHP file in your theme folder and add a header comment at the top of the file. Here’s an example:

* Template Name: Custom Page Template
* Template Post Type: page
get_header(); ?>

<main id=”main” class=”site-main” role=”main”&gt;
<?php while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
<article id=”post-<?php the_ID(); ?>” <?php post_class(); ?>>
<header class=”entry-header”>
<?php the_title( ‘<h1 class=”entry-title”>’, ‘</h1>’ ); ?>

</header><!– .entry-header –>

<div class=”entry-content”>
<?php the_content(); ?>
</div><!– .entry-content –>
</article><!– #post-<?php the_ID(); ?> –>

<?php endwhile; ?>

</main><!– #main –>

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

<?php get_footer(); ?>

Once you’ve created your custom page template, you can select it when creating a new page in WordPress.

Step 7: Adding Custom Post Types

WordPress comes with built-in post types, such as posts and pages. However, you can also create custom post types to organize your content in a more specific way.

To create a custom post type, you’ll need to add some code to your theme’s functions.php file. Here’s an example:

function custom_post_type() {

$labels = array(
‘name’ => _x( ‘Products’, ‘Post Type General Name’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘singular_name’ => _x( ‘Product’, ‘Post Type Singular Name’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘menu_name’ => __( ‘Products’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘name_admin_bar’ => __( ‘Product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘archives’ => __( ‘Product Archives’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘attributes’ => __( ‘Product Attributes’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘parent_item_colon’ => __( ‘Parent Product:’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘all_items’ => __( ‘All Products’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘add_new_item’ => __( ‘Add New Product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘add_new’ => __( ‘Add New’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘new_item’ => __( ‘New Product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘edit_item’ => __( ‘Edit Product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘update_item’ => __( ‘Update Product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘view_item’ => __( ‘View Product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘view_items’ => __( ‘View Products’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘search_items’ => __( ‘Search Product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘not_found’ => __( ‘Not found’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘not_found_in_trash’ => __( ‘Not found in Trash’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘featured_image’ => __( ‘Featured Image’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘set_featured_image’ => __( ‘Set featured image’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘remove_featured_image’ => __( ‘Remove featured image’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘use_featured_image’ => __( ‘Use as featured image’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘insert_into_item’ => __( ‘Insert into product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘uploaded_to_this_item’ => __( ‘Uploaded to this product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘items_list’ => __( ‘Products list’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘items_list_navigation’ => __( ‘Products list navigation’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘filter_items_list’ => __( ‘Filter products list’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
$args = array(
‘label’ => __( ‘Product’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘description’ => __( ‘Products’, ‘my-custom-theme’ ),
‘labels’ => $labels,
‘supports’ => array( ‘title’, ‘editor’, ‘thumbnail’ ),
‘taxonomies’ => array( ‘category’, ‘post_tag’ ),
‘hierarchical’ => false,
‘public’ => true,
‘show_ui’ => true,
‘show_in_menu’ => true,
‘menu_position’ => 5,
‘menu_icon’ => ‘dashicons-cart’,
‘show_in_admin_bar’ => true

Step 8: Adding Custom Fields

Custom fields are an essential feature of any WordPress theme. They allow you to add additional data to your posts and pages.

To create custom fields, you can use a plugin like Advanced Custom Fields. This plugin allows you to create custom fields using a drag-and-drop interface. You can create fields for text, images, checkboxes, and more.

Once you’ve created your custom fields, you can add them to your theme’s templates using the following code:

<?php the_field(‘field_name’); ?>

Step 9: Testing Your Theme

Before you release your theme to the public, it’s essential to test it thoroughly. This includes testing it on different devices, browsers, and operating systems.

One way to test your theme is to use a local development environment like XAMPP or MAMP. This allows you to test your theme on your computer without needing to upload it to a live server.

Another way to test your theme is to use a testing platform like BrowserStack. This platform allows you to test your theme on different devices and browsers without needing to purchase each one.

Step 10: Launching Your Theme

Once you’ve tested your theme and made any necessary adjustments, it’s time to launch it. You can release your theme for free on the WordPress theme directory or sell it on a platform like Themeforest.

To release your theme on the WordPress theme directory, you’ll need to follow their guidelines and submit your theme for review. Once your theme is approved, it will be available for anyone to download.

If you decide to sell your theme, you can use a platform like Themeforest to list it for sale. Themeforest takes a percentage of each sale, but they provide a platform for you to showcase your theme and reach a wider audience.


Creating a WordPress theme may seem intimidating, but it’s a rewarding experience that can lead to a successful career as a web developer. By following these steps and using the right tools, you can create a beautiful and functional WordPress theme in no time.


Do I need to know coding to create a WordPress theme?

Yes, you will need to know HTML, CSS, and PHP to create a WordPress theme.

Can I use a pre-built WordPress theme and customize it?

Yes, you can use a pre-built WordPress theme as a starting point and customize it to fit your needs.

Do I need to have a design background to create a WordPress theme?

While having a design background can be helpful, it’s not necessary to create a WordPress theme. There are many resources available that can help you create a visually appealing theme.

Can I create a WordPress theme without a local development environment?

While it’s possible to create a WordPress theme without a local development environment, it’s recommended to use one for testing and development purposes.

Can I sell my WordPress theme on multiple platforms?

Yes, you can sell your WordPress theme on multiple platforms as long as you own the rights to the theme.

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