- Useful guides
- WordPress Resources
- Best WordPress Plugins
- Free WordPress Themes
- How to Guides
- Part 1 – First Steps
Part 1 – First Steps
What will this guide do?
There are many guides to creating WordPress themes, but the problem is the majority of them require you to know about CSS, HTML and even PHP. If you’re happy to dabble in these things, then fine, you’ll probably be able to create WordPress themes with a little bit of trial and error and poking around.
However, if you really don’t have a clue about these things, but you really want to have a unique blog of your own making, then this guide is for you. This guide will take you step-by-step from selecting hosting and installing WordPress right the way through to styling every single part of your blog – links, titles, backgrounds, headers, footers, menus the whole thing.
Everything is step-by-step and is designed to show you what is happening at each point, so that you can follow what is going on, but create your own blog at the same time. The aim of this guide is for you to end up with a unique blog, not to simply copy the guide and end up with the blog I create.
Introducing Angry Mob
In order to create this guide I first had to identify a project, so that the blog would have a real purpose and would be used. I therefore chose a project that had been on the backburner: updating a personal blog called Angry Mob. Angry Mob is a fairly popular blog attracting around 12,000-25,000 unique visitors a month; however, it is currently using Joomla, a very good CMS system, but not a fully-fledged dedicated blogging platform. I therefore will be moving Angry Mob to WordPress, giving me the chance to design my own blog template for the job.
We’ll find out more about Angry Mob when we get to the design stage of this guide, right now, let’s take the first small, easy steps towards creating your blog.
Step 1 – Choose a web host
If you want to create your own WordPress theme then first of all you will need to choose a domain name and get a web host (we can offer you very competitive tailored blogging hosting and good value domain names). You can find out more about hosting your own blog here. Also bear in mind that web hosts normally only offer support for the actual hosting service that they provide. They do not normally offer you support with any of the CGI scripts that you choose to install – such as WordPress. Here at Blue Globe we are making a commitment to customers who choose to host their blog with us that we will provide support for those users who want to follow this guide to create their own blog theme. We will allow you to open tickets on our support system if you are having trouble creating your theme and we will check your code and give you advice and even correct code if you wish.
Obviously our support priorities will remain with hosting issues, but we would endeavour to be as quick and as helpful as possible in assisting you in creating your own blog theme.
Step 2 – Install WordPress
If you host your blog with Blue Globe we provide step by step installation instructions here, the whole process is quick and easy and takes less than five minutes.
Step 3 – Get a rough blog design down on paper
Once WordPress is installed you can start thinking about the design of your blog. I recommend you draw some ideas on paper, to get the feel of how it will look. Try a few and when you’ve chosen your favourite sketch it out and put in roughly where you want things to go – menus, adverts (if you want them), Twitter buttons, subscribe options etc. Of course, all of these can be changed as you go or after the event, but sometimes a clear vision can make things easier.
Once you have the layout you then need to consider colours and graphics. You can create your own graphics fairly easily and there are hundreds of free non-attribution (meaning you can use them without thanking or paying anyone) icon sets out there for things like Facebook icons, Twitter ‘follow me’ buttons, bookmarking functions like Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit and so on.
You also need to consider what kind of fonts you would like to use – you can use different fonts for different aspects of your blog, so be creative and think carefully about readability and accessibility. We will look at ‘web safe’ fonts – fonts that most people will be able to display – later on in the guide.
Part 1 Checklist
Before proceeding to Part 2 you should make sure you have got the following things:
- A domain name
- A web host
- WordPress installed
- A rough blog design on paper
- Some colour ideas for your blog
- Some font ideas for your blog
If you have all of those things, then move onto Part 2 and we can start the process of turning your paper blog into a fully functioning WordPress blog.