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Creating my first WordPress theme from scratch

by Philip Sellers

As some of you know (check the bio), besides spending my time as a sysadmin, I also build websites for a venture I call Zeal Technologies.  Its a business that I started with a college friend who was also a collegue of mine at Coastal Carolina while I worked there.  Over the course of the past 5 years, I’d built a web framework that we used with almost every project we built, until about a year ago.

When I began my blog last year, I used WordPress.  I had used it once before to build out a church website for my wife’s boss.  I was really impressed with it and how it could be extended and themed really easy.  So over the last year and half, I’ve implemented a few WordPress sites, mostly using themes other people had developed – like the one on this site and my personal site.

Over the last month, though, I have been working on a project for a friend of my wife and I – a business called Keeping the Green.   Nicole has the idea of finding eco-friendly materials and marketing them under this label.   I’ve helped her get some things together – like logo and some designs for printed items – but the website has been more of a challenge.

At the same time, my wife has been working on a business venture selling paintings on recycled windows.  She too is using WordPress with a plugin called WP E-Commerce on her site. We picked a nice looking free template for her site, so no big deal there.

For Nicole, though, I really wanted to create a custom designed website template for WordPress.  After eight or ten sites, I now understand better how the themes are created and its pretty straight forward.  So, over the past few weeks, I have been tackling that, designing the site in Photoshop, working on cutting it and getting all the CSS worked out – I realy only want to build CSS sites from now on – and getting things together.

This week, I really hit a milestone.  Number one, I found time to work on this again (and as you can tell from the blog, my schedule has finally freed up a little to have time to play).  Number two, I took my sample design and I’ve split into a more standard WordPress theme configuration.  And it worked!  I have built the design side of my first WordPress theme.  Its really early in the design phase and nothing is live (don’t try to buy anything just yet!), but take a gander at it.  I’m pretty proud.  Its still got a ways to go, but its there…  And I’m excited!

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