Here at Pacer Design, WordPress is a tool we use to build customized, dynamic sites for our customers. Some of the major benefits to building a site in WordPress is that it is a robust content management system, yet provides a simple back end for users to manipulate and control their own content.

WordPress is well-documented too, and has many free plug-ins/widgets available that usually work well, are easily customizable, and user friendly. If you can’t find something, you can always write it yourself too! While developing themes for WordPress, I have come across a few resources that are invaluable in this process. I’ll provide links to these and a brief description as to how they’re useful.

What can WordPress do?

Create a static site, build a directory, start a classifieds site, create an article repository, make an image gallery, build a review site, start a discussion forum, aggregate information, build a membership site, or start an eCommerce site. Yes, WordPress has the capability to do mostly anything a person or business would want to do!

The basics of any theme:

Theme Development Here we learn the minimum requirements for a theme is only the style.css file and an index.php file. The beauty is that you can develop custom themes for individual pages, style how posts and page content is displayed, and other pages such as a 404 page, or pages that display other useful WordPress database entries like the categories and archives. I typically include a few extra files with those 2 as part of my basic themes – a header and footer file at the minimum. Other typically useful pages are sidebar.php and functions.php. The functions file is THE place to develop custom functions for your theme, and add widget areas accessible through the WordPress backend.

Function Reference Speaking of the functions file, above is the function reference page. WordPress comes with several built in functions, such as calling the template directory, the post title, the post category, the sidebar file, the header file, dynamic widgets, etc.

For anything else – The Codex: AKA the WordPress Bible for developers. This gives you all the tools necessary in building a site. You really don’t have to look any farther than the codex if you want to learn how to build a custom theme, but its not always user-friendly. Luckily there are many online tutorials which can assist.

WordPress Tutorial Sites:

Beginner’s Guide for WordPress This is an excellent site with plenty of step-by-step tutorials, taking you from simple subjects such as creating pages and posts, navigating the backend, installing themes and plugins, to more advanced tutorials such as theme development and even how to write plug-ins.

WordPress Tutorials WordPress Tutorials gathers tutorials from other sites. Covers a wide range of topics, and tracks highly rated tutorials.

WordPress Plugins:

Plugin Directory Looking for a photo gallery? Need to add a calendar to your WordPress site? How about a scheduling system, SEO tools, social networking links, etc? Plugins for WordPress are extremely helpful, but they may not always do exactly what you want, or may not work. Many people create and sell plugins, but their are several free plugins that can get the job done. Using the search box on the page, you can find plugins that can do just about anything you could want on WordPress. You can also browse the plugins to find plugins you may have never found in the first place too.

The beauty with WordPress is that the customization of the look and management of the site is nearly limitless. At Pacer Design, we listen to our clients to help create a WordPress theme that suits their needs. From the design of the site itself, to customizing the backend so clients can easily create, update, or remove their content as they see fit. Call us today at 724.709.7261 or email me at to discuss setting up your own customized WordPress site.