Programming Experts’ Guide to Code a WordPress Theme

Introduction
WordPress is a massive platform for users to manage their site and the specialty of WordPress is that it is equipped with some of the most powerful and unique tools that one could use. WordPress is so popular and widely used that almost 30.3% of the total websites on the internet use WordPress and there are more than 10 million websites on the internet. 

WordPress is one of the best Content Management Systems (CMS) because of its flexibility. The user can modify and create code to develop the site however they like and there are also options to create and add third-party plugins. 

Road to becoming an expert developer with WordPress 
It was understood that developing plugins and themes is possible and you can create stunning visuals and develop the website however you like but there are certain things that you should understand before you start working with WordPress.

  • Assess Your Current Knowledge and Note Any Gaps –  It is easy to learn WordPress and the interface is built in such a way that everybody can work on it easily. There are a lot of features in WordPress and to develop the perfect website you have to dive into some of the complex processes and learn the necessary skills. Some components might take up too much time to understand and this is when you can outsource your work and get programming help from professional programming experts. 
  • Ensure You Understand How WordPress’ Key Components Work Together – There are many different components in WordPress and sometimes it gets a little too complicated. It is mandatory for everyone to understand the key components because they play a major role when you are developing and using themes on a website. You should know which components can be edited and which should be never touched. Meddling with all the components can cause a lot of trouble. 
  • Gain a Strong Command of the Customizer and Other WordPress Settings – Every business is different and so are the demands for the website. It is not possible to find the perfect theme which fits your business standard entirely. The themes can be modified, edited and certain parts of it can be picked up and the remaining can be removed. There are various templates, themes, demos, and other prebuilt elements that you can edit, and working with these components helps to create a dynamic and perfect website. It is important to gain a strong command of the customizer as it allows you to work with advanced customization and turn ideas into reality. 
  • Learn About the Technical Underpinnings of WordPress – To become an expert in WordPress you don’t have to work on multiple coding languages. It is important to understand the logic behind the code rather than having a deep understanding of how the code works. Understanding the basics of HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript can help a lot and pave the way to becoming a WordPress expert. 
  • Learn about the Database and Database Maintenance – The special advantage of using WordPress is that the content management system is integrated with the database and the pages are automatically converted to HTML. Understanding the way databases work can help to work with the posts and custom posts. The data relating to the themes and plugins are stored in the database and troubleshooting becomes easy when you have a grip on the data structures. You can also custom fields, Advanced Custom Fields, and Pods custom fields and can easily incorporate custom fields into your Beaver Builder layouts. Maintaining the site also becomes a lot easier and you can make changes efficiently.
  • Become Familiar With WordPress’ Hosting Options – Hosting is one of the most crucial factors which helps to keep the website running and you should have a clear understanding on how the hosting service works and which plan to choose. There are various plans like shared server hosting, private server hosting, etc. You can choose the best service once you know the features of each option and understand the demands of the website. If you know you will experience high traffic then you should go for private hosting with a dedicated server. This will help to keep the data safe and the website running at all times. 
  •  Interact with the WordPress Community and Give Back – WordPress is completely open-sourced and there is a huge community full of experts who develop themes, plugins, extensions, and other third-party tools that can be added to a website. These expectations are free to use and can help other developers a lot. When you accept expectations from the community, it is only fair that you contribute something to society too. You can simply upload the themes or plugins that you created so that other developers can implement the application and this helps others from spending a lot of time on development. 

How to develop WordPress themes

Step 1: Set Up a Local Environment
The first step for creating a WordPress theme is to create a local development environment to manage the working of the code. The local environment is basically a server that you install on your computer, which you can use to develop and manage local WordPress sites. A Local environment can be created in many ways but the best method is to do it using a desktop server. You can go on the internet and search for the free version of the desktop server application. You have to register on the website and then download and install it. Once the application is installed you can configure the local environment according to your requirements.

Step 2: Download and Install Your Starter Theme  
You can download a theme and get started with the Underscores. This process is fairly simple, all you have to do is to open the website and name the theme. There are also advanced options available which give you a chance to give a detailed description by adding an author name and give the theme a description.

There is a Sassify option available which allows users to add Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets (SASS) and with SASS users can add variables, nesting, math operators, and more.

Step 3: Understand How WordPress Works Behind the Scenes
WordPress allows users to add custom themes and plugins and the user should have a basic understanding of how the component works. There are various parts of the code and the user can modify certain parts of the code to fit the needs of the user. There are specific areas of the code which shouldn’t be changed. Understanding components is also important to know details like header.php is used to create a header, while comments.php enables you to display comments etc.  

Step 4: Configure Your Theme
The demands of every website are different and you have to customize the theme to fit the business requirements of your website. Once you have all the required knowledge and the tools at your disposal you can change the functionality of the website entirely. You can add hooks, add styles with CSS, and do much more. 

Step 5: Export the Theme and Upload It to Your Site
Once you complete developing the theme you have to test the efficiency of it. There should be any bugs and the theme should handle data effectively. You can find Theme Unit test data on the internet and this is basically sample data that you can upload to the website to test the efficiency of the theme. Once you are satisfied with the working of the theme you can upload it to the website and the uploading process is fairly simple. 

Conclusion
You have to have a basic understanding of the various concepts that help in the smooth running of a website. Knowing the logic and functioning is the key and with practice, you have a grip on all the functions. You may not master all aspects of WordPress development and the wise decision would be to play by your strengths and get the other components developed from a third-party source. These third-party sources master in various services and getting help from them can be a huge advantage. 

Dos and Don’ts of Preparing for Google’s Page Experience Update

Google changes its algorithms and that is what keeps developers and SEO experts on the edge. No matter what platform or plugins you are using, be it WooCommerce bundled products or WordPress plugins, as an e-commerce website or a digital platform, you are bound to keep up with the Google updates to make your venture a success. Here is what you need to know about Google’s page user experience update, and what are the dos and don’ts of keeping up with it:

What is Google’s Page Experience update?
Google has issued a detailed document regarding the page experience update, but to simply put, it suggests that the traffic generation and the page ranking will be based on the user experience. by user experience, we mean how users will perceive their experience of reaching out to or using a specific web page. There are various factors on which the user experience is based for example, how quickly it loads, is it mobile-friendly or not, are there any pop-ups or intrusive ads, does not the content jumps as the page loads, runs of HTTPS, etc. 

What are the Dos and Don’ts?
According to top SEO experts like Weintraub and King, page experience update has always been there in Google’s algorithms its is more like a ‘rebranding’ rather than an update, however, it will still have its implications when it will be made official. So here is what you need to keep in mind regarding this update:

  1. Optimize: A technically sound and fully functional website is what leads you to have an impactful digital presence. Optimization is always the key to enhance the user experience. Producing high-quality content while keeping the technical efficiency of your site is what altogether contributes to making your site useable and catchy for the users. Start this process by:
  • Optimizing the loading speed and removing the 400 errors
  • Compare your user experience with your competitor’s
  • Analyze your design
  • Focus on mobile-friendliness
  • Boost up the site security
  • Focus on the content
  • Remove the interstitials
  1. Focusing on Core Web Vitals: To completely optimize your website and make it stand tall before Google’s page experience update, you will be required to focus on what Google calls ‘core web vitals’:
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): boosts the loading time, enhances the user experience, LCP should occur within the 2.5 seconds of when the page starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): this measures interactivity. Pages having FID of less than 100 milliseconds, increases the user experience. 
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): it measures the visual stability. CLS of less than 0.1 should be maintained by the pages. 
  1. Preparing for the Update: This page experience update is going to get live sometime in 2021 and Google has promised to announce it at least 6 months before making it official. This time duration is not like the one that normally Google gives to the developers and those who are part of the digital part, but rather it has been proposed this way keeping in view the unstable pandemic situation we all are going through currently. This gives us a lot of time on our hands, which means we can gear up our web platforms for changed Google algorithms.
  1. Content Will Be in the Lead: According to Rudy Galfi, the product lead on the Google ecosystem team, the content will still be given the priority. Good quality content will help your website to get high ranking even if some features of page experience are subpar. Having quality, relevant, detailed, well-written, and helpful content will be a win-win for your website. However, in the case when a lot of similar quality content appears, visibility will be the main concern, and that when page experience will come into play.

Conclusion
Since Google’s main aim has always been to facilitate the users, therefore, user experience is going to get even more important over time. If you have invested your time and effort to make your site seamless and users love it, then Google will make sure to rank it high. Just like any other algorithm change by Google, this one is going to be revised and modified with the time to make them more effective. The best part is, you have got a lot of time, start optimizing your website and enhancing usability from now! 

5 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress

If you want to improve the SEO rankings of your WordPress website, you need to do a lot of work. First, you should choose the best possible hosting provider to ensure 100% uptime of your server. Secondly, you must analyze your audience and determine the right keywords for your blog posts and product pages. You must make sure that your content is readable and all the images are correctly optimized. There are quite a few tasks that make SEO optimization a time-consuming process that takes a lot of effort.

Luckily, WordPress is a very convenient platform. Not only is it already SEO-friendly, but it also offers various plugins that can simplify many difficult tasks. Moreover, many of these plugins are absolutely free. If you choose the right plugins, it will be much easier for you to polish your site and reorganize the site structure, fix broken links, determine pages with the highest potential, and conduct an SEO audit. 

1. Yoast SEO
This is probably the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, and the reason is that it has a very impressive functionality combined with a user-friendly interface. Unlike other plugins, this one includes a highly useful on-page SEO analysis tool. It gives a lot of information about the quality of your content and provides lots of tips on how to improve it to achieve better rankings in Google.

“It will also help you make sure that all your images have alt tags that match the necessary keywords. The best thing about this plugin is that the free version has almost everything you need, so paying for the premium version isn’t really necessary,” adds Leonard Lewis, SEO copywriter at PaperHelp essay writing service.

After installing this plugin, you will receive timely updates, and you’ll also be able to sign up for premium support on the official website. The premium version includes internal link suggestions and keyword optimization, along with many other features. It costs $89 per site, but even the free version outperforms many similar plugins.

2. All in One SEO Pack
This is another all-in-one solution that offers a great set of SEO tools. Even though it doesn’t offer as many features as Yoast SEO does, this is still a great plugin that has everything you need for on-page SEO. It gives you all the basic features. It allows you to edit meta tags, optimize titles, create an XML sitemap, etc. You can also order premium support, which will cost you $57. The main advantage of the premium version is WooCommerce support and access to a knowledge center. It also includes a video SEO module, custom taxonomies, tags, and SEO for categories.

3. WP Meta SEO
WP Meta SEO is another powerful plugin. It has a great dashboard that will help you stay up to date about the status of your website. The interface is easy to understand. The best feature of this plugin is bulk SEO processing. Thanks to this feature, you can edit data for multiple posts at once so it will save you a lot of time. Just select the content, specify the image size, and the plugin will do all the rest. It also automatically adds your menus, posts, and pages to XML and HTML sitemaps, checks your website for 404 errors and enables you to add a redirection in one click.

The pro version costs $39. It includes a WordPress link manager, automatic sitemap link check, and automatic redirect rules.

4. The SEO Framework
If you want a simple and fast SEO plugin for WordPress with no unnecessary features, The SEO Framework is a perfect choice. It was created for people who consider high site speeds their main priority and is often called an alternative to All in One SEO or Yoast. It enables you to target keywords in a more flexible way, with slightly off synonyms. Instead of using focus keywords, this plugin takes into consideration a focused subject. It also includes AMP integration, comment caching, article enhancement, redirecting, and an incognito mode.


Another advantage of this plugin is that you don’t need to pay for premium features. Besides, the preconfigured settings allow you to start working without any additional adjustments.

5. Rank Math
Rank Math is lesser-known, yet it is one of the most powerful SEO plugins available on the market. It’s extremely user-friendly and offers you lots of features that its competitors simply don’t have. You can integrate this plugin with Google Search Console, set up redirects (301, 302, 307, 410, 451), use rich snippets, and benefit from card previews (Facebook and Twitter). The plugin also allows you to transfer your settings from Yoast SEO and All In One SEO Pack plugins in case if you want to migrate.

Final Thoughts
WordPress is a great platform for SEO experts because it enables you to install various plugins that simplify many time-consuming tasks. There are tools for any budget with different functions so you can always find the one that fits your objectives. We recommend that you don’t use too many similar tools at once. Many plugins from our top 5 list include the same features so you must make sure that there will be no plugin conflicts.

Activate your pro theme licence

We have included automatic upgrades for all Pro themes, but before you can take advantage of this one-click upgrade facility you must first activate your license.

First, make sure you download, install and activate your Pro version of your theme.

For example, if you upgraded from Sporty to Sporty Pro; download, install and activate Sporty Pro to your WordPress install.

  1. Select and activate Your Pro Theme from the themes screen.
  2. Navigate to Appearance -> Theme Licence
    • For Food Express Pro Navigate to Tools -> Food Express Pro License
  3. Paste in your licence key in the the field provided and Save changes
  4. Click Activate Licence Button
  5. Once activated you should see the licence details

Your theme licence will now be activated and you will receive notices of any theme updates in the WordPress Admin panel.