Why Creating a WordPress Child Theme is Important For Your Site

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A developer recently asked us about the benefits of creating a WordPress child theme for websites. This was such a great question, after all, many people do not know or would not think of how to create two different versions of their site. However, creating a parent and a child theme is actually very important for a particular website.

While many people who have a WordPress blog or site will choose to use the default themes that WordPress offers, this may not be always the best option. Even some of the best WordPress themes are already set up, so it can be minimal in terms of functionality and features, and customization is limited. Therefore, we usually say that the best WordPress themes are custom, with the help of frameworks such as WooThemes. However, you should decide what works best for you depending on your skill level and needs.

What is a WordPress Theme Framework?

A parent theme, also known as a WordPress theme framework is “the term WordPress theme framework often refer to a code library that is used to facilitate development of a theme,” according to WP Beginner. Various theme frameworks exist, some are paid, others are free. Some allow you to just implement design if you’re a beginner and don’t really know how to set up a WordPress blog or site, and others offer the bare minimum and allow you to code the site to your specifications.

Among the recent best choice when it comes to building WordPress websites is BeaverBuilder.  It became popular for a number of reasons. Images and texts can be positioned with precision, and column-based layouts can be built in a matter of minutes. It also comes with a number of gorgeous page templates to choose from.

There are many advantages to using a theme, for example, it speeds up development time because you don’t need to build your website or WordPress blog from scratch. Also, some of the best WordPress themes are popular, so if you have any questions, there are forums where you can get help from others.

What is a WordPress Child Theme?

A WordPress child theme is a theme that you create for your WordPress blog or site. The most important thing to know is that a child theme is a secondary theme. The first and main theme that you create is called a parent theme. This is the framework where you control all the functions.

“A WordPress child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality of another theme, called the parent theme,” states WordPress. “Child theme allows you to modify, or add to the functionality of that parent theme. A child theme is the safest and easiest way to modify an existing theme, whether you want to make a few tiny changes or extensive changes. Instead of modifying the theme files directly, you can create a child theme and override within.”

wordpress theme framework

WordPress theme

What are the Benefits of Creating a WordPress Child Theme?

1. Development – Creating a child theme will speed up the time it takes to develop your WordPress blog or site. It’s also pretty easy to learn as many of the best WordPress themes allow even beginners to easily set up a theme.

2. Not Losing Changes – Many times, when you update a WordPress theme, any changes or customization you have made to your website will be lost. Creating a WordPress child theme prevents that from happening. You can customize the child theme, and then update the parent theme. All the updates and new features will automatically be applied to the child theme, but none of the customization will be affected.

3. Allows for Mistakes – “When you are creating a complete theme, you need to think about all the possible scenarios and code for them,” says WP Beginner. “However, when you are working on a child theme and you forgot to code for something, then there is always the parent theme’s functionality available as the fallback option.”

How to Create a WordPress Child Theme

WordPress.org gives a great summary of how to create a child theme:

  • Create a directory in your themes directory to hold the child theme. The theme directory is wp-content/themes. You should name the directory without any space as part of the name, and it is common practice to use the name of the parent theme folder with “-child” appended to it. For example, if you are making a child of the twentythirteen theme, your folder name would be twentythirteen-child.
  • In the child theme directory, create a file called style.css. This is the only file required to make a child theme. The style sheet must start with the following lines:
 Theme Name:     Twenty Thirteen Child
 Theme URI:      http://example.com/twenty-thirteen-child/
 Description:    Twenty Thirteen Child Theme
 Author:         John Doe
 Author URI:     http://example.com
 Template:       twentythirteen
 Version:        1.0.0

@import url("../twentythirteen/style.css");

/* =Theme customization starts here
-------------------------------------------------------------- */

You can change each of these lines to suit your theme. The only required lines are the Theme Name, and the Template. The Template is the directory name of the parent theme. In this case, the parent theme is the TwentyThirteen theme, so the Template is twentythirteen, which is the name of the directory where the TwentyThirteen theme resides. If you want to make a child of a theme with the directory name example-theme-name, then you would use Template: example-theme-name.

  • The child theme’s stylesheet is included after the parent theme’s and styles will therefore override those in the parent theme’s stylesheet.
  • Activate the child theme. Log in to your site’s dashboard, and go to Administration Panels > Appearance > Themes. You will see your child theme listed there. Click Activate.

In conclusion, remember that creating a WordPress child theme can have many great benefits to your WordPress blog or site. However, if you don’t make too many changes to your original site, you may not need one. So do your research and figure out the best way to go for your website.

The team at Behla Design is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of the top web design and development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copy writing professionals. Our founder, Andrew Behla, has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years.

For more information about making your site mobile friendly, contact Behla Design.

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