WordPress Development Update: Base Theme

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2016 No Comments


In my last post I outlined my plan for 2016 and said that I’d be working on developing my own WordPress themes. I’m really excited to give you an update on this now, because I’ve made some great progress.


Base Theme

I’ve built what I’m calling my base theme, which is a theme with all of the functionality that I want to offer, but no styling. I can use this as a base to work from when creating all new themes, and I don’t have to keep repeating the same work over and over again. Now that I have the functionality built, the work in creating each new theme will be creating a design and writing the HTML and CSS for it. Each theme will need its own special functionality built as well, but this will provide a solid base to work from. And if I notice that I’m building the same new stuff for each new theme, I can put that in the base theme for later.

I considered using this as a parent theme and then releasing child themes for it, but decided against that. I prefer to keep it for my own development use, and many WordPress users aren’t advanced enough to be comfortable with child themes.


Base Theme Features

These are the functions that I’ve baked into the base theme so far:


There won’t be an annoying theme control panel. Instead, I’m making full use of the native WordPress Customizer for many customizable settings, all with live previews:

  • Site name and description
  • Big custom headline and sub-headline for the homepage with options for color and font size
  • Custom footer text
  • Change your logo
  • Support for header image
  • Custom background color or image
  • H1 styles (color, font size)
  • Paragraph or body text styles (color, font size)
  • Footer styles (background color, text color)
  • Button styles (color, text color, text font size)
  • Add your own custom CSS


  • Menu locations (main, footer, etc)
  • Bootstrap main navigation bar with customizable color and link color


  • Footer widgets (3 or 4, depending on theme)
  • Blog sidebar widgets
  • Page sidebar widgets (can be different from blog sidebar)
  • Homepage widgets (possibility to build the whole homepage based on widgets)


  • Google Fonts (10 most popular Google Fonts to choose from)
  • Support for Bootstrap
  • Support for WooCommerce
  • SEO ready for plugins like Yoast
  • Support for post thumbnails anywhere
  • Support for the WordPress post formats (aside, image, video, quote, link, gallery, status, audio, chat)


  • CSS grid for fluid layouts that are fully responsive
  • Mobile Bootstrap nav bar

Page Templates

  • Page with sidebar (right or left, depending on theme, or even both choices)
  • Full width page
  • Custom page types for things like a Portfolio, Staff page, etc, to be customized for each specific theme
  • Choice of static homepage or blog listing homepage


Zen Web Themes Preview

I’m going to be offering my themes on a new website. I decided to put it on a separate domain because I’m going to be setting up WordPress Multi Site so that I can show a demo of each theme on its own sub-domain.

Here are a couple logo mockups that I’ve made in Illustrator:



As you can see, these are variations on the logo for this website, which I might also update soon. There will be much more to come on this new website as I get closer to launching it.


First Theme Releases

The first WordPress theme I’m going to build will be intended for non-profit organizations. It will have some built in functionality for things like a board of directors, mission statement, volunteer signup, and community projects.

Second will be a theme that I’m going to first build for the Zen Web Themes site itself, but I’m going to build it in such a way that I can also release it on its own. It will be something made to showcase products, since I’ll be using it to offer my themes.

Alright, that’s all I’m going to give away right now! Stay tuned for new developments.

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