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How to Create a Custom WordPress Theme Without a Line of Code

How to create a custom wordpress theme

There is definitely no shortage of WordPress themes. Both free and paid themes are available, whether you go looking in the official depository or turn to third-party marketplaces and independent theme developers.

These WordPress themes make creating a website for your clients relatively easy. However, there are times when you need a more custom design. In such situations, the obvious solution is to create a custom WordPress theme yourself.

The only issue is that creating a custom WordPress theme from scratch can take a while due to the coding that’s involved. If you’re on a tight deadline, that’s not a feasible solution.

But what if you could create a custom WordPress theme without coding? The good news is that you can. Thanks to 10Web’s AI Builder, you can quickly create a custom theme and deliver a website on time for your client.

In this article, we’ll talk about various WordPress themes, discuss the reasons why you might need a custom theme, and show you how to build a custom WordPress theme without a single line of code.

Overview of WordPress theme types

There are several different WordPress theme types. Let’s go over each of them in more detail.

Single-purpose themes

As the name implies, single-purpose themes have been developed for a single type of website. This can include blogging themes, directory themes, business themes, and so on. For example, a simple blog theme wouldn’t work that well for a business website unless it was significantly modified.

Multipurpose themes

Multipurpose themes, on the other hand, can be used for different types of websites. A multipurpose theme can be used to create a blog, a business website, or a directory website.

Multipurpose themes typically come with several different demo sites built for different purposes to show you the full range of possibilities for that multipurpose theme.

Blank themes

Blank themes have a barebones structure in place. They are often called starter themes because they allow you to take the initial structure of the theme and build out the styles exactly the way you want them.

Some blank themes are built specifically with page builder plugins in mind. They only have the basic style. In other words, you’ll use the theme as the foundation and build out the page layout with a page builder plugin.

Premium themes with embedded page builder plugins

Other types of WordPress themes have premium options that come with embedded page builder plugins. These themes are completely built out and fully functional. To make customization easy for non-developers, they include a page builder plugin like Elementor.

eCommerce themes

eCommerce themes were designed with online stores in mind. They usually integrate with WooCommerce which is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Some themes might also integrate with Easy Digital Downloads, Dokan, or other eCommerce plugins.

Themes with live customizer

When it comes to styling your WordPress theme, most of the themes take advantage of the WordPress Live Customizer. You can adjust colors and fonts, add options for uploading a custom logo or for adding a header image, and so much more.

Themes with advanced theme option panels

Lastly, we have themes that have advanced theme option panels built into them. These theme option panels typically involve more complex styling options such as controlling the margin and padding on pages and around individual elements, adding custom scripts to the header or footer, and even writing custom CSS.

5 reasons why you need a custom WordPress theme

As you can see, there are several different types of WordPress themes. You can use any of these themes to create a website for your client. But, as we mentioned earlier, sometimes you need a custom WordPress theme.

Reasons for this include:

  • When you can’t find a theme that has the style or the features you need
  • If you want more control over the design of the theme
  • Your client wants a unique theme that really stands out
  • When you don’t want to deal with built-in features your client will never use
  • You want code quality assurance rather than examining each line of code for potential issues

Custom WordPress theme Vs child WordPress theme

child theme
You might be wondering why you should bother with a custom theme when you could create a child theme. The problem with this approach is that creating a child theme can still require coding. If you have a regular project deadline, this shouldn’t be a problem but if you’re on a tight deadline, you need to work fast.

If that’s the case, creating a custom theme without coding that you can reuse for future projects is the most reasonable way to go.

WordPress theme structure

Before we dive into creating our custom WordPress theme, let’s go over the structure of WordPress themes and the main features you should create.

A WordPress theme consists of a style file called stylesheet.css or style.css and various PHP files that output the content you publish to WordPress. At the bare minimum, you only need two files to create a functional theme: style.css and index.php file that contains the WP loop to display content that’s published on WordPress.

Beyond that, two kinds of PHP files make up a theme:

  • Template parts that output the content in your header, footer, and sidebar
  • Template pages that output the content of individual pages such as index.php, front-page.php, single.php, and similar template pages.

You can easily create those without any coding using 10Web’s AI builder based on Elementor.

Keep in mind that your theme shouldn’t be used for adding custom features. That’s plugin territory which means any custom feature you might need can be created with a dedicated plugin.

How to build a WordPress theme using the 10Web Builder

Now that you know what types of WordPress themes there are and when you might need a custom theme, let’s go over how you can create one.

To create a custom WordPress theme without coding, you’ll need the 10Web AI Builder and page builder plugin features. You’ll also need a solid blank theme to serve as the foundation for your website since WordPress cannot work properly without a theme.

The benefit of this approach is that you can save time and effort creating a custom WordPress theme. Thanks to the AI website builder, you can create a copy of your website in a matter of minutes instead of wasting hours writing code from scratch.

This is especially beneficial if you’re a beginner or mid-level developer since you don’t have to worry about running into the problem of not being sure how to properly code something.

1. Create landing pages and initial content with AI Builder

To get started with our custom theme, we’ll begin by using the AI Builder. The AI Builder is essentially an AI assistant that uses deep neural networks and powerful AI algorithms to recreate website pages with the help of the 10Web Builder and premium widgets.

On top of recreating website pages, it can also create header and footer templates, which we need for a complete WordPress theme as we’ve mentioned earlier.

Step 1: Create a new WordPress website with 10Web

To create the initial content that you can customize later, you’ll need a new empty WordPress install. If you already have an account with 10Web Hosting, go to your dashboard and select the option Recreate With AI to build a website with 10Web AI Builder.

Otherwise, visit the AI Builder Homepage and click on the signup button. Create your account and then select the option to create a brand new WordPress website.

You’ll need to choose your data center location and name your site. The AI Builder will then install a blank WordPress website.

Step 2: Create the initial content

Now you have three options to create a custom theme for your WordPress projects. You can use the AI Assistant to recreate landing pages and initial content from any website. Or you can use the designer-made templates or your own theme and plugins.

To recreate landing pages and initial content follow the steps below:

  1. Go to AI Builder > Recreate With AI.
  2. Paste the URL of the webpage you want to recreate.
  3. To add other pages, click Add Page and paste the URL in the new field (remember that you can use different URLs for different page templates).
  4. Click Recreate & Import to start the recreation.
  5. After recreation, you can review the results of your recreation and edit your website using Elementor.


Step 3: Create header and footer templates

The last step in this part of the process is to create header and footer templates that will be used on your website. Go to your WordPress dashboard and click Templates > Add New.

In the popup screen that appears, select the type of template you want to create from the drop-down menu, give it a name, and click Create Template. You can then use the 10Web Builder based on Elementor to create a custom header or footer for your theme. Of course, if the input URLs contain the same header and footer, these templates will be automatically created for you by the 10Web AI Builder, so you won’t need to complete the above steps.

When you’re done creating the header and the footer template, you can add a condition for displaying the template. This includes displaying the template on the entire site, select pages, or select template types. For instance, you may wish to create a separate header for archive pages or something along those lines.
When you’re done creating the header and the footer template, you can add a condition that will determine where on your website you would like to display that particular template. This includes displaying the template on all the pages of the entire site or on a singular page, then including it on a specific page type or not, and so on and so forth.

To add a condition, click Advanced, add the conditions based on your preferences, and then hit Publish. You can then repeat the same steps to create more header templates or to create your footer template.

2. Create theme features

Now that you have the basics in place, it’s time to create the abovementioned page templates and core theme features.

Step 1: Create template files

The first step in this part of the process is to create page template files. As a reminder, you’ll need to create the following:

  • Index page to display your blog posts
  • Single post template to display the contents of a single blog post
  • Search page template that will display search results
  • Single page template to display individual pages
  • 404 page that displays when content is not found on your site

To create a page template, go to your WordPress dashboard and click Templates. Select Add New and then choose a template type from the drop-down menu. For example, to create a single post template, choose Single, give it a name, and click Create template.

Then use the 10Web Site Builder widgets to create a blog post template. In this example, I’ve added the Post/Page title widget, the featured image widget, and the post content widget.

When you’re done customizing your template, use the Advanced menu to set conditions for this template to display all the blog posts on your site. Hit Publish when you’re done. Repeat the same steps for other templates such as the archive page, 404 page, and any other necessary page templates.

Step 2: Create styles

The next step is to create the styles for your custom WordPress theme. To do this, click on the hamburger menu in the 10Web Builder. From there, you can set default colors, default fonts, global settings, and other visual styles for your theme.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to disable the Global Colors and Global Fonts in the Settings panel of Elementor for your theme to inherit the styles you set.

Step 3: Create content parts

Once you’ve created the styles and the page templates, the last thing you might want to do is create different content parts and reusable blocks. This can include things like a newsletter opt-in form, a section for feature services, an about section, a call to action, and more.

The process for creating a content part is the same as it is for creating page templates. In your WordPress dashboard, click Templates > Add New and choose Section.

Then use the widgets and content blocks to create the type of section you need.

3. Install necessary plugins

Once you’ve created and installed your theme, it’s recommended to install any necessary plugins to give your clients the features they need. A few additional plugins we recommend include:

  • An SEO plugin — you can use 10Web’s SEO plugin, Yoast SEO, or any other SEO plugin
  • Image optimization plugin — you can use 10Web’s Image Optimizer service to automatically optimize images on your site
  • Contact form plugin — WPForms or Contact Form 7 are reliable advanced contact form plugins that will make it easy for visitors to get in touch with you or your client. If you have just basic form needs, however, the form widget in the 10Web Builder will suffice.
  • Backup plugin — this will help you backup your site regularly so you can easily restore it if something goes wrong. You can enable 10Web’s Backup plugin or another backup plugin of your choice
  • Performance plugin — the performance plugin will help your website to load fast. You can enable 10Web’s Optimizer plugin to keep everything running smoothly.

4. Make the theme/website reusable

The last step is to make your custom WordPress theme reusable so you can use it for future projects. There are two ways of achieving this:

  1. Exporting individual pages/templates — simply export all the individual pages and templates as JSON files and use the import feature to import them to another site. To export the template, go to Templates > Saved Templates. Hover over the template you want to export and click Export Template.
  2. Make a whole site or database backup — use a backup plugin to create and export your site’s backup and then import the backup into a different site.

Both of these options allow you to reuse the theme when you’re creating new pages and save you a ton of time in your design and development process.

Final thoughts

As you can see, creating a custom WordPress theme is possible even without writing a single line of code. Thanks to 10Web’s AI Builder and Elementor, you can easily create custom WordPress themes and reuse them for creating new sites. The tips in this article will help you speed up your design workflow and create a custom WordPress theme that you can use for all your WordPress projects. Get started today with a 14-day free trial of 10Web’s AI Builder.

FAQs

1. Does WordPress need a custom theme?

While there are many premade themes for WordPress out there, a custom theme gives you more control over the final design. You can style it the way you want and create a truly unique website. In other words, a custom theme is not necessary but it gives you complete control over the site’s design.

2. How long does it take to create a custom WordPress theme?

Usually, if you’re coding a theme from scratch it may take up to 2-3 weeks, but if you use 10Web’s AI Builder, the design and development time can be reduced to 1-2 days, allowing you to provide your clients with a fast turnaround.

3. Will a customized WordPress theme break after updates?

No, your custom WordPress theme won’t break after it’s updated. The reason is that the content and the theme features aren’t hard-coded so you and your clients can safely update your theme.

4. How much should I charge for a custom WordPress theme?

How much you want to charge is entirely up to you. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Using the AI website builder can reduce your costs and save time you’d otherwise spend on the theme creation process. Your client will receive a full-feature customizable theme. Consider how much time you’re saving during the design process as well as the value you’re delivering to the client with a fast turnaround.

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Brenda Barron
Brenda Barron is a freelance writer and editor residing in California. When not working, she loves spending time with her family, knitting, painting, playing piano, and singing in her spare time.

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