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We all know and love WordPress widgets, both core and third-party. They give us and our customers the flexibility to “build” specific areas of a website dynamically, displaying anything we choose from an array of available options. This fact was even more important before page builders became prevalent, and may be overshadowed by the coming of Gutenberg, but for the time being, widgets are an integral part of WordPress.
There are times however, that we may need to restrict the selection of available widgets, rather than expand it. Perhaps a widget is irrelevant, or it causes more problems that it solves. Instead of trying to warn or educate your users about potential issues, something they (and you) will ultimately forget, you may opt to completely remove the widgets in question.
WordPress stores user information out of the box, and it cares for the user’s name, email, and some more basic info, it leaves a lot to be desired. For example, social network links are pretty-much required these days, but since social networks come and go on a daily basis, WordPress itself can’t commit to supporting any single one as it may not exist tomorrow. A user’s date of birth is quite important for some websites as well (for example, with age-restricted content), however since a user’s date of birth may be considered confidential or identifying information, it may be illegal (or require special permits) in some countries. Again, WordPress won’t collect this information by itself in order to give us (its users) the freedom to use it no matter of our location. It therefore provides the means to build support for this extra information ourselves.
Your website’s speed matters a lot, because when your site is slow, your visitors will quickly go away and look for a competitors site that doesn’t waste their time. But computers are fast. Very fast. Yet, there are operations that are computationally intensive, network latency that increases access times, or complex database queries that can bring a even a powerful server to its knees. In such cases, a level of caching should be implemented where possible, so that a stored, pre-computed result is served to your visitors. When will this cache get refreshed is a matter of use-case, but as a general rule of thumb, it should be updated as rarely as possible.
Do you build a plugin and want to easily display some general information? Or perhaps you are building a theme and want your customers to keep up with your blog? If you don’t want to build a dedicated settings page, then a simple (or complex, your call) widget on the WordPress dashboard should be enough. It’s very easy and very fast, too!
Do you need to show an extra navigation menu on your WordPress site? Or perhaps you need to show a bunch of links someplace? No matter your use-case, WordPress provides navigation menus that are very easy to create, manage and display. If you like the drag and drop interface of the navigation menus management screen, and you so you figured you’ll create a menu to show them.
However, you neither want to show them in the sidebar (“Custom Menu” widget), nor in the content (“menu shortcode” plugin), and your theme doesn’t quite allow you to display it exactly where you want. What do you do? You need to register a new menu location. Let’s see how.
If you allow registrations on your WordPress site, chances are you need to gather some more information about your users. If you absolutely need this information, the best way to get it is to make it required during registration, otherwise there are slim chances that your users will actually visit their profile page and provide that optional information.
If you’ve ever built a WordPress site from the ground-up, chances are that at some point you needed to do something that your theme and plugins couldn’t or wouldn’t do. You probably already know that you can add code directly to your theme, in a child theme, or in a site-specific plugin. But each approach comes with its pros and cons. Do you know when and why you should choose each one?
Are you building a WordPress theme? Perhaps you are extending a theme by working on a child theme? Or maybe, you are building a WordPress plugin that has something to do with the site’s presentation. Chances are, you need to add options into the WordPress Customizer. Options in the customizer are added as controls.
Page templates are a great way to present your content in a way that differs from the rest of your WordPress site. For example, a page template might present a page without a sidebar, or display your blog posts in a categorized fashion, which then you can assign as your website’s front page. Most themes nowadays provide quite a selection of page templates, but yours might not, or it might not quite do what you need it to do. Let’s see when and how you should create a custom page template.
How long have you been craving for a text size setting on the default Text widget, or a background color on the Calendar widget? Did you know you could implement these yourself? And without modifying the core files? And without jeopardizing the update-ability of your website?
Yup! It can be done! Of course, some things are more easily done, and some things may be impossible to do at all. Let’s see however what is the general approach of actually doing it.