WordPress: Best Methods

Since I use WordPress now for most of the websites that I build it is time to look at the methods using it. Am I working in the most efficient way possible? Inspired by a blog entry by author Dan Shafer, I am rethinking my methods.

Here is the traditional way of creating a WordPress site that probably most WordPress developers are familiar with…

  1. Find a WordPress theme (either paid or unpaid) that matches as closely as possible your design.
  2. Using the WordPress admin, tweak the CSS and PHP files.
  3. Check the site often to see how the tweaks look and keep tweaking and checking until you get the exact look you want.

If you have done a lot of WordPress, you are probably familiar with problems with each of the steps listed above. These include:

  1. The theme you choose looks close to what you want, but not easily adaptable. Making tweaks is difficult.  The theme is built in a confusing way  with overlapping styles and conflicting code. You might run into even more problems if you want to change the original design.
  2. The WordPress code editor is difficult to use. It does not automatically format and error check the way most code editors do. And the window is so small; you ending up scrolling back and forth between the Save button and the code window
  3. If the site is live, visitors to the site may be seeing a work in progress than the final result you are aiming for. Plus a lot of time is wasted going back and forth between the code and the browser you are using to preview the site.

There has to be a better way. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  1. Start with one of the basic, cleanly coded themes out there, such as Genesis which is a bare-bones themes specifically created to be easily  adaptable.
  2. Do your coding in a code editor such as Coda
  3. Preview the site on a your personal web server, before uploading to the site server. For the Mac this means installing MAMP.

Not all of these are new to me but I can be more consistent in how they are applied. To take a sort of Best Methods approach to using WordPress.

Anything on your mind?