Learn How To Get The Leading Edge On WordPress Customization

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When purchasing a WordPress theme for a website, one of the most essential things a user must do is customize it to suit their individual needs, no matter if the user is a WordPress administrator with little knowledge of website building or a developer. The ability to customize a theme is one of the most important things a user needs, therefore it’s important to choose a theme that is easy to use and built to industry standards.

Each WordPress theme uses a unique method of customization and that is the beauty of WordPress which, unlike other Content Management Systems like Joomla, doesn’t force its users to follow strict rules. WordPress’ CMS is flexible and adaptable, allowing limitless creativity. There is one recommended standard which practically every WordPress theme takes advantage of, and that is the concept of Child Theme.

What Is a Child Theme?

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A child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality and styling of another theme, called the parent theme. Child themes are the recommended way of modifying an existing theme. There are a few reasons why you would want to use a child theme:

  1. If you modify a theme directly and it is updated, then your modifications may be lost. By using a child theme you will ensure that your modifications are preserved.
  2. Using a child theme can speed up development time.
  3. Using a child theme is a great way to learn about WordPress theme development.

For more detailed information about Child Themes click here.

How a Theme Can Be Customized?

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Theme development nowadays is not only changing the style of content to a specific design. Multipurpose themes provide many different features inside WordPress including Shortcodes, Layouts, Custom Plugins and compatibility for popular plugins such as Woocommerce for shopping cart.

Some themes use the WordPress shortcode system to force the customization of the theme. For more detailed information about this capability click here. The good thing about using shortcodes is that you can add different features directly into the Editor section of the page or post and the change will be applied after saving the page.

Some themes use graphical user interface tools to help customers do the customization without hardcoding shortcodes, and using options and graphical representation of those features. A well known tool like that is Visual Composer, which makes adding shortcodes into the editor a breeze. Most multipurpose themes in Themeforest market use Visual Composer to generate their coded shortcodes and give a great tool to their customers for that.

Depending on the implementation style, themes can be customized in different levels. For example Yootheme uses a custom coded Warp framework, which gives layers of styling and customization. It does not use the traditional Child Theme methodology but gives the opportunity to customize nearly every aspect of that theme series.

The problem with such cases is the learning curve and necessity of being a hardcore WordPress developer to be able to do the customization.In general, there are many different theme frameworks in the market that try to fill the gap of having a smooth customization process, such as Thesis or Genesis.

But the real world usage rate of those frameworks, even for theme authors, showed that keeping things the WordPress way is best practice and those framework learning curves discourage many people from trying such solutions.Some other themes use the Custom Action functionality of WordPress to provide a way to customize the theme.

 

 

The idea lies on the hooks and actions capability in WordPress and the presence of function.php in Child Theme. This gives the ability to unregister an action or hook, and register the customized one in the file. This method makes PHP language act like the cascading behavior CSS stylesheet.

One can force the theme to use custom coded action for a certain type such as Shortcode or Custom Post Type. Jupiter and The Ken themes use that very same method to make customization possible at a deep level. For more information about customization for Jupiter click here.

Who Can Customize WordPress Themes?

No matter which method is preferred in WordPress theme customization, when it comes to this task, the user should know their way around PHP and the WordPress ecosystem at a deep level to be able to do the task to the best standard. However, not all people are like that, and they mostly use multipurpose WordPress themes to make their life easier so they don’t have to go under the hood. That’s why organizations which gathered technical professionals and developers and provided customization services for WordPress themes, such as Envato Studio or Codeable.io, emerged to fill the knowledge gap.

WordPress Customization Services

As discussed above, WordPress customization services emerged to fill the gap the community required for more technical customizations. The whole idea is that the customization service provider gathers up some professional developers and charges customers for the time those developers spend on the user site to customize it. These services do not have a limitation regarding which theme or framework to customize in the WordPress ecosystem.

However, this is a double-edged sword. On one hand it’s a good opportunity for people using less public themes or frameworks to have a chance to obtain customization services from professional developers. On the other hand those developers do many tasks over numerous systems, which makes them a Jack of all trades with their talents and knowledge spread thinly across many areas. They have a little technical knowledge about everything but do not have the in-depth knowledge and experience to allow them to master a specific theme or framework to do coding to the best industry standards. Some pros and cons of two well known WordPress customization services are listed below.

Envato Studio

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Envato Studio has thousands of hand-picked freelancers with many backgrounds ready to work with their clients. For example, If a user needs a WordPress theme to be installed, there are many freelancers to choose from and they can work with whomever interests them or has the skills they are looking for. In essence, Envato Studio is merely the middle-man in this configuration. They provide the ability to connect clients with professionals and to do this, they take a cut of the costs, which inevitably increases the price for the end user. On the one hand, it’s an excellent way of finding a particular expert for a specific piece of work, but as their experts are so diverse, it could be hard to receive the in-depth knowledge needed about a particular theme.

Pros:

  • Price of the customization is agreed upon upfront.
  • Timeframe of the customization is agreed upon upfront.
  • Service providers are handpicked professionals.
  • Good quality of the work.
  • Robust dispute resolution process.
  • Ability to pick the service provider you want.

Cons:

  • Nearly always high prices for the services.
  • Not focused care for theme

Codeable.io

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Another outsource company, Codeable.io also have hand-picked developers from Europe and the US. The owners of the company are industry veterans and wanted to connect clients with high quality developers. Their process is similar to Envato in that they have a roster of developers a client can choose from to match individual needs. They are also Woocommerce’s official support provider which marks them out as industry leaders in relation to the Woocommerce platform. Their developers are also only permitted to take on projects that they can ensure will be completed to standard and on deadline.

Pros:

  • Price of the customization is agreed upon upfront.
  • Timeframe of the customization is agreed upon upfront.
  • Service providers are handpicked professionals.
  • Good quality of the work.
  • Ability to pick the service provider you want.
  • Money back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Nearly always high prices for the services.
  • Not focused care for theme

The other complaints from the WordPress community regarding such services is the high price of those services. Actually, that is not their fault and is the result of this business model. Those WordPress customization services need to hire professionals and train them for many different cases which force unwanted expenses for those companies.

Product Specific Customization Services

The other business model available in the market for customization services is the product specific system. In this system, theme authors themselves offer customization services only for their products. This method is the most effective one from both sides of the field. The customer gets the best service possible with competitive prices, and companies can give the best service as they hire limited professional developers who are trained by the theme author itself and focus on the feature of the theme at a deep, specific level. And as the training is not required for a variety of different popular frameworks or themes in the market, companies can provide those services with competitive low prices.

Artbees Care

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Following the Product Specific Customization business model, Artbees launched it’s Artbees Care service for customization. Artbees Care gives the power to customize Artbees Themes even further with additional help from experts. As well as providing the same level of service and benefits as outsource companies such as Envato Studio and Codeable.io, Artbees professionals have also been trained to a high level on the specifics of Artbees Themes. They can be considered masters of Artbees Themes and they have the in-depth knowledge required to help every user on every aspect of the themes.

Artbees experts can walk users through every step: from installation to optimization, to convert content to WordPress, to customize the code to best fit within the project scope and more. Each service they provide is affordable, professional and guaranteed to be carried out to the highest industry standard to meet users’ needs. For more detailed information about Artbees Care services click here.

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