You’ve got a fantastic new theme with a plethora of features, but you want to modify it to make it distinctively yours. You face a dilemma: should you hire a developer or become one yourself? Both choices have their ups and downs. A competent developer can achieve things you never imagined, quickly transforming your site into your vision. However, skilled developers can be pricey, with rates usually starting at $100/hour and going up to $200/hour or more.
Many people choose the do-it-yourself route. The most apparent advantage is potentially saving hundreds of dollars. But don’t forget to weigh the hidden costs, such as the value of your time. To create an impressive and functional site, you need to learn CSS, HTML, and enough PHP to modify existing code. It’s achievable, but don’t dive in headfirst.
To follow CSS tutorials, create links, insert images, and more, you need to learn HTML basics. We highly recommend W3Schools.com as a fantastic free resource for learning HTML.
Essential concepts to learn include:
- Anchors (links)
Mastering these elements will give you a solid foundation to build upon.
With a strong HTML foundation, you’ll want to learn how to style your site using CSS. CSS dictates the size, color, background, layout, and virtually every visual aspect of your site. W3Schools.com is once again recommended. Ensure you learn the following:
- The Box Model
With proficiency in these areas, you can easily search for other answers.
PHP, the most challenging part, involves logic construction. You don’t need to learn enough PHP to create something from scratch, but enough to modify tutorial code, which means understanding its logic. W3Schools.com is a valuable resource here as well.
Become familiar with these concepts:
Once you grasp these, you’ll be able to follow the code and adapt it to your needs.
Recommended Tools #
Developers have their favorite tools, often expensive software. If you’re on a budget, consider inexpensive or free options. Every tool mentioned below is free.
You must learn to access your site via FTP. Good FTP programs include:
- FileZilla: Available on all major OS including Linux
- Cyberduck: Mac specific
- WinSCP: Windows Specific
Code Editor #
Basic code editors include plain text editors like Windows’ Notepad. More advanced text editors offer markup, tab settings, and error checks, with some even connecting via FTP to update files automatically. Examples include:
Image Editor #
While Adobe Photoshop is popular, it’s also costly. For those on a tight budget, try Gimp, a free, extendable image editor that can open Photoshop files. Use Inkscape for vector art, as it works with Illustrator files.