Design/build: WordPress themes

from design prototype to theme : how to get started

part 3: the content + structure

Before you can begin your theme build, your website has to have its content. This goes with our working method of ‘content out’ and has very practical reasons for the theme build. As webpages on our WordPress site are presented via settings, content in database and theme settings – you’ll have to prepare your website, input content (exemplary at least) and set up the site menu. Once content is in and structure in place, you’re ready to build the theme.

The following is a quick summary of the video for reference.


A note on pages and categories/posts

As with any other site, content has to come first. We will technically have to have content to work with in order to preview our theme later. This next step will require planning for the content structure of your site, this time applied to the website via the admin settings.

In order to publish the content fitting our plan, we have to consider the nature of the content and how it will be presented best on the site. Typically, a WordPress site will have a small number of pages (such as the about or contact page, presenting fairly static content) and most of the content is organised/grouped into categories. Our theme will use the related theme file accordingly.

To use this very site as an example, there are 2 categories (the tutorial + articles) which each have several posts ~ and 2 pages (about this site + FAQ).

The difference between the pages and posts is the use of different theme files.


The page content will be published as page ~ the page.php file will be used when the page is viewed on the public site. There nothing else required for the page itself which—once published—can be added to the site menu in admin.

We can create different page template files for different purposes and to show different content types as fitting. For example, the homepage might be a custom seetup to pull in latest post as well as other content such as CTAs.

Posts and categories

The post on the other hand will need to have a category assigned. A default WordPress setup will have one ‘Uncategorised’ category and one default post ~ both of which can now be edited to suit our content.

To view posts, there are 2 different theme files involved:

  1. category.php = which will show all posts assigned to the category in chronological order, showing the set details of the post (this will usually be title, date and either an excerpt or the full content)
  2. single.php = which will show the full post content when viewed.

Add exemplary content in accordance with your IA, creating pages, setting up new categories and publishing posts.

Any theme will require at least some content to show its layout and design as planned. Continue to add/publish your content until you have each content type represented well. Remove any defaults, or edit/update them accordingly.

This website’s structure

April 12th, 2020 by prisca