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WordPress Development Basics: How It Works and How To Start

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WordPress is one of the primary online platforms for building websites.

Web developers love it because it is open source, making it versatile and easy to customize.

Unlike many other content management systems and website development platforms, WordPress allows unique and functional websites that do just about anything developers can dream up.

WordPress development is a great skill to learn, whether you want to work as a WordPress developer or create themes and customize your websites.

Introduction to WordPress

WordPress has online popularity, but for those who are new to website development, WordPress could intimidate them.

What Is WordPress?

People looking to build a website have in WordPress the most popular platform.

It is so popular that 35% of all the websites online use WordPress.

It has become the industry standard for development.

In more detail, WordPress is a content management system, meaning you can use it to manage all of the content aspects of a website without having to write code.

It’s also an open-source platform, so anyone can use it for free and modify it at will.

What Is WordPress Development?

WordPress development involves all of the aspects of creating a website, including both front-end and back-end development.

While some developers also work as designers, development is primarily about writing code to create themes, plugins, customizations, and working with the core code for back-end development.

How Is WordPress Developed?

WordPress is primarily developed using four coding languages: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

PHP is the most important of these languages.

HTML and CSS are declarative languages, meaning they state what should happen.

JavaScript and PHP are programming languages, which means they describe how various functions will happen.

Becoming a WordPress Developer

If you have a passion for coding and working in web development, then you may want to consider becoming a WordPress developer.

According to ZipRecruiter, a WordPress developer makes an average of $64,308 per year.

Who Is a WordPress Developer?

WordPress developers are professionals who are well-versed in coding languages.

They may have had formal training and received a degree from a university.

Other developers have taken online courses or are self-taught.

What Does a WordPress Developer Do?

A WordPress developer works on their websites, for a WordPress development company, or as an independent contractor.

They perform tasks like back-end development to customize the functions and operations of a website.

They may also do front-end tasks, such as creating plugins and themes to make websites more functional and unique.

Many WordPress developers also build and maintain websites for themselves and their clients.

How Do You Become a WordPress Developer?

There are several routes you can take to become a WordPress developer.

You may decide to go through a college or take an online course.

You also have the option of teaching yourself as you go.

Master the Fundamentals of Coding

WordPress developers need to be relatively fluent in several forms of code, particularly HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP, particularly PHP as it’s the backbone of WordPress.

What Are the Fundamentals of Coding?

There are five fundamentals of coding:

  • Variables
  • Control structures
  • Data structures
  • Syntax
  • Tools

Once you have a solid understanding of these five fundamentals, you’ll be well on your way to developing the skills you need to work with WordPress.

Why Is It Important to Master the Fundamentals of Coding?

Web development is a code-heavy job.

If you don’t have a strong grasp of the fundamentals of coding, your work will be slow and tedious.

Read Up on WordPress Specifically

There are many resources available for you to learn more about WordPress.

The WordPress Codex is a free official document with a wealth of knowledge.

You’ll also find plenty of WordPress courses to help you learn more about the platform.

Why Is It Important to Read on WordPress Specifically?

As with most web development platforms, WordPress runs on basic coding languages but still has its unique features and quirks.

Knowing the platform will help you become a WordPress expert.

Choose Your Focus Area

As you learn more about WordPress, you’ll begin to see where your interests and skill sets lie.

You’ll need to choose a focus area, such as working in back-end development or creating plug-ins or themes.

Why Is It Important to Choose a Focus Area?

As with most careers, it’s best to have a specialty instead of being a generalist.

You want potential clients to see you as an expert in a focus area.

Create a Development Environment for Testing

Once you’re ready to start practicing with development, you’ll need to create a development environment.

A development environment is a space where you can try out new coding ideas without the risk of messing up the code on an actual website.

When creating a development environment, you essentially set up a local server on your computer where you can run WordPress and test out new code.

Why Is It Important to Create an Environment for Testing?

When you’re just getting started (and even as a WordPress expert, it’s a good idea to have a safe place to practice.

You don’t want to do extensive damage to your website or anyone else’s.

Become an Active Member of the WordPress Community

WordPress has a thriving community of developers who are all happy to help out and answer one another’s questions.

The WordPress Codex has a forum where you can ask questions.

You can also find WordPress communities on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.

Some of these are specifically geared towards newbies, so you’ll never have to worry that you’re asking a dumb question.

Why Is It Important to Become a Member of the WordPress Community?

While you can get a lot of useful information from courses and reading, learning from others is just as important.

Other WordPress Developers can help you with specific questions and guide you to the right resources.

Build a Portfolio

As with many careers, you need to create a portfolio of your work.

What Is a Portfolio?

A portfolio is a space where you can showcase the work you’ve done.

Whether you’ve developed themes, plugins, or entire websites, you can show what you’ve done through your portfolio.

You’ll typically display your portfolio on your professional website.

How Do You Build a Portfolio?

If you’re just getting started, your portfolio may be made up of mock development instead of work on actual websites.

As you start to get more work, you can put actual websites on your list.

Why Is It Important to Build a Portfolio?

A portfolio is the best way to showcase your work.

You can list out all of your skills, but a potential client wants to see what you can do.

Create Your Technical Resume

As a web developer, you need a resume that describes your technical abilities, such as the programming languages you’re versed in and your past tech jobs.

How Do You Create a Technical Resume?

You’ll create your resume much like a regular resume, only you’ll add a place to detail your technical skills and certifications.

Types of WordPress Development

There are a few types of WordPress development.

You can opt to focus on one or do a combination.

vector graphic showing an illustration of two people in action with doing wordpress development sitting at their computers

WordPress Theme Development

WordPress theme development is the perfect space for those who enjoy doing both technical and creative work.

What Is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme is all of the files, codes, sheets, etc. that work in conjunction to develop the look of a website.

How Is Building WordPress Themes With Bootstrap Done?

When working with Bootstrap, you’ll download the necessary files and build a theme from the ground up.

You can have as much customization as you want.

How Is WordPress Theme Creation With Underscores Done?

Underscores give you a framework from which to start.

You can use the basic files and then customize them however you like.

How Do You Make Your Theme WooCommerce Compatible?

As you’re creating a theme, you’ll need to make sure you include some PHP files to make sure your site supports WooCommerce.

These will ensure that you can run WooCommerce along with your theme.

WordPress Plugin Development

While you can make modifications to WordPress code, whenever the platform does an upgrade, all of your changes will likely disappear.

This is where plugin development comes into play.

What Are WordPress Plugins?

WordPress plugins are features you build using PHP.

These features will retain functionality even when the WordPress code is updated.

Pros of WordPress Development

There are quite a few reasons that WordPress development is a lucrative field.

Why You Might Want to Get Involved in WordPress Development

One of the main reasons that you should work in WordPress development is job security.

Since so much of the web is powered by WordPress, there will always be companies in need of your services.

You may also decide to become a WordPress developer because you want to be able to customize your sites.

You’ll be able to make them truly unique.

Hiring WordPress Developers

In some situations, you may want to hire a WordPress developer.

Why Hire WordPress Developers?

A WordPress developer can help you to customize your site and make it more functional.

They can help when you want a unique site or if you have a special feature you want to be added.

How Do You Hire WordPress Developers?

You can hire a developer through a WordPress development company.

You can also find developers who are working as independent contractors on freelancing sites.

How Do You Shortlist WordPress Development Professionals?

You’ll typically find several developers suited for a job.

You can choose a few and interview them until you find the one who’s the best fit.

How Do You Write an Effective WordPress Development Job Post?

To write an effective job post, you need to be explicit about what you’re looking for.

You want to attract the right candidates, so it’s best to set your expectations from the beginning.


Have questions about WordPress development?

We have answers.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a WordPress Developer?

The price will depend on the duration of the job and the skill level required.

You can typically expect to pay around $20 per hour, but that number can increase significantly if you want someone who is a WordPress expert.

WordPress Developer Salary

The average WordPress developer makes $64,308 annually.

That number can be significantly higher as you grow in skills and gain experience.

Is WordPress Development a Good Career?

WordPress development can be a great career.

If you’re willing to put in the effort to learn the necessary coding languages and you’re passionate about creating things for the web, you’ll find it to be a rewarding job.

Wrapping Up

WordPress development can help you with your websites and allow you to earn a living by helping others with their sites.

By learning more about coding and putting in the effort to learn more about the WordPress platform, you can become quite proficient with the software.

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