2018: The year of the missing theme

Every year since 2009, the good people at WP have released a new default theme. Until now. The default theme is usually released in November, and is named for the upcoming year. So, the Twenty Ten theme was released late in 2009.  The tradition continued through Twenty Seventeen, released in late 2016, then ground to a screeching, unplanned, embarrassing halt. This is the year of the missing theme.

The year of the missing Theme

Read more 2018: The year of the missing theme

Automatic updating WP, themes, and plugins

Automatic updating WP, themes, and pluginsThe vast majority of hacked WordPress sites were compromised due to outdated plugins, themes, or WP core. I need to keep my site updated. But should I update manually, or automatically? If I choose automatic, updates will be more timely but there is always a small chance that an update will break something. If I update manually, I can make a full site backup first, and restore if anything breaks – but I am at more risk of a hack occurring in between my manual updates.

Read more Automatic updating WP, themes, and plugins

WP Child Theme

create a WP child theme manuallyWhatever WP theme I decide to use, I will almost certainly want to make a few tweaks to it. I could make changes directly to the theme, but those would be lost in the next version update. Instead, a good practice is to create a child theme. I can create a WP child theme manually, but doing so requires an understanding of words like ‘enqueue’. I can make the job easier using a plugin like Child Theme Configurator. After I install and activate the plugin, I click the new ‘Child Themes’ item on the Tools menu, choose a parent theme – Responsive Mobile in my case, and click Analyze.

Read more WP Child Theme

Very little advice on WP themes

little advice on WP themesI really cannot offer much advice at all on WP themes. I just don’t have experience with many themes. I find one that works well for me and stick with it. I want a theme that provides a framework and does not get in my way. Also – a personal preference – I want users to immediately see content, not a ginormous image that takes up the entire landing page above the scroll.  Initially I used Twenty Ten, which I liked quite a bit, but eventually it became obvious that a modern website must be responsive. I switched to Responsive Mobile from CyberChimps, and have used it ever since. It meets my needs and offers a simple but powerful set of Theme Options that make it easy for me to add custom CSS styles and header/footer scripts. It seems lean. A comparison of file sizes to the current default theme:

Responsive Mobile Twenty Seventeen
functions.php 2.6 K 17.7 K
styles.css 1.8 K 79.9 K

With the huge number of high quality free themes available in the official WP themes directory, I see no reason to consider themes from other sources, including ‘Pro’, ‘Premium’ or otherwise ‘Pay’ themes. If I were to try a theme from a source other than the official WP directory, I would want to be very, very sure it is a reliable source. How to be sure? I have no idea, I only consider free themes from the official WP directory.

For most WP users, the current default theme – Twenty Seventeen at the time of this post – seems a good place to start.