Now we can see how easy it is to change things using a child theme we will be moving onto creating widgetized area in our theme and different layouts, we have likely looked at a number of premium themes that boast a number of widgetised areas, number of sidebars and number of layouts, we will be creating a child theme with a number of these features, but key to any project is planning.
We will decide on the quantity and names of new widgitized areas for our child theme, looking at the flexibility, building in redundancy and allowing for variances.
When WordPress was just a blogging platform they introduced sidebars, these were one or two regions that the administrator could use to add rich content to, using widgets in the Admin area.
WordPress is evolving and more and more the widgets are required for the content area, so the name sidebar does not really do justice or identify the usage, if we look at other CMS products like DotNetNuke the themes are designed wholly on widgetized (module) areas, where you just add a module into a container and edit the content.
Increasingly we are seeing users who want to use WordPress as a CMS, more than just a blogging tool, who could change products, but are happy with WordPress and just wish it could do more.
Key to a good website will be the planning, who are the target audience, what will they be looking for, which other websites would they visit, how will we catch their attention on the first visit, how could we keep them coming back.
How do we catch their attention, unlike search visitors that might make 30% of a websites traffic, visitors following links in forums, social networking, ads, and casual visitors to a website will not stay unless you capture their attention within the first few seconds.
When we look at the time spent on site a percentage would not have given the page time to load, others will have loaded one page and left, this may account for over 50% of visitors, unless your website is highly niche, a list of blog posts, even with thumbnails will not hold the interest of many casual visitors.
Different ways of making the home page interesting include an easy on the eye clean theme, slideshows and targeted content, we have already touched on slideshows, for targeted content we will need to add widgets in the content area.
The last point on keeping them coming back is not in the hands of the themes designer, as it is fresh interesting content that will keep visitors returning, a nice easy theme will not hold the visitor if the content is not relevant to the search, or not what the visitor was expecting.
At this point in time our theme has two layouts, right sidebar and wide content, lets have a look at the other templates and content areas we will be creating over the next few tutorials.
Lets have a look at our planning images, we have built in a lot of redundancy as there may be templates that we will not use, but these are there to make our theme easy to apply to the next project with a different layout, files can easy be deleted from a new child theme or theme instances or better still moved to a folder and copied out later if required.
This is our default themes layout:
We also already have a wide page template:
We want to Impress our visitors for this we will be creating a few reusable templates.
Widgetized content Home Page:
Left Sidebar Template:
Two Left Sidebars:
Two Right Sidebars:
New Widgetized Areas
Looking at our template list we will be adding some new widgetized areas, the two sidebars that already exist will become the sidebars in the right hand column, we will be adding two left sidebars, Sidebar Left 1 and Sidebar Left 2, and four content areas, Content Top, Content Left, Content Right, and Content Bottom.
Planning a website does not require expensive software, we can use paper and a pen just as well, the layouts do not need to be to scale as it is easy to adjust the classes and elements later with the css.
Keep the layouts targeted and in a style that suits your visitors, research font sizes that are easy to read, consider the ages of the visitors you are trying to attract when choosing colors, and visit you competitors websites.
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