In the previous chapter, you learned how to stretch WordPress’s capabilities by editing your theme files. You saw how a few small changes, like adding a style rule or changing a section of PHP code, let you customize details that would ordinarily be out of reach.
Tinkering with your WordPress theme is a great way to make a number of small but genuinely useful tweaks to your site. But once you start poking around the inner workings of a theme, you open the door to a more ambitious endeavor: reworking the entire theme to create a completely customized site.
In this chapter, you’ll learn how to modify a theme by creating a showcase site for the furniture company Distinct Furnishings. You’ll see how to create a browsable product catalog, with custom post types and custom category pages. You’ll even get a taste of ecommerce with a simple, yet functional, shopping cart powered by PayPal.
The theme customizing you’ll do in this chapter is just a first step in a long journey, but it’s a valuable one even if you choose not to design your own theme from scratch. That’s because the more you know about the inner workings of WordPress, the better you can evaluate themes you might want to use, and the more successful you’ll be if you decide to customize a theme.
The first step to building an advanced, customized site is to get out a notepad and start planning. Before you set fingers to keyboard, you should ask (and answer) a few ...