Beginner’s Guide to SitePoint Base Theme for WordPress

By Chris Burgess

Earlier this week, I introduced you to the SitePoint Base Theme for WordPress.

Sometimes, WordPress themes can visually catch your eye in the front end while behind the scenes they’re bloated and lack quality. SitePoint wanted to address this concern and focus on the development of a new base theme that could confidently provide users with a starter theme they could use for any WordPress project that is minimal, clean, simple, lightweight and responsive. You can see it in action by checking out the live demo.

SitePoint Base Theme

The SitePoint Base Theme has been designed with a focus on the following key features:

  • 100% Free: Open Source GPL 2.0
  • High Performance
  • Code Quality
  • Mobile Optimization
  • SEO Friendliness
  • WooCommerce Compatibility
  • Page Builder Compatibility

Today we’ll take a closer look at how you can actually get started with the SitePoint Base theme on your next project, walking you through the key features and benefits this starter theme has to offer out-of-the-box.

Step 1: Download and Install the SitePoint Base Theme

The first step is to download your copy of the SitePoint Base Theme.

Upload SItePoint Base Theme

Then, in your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance and Themes and then upload the theme to your WordPress website. I also recommend having a copy of the documentation on hand.

SitePoint Base Theme Installed

Step 2: Create your Own Theme

The SitePoint Base Theme has been designed as a starter theme so you can extend upon it with your own creation. We could edit the theme directly, but best practice is to create a copy as our own child theme.

Before you can do this, you need to copy the SitePoint Base Theme folder and change the name to something else. You’ll then need to do a three-step find and replace on the name in all the templates.

Then all you need to do is update the stylesheet header in style.css.

Step 3: Working with the Templates

SitePoint Base Theme Templates

SitePoint have included the popular templates of full width, sidebar, tag, categories, authors, search, posts archive and 404.

They’ve also included the Page Builder Blank, Boxed and Full-Width templates which is ideal if you have chosen to work with a page builder like Visual Composer or Divi Builder.

Step 4: Using the Theme Customizer

WordPress Customizer SitePoin Base Theme

Out of the box you can easily add:

  • Custom logo
  • Custom header
  • Custom background

Step 5: Configuring Your Widgets

SitePoint Base Theme Widgets

Choose how you wish to utilise the main widget areas within the base theme. There’s a main sidebar, a blog sidebar, single post sidebar and page sidebar.

SitePoint have also provided up to four footer widgets that intuitively space themselves out evenly across the page depending on how many are included.

What If You Want More?

If you want to further customize your website, you have quite a few options:

1. Edit the CSS

Using CSS you can change the entire look and feel of your theme, however you do need to know some basic CSS and HTML. If you’re a beginner, here’s a good starting point. For more theme customizations, adding some basic CSS will be enough for more requirements. You can also edit your page templates, these are mostly simple HTML.

For custom functionality, you’re heading into plugin territory (that said, SitePoint Base Theme supports many popular plugins such as WooCommerce that enables powerful ecommerce functionality).

2. Use a Page Builder

SitePoint Base Theme supports all of the major page builders, including Visual Composer, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder and SiteOrigin.

We’ve got a great article that explains the power of WordPress page builders, this also covers some of the pros and cons.

3. Get One Our Growing List of Ready Made Themes

If you’d prefer a complete custom theme ready to go out-of-the-box, SitePoint have just released the Construction Theme designed specifically for construction related businesses. This makes it easy to get a quality site in no time at all.

Getting Help

If you’ve had a chance to review or build with the SitePoint Base Theme, please share your thoughts and experiences with us below. Otherwise you can post support related queries and feedback on the dedicated community forum.

  • Jean-François Trépanier

    Hi, this base theme seems interesting at first sight. I will give it a try in a new project in a few weeks. Before using it, and because I speak French, I will have to translate the .pot file in the languages folder. So, my question is: why is there two .pot files in that folder, one of them seeming more complete then the other? I’ll check back in mid-January and, if nobody offered the French translation for this theme, I will process to do it and offer it to the community. I’m quite sure I’m not the only French speaking reader of SitePoint.

    • Stuart

      Hi Jean-Francois,

      Looking at the pot file I think we have stuffed something up when building it. I have added this to list for devs and expect to have it fixed next week. I will let you know once this has been done. Thanks.

  • AndroidTips

    Your theme is in NO WAY seo friendly. The very first rule ( I don’t know which number rule it is ), is that their shouldn’t be more than 1 H1 tag in one page.

    This theme has 2 H1 tags on single post pages.

  • Liz Aguiar

    Hi Stuart,
    You’re right. According to HTML5 spec, you MAY have multiple H1 tags in each page. This guy has no real SEO knowledge, maybe he has just read some outdated content around the web.
    Congratulations for the theme.

  • OzzyLovesBabyShampoo

    Are you calling it a “child theme” but saying to copy the entire folder and rename everything? That’s not how child themes generally work.

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