Customising a WordPress Theme to Build my First Site, Bad Idea?

As someone with zero coding chops, I’ve been exploring my options to get my site out the door.

One idea is to modify an off the shelf WP theme to produce a workable product. My goal would be to get an off the shelf theme like this:

In the ball park of:

In terms of UI/UX; the needed features would be ability for a user to upload content, upvotes, plus some basic forum functionality, comments profiles etc.

The wider goal would be pick up some coding skills without having to build the entire thing from scratch.

What do I need to know about this approach?

Welcome to the forums, @lanestark8.

Which “coding” skills are you talking about here?

If you’re comfortable with HTML/CSS but need help with the functionality of the site, then WordPress and its wide array of plug-ins might well be the way to go. (I’m not a WP user, so I’m just guessing.)

If you have no grounding in HTML/CSS, then learn those first and don’t try to run before you can walk. In my opinion, modifying somebody else’s code is harder and more time-consuming than writing your own, especially when you’re relatively new to it.

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I don’t have any coding experience, the general goal is to pick up enough so that I have some clue as to whats under the hood of my site, which would put me in a better position to communicate my ideas to developers, tend to basic bugs etc

I’m pressing ahead with the theme customisation option, after I pick up the basics of HTML, PHP, and javascript, as the theme in question has a pretty active community supporting it.

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