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8 Mistakes You Must Avoid In WordPress Theme Development

  • By Rohan Roy
  • April 22, 2022

WordPress is known for being very flexible in making themes and plugins. It’s always good to see proof, so ask a group of developers how they’d do something with regard to WordPress themes. The chances are that you’ll get a lot of different ways to do the same thing. There are a lot of examples like this in the support forums.

But there’s also the fact that it’s easy to do things the “wrong” way. In this case, “wrong” means that something is either inefficient or painful to keep up with in the long run. However, there are usually better ways to get things done than this.

8 Common WordPress Theme Development Mistakes

Trying to keep the Debugging Off

To figure out why my code doesn’t work. When you use the WordPress debugging feature, all PHP errors and warnings will be shown. This includes notifications about deprecated functions and alerts about other things that might not work. As soon as debugging is turned off, there may be important warnings or notices that we don’t see, but that could cause problems later if we don’t deal with them right away. We want our code to work well with all the other parts of our site. In other words, when adding any new custom code to WordPress, you should always do your WordPress theme development work with debugging turned on. Make sure to turn it off before putting the site live, though.

Not Checking to See if a Plugin Is Running

There is no reason for me to check if a plugin function is there if my plugin is always turned on. 99% of the time, your plugin will be running. What about that 1% of the time when it doesn’t work for some reason? If and when this happens, your website will likely show some ugly PHP errors. To ensure this doesn’t happen, we can check to see if the plugin is running before using its functions.

Making Changes to the Core Files of WordPress is Not a Good Idea

Always make a child theme if you want to change a piece. Some developers will make changes to the parent theme files, only to find out when they upgrade the music that their differences have been overwritten and are gone for good.

A Hook Can be Used to Add Scripts and Styles

Add the scripts to my header template and see if that makes it any worse. WordPress already has a lot of popular scripts. Still, many developers will use the wp_head hook to add more scripts. This could cause the same hand, but with a different version, to be loaded more than once.

Too Many Resources

Because we don’t want to load all of the plugin resources for a page at once, styles and scripts for a plugin don’t make sense to load if that plugin isn’t being used on the page that the user has been to. To speed up our web pages, we can only load plugin files when they’re needed. This will make the end-user experience better. We can think of a WooCommerce site, for example, where we only want the plugin to be loaded on the pages where we are shopping.

Values Can be Hardcoded

Often, it looks faster to just write down a value like a URL somewhere in the code, but the time spent later debugging and fixing problems that come up because of this is much more. In the future, it will be much easier to maintain and debug our code if we use the corresponding function to make the desired output happen dynamically. Suppose you move your site from a test environment to production with hardcoded URLs. Suddenly, you’ll notice that your site doesn’t seem to be working.

Make Sure You Keep the Default Permalinks

WordPress, by default, uses a query string with the post’s ID to get the content you want. You can change this setting. However, this isn’t very user-friendly, and people might forget to copy essential parts of the URL when they do. These default permalinks are not search engine friendly because they don’t have a good structure for them. We call this setting “pretty” because it makes our URLs include keywords from the post title, which will help them perform better in search engine rankings. In the long run, it can be tough to change the permalinks of old posts that have already been indexed by search engines, especially if your site has been running for a long time.

Your Site Will Not be Blocked From Being Indexed

There’s no reason why I wouldn’t want search engines to find my site. The good thing about indexing is that it helps people find things. Because when you build a website, search engines should not index your site until you are done building and have set up a permalink structure. Google and other search engines do not want to see duplicate pages on your staging server. This is true even if your staging server is where you test new site features before they go live. When there are a lot of pieces of content that are hard to tell apart, it can be challenging for search engines to figure out which one is more relevant to a search. Search engines will punish sites with the same content, which will hurt your site.

How to Avoid Common WordPress Theme Development Mistakes?

Use Absolute URLs in your Templates to Make Them Look Better

The HTML code that WordPress pages and posts make will show that both images and internal links have complete URLs. But this isn’t the best way to get things done when you add code to your theme template’s code block.

Suppose you’re working on an online project, and you’re going to put it up with a temporary URL. This means you’ll have to change the code yourself when you’re ready to launch the site on its permanent domain. While this can be done, it’s too easy to forget where this kind of code might be lurking.

Customization Goes Too Far

Allowing you to add custom fields or custom post types is a big help for both developers and people who write content for a site. They are easy to use, have better content organization, and have a better UX

For example, a person is a big fan of adding fields. But even everyone has to admit that there have been times when a person has changed a theme so much that it can’t be changed. A staff member’s profile has fields that need to be filled in. Areas are suitable for situations where we know exactly what content we need to put in.

However, if someone wants to add different types of content, it can get a little messy. Clients have been known to make small changes to content that can make it more challenging to use customizations. The UI won’t be excellent as long as you don’t go too far with conditional logic.


Mistakes while WordPress Theme Development are bound to happen. These were the most common mistakes that people face in theme development. Beginners face several difficulties but if they know about the common mistakes, they can make a note of it beforehand to avoid them. Hope this article was helpful to you. 

Rohan Roy

Rohan is a rare mix of technologist and CMO at Sterling technolabs. His passion lies in helping companies to grow revenues by delivering top-notch software development services and build value-based partnerships. When not driving high-impact go-to-market strategies, Rohan scrolls twitter and often reads. Protection Status