Thanks to its power and notable flexibility, WordPress is a popular site design choice with webmasters of all experience levels. One often overlooked aspect of WordPress is the use of child themes. Most designers, who understand the benefits of these themes, are keen to take advantage of them. The benefits of using a child theme all relate to ease-of-use in some way. Child themes greatly facilitate the creation and maintenance of fresh and interesting websites. This frees designers to focus more on creativity, which is a big plus. The caveat is that child themes require a good parent theme, to provide the many benefits that are sought.
Ease of Initial Development
With a good parent theme to use as a framework, a child theme offers webmasters the opportunity to concentrate on the style of a site’s design. The high level of functionality included with a good parent theme, means less time spent on aspects like optimizing a site for search engine traffic. Often, designers waste time trying to reinvent the functions that are expected of modern websites. With these elements of a site ready for use, designers can direct all their development efforts towards creating a website presence that is unique and fresh.
Ease of Customization
A child theme is the best option for a site with a dynamic appearance and dynamic content. Frequent style and function modifications create the risk of inadvertent damage to a theme. However, if a designer applies numerous changes to a child theme, the parent theme remains intact. If errors or an unforeseen problem occurs, the webmaster has the convenient option of reverting to the parent theme, until corrections or a new plan for the theme can be implemented.
Ease of Securing the Site
Eventually, all webmasters have to install security patches, or updates for their site software. The need for vigilant security is a reality of operating a website. With a WordPress theme, the dilemma is that customizations are overwritten when the theme is updated. Even if they understand the importance of updating themes, many web designers cringe at the idea of losing custom changes, due to a security flaw that must be addressed. When modifying a child theme however, it is a simple task to safely update the main theme, when that becomes necessary. A webmaster can keep the site secure, without risking customizations that took hard work to implement.
Ease of Updating
Just as the need to update a theme due to security concerns is inevitable, new editions and upgrades to a theme will become available periodically. New or improved functionality is often a bonus of updating a theme, but sometimes it is a competitive necessity. Typically, updating the parent theme will offer website visitors an improved experience. By using a child theme, webmasters can do this while still maintaining all their previous modifications. Thanks to the range of strategic options available, regarding the application of customizations, site designers do not have to choose between their own site modifications, and the improved features that come with updating the parent theme.
Ease of Creating Child Themes
It is becoming increasingly easier to create a child theme. There are a number of plugins available that take the time and work out of generating these themes, and applying changes to them. Site designers can experiment with the various plugins, and the process of modifying the new child themes they create. Webmasters can quickly begin working on new child themes, safe in the knowledge that the parent themes will be available and unchanged, should it be necessary to revert back to them for some reason.
It is easy to underestimate the potential of a site powered by WordPress. Once a savvy designer gets to work though, the possibilities become more evident. The direction taken with a site design begins with the theme selected. At this point, the designer must decide between directly modifying a theme, and creating a child theme to adapt as desired. What many webmasters come to realize is that a well designed WordPress parent theme, which can serve as a framework for a child theme, gives them the best of both worlds. This option allows designers to create the customized experience they envision, and also secure their websites and take advantage of parent theme improvements as they become available.