Are you a WordPress Designer or Developer?

One of the annoying things, err… great things about WordPress is how many different ways it gives you to work on your website. It can get confusing for people trying to learn the platform because the authors of many “tips” and articles make assumptions about  your work process that just aren’t valid. One easy way to break things down and find the answers you are looking for is to ask yourself “Am I a WordPress Designer or Developer?”

  • WordPress designers tend to use the WordPress Dashboard to make all changes to their site. They tend to avoid working with the code, and instead rely heavily on Themes and Plugins to change the appearance of their site. If they have to edit code, they will click Appearance -> Editor in the Dashboard to do so.
  • WordPress developers are the opposite. They rarely use the Dashboard for much beyond posting and managing their site. They do all of their tinkering in the code itself whenever possible. Developers make use of software such as Adobe Dreamweaver ($$$) to make programmatic changes to their website design, and work with custom child themes and the functions.php file to bring their vision to life.

Now that I’ve made those broad statements, I must admit there are a million exceptions, and you might be one of them. For the purposes of this blog, however, I am trying to steer you in the direction of becoming some version of a WordPress developer.

I’m going to challenge you to look at the PHP files that are used to build your WordPress website, understand the template hierarchy, and get busy with CSS and Javascript/Jquery. All of these things may take you a little while to master, but you’ll thank me in the end. To be able to precisely edit your website and customize the appearance and functionality is a great sense of accomplishment.