Building with WordPress

Building with WordPress is a two-day course for those who are already confident with HTML and CSS. We explore the use of WordPress as a platform and what it has to offer, then develop a fully custom WordPress theme from scratch.

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the web. It is valuable for both personal blogging and as a highly customisable website platform for paying clients. Together we explore the basic features of WordPress including posts, pages and plugins before programming our own custom theme.

Attendees leave the workshop with a fully functioning WordPress site set up for local development. Those with suitable web hosting available may choose to publish their new site live on the Internet.

Day One

On day one we walk through the most simple way to use WordPress to create a fully functional website, making use of free themes and plugins.

Day Two

Day two is a technical day where we cover custom themes for WordPress sites. Students are expected to have confidence in HTML and CSS already, as we will be introducing PHP to create a custom theme from scratch.

Note: Day one can be taught without being followed by day two, on request.

What to Expect

For Students

Useful for any future project, including paying clients. Building your own blog as a portfolio site.

For Teachers

Tips on using WordPress as a class blog. Publishing homework, encouraging discussion, giving students a platform where they can publish and share their work.

Things to look for in a ‘good’ theme. Correct structure and usage of PHP snippets.

What’s Covered: Day One

WordPress Installation

What’s required to install WordPress. The local-remote workflow. Database creation basics. WordPress configuration.

Admin Tour

The main parts of the admin area. Posts, pages, common configuration options. We create some content pages and posts.

Theme Management

Installing and applying WordPress themes. What to look for in a theme. Things to be wary of (theme viruses are a real risk)


Installing and managing plugins. Install some common plugins (?) and configure them.

What’s Covered: Day Two

Theme Structure

The required files and the roles they play. We look at which files are absolutely crucial, and which can be added later for further customisation.

Generating Menus

Adding support for a custom menu to our theme, which can be configured from within the WordPress admin area.

Widget Support

Set up a sidebar where widgets can be added by plugins.


This is an optional step for those wishing to publish their work to a live web server. Domain and hosting registration, plus FTP login details need to be pre-confirmed with the tutor on day one of the course.


The requirements for this course are:

  • Windows or Mac computer
  • USB stick 2GB+
  • Planning document (content)
  • Confidence with HTML and CSS
  • Admin privileges to install applications (Mac only)

“The Gather Workshop was really enjoyable! The presenters were great and easy to understand which really inspired me to want to learn more!”

Student, Okaihau College, Northland