Why It’s Critical to Have a Child Theme for Your WordPress Site | Coding Ninjas
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April 2020
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Why It’s Critical to Have a Child Theme for Your WordPress Site

Aleksandr VolodarskyAleksandr Volodarsky

When you create a website using WordPress, you never leave it as is, right? You find the theme that works best for the site you want to create, and then you change the color palette, add your own photos and images, and change the links and calls to action. After all, if you don’t make a few changes to your theme, there’s nothing to set your website apart from others.

In fact, if you don’t modify your theme, you could end up with a website that looks exactly like any number of other sites. This is sloppy and will make your potential fans, followers, clients, and customers think that you don’t care enough about your blog, project, or business to put any effort into your website.

So, of course, you’re going to put in both the time and the effort necessary to make your website beautiful and unique, using a WordPress theme that has all of the functionality that you need. This will allow you to create a highly functional site with all of the features you want without having to learn to code those functionalities and features in yourself. It also allows you to create a site that looks and feels completely personal to you and your business (or your client’s business, if you’re creating a website for someone else).

WordPress Updates Wipe Away Theme Modifications

Modifying and customizing a WordPress theme can be incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it’s all worth it when you see the finished product, right? And you only have to do it once, right? Well, without a child theme, that’s not true at all. You see, without a child theme, every time you update your theme, all of the changes you’ve made will be wiped away.

You might think, “Well, fine, I just won’t update my theme.” That’s problematic, though. You see, updates to themes are a lot like updates to anything else online or on your computer. They improve functionalities, add more features, and ensure compatibility with other devices, sites, and plugins in the future. Without an update, you could be leaving your website in the dust while the rest of the Internet speeds on without it.

A Child Theme Saves and Displays Your Changes

So, do you have to just resign yourself to redoing all of the changes you made to your theme every year? Well, you could, but that’s not the best solution to your problem, and it’s why child themes are so important to WordPress pages.

Basically, your original theme (the one that WordPress will periodically update) will be your parent theme, and it will remain unchanged. You’ll create a theme directory and style sheet, and you’ll add your child theme here. Then you’ll make all of your modifications to your child theme, and it will be what people see when they visit your site.

How does that work? When it displays your website online, WordPress will first look at the child theme for functionalities. If they’re there and any changes have been made, then those will show up on your site. If there aren’t any changes, then WordPress will use the parent theme. You may still have to make minor tweaks whenever you update your theme, but they’ll be minuscule in comparison with doing it all over again every year.

Child themes are essential for anyone creating a website with WordPress because they allow you to make updates without losing the changes you’ve made to make your site unique. They’re even more important if you run a business creating websites for your clients, though. Imagine the massive amount of time and energy you’ll save for yourself and your employees with this simple hack.

CEO and Founder @ Coding Ninjas

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