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Top 4 WordPress Starter Themes: My Insider Tips!

Alex Young | WordPress Nerd

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Sup, WordPress Nerds! As a WordPress developer, I’ve worked with various starter themes. Today, I want to share my experience and knowledge of four awesome starter themes that can help you easily kick off your next project. Each of these themes has unique features and benefits, so let’s dive in and see what they offer!

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1. Underscores: A Simple and Reliable Choice

My Experience with Underscores

To kick things off, let’s talk about Underscores. Through my work, I’ve discovered that this straightforward and dependable starter theme proves to be an excellent choice for a multitude of projects. Remarkably, Underscores is the brainchild of Automattic, the very same team that masterminded WordPress itself. Underscores provides essential features like adherence to PHP coding standards and SASS compilation. Based on my experience, I’ve come to regard it as the perfect fit for projects that aren’t super complex.

Why I Like Underscores

Having used Underscores in several projects, I appreciate that it provides many default features, like mobile menus and compatibility with modern coding standards. Although it doesn’t include advanced JavaScript libraries, I’ve been able to use basic ES6 features or add my own libraries if needed.

2. Sage: A Robust and Flexible Theme for Ambitious Projects

My Experience with Sage

Sage has been my go-to choice when working on powerful and flexible themes for complex sites. Created by Roots, Sage works well with Laravel packages and uses Laravel Blade for templating. I’ve also found it to be compatible with Roots’ other tools like Trellis and Bedrock. In my experience, Sage is perfect for experienced developers working on ambitious projects that require more advanced features and customization.

Why I Recommend Sage

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I’ve enjoyed working with Sage for its range of features, including compatibility with Laravel-centric packages, out-of-the-box support for Tailwind CSS, and more. With tools like Composer for managing plugins and Trellis for deployment, I believe Sage provides a robust foundation for building and maintaining complex WordPress sites.

3. GeneratePress: An Easy-to-Use Solution

My Experience with GeneratePress

GeneratePress has been a great choice for me when I’ve needed an easy-to-use solution. It has saved me time by providing pre-built menus, sidebars, and other elements. The Pro version offers even more features, but the free version has already been quite helpful!

Why I Appreciate GeneratePress

I like GeneratePress for its focus on providing a solid starting point for those who want a more out-of-the-box solution for their WordPress projects. Its performance optimization and responsive design have ensured that my sites run smoothly and look great on any device. In my experience, GeneratePress is an excellent choice if you’re not interested in building every aspect of your theme from scratch.

4. Blank Theme: A Customizable and Educational Approach

My Experience with a Blank Theme

Lastly, I’d recommend considering a Blank Theme. I’ve started projects with just a style.css and an index.php file, building my custom theme piece by piece. This approach has helped me learn more about WordPress and ensured my theme is as fast as possible.

Benefits of a Blank Theme

Creating a blank theme from scratch has allowed me to include only the features I need, resulting in a faster, more efficient website. As I’ve built my themes, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of WordPress and its functionality. While this approach may be more time-consuming in the short term, having something custom to your needs that you can always reach for is amazing!

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