The popularity of the woo commerce platform is not hidden from anybody. Woo-commerce is one of the best eCommerce platforms. Ok! Actually, woocommerce is not a platform it’s a plug-in. Yes! A plug-in which can add all basic and advanced e-commerce features to your WordPress CMS.
Confused? Let me explain more clearly for you. Actually woo commerce is a plug-in to convert WordPress CMS into e-commerce platforms like Magento, Shopify and Big Commerce.
WordPress is very popular CMS and powers almost 75 million websites on the internet according to the one article on Forbes.
I am not going to go deep into WordPress and what WordPress really is, as I assume you are reading this article with at least a little bit of WordPress customization knowledge.
In this guide, I will dive deep and show you how you can create your own woo commerce theme from scratch. I was researching a lot on the issue which I got stuck for one of my client who wanted a woo commerce website. I did a complete renovation of that project from Squarespace CMS to Woo Commerce. During my research, I found that there is no guide or any article available on Google which can clearly explain how to create woo commerce theme from scratch. So, I thought to create one for you.
Statistical Report on usages of the woo commerce platform
It’s very strange that after being so popular and having strong community also, there is no step by step guide available for beginners who have a little bit of PHP/MYSQL and HTML/CSS knowledge.
Ok! So here are my steps following which you can surely create your own woo commerce theme from scratch.
Step 1 – Setting up the environment for theme development
Let’s use XAMPP as our local server in order to install WordPress first. You can download the XAMPP from the official website and select whatever version suits your OS. XAMPP is available for almost all types of OS.
I am using windows here.
There are many other options also available other than XAMPP such as WAMP. WAMP is also very famous among USA based developers.
Next, you need to install and make your XAMPP run on your computer/PC/Laptop.
Now you need to download the WordPress CMS. Ok! You must be thinking why to download WordPress when we are making woocommerce theme. I will remind you that WordPress is CMS and woocommerce is a plug-in to bring all possible eCommerce features for you to sell your products
Now, download WordPress from official website i.e. wordpress.org
Copy and extract the downloaded file under the root folder of your local server. Now before visiting the folder location through the browser, you will need to create a database name in your PHP, my admin.
Now, visit your folder path in your browser and follow the step by step process to install WordPress.
Steps 2 – Understanding the folder structure of WordPress and Woo Commerce
In the above image, you can see the folder structure of woo commerce files. I took the above image from Git hub repository, this image explains you the details of every single folder and PHP files.
After the installation of WordPress, you can see that by default a theme is active, this is the default theme by WordPress.
Now, go to plug-in from right side menu on your WordPress dashboard. Click on “Add New” It will take you to the page of WordPress plug-in. Search woo commerce plug-in using the search bar and install woo commerce or you can download the woo commerce file directly from woo commerce website and upload. In the image below you can see where to search plug-in and where to upload the woo commerce downloaded file.
Your woo commerce plug-in is installed on your WordPress CMS based website, now you can see woo commerce on the right side of your admin dashboard menu.
Once you setup woocommerce accurately you will be able to see following pages under your All pages menu of the admin dashboard.
- My Account
These are the basic pages which you get directly from installation.
In the next step, you will see how you can use the free or premium version of a WordPress theme as a framework.
Step 3 – Using pre-built WordPress theme as a framework and customizing the design
You will need to create a WordPress theme first. If you have good knowledge in PHP/MYSQL and understand the functions, tags and WordPress hooks you can easily create your own WordPress theme from scratch. Here in this guide, my focus is on beginners who have knowledge of customizing existing WordPress theme and wants to create own woocommerce theme from scratch.
I like keeping things simple and so I will advise you to use pre-built WordPress theme as a framework.
Install any WordPress theme you already have, use a free version from WordPress themes if you want.
I think you know very well how to install and activate the WordPress theme. So, now you need to create a child theme.
Why create a child theme?
WordPress updates very frequently these days and so do woo commerce plug-in. You should not do any changes in the core files and theme and instead, use the child theme. In order to make the theme compatible with the latest version, the author can update it any time and you can lose all your efforts which you put to customize theme as a framework.
It is explained very clearly in the codex of the WordPress website.
Here, is the process using which you can cook child theme?
1) Create a child theme directory and name it“–child” extension to a theme which you are using
Ex- twenty fifteen-child
2) Create Style.css file in your directory. This directory should contain some details such as follows
3) You will have to create functions.php and this is required to attach your style.css file with the parent theme which you are using a framework.
You will need to add the following code in your functions.php which will ensure that your theme’s style sheet will also load with your Childs style.css
4) Now save the file and activate your child theme. It should load your child theme without any issue and if there is an issue then there is an error in your functions.php.
Step 4 – Designing and Overriding the woo commerce template files
Now you have all the basic pages which come with woocommerce and if you are a beginner you can just create shop page, categories, and product detail pages. You can use inspect element technique to overwrite the CSS classes. All the new classes with attributes which you will write should be in the child directory style sheet. This is what I will recommend to beginners.
WordPress Platform is highly customizable, using the above technique you can give your store a very new look and design without any major coding.
If you want to go a little further and want to change the woocommerce template structures as per your design. Then, you will have to overwrite the core template files of woocommerce.
Steps to follow in order to overwrite the woocommerce template structure:
1) Copy all the files from woocoomerce/templates/ to yourtheme/woocommerce/
2) Now, you know about the folder and file structure of woocommerce as I have already explained it above. Beside every folder and file, the detail description is written in a picture which will help you in understanding the functionality of every single files and folder.
3) Now, analyze your requirements and start customizing your woocommerce templates in your theme directory.
You can use HTML and CSS classes and even move the PHP hooks, tags and function of WordPress ( note: do this only if you understand the WordPress and woocommerce functions well).
Maybe you are trying hard to learn and code woocommerce at advance level but you cannot ignore the basic steps which can save your energy. Even if you are a startup or business owner and want to create your own branded store by yourself, you need to know all the above formulas to succeed in branding your store.
Custom woocommerce theme from scratch will give your store a unique look and feel for your visitors. This will increase your conversion rate too.
What technique do you follow to design custom woocommerce theme from scratch? If you have any other method please let me know through your comments.