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5 Steps from PSD to WordPress

February 17, 2016

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There are two important factors that are essential when developing a good looking website. The first, a killer design, and the second, clean code which is optimised for Google. While most designers or anyone who has a bit of creativity within them can do the first, the latter is slightly harder, as it normally requires coding knowledge such as PHP, HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

When WordPress launched back in 2003, it was a complete game changer for those who didn’t have the technical skills to develop a website. With thousands of templates, both free and paid, anyone can get a site up-and-running within hours. But if you require something slightly more advanced than just a template based website, things become a bit more complicated. A custom designed website, which also involves converting PSD to WordPress is not that easy sometimes requires slightly more knowledge than what the average Joe may have.

PSD to WordPress

In this article, we’re going to go through 5 essential steps to converting PSD to WordPress. This doesn’t replace asking a professional for help, but it should give you an idea of what’s involved.

PSD to WordPress Process

Step 1: Slice and Dice

Slice and Dice

The first step in the PSD to WordPress process is slicing. This basically means separating the PSD file into different design files, each of which contain a different design element. This is an important process as it gives complete flexibility to the programmer who is coding the site to adjust elements and configure the site with ease. Each element is connected to its own feature and has its own functionality and use. Slicing is especially important when creating a responsive site, that needs to adjust in size when being viewed on different screen resolutions. The slicing process is normally done by designers in Photoshop or another editing software.

Step 2: Index.html and style.css

HTML

After all the design elements are broken up they are then converted to HTML. Often programmers will use a separate CSS file to control the styling of the element. Therefore if you want to change a specific element on the site from one color to another, or you want to change the size, you can easily access it via the CSS file. Unlike WIZIWIG websites, like WIX, creating your own HTML website requires knowledge. It is also possible to add CSS within the HTML, but nowadays this is less recommended and it is more advised to separate the two. Remember that when developing a site for marketing purposes, that is going to be ranked on Google or other search engines, its best to have a clean structured code, where each code element is organised properly.

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Step 3: Adjusting the Index.html to WordPress file structure

When developing your own custom website, the idea is to have complete control over the look-&-feel of it. Develop a website that suits your business model, yet take advantage of WordPress robust CMS (backend) to control the functionality and appearance, with ease. In this step, the idea is to connect your HTML design to the WordPress tools, plugins and UI. For this you will need to break up your Index file into different PHP files and connect them to the WordPress backend. A typical WordPress theme contains several essential PHP files including the Index.php and the style.css For this stage you will need coding experience, otherwise your website might not function correctly.

Step 4: Adding WordPress tags

WordPress Tags

This is where the site comes alive. There are hundreds of functions that WordPress offers, for example if you want to create a dynamic field on your page that refers each page refresh to a database to extract relevant data or you want to extract pictures from your database to be shown on your website. For this you will require WordPress tags. In addition you can use WordPress tags to control specific functionality on the page. Not all tags are required, for example some programmers prefer to use JS code for specific functionality on the page, but if you have an eCommerce website, or a website that is connected to a MySQL database, then WordPress tags are the way to go.

Step 5: Using Plugins to Boost Your Site

Now that you have everything connected, your site is ready to go. In addition to the basic functionality that WordPress has to offer, you can also take advantage of an array of plugins. For example you might need an SEO plugin or an adsense plugin to insert code on the site without hard coding it. WordPress plugins are amazingly user-friendly and can be installed with the click of a mouse. Plugins can also save you time and costs, for example if you want to add a carousel to your eCommerce website, you can simply add a plugin. Simply download it and install it, it will do the rest.

Final Thoughts

While creating a custom website is slightly more difficult than a template website and may require a bit of coding knowledge, it is not impossible to do by yourself. The major challenge occurs when you want to add complex functionality or deviate from the standard looking website. Should you need any assistance with your custom site, feel free to contact us at TechSors.

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About the Author
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Adam Perl
Adam Perl is VP Marketing at TechSors, a digital agency that specialises in Content marketing and Web Development. Adam's work experience spans 10+ years of strategic marketing & planning for online international companies in the financial, gaming, eCommerce and the travel industry.