Why I prefer to create and customize Child Themes in WordPress

I’m overdue in listing the reasons I prefer developing Child Themes over site and page builders, so here it goes.

Child Themes receive upstream improvements from the development team, this is particularly useful when a vulerability is discovered and corrected. Providing an additional security that I can benefit from. Security patches or merely minor code improvements.

Often I’ll start using a theme and discover minor issues, generally related to my personal opinions about a feature included or missing. For instance, many themes rely on Google Fonts for their typography. Personally I like to host them on my server and reduce third party dependecies. Additionally while developing locally I can view the intended fonts even when I’m not connected to the internet.

Recently, I discovered Open Graph wasn’t supported by the Twenty Seventeen theme. I added easily added it by to my child theme and customized how it’s implemented for specific pages. For instance If I forget to add an image to my post a fallback is provided using my website’s logo. It’s a nifty little tweak that improves how my website displays on social media or in third party apps.

I’ve found that theme and project specific customizations are invaluable time savers. Using core WordPress features like Template Tags and Coniditional Tags have allowed me to customize category archives. If I want to display an author’s bio I can easily display it. WP Query allows me additional flexibility by looping in post information onto a specific template if I desire. Perfect for displaying some additional text, images, or something more complicated like a custom menu generated by a tag or category.

Simple adjustments like adding rounded edges to an image, changing the color of buttons can be done quickly by editing the Child Theme’s stylesheet.

It takes a little additional time upfront in many cases, however, supporting fewer plugins can help pay off in the long run.

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