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psdtowordpressWebsite design and website development are among the most in-demand skills in the 21st century. Having a professional website is a must for businesses of all sizes today, and employers are willing to pay top dollar to those with the right skill set. You can take out a big student loan to go back to school to get an associate degree in web design or you can take a comprehensive online web development course and learn the skills you need from an experienced web professional.

You don’t have to settle for a generic WordPress theme for your website any longer. You can design your ideal website using Photoshop and then convert the PSD file to a WordPress theme to create your own personalized website.

Designing your website using Photoshop and then converting the Photoshop PSD files to WordPress themes is one of the niftiest shortcuts in web design today. This method is ideal for relatively inexperienced web designers, especially as a number of automated PSD to WordPress conversion tools are now commercially available. This means you do not need any formal HTML or CSS coding skills, all you have to do is design your perfect website in Photoshop, convert it, and add WordPress tags, widgets and plugins to create desired functionalities. If you want to learn the basics of HTML and CSS, check out this course.

Designing Your Website Using Photoshop

The first step in the process of building your own website is designing it using Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is an easy-to-use graphic design software suite that allows you to design images that can be converted to web pages.

Creating a logo is an important initial step in designing a business website. You can import a logo you have already created in Illustrator or another program or create a logo in Photoshop.

Deciding on and setting up the background is the next step in designing a website using Photoshop. Then you layer in the logo, navigation icons, social media icons, search functions, sliders, page and ad layout and so forth. You can also include post-related functions so you can have comments on articles or blogs or even a message board function.

Photoshop is well-known and much favored for its ease of use. The user interface is largely intuitive, which makes for a relatively short learning curve despite the complexity and sophisticated design capabilities of the software.  The user-friendly interface makes it possible to design a web page just like a professional designer, including professional page layout and background, logos, site navigation, social media icons, search, ads, posts and more.  When you are done, you have a PSD file that can be converted to WordPress PHP files.

You can easily learn the basics of Photoshop by spending a few hours using the program and teaching yourself. Those who want to develop more advanced skills can also sign up for one of a number of top-notch online Photoshop tutorials.

Converting PSD file to WordPress Theme

So you’ve used Photoshop to create the pages of your website, and you’ve got a PSD file. But how do you turn this file into your own personal WordPress theme website?

If you are an experienced programmer with expert knowledge of HTML and CSS, you can do the conversion yourself and slice and hand code each PSD file into an HTML file to match the WordPress theme file structure. Fortunately for those of us who are not expert HTML/CSS programmers, there are a number of PSD to WordPress conversion tools available commercially. Divine Elemente is one of the most well-known PSD file to WordPress theme conversion utilities.

These utilities will convert your PSD file into HTML, CSS and WordPress theme PHP files, including archive.php, header.php, footer.php, index.php, single.php, page.php, sidebar.php, category.php, search.php, 404.php, comments.php, and comments-popup.php files.

Last but not least, we will describe the process of creating a functional WordPress theme by adding tags and plug-ins to the WordPress theme files.

Customizing Your WordPress Themes

The next step in converting your PSD to WordPress theme involves adding PHP tags for specific functions to your WordPress files to create a combined WordPress theme. PHP is a server-side scripting language that can be embedded in HTML. PHP tags are snippets of PHP code — tag elements (<?php) and (?>) — embedded in the web page HTML file. The code in-between the tag elements directs the server to the PHP file to execute. Once you have inserted all the PHP tags you want to create the desired functionalities, you can activate your new WordPress theme through your WordPress dashboard.

The final step in developing your new WordPress theme is adding plug ins or widgets to fine tune your design. Maybe you want better back up, a new page counter, calendar or perhaps a more secure contact form. Or maybe you want some social media functions or Flash animation or a You Tube widget so you can have video to catch your visitors’ attention. Adding functionalities is easy with WordPress, and there are literally thousands of plug ins to choose from (27,611 plug ins at last count!). Best of all, adding any desired functionalities via widget or plug in can be done quickly and easily using the WordPress dashboard.

You have just created a fully-functional WordPress theme based website beginning with a Photoshop design. You chose not to settle for a generic WordPress theme that is kind of close to the design you wanted; you put forth the effort to get exactly the website you wanted. You understand the importance of a professional website in today’s networked world, and you weren’t going to settle for anything less than a website that truly reflects the personality of your business.

Page Last Updated: October 2013

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