For a recent website project, I decided to see what I could manage without using a premium WordPress theme. I used the Enfold theme to build this site, and a couple of others, but in the meantime WordPress has undergone a radical improvement with the addition of Gutenberg blocks for editing.
I decided to use the default (and free!) Twenty Twenty theme and see how far I could get with my fairly limited skill set. A plugin called Twentig proved to be really helpful. I’m writing about it here as it didn’t come up immediately when I was searching for ways to simplify the customization. As I write this it stands at about 2,000 active installations, having been created in December 2019.
Whether you have some WordPress experience already or are trying it out for the first time, the combination of Twenty Twenty and Twentig is a great starting point. Kudos to @twentig, whoever you are!
You might also like to take a look at the Atomic Blocks plugin and the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin. Both provide further ways of building clean, attractive and responsive pages.
I can’t share the site in question here yet, as the project is still ongoing, but I wanted to shine a light on Twentig so that others can benefit from it as I did.
I also dived into Advanced Custom Fields for the first time on this project. Other WordPress sites that I work with (on content strategy and creation) use it extensively, but I hadn’t previously tried to build with it myself.
ACF is a very powerful tool that allows developers to quickly build custom page components for just about any type of content or use case. In this case I wanted to try building my own Gutenberg block, that would allow the site editor to easily add a book’s cover, title, author and link, and then format those elements on the page.
To build blocks you need to pay for the PRO version of the ACF plugin. It took me a couple of hours of following tutorials (like this one) and some trial and error, but I got there in the end. If you want to take your WordPress skills to the next level, I recommend giving it a try.