Can anybody explain what a Wordpress theme is in simple terms and how I can develop these themes on my own?

I’ve been looking for ways to make money online without investing a lot of money and working upto 20 hours a week. One such thing I think may fit this is maybe developing wordpress themes on my own. But I have some doubts as I’m completely new to Wordpress.
So can anyone answer my questions:

  1. What exactly is a WP theme?
  2. How do I develop them on my own (do I need some specific software other than VS Code) and how much money is needed for this, both the software and/or marketing etc?
  3. What types of themes should I focus on in order to sell them and make some money ($500 a month or more)? and
  4. Can I do this successfully part-time (working on it for up to 20 hrs a week)?

I’m not expecting to make money right away but down the road as I become better at coding.

Thanks for your answers.

It’s a bundle of code using the Wordpress API, made of PHP, HTML, CSS & JS. You can then install it as a theme on a [hosted] Wordpress site. It’s a set of code to make a Wordpress site look/behave a certain way without having to adjust the core code of the site: just go in the admin panel and install it and if it’s been built correctly it will work. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of explanations and descriptions and tutorials for making themes a few keyboard presses away, so do Google.

You need a server running PHP so that you can develop the theme (WAMP was the simplest way to get this running when I used to occasionally build WP sites for people, I assume it’s still that or something similar), you need Wordpress installed on it, you need a text editor, you need the documentation. All of that is free.

By all means make themes (it’s a very useful thing to teach yourself various aspects of browser development for one thing), but don’t expect you’re going to make any cash out of it. By all means, if you can find people who want development services, use WP to build what they want, and in doing that you will be using the theme system to make the end result behave the way they want.

But just to temper your expectations re. making and selling WP themes. This specifically is very, very unlikely to make you any money. If you spend on marketing, then it will likely make you negative money. If you count time spent as money, again, probably negative money. Maybe if you’ve got a time machine and you go back 10 years, taking the code from some theme that actually made money with you. But even then, when there was a [small!] market for themes, the vast, vast majority of people producing them were not making any money. That ship sailed long ago.

Just think about this. Who is going to buy a WordPress theme? Who needs a WordPress theme that they have to pay for? The answer is likely to come back, after you’ve had a think: basically no-one.

There are times when a few [a few!] people realise they can make a bit of money by doing something relatively easy. Making and selling WP themes :man_shrugging: maybe it fits that. If you were a designer, and you designed a web layout people really liked, you could turn it into a WP theme really quite easily and maybe make a few $ (mainly from other designers, but hey, as I say, small market). If you were a developer, everyone was using WordPress for everything even though it was just blogging software. So if you could finagle it to do other things more easily (as a e-commerce shop for example, or an event bookings application, or whatever), you could package that as a plugin/theme, you could make some money. And agencies always used WP (lots still do) to build sites, so they ended up needing stuff they could just drop in, so many agencies published themes or theme builders for creating white-label sites, very often using a licencing model to make money from them. :man_shrugging:

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WordPress themes are what shape your web design (header, footer, colors, etc). Without theme it will be just another lifeless desert.

Developing WordPress themes is kind of making cloth out of fabric. Except you need to know HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP languages. This will gona take time if you are starting new.

Yes, you can make money as a WordPress developer. Thousands of people are already making it.

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