Can’t See the Theme for the Forest

Rich Brown
3 min readSep 7, 2020

On my career change journey, I’m building a new WordPress website for my daughter’s spa. I have to provide some background before I can get into the themes. So first, my vision for the spa site is:

  • A header with logo, company name, contact information, and a navigation menu.
  • A Home page giving a spa overview, some pictures, and links.
  • The navigation menu will provide links to service types and, underneath the types, the individual services.
  • The services are complex. They include about 25 massage types, over a dozen facial services, about a dozen body treatments, a couple of dozen healing arts packages, sauna, oxygen bar, oxygen chamber, and a half a dozen membership packages.
  • Navigation to a page of employee bios and pictures.
  • Navigation to pictures of the spa.
  • An About page.
  • A Contact Page with a map and directions, along with hours of operation.

You must have a theme, no matter how simple, to build a WordPress website. The simplest is a style.css that only needs to have the theme name and a function.php file that doesn’t need anything in it.

WordPress only supports a few post (read document) types. They really boil down to pages and blog posts. Both allow content and pictures. They also allow creating custom data types, either unique to the post type or shared across post types. The themes do not come enabled to display custom data.

As most of the services’ variable data are subject to frequent changes, mostly pricing, I created custom post types for each of the services along with custom fields for the pricing and other variable data. For example, creating an entry for a Swedish massage would provide a form which would accept the content and the custom fields relevant to a massage. A Facial post type would provide a form relating to facial service information.

All of the custom post types require at least two page layouts, one for a single item and one for multiple items. Now we get to themes.

There are over 7,000 free themes on WordPress and an unknown number of premium themes available on the market that are not on WordPress. Of the 7,000 on WordPress, most…



Rich Brown

AI-driven developer with extensive web app experience. Passionate about leveraging AI to innovate & achieve business success. Skilled in UI/UX design and dev.