Why I Built A WordPress Theme

The reason behind why I built a Wordpress Theme and why you should work on your passion project regularly.

I’m sure a couple of developers, designers or content creators are in the same boat as me. This article is not only for developers and could probably be used for any business industry. I’ll cover the reasons why I built a WordPress theme and how it can help you too!

Learn By Doing

I cannot emphasize this enough. You may have a different learning method that works for you and that’s fine. For me, doing is the best way I learn. Working at Paid Memberships Pro has really given me the freedom to learn by doing. We’re constantly building new things, fixing bugs or exploring new technology.

If you want to learn how to drive a car, you don’t sit watching Youtube tutorials and hope you get the gist of it to pass your driver’s test. I mean it would help give you a head start, but putting in time and putting the theory into action is what increases your skillset.

Stay Motivated

Okay, so all my points are valid here. Working full-time takes most of my energy and I do feel tired after work most days as I’m sure most of you do too.

I recently spoke to my fiancé about this she’s in a completely different industry and she asked “How do you stay so motivated”. The secret, find something you are really really passionate about. That way it’s easier for you to work after your full-time work. I don’t always work every night after work but I’d like to think I do it often enough – it definitely makes it easier to work on your passion project.

Don’t just pursue something for the money – do it to improve your skills so you can affect your full-time work in a positive way.

The Reason Why I Built A WordPress Theme

I’ve personally been involved with WordPress plugins for the past couple of years, in very different roles from low-level support to developing or exploring my own ideas. I had always dreamt of building a WordPress theme. There’s just something about a theme that feels like the crux of a WordPress developer’s career – maybe it’s just me?

The reason why I built A WordPress theme is that I was struggling to wrap my head around theme development for WordPress on a “deeper” level. When I get stuck on an idea, it “haunts” me for a while until I work on it.

I always wanted to build a theme and thought it would be a useful skillset to have, and let’s be honest it’s really fun to build a digital product and release it to the world – even if it’s only a handful of users. Recently Paid Memberships Pro has been focusing a bit of it’s resources and time to the Memberlite Theme and I was excited to get involved. So I figured I would build a WordPress theme from the ground up, referencing code from other themes and getting ideas on how I would build my theme.

The Eli Theme

If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you’re asking. “Okay, let’s see this theme.” and you are looking at it. This site is built using Eli and more information can be found on Yoohoo Themes site.

Eli is not meant to be a theme that comes with all the bells-and-whistles installed from the word go. I didn’t want it to be one of those themes and it probably never will. I had installed an all-in-one theme and it died on a shared host because of memory usage etc. My thought was, I’m not even going to use half of these built in features so why do I even need it installed.

So the concept of Eli was born, a simple WordPress theme that is open-source and people can use it as much as they’d like even on very low entry hosting plans. Eli is also a minimalistic WordPress theme that would be useful for almost any website you’re building – or at least I hope so. I’ve put it behind a paywall of a fixed yearly fee (with discount upon renewal as most WordPress “things” do) to help fund my time for developing and maintaining the theme and hopefully more themes are going to come through the support received.

The theme makes use of existing plugins to make it work wonderfully and it allows us to keep the actual theme as optimized as possible.


This article swayed a bit from the reason why I built a WordPress theme but I hope it is helpful and I hope it motivates someone to get out there and build something they have been dreaming of. Just spend time doing, learning, changing lives or learn a new language – whatever it is pursue whatever you are really interested in.

If you’d like to chat about contributing to any of the things I am working on or need help for your WordPress development project. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me andrew[at]andrewlima.co.za

If something is important to you, you will make the time for it.

Photo by Anas Alshanti on Unsplash