How to Convert Sketch Designs to WordPress?

We'll teach you how! We built this site for one just purpose, to provide the most detailed tutorial on converting website designs in Sketch to WordPress. Whether you're a designer or a developer, we've got you covered with our in-depth WP conversion tutorial.

Sketch WordPress

How to Convert Sketch to WordPress?

Sketch is a software primarily used to design the UI/UX of websites and mobile applications. It is used by many designers worldwide and just like Photoshop, Adobe XD and other design tools, it's results can be converted into WordPress sites. This conversion task can be done through five different methods, which we will cover in this comprehensive tutorial. Whether you are a developer or not, rest assured that the methods included in the list will cater to your skills as well as project time constraints.

Before jumping to the mentioned tutorial, let's have a quick introduction of WordPress first and how it works to help you ease through the process quickly.

What is WordPress?

Content Management Systems are software developed to allow website management without the background knowledge of coding required. It allows users to visit the backend of their website and add new content such as blog posts, pages, etc., all without coding anything.

WordPress is one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) today, and it is used by over 38% of the top websites around the globe. It is downloadable at WordPress.org, which you can then set up on your server to begin using. It consists of web development tools such as HTML, PHP, CSS, JavaScript that acts as the website when set up on the server. Users can edit the resulting website based on their designs or features.

What is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a website. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. - WordPress.org.

WordPress Themes are usually introduced to the user after the installation of WordPress on their server. Here, you will see basic WordPress pre-installed themes that you may try out to get a grasp of its functionalities. For instance, you may see WordPress as an Android Phone's operating system that you can customize using different themes according to your liking.

To sum up, converting your Sketch designs to WordPress actually means that you are converting your designs to WordPress themes.

Let us now move on to the five methods you can use to convert your Sketch designs to WordPress themes. To help you determine which method works with your skills and time constraints, we also added the pros and cons of each method listed.

5 Different Methods of Sketch to WordPress Conversion

Here is an overview of the following methods that are included in this tutorial: Method 1 and 2 need you to have the background knowledge and experience with HTML, CSS, and PHP; Method 3 has no coding requirement only that you have a basic understanding of WordPress; Method 4 may need more than basic WordPress experience for you will also need to cover WordPress loop and template structures too and; Method 5 can be used by anyone at any time.

1. Sketch to HTML to WordPress Theme Conversion

This is a conversion method that requires two steps. The first step is converting the Sketch design to HTML, followed by the second step, which is converting the resulting HTML to a WordPress Theme.

To start, let's explore the first step.

1.1 Sketch to HTML Conversion

You have two options when converting your Sketch designs to HTML, either by hand-coding it manually or using automated tools.

Although it is faster, using automated tools is usually not recommended by many experienced developers. This is because the resulting codes may be low-quality, unresponsive, and generally unusable as a WordPress theme.

That is why we highly recommend conversion via manual hand-coding instead. It is a conversion method that ensures high-quality and responsive code since you have full control over them.

Also, when choosing the hand-coding approach, make sure to use libraries like Bootstrap or Foundation. Utilizing them will ensure that you have a responsive site that works on all types of devices by the end of the conversion.

Below are the general steps you may follow in converting Sketch to HTML:

1. Open your Sketch files.

2. Visit getbootstrap.com and download its starter HTML template.

3. Begin building the page layout of your design, starting from the header, followed by the footer and the remaining parts of the page. Remember to add global.css and style.css for your typography, colors, CSS for buttons, forms, etc.

4. WordPress themes are built up of multiple files, so ensure that you semantically divide your header, content, footer, and other parts of the design into different HTML sections or div. This task of dividing helps you to put the files into WordPress templates separately easily.

5. Refer to the design and code the remaining pages. As mentioned, it is recommended to use media queries that will ensure the responsiveness of the result.

After you finish manually coding the HTML pages, you are now ready to proceed to step two of Method 1, converting HTML to WordPress theme.

1.2 HTML to WordPress Theme Conversion

To proceed with this step, we recommend you to explore the following tutorials by WordPress and HTMLtoWP.co. These are WordPress theme development tutorials that will ease you through the process.

  1. WordPress Theme Development by WordPress.org
  2. WordPress Theme Handbook at WordPress.org
  3. HTML to WordPress conversion tutorial by HTMLtoWP.co

After exploring the tutorials, you can now proceed to the steps we've listed down below so you can begin converting your Sketch designs to a WordPress Theme.

Steps for HTML to WordPress Conversion

  1. Create a new theme from scratch and create the files below:style.css
    functions.php
    header.php
    footer.php
    index.php
    single.php
    page.php
  2. Copy your style.css to the style.css of the theme. Keep the commented area on top since it will define the stylesheet header.
  3. Copy the code for your header from your HTML to header.php. To convert your normal header code to a WordPress header code, add the native WordPress functions like wp_head() and wp_wp_menu().
  4. Copy the footer code from your HTML file to footer.php of the theme and add the wp_footer() function. If you plan to manage the footer using widgets, remember to include the get_sidebar() function.
  5. For static homepages, put the rest of the code to home.php. However, you may use index.php if it shows a list of lists.
  6. With the homepage completed, proceed to build the remaining pages by creating individual page template files for each.

PROS:

  1. Responsive and usable resulting codes since you have full control over their quality.
  2. The codes produced are well-commented, clean, and bloat-free.
  3. Since you are manually coding, you have all the freedom to follow your own set of coding standards.
  4. You can choose any CSS frameworks to use.

CONS:

  1. It is very tedious.
  2. It is time-consuming.
  3. It needs your vigilant attention. Otherwise, you may miss important files or pieces of code.
  4. It is prone to bugs like all other codes built from scratch.
  5. It requires PHP or WordPress theme development.

Building a WordPress theme from scratch may seem like a tedious task, but through the next method, you can instead start with a pre-made theme and fill that in with your HTML code.

2. Using a Starter Theme

Method 2 offers a much easier conversion method than the previous one introduced. It will not require too much work and time because of the premade themes you'll use and the following task of simply filling in your HTML code.

These starter/boiler themes contain style.css, functions.php, header.php, and essentially all the bare minimum code needed to run the theme. Using said starting themes, you can immediately start converting your designs into WordPress themes.

Here are our recommended starter themes you can try out:

  1. Underscores - starter theme built by WordPress
  2. Understrap - this is a combination of Underscores and Bootstrap.
  3. WP Bootstrap Starter - Another starter theme based on Bootstrap.

To utilize this method, a user must only go through a crash course in WordPress theme structures. Instead of in-depth knowledge of all its functions, this method only requires you to learn the basic ones.

To start, open your HTML files that were converted from a Sketch design. Choose a starter theme and start filling in your HTML codes around the theme's already existing code structure. Also, there are themes like Understrap, which has a Customizer feature that gives you the option to customize the global header, footer, colors, typography, and layout. 

Using starter themes for Sketch to WordPress conversion is actually a great way to learn WordPress themes by experience. So, if you are just new to the industry and would like to explore more about WordPress themes, this method is an excellent and recommended way to start until you can progressively build themes from scratch.

PROS:

  1. It is a faster method, unlike the previous one.
  2. The premade code structure ensures you have high quality, lightweight, and well-commented code instantly.
  3. Codes SEO friendly and semantic.
  4. It is less prone to bugs than the first method.

CONS:

  1. It may be faster than the first method, but it is still a tedious way of conversion.
  2. It requires PHP or WordPress theme development.

That ends the second method of Sketch to WordPress conversion. Now let's move on to the next one.

3. Using a Page Builder

Page Builders are the drag and drop tools that developers use to convert Sketch designs to WordPress themes even without coding background knowledge and experience.

This is a method that combines rich base themes with powerful builders during the conversion process. It is also the perfect method for users who do not know how to code but can customize pre-built themes.

So, how does it work? The base themes are used to set the global layout elements needed to get the site structure ready. These elements include the header, footer, colors, typography, layout width, and more. Page builders are then used to build the contents of all individual pages of the site. 

Some of the most popular Page Builders include Beaver Builder and Elementor. We also have a list of the best themes and page builders you can try here.

PROS:

  1. It is one of the easiest ways to convert Sketch to WordPress.
  2. It is a recommended method for designers who have basic frontend knowledge of HTML/CSS can use this method.
  3. It does not require background knowledge in PHP or WordPress.
  4. It is a faster method than the previous ones on the list, especially when you already know your way around themes and page builders.

CONS:

  1. When just starting, it may pose a high learning curve.
  2. Some page builders produce highly bloated code.

Generally, websites built using this method are a bit slower than when built from scratch.

4. Automated WordPress Conversion Using Software Tools

This method will involve a two-step process using different software tools to convert Sketch to WordPress.

The first step is converting Sketch to HTML using the Genus plugin for Sketch. Genus is an open-source plugin developed for Sketch, allowing you to quickly and easily export an HTML version of your design. You can learn more about Genus here. Now that you have the HTML files for your design, it's time to use once again a software tool that will automatically convert it to WordPress.

The second step introduces you to htmltowordpress.io. This is a very straightforward tool where you can upload your design HTML zip file to the site, and you will see a live preview of its corresponding WordPress theme within seconds.

Keep in mind that this method is not recommended for complex projects. This is because these tools become more challenging to set up when using them for more complex designs. It's also less likely that it will result in usable codes. You may likely end up manually coding the majority of the codebase in the end.

Therefore, it is suggested that this method of using automated tools is only used for simple designs, while the more complex ones can be produced by manual coding.

However, if you would like to explore more of these automated tools, here are a few other suggestions we have in mind:

Sketch to HTML: animaapp.com

HTML to WordPress theme: ExportKit and Pinegrow.com

PROS:

  1. A high-speed method of Sketch to WordPress conversion.
  2. It only requires you to know basic WordPress template structures.
  3. You can both develop your theme and design the website at the same time.
  4. This method costs less than the others mentioned in the list.

CONS:

  1. The more complex the project, the more bloated the resulting codes
  2. This method is not recommended for complex Sketch designs.

5. Hands-free Conversion With 3rd Party Service Providers

This is by far the easiest method in this list because, unlike the others, this one does not require you to do all the work. Also, you get results in a time that is most agreeable to you.

This is an ideal solution where you hire the services of Sketch to WordPress developers. And with the growing WordPress industry, there are already many WordPress conversion service providers in the market that can offer you quality codes.

But to help you narrow down your options, you may check out our hand-picked list of the best Sketch to WordPress service providers.

PROS:

  1. It's an entirely hands-free Sketch to WordPress conversion.
  2. No coding knowledge is required.
  3. Instead of spending your time coding, you can focus more on growing your business.
  4. Hiring the best developers who can deliver high-quality code to you is possible with the right budget.

CONS:

  1. It is decidedly more expensive than the previous methods in the list.
  2. Finding well-trusted developers who can deliver pixel-perfect conversion services may be difficult and time-consuming.
  3. Expect that you will have less control over the quality of the code. But rest assured that you will still receive high-quality code in the end because, more often than not, service providers will continuously show you demos of their current work for your feedback and approval.

Conclusion

Converting your Sketch designs to WordPress is not as hard as it seems because whether or not you know how to code, there are plenty of methods you can explore for this very task.

Did you find the right method that will work for you in your Sketch to WordPress conversion efforts in this tutorial? Let us know by leaving a comment below.