MicheleBoll.com built with Canvas starter theme

MicheleBoll.com is built with WooThemes Canvas – A nearly blank starter theme with excellent code structure.

What is a WordPress starter theme?

First let’s start with what is a theme.  A WordPress theme is the basic structure of your website. It includes the software for your navigation and containers for all your content.  Some themes are very fixed and very tightly control the look fo your website. Other themes allow a lot of options.

A WordPress starter theme is a nearly blank theme that is used as a backbone to build a website design.  A starter theme is used as a blank canvas and therefore not very interesting on its surface.  These themes are built on  solid modern code and are often continually maintained for years.  These themes are built with a full staff of expert WordPress programmers who will continue to maintain and update the software. Continually updated code will also help protect against hackers.

Which website themes are the best?

A number of themes that are specifically designed to support child themes include:  Elegant Themes Divi, WooThemes Canvas, Blankslate and Genesis. MacKenzie Arts has developer licences with WooThemes (Canvas theme), ElegantThemes (all themes) and Studio Press (Genesis theme).  Each has it’s advantages.

Divi is very elegant and has a built-in builder that allows the end user to do a fair amount of creative editing. On the opposite end Blankslate has almost nothing build in but it can be a useful tool if we’re going to have a high level of customization. Canvas is another blank canvas but it has a solid navigation, built in widget areas in the header, and footer, and for e-commerce sites, it works well with WooCommerce. Genesis is a great option for real estate sites because it ties nicely with MLS services.

How does it work?

Once we choose the theme that best suits your project, we’ll  write a child theme. The child theme is used in tandem to the parent starter theme’s code.  We add functions, styles and template enhancements to the child theme create a final design.   Although the child theme is built on top of the starter code it is stored separately from it. This allows the parent theme to accept updates from it’s authors, while leaving the child theme enhancements in place.

This method provides control of the look of the site while maintaining the benefits of the parent theme, which remains in its original form.

Is this parent/child method secure?

The parent theme is typically managed by a large company with excellent programmers. These themes are used in tens of thousands of websites and it’s in their best interest to keep them up-to-date. By updating  frequently we take advantage of  changes in security and industry enhancements.  Updates to the parent starter theme do not alter the child theme modifications.


By using a WordPress starter theme, MacKenzie Arts and Design can deliver a superior site at an attractive price point that is both more affordable and easier to maintain.