I have an existing static site, built on top of Bootstrap, with custom CSS. Now I want to move the site to WordPress (yay).

But I want to keep all the styling and layout in WordPress exactly the same as the existing site, as far as is possible.

What's the easiest and most future-proof way to do this? I would like to be able to upgrade WordPress in the future without having to rewrite the theme from scratch.

Ideally I'd find the "vanilla Bootstrap" theme for WordPress, make a child theme, drop in my existing CSS, tweak a few divs and PHP tags for layout, and be done.

I don't think this is an option, so should I create a child theme on top of something else? If so, what?

(I looked at the non-Bootstrap BlankSlate, but it says that it doesn't recommend using child themes but rather rewriting your code yourself each time you upgrade, as a learning exercise, which doesn't sound like what I want.)

What are my best options for making WordPress look the same as a mature existing "on top of Bootstrap" site? I really don't want to have to redesign everything from scratch, just for WordPress.

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there is no 'easy way' to do this. That said you shouldn't have to redesign your site from scratch and would get way with building a custom WordPress Theme yourself.

As I'm sure you're aware a WordPress theme is built upon a series of .php files. The process of developing a theme tends to start with static HTML / CSS files which are then used to create the various .php files. With this in mind you should be able to use your existing .html files to create .php versions simply by injecting WordPress (PHP) code into the relevant areas. This in itself is a huge task, depending on experience. Ideally you need a knowledge of PHP and Theme Development for WordPress - This is a good place to start

Regarding the updating of WordPress. The WordPress Core and Themes are separate from one another meaning that there can be an update for either WordPress or a Theme. If there is an update for WordPress this won't affect the Theme in any way+.

However if you are using a pre-made theme and have amended it in anyway, once you update the Theme you will lose all your changes. That's where Child Themes come into play. A Child Theme allows you to amend the WordPress Theme indirectly, meaning that if there is a Theme update your Child Theme will remain the same i.e. all your changes will be intact. This is a good choice if you want to make minor changes to a Theme however you would be better off creating a new one entirely, just because you'll be overwriting a lot of existing code (just my opinion)

+In large updates some functions could potentially become depreciated meaning they no longer work so this is something worth keeping in mind when updating WordPress

  • 1
    Thanks. Maybe I should write a vanilla Bootstrap theme for WordPress, and sell it for people to add their own child themes on top.
    – Richard
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 14:56
  • There's money to be made! There may be another answer than this so don't take it as definitive. Just in my opinion this would be the best way to achieve it. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 16:07

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