How to use Bootstrap with WordPress

A WordPress site’s level of mobile responsiveness, that is, how well a website works on a mobile device, isn’t guaranteed automatically. Bootstrap is an excellent tool to help develop mobile responsive websites, or just generally develop a user-friendly theme for your website. Let’s take a look at how to use Bootstrap with WordPress, and why you’d want to do so in the first place.

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Quick Guide: Using Bootstrap with WordPress

  1. Prepare Bootstrap and your WordPress site: Download Bootstrap and find or build the template you want to use. Make sure your WordPress site is ready for the theme update.
     
  2. (Optional) Customize Bootstrap: You will be able to configure the Bootstrap version you download, so do this if you want. Some knowledge of how to code is required for this, and is an optional step. Download your Bootstrap code whether customized or not.
     
  3. Integrate Bootstrap into WordPress’ theme files: Create a new folder under wp-content > themes. Upload Bootstrap to this new folder, ensuring the required files for a theme are in the folder.
     
  4. Modify/update Bootstrap code: Here you have the chance to update your Bootstrap theme so it suits your current style without modifying the core code. It’s the final touch!
     
  5. Activate your theme: Do this as you would any WordPress theme in the admin dashboard.

Why use Bootstrap with WordPress?

As you may be aware, Wordpress is one of the most successful content management systems, also known as CMS. Bootstrap, on the other hand, is a kind of web framework used for design. It allows web designers to create templates in the languages CSS and HTML, and although it was originally developed for Twitter, it is now used as a WordPress framework and is now a popular way to streamline and optimize websites.

Bootstrap’s main advantage is that it makes websites mobile friendly. Since more and more people are using mobile devices to visit websites, search engines like Google are favoring Responsive design. A website that is optimized for mobile browsing will score better in terms of SEO. In addition to using tools such as a content delivery network or CDN, using Bootstrap with WordPress can help increase the responsiveness of your website.

Tip

There’s even more you can do to improve your responsive web design: We’ve got articles on which fonts are good for responsive webdesign and how to implement typography in CSS.

How to use Bootstrap with WordPress: 5 simple steps

There is a knack to using Bootstrap with WordPress, and you’ll find that even once you integrate Bootstrap, you’ll want to keep optimizing it as your website develops. We’ve outlined five steps here for you to follow to get your WordPress site integrated with Bootstrap.

Step 1: Prepare WordPress and Bootstrap

Ensure you’re set up properly to integrate Bootstrap with WordPress. That means having active hosting, and a WordPress account, and then downloading Bootstrap. We have written a separate tutorial for how to download and use Bootstrap to help you out. Once you have your Bootstrap template – which is explained in the tutorial linked above – you can set about integrating it with WordPress.

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Step 2: Configure Bootstrap’s options (Optional)

The main Bootstrap website has the possibility to configure a customized version of Bootstrap. This is done by using a combination of CSS, Component, and JavaScript files – you pick the files that you want to use in your version of Bootstrap. Clearly, you’ll need a good amount of familiarity with some coding to be able to customize Bootstrap in this way.

If you’ve chosen to configure Bootstrap to a customized version, finish picking the options you want and then download your version. Otherwise, you can go right ahead and just download the standard version of Bootstrap. Once you have downloaded Bootstrap, it will be possible to add Bootstrap to your custom WordPress site. The next step is to integrate Bootstrap with WordPress, so ensure it is unzipped and connected to your server via an FTP program.

Step 3: Integrate Bootstrap into WordPress

In order to integrate Bootstrap files into your website’s main WordPress files, all you need to do is go to wp-content and then themes. Once you’re here, simply create a new folder for your Bootstrap theme. The files you unzipped in step 2 can now be uploaded to this new folder, while still making sure that the “footer.php”, “header.php”, “index.php”, and “style.css” files are still there, as these are required by WordPress for your Bootstrap theme to work.

Step 4: Copy and modify Bootstrap code

As mentioned above, there are some required files for your theme. If they aren’t present in your folder, simply duplicate the required files for making a WordPress theme from another file and add them to your new Bootstrap folder created in Step 2. Once this has been done, you just need to copy the Bootstrap code over into these files – this can be done by copying the code you downloaded in Step 2.

At this stage, it is also possible to modify the Bootstrap code to suit the style of your theme, and ensure the right elements are present. This is a neat trick to avoid you having to modify Bootstrap’s core code and to simply adjust what you need. Those are the finalizing steps for integrating Bootstrap into WordPress – once you’ve made your final tweaks, you’re ready for Step 5: Activation!

Step 5: Activate Theme

Once you have uploaded and modified the Bootstrap code and files into your new theme folder, you’re ready to activate your theme. This is done in the same way as any WordPress website, so if you’re already familiar with the WordPress interface, this will be a breeze – simply manage the theme with WordPress’ admin dashboard.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has given you the basic outline of what you need to do to use Bootstrap with WordPress. It is so important to make sure your website is mobile responsive, and Bootstrap is an excellent tool to do so – with the added bonus that it might just boost your SEO a little bit as a side effect. However, we also understand that Bootstrap isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and also have an article on five alternatives to Bootstrap in case you think you’d get on better with an alternate framework. In any case, we wish you all the best of luck with developing responsive themes for your website!