Customizing WordPress Themes – Your How To Guide
WordPress is a great platform for website creation due to the fact you can totally customize your website. Depending on what kind of theme you have installed onto your WordPress website, you can customize a whole range of features and appearance details to make your website unique to your brand or purpose.
WordPress is a fairly easy to use platform that makes website creation and design accessible for a range of people, even if you don’t have any coding knowledge. Once you have got your website up and running, by finding a good web host and domain name, you want to make it personal.
What Is WordPress?
In order to customize your WordPress theme, you need to have some prior knowledge on the platform itself. WordPress is a website creation and management platform that you can install onto your computer for free.
In order to create a WordPress website, you need to have a web host and a domain name. WordPress is a great website management system because it is so versatile and allows you to create a truly unique website without much technical knowledge. It can also be quite inexpensive to create and run your own website on WordPress, which is another bonus.
When we are talking about WordPress in this guide, we are referring to WordPress.org which is the open-source version of WordPress. There is an online version of WordPress, but this is more limited.
Why Customize WordPress Themes?
There are so many options when it comes to themes on WordPress. The WordPress directory alone has thousands of free and premium themes that can make your website look very attractive and professional. It is also possible to find themes from a third-party marketplace, hire a developer or even create your own if you have the know-how.
As there is so much choice, you may have to spend some time finding the best theme for your website. When you have spent a lot of time finding a good theme, you may be unwilling to spend any more time or money on the appearance of your website. However, the appearance of your website is actually very important.
The way you website looks will be the first impressions users have of your brand. You want to make sure your website looks good and represents your brand well to engage your audience and keep them interested.
WordPress is a great platform for so many different kinds of websites because there are a lot of customization options. Even though you may have found a great theme for your WordPress website, it is likely that there are some things you need to customize to make it better suited to your brand or improve functionality.
Customizing your website could also improve the SEO of your website, so more people can see your work and experience your services.
How To Customize WordPress Themes
Depending on the kind of theme you have installed onto your website, there are various ways that you can customize your WordPress website to make it more personal to your brand or purpose.
Accessing The WordPress Customization Page
In order to customize your WordPress theme, you need to first access the correct page. To make changes to the WordPress theme you have installed you need to:
- On the WordPress Dashboard, find the option for Appearance
- Under Appearances select the option for Themes
- This will show your current installed WordPress theme
- Select Customize
This will take you to the WordPress Customization page and give you all of the options to update your website.
The WordPress Customizer is a live page that allows you to see the changes you are making to your website in real-time. Depending on the kind of theme you have installed, the options for customization will differ.
Customizing Title And Tagline
The WordPress Customization theme allows you to change a lot of things on your website. The first option that you have is to customize your website’s title and tagline. These are very important parts of building a brand and allow your audience to develop a connection with your WordPress.
In order to customize your WordPress theme’s title and tagline:
- On the WordPress Customization page, find Site Identity
- This may have a slightly different name depending on your WordPress theme, but it is normally the first option
- Once you have made changes to your Site Identity, make sure to Save and Publish
Under Site Identity, you have the option to insert a new website title and a brief tagline that can summarise your brand. You also have the option to display your website title and tagline.
You may not want to display your website title and tagline if you are using a header for your website. Under Site Identity, you can also upload a Site Icon or Favicon. This is a small image that will appear alongside the name of your website in browser tabs.
The options that you have for Site Identity will differ depending on the WordPress theme you have installed.
Set A Custom Header
If you are choosing to use a custom header branding instead of a website title, then this is very easy to customize on WordPress.
Having a custom header is a great way to develop your brand and ensure that you have a good relationship with your audience. This is a very distinguishable part of your WordPress theme. In order to customize the header of your WordPress website, you need to:
- On the WordPress Customization page, find the option for Header Image
- This option may have a slightly different name depending on the theme you have installed onto your website
- This will give you an option to upload a header image from your computer
This is a very simple process that works in the same way as uploading any other media on WordPress. You want to make sure your header is the right size for your website, which will differ depending on the WordPress theme you are using.
Make sure your header is attractive and easy to read, to ensure that your audience understands your brand. You should also make sure to choose a high-resolution image for your header. You are able to customize and crop your header slightly through the WordPress customization page.
Customize The Colors
A simple yet highly effective way of making your WordPress theme more unique to your website is changing the color scheme it uses. As always, there are limitations to what you can customize depending on the WordPress theme you are using.
Some WordPress themes allow you to change the default colors of the website background, links, and main text. This is quite a simple process which is why WordPress is such a great platform for website creation.
You simply need to find the Colors tab on the WordPress Customization page. This will give you all of the options for which aspects of the website you can customize as well as a range of colors to choose from.
There are also some pre-installed color schemes that you can choose from depending on the kind of WordPress theme you are using.
Choose A Background
Most WordPress themes allow you to set a Custom Background as well as changing the colors of your theme. This is a great way to make your website appear more unique and attractive for your audience. You do not have to set a custom background, but it is a good option for some websites.
As with most things on WordPress, the background of your website is very easily customized. There is a section on the WordPress Customization page for a Custom Background which allows you to upload an image, depending on the limitations of your theme.
Once you have selected a background image for your WordPress theme, there are some options you are faced with:
- Background Repeat: This will determine what will happen to your background image as users scroll down your web pages. This will repeat the image you have chosen so there are no blank spaces
- Background Position: This allows you to adjust the position of your background image
- Background Attachment: There are two options under this tab. Scroll means that your background image will scroll alongside the rest of your website when users move throughout your page and Fixed means the image will stay in one place at all times
It is important that you choose a high-resolution image for your background on your WordPress theme. There will be limitations to the size and dimensions of the image that you can upload onto your website, depending on what theme you have installed.
Additional Customization Options
Depending on what WordPress theme you are using for your website, there will be an array of additional customization features that you can adjust. There may be more options in the WordPress Customization page for you to select and update.
If you have coding knowledge, there are options for you to use this to customize your WordPress theme. It has to be said that older WordPress themes will have fewer customization options than newer ones. You can also expect more support from premium WordPress themes if this is something you can concern about.
If you are going to customize the code of your WordPress theme you need to make sure you know what you are doing, as you could damage your entire website by entering the wrong code.
Luckily, WordPress is very easy to use and you do not have to use code to customize your website theme if you do not have the knowledge.
WordPress Plugins For Theme Customization
A great feature of WordPress is the fact it allows plugins. Plugins are pieces of software that you can install onto your WordPress website to improve the functionality and appearance.
There are a lot of different plugins that can be installed from the WordPress directory or from a third-party marketplace. There are thousands of plugins to choose from, giving you access to a range of features and customization options.
No matter what you want from your WordPress theme, there is going to be a plugin that you can install for additional customization options. There are a lot of WordPress plugins that you can use for customization and here are some of the best:
SiteOrigin Page Builder
This plugin allows you to add custom elements and layouts to your WordPress theme, pages, and posts. This is a versatile plugin that comes with a lot of different options for customization.
This WordPress plugin allows you to upload stunning and highly functional galleries onto your website. This is a great option for a range of different websites, as it can work as a portfolio of work.
This plugin changes the way your posts are displayed on your website. This is a good option for blogs who want to change the display of their posts into a grid, allowing their audience to see more when they visit their website.
If you want to create stunning headers for your WordPress website, then this plugin for you. You can create high-quality and original headers for your website, pages or even posts on your website.
Easy Google Fonts
This plugin gives you access to a range of different fonts and typography options. Some WordPress themes do not allow you to change the font on your website or have limited options, so this is a great customization plugin.
There are a few options when it comes to using menus on your WordPress theme. You can customize the menus on your website by going to the Menu section of your WordPress Dashboard.
In order to customize the menus of your WordPress website, you need to create pages. These will be the locations on your menu that users can navigate between. When customizing menus on WordPress, you can select which pages will be given links.
You can also create separate menus for your social media accounts. In order to make the most out of your menus, you need to use some WordPress widgets.
WordPress widgets are similar to plugins in the fact that they are additional pieces of software that you can use on your website. There are a lot of options for widgets on WordPress and many of these can be used to customize your theme.
You can use widgets to install social media icons onto your website, add videos or audio and even improve the menus of your website. When you are updating the menus of your website, you need more room for all of the pages – this is where widgets come in.
You are limited with widgets depending on the theme you are using. Some widgets will not work with older WordPress themes, so you need to choose carefully.
When you are customizing your WordPress theme, always make sure that you are saving any changes you make.
It is also recommended that you try out your website yourself before publishing any changes, to make sure your theme looks good and operates well before your audience has access to it.