View Full Version : How to customize WordPress website theme, add plug-ins and create new content

04-22-2014, 03:15 PM
Although a theme could be used with the default settings, it's rare that, it will be just right, and besides, if everyone used the same settings we would end up with a lot of websites that looked the same Plug-Ins add extra features that aren't in the core functions of Word Press or themes. They can add features that visitors can see or save you time and effort when creating a website.

Customizing WordPress Themes
A WordPress theme determines how the content is displayed, which includes the colour, fonts, link styles, menus, Sidebars and the position of elements on the page. After logging in (yoursite.com/wp-login.php), select Appearance> Customize, and five different attributes can be modified. The site title & tagline section enables you to enter a title and subtitle for the website. Colors enables you to select the header text and background color.

The background is the area outside of the main content, not what's under the text and won't be seen unless the browser window is big enough. A background image can be displayed there Instead of a colour, and the Background Image section has buttons options to upload an Image and set tile repeat options. Static Front Page Is used to choose whether to display a fixed home page (which we'll create later) or your latest posts. That's personal choice.

Appearance> Widgets enables you to determine what appears in footers and sidebars. A Widget can be a calendar, post tags and categories, search box, text box and more. The theme determines where Sidebars and widget areas appear on the page, so choose a theme that has the number and positions you want. What appears in them IS up to you, though. Click and drag widgets from the list to the sidebars and Widget areas. Items shuffle around to make space. Expand each Widget to access its customization options. The Text widget, for example, has a text box into which you can enter whatever text you want to appear on the page and can Include HTML.
Select Appearance> Header, and if the theme has a header image, there's an option to replace the default with your own. This appears at the top of every page, and sometimes the site's name is displayed on top of it, but it depends on the theme. Make sure the site title is readable if it appears on top. TI1e title colour can be selected to make it stand out.

If you know HTML and CS5, you can edit the theme itself. Select Appearance, Editor, and the CSS style sheet Is displayed 10 a text editor. Some is advanced, but you can usually spot C55 settings like font-size, font-family, color and background. Changing the values can give your site a different look that differentiates it from others using the theme.

Essential Plug-ins
Plug-Ins add Widgets, features and functions to Word Press, and a new installation often comes with some, but there are more than 29,000 at wordpress.org/plugins. Many plug-ins are free, but some have to be paid for. Select Plugins on the left in WordPress to view a list of installed plug-ins.

Click the Activate link next to each one you want to use (the link then becomes Deactivate). To add more plug-ins from the Word Press site, click Add New and then Featured. Popular. Newest or Favorites to browse the catalog. The Popular section is definitely worth a visit. Click the Details link next to a plug-in to see the description, screen-shots, FAQ and so on.


Just click the Install link to add a plug-in. If you obtain a plug-in from some other site, download the zip file to disk, but don't unzip it. In Word Press select Plug-ins > Add New> Upload and upload the zip file to install it. What you see when a plug-in is installed varies. Some add a main menu entry on the left, some add to a submenu and some add widgets, so look around for it.

All in One SEO Pack or Yoast WordPress SEO are great plug-in that adds extra options when creating posts and pages, For example, they enables you to create a title, description and keywords, which are used by Google, Bing and Yahoo!, and they help get your site noticed. You can add Google Analytics (get a free account at google.com/analytics), which shows the number of visitors to your site, what pages they looked at and so on.

Better WP Security is an essential plug-in. It has a lot of configuration options, but even if you do nothing, it boosts the website's security and makes it harder for hackers. Jetpack by Wordpress.com is an excellent bundle of extras, each of which can be enabled separately. It can automatically publicize your site on social networks like Twitter every time you add a new post and adds Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other sharing buttons. It monitors site activity and shows visitor statistics, adds extra sidebar widgets, allows users to subscribe to posts and comments and more.

Ad Inserter is designed for displaying adverts on your site, such as Google AdSense (google.com/adsense), but it can actually insert any text or HTML you like. For example, you could insert an advert or any text or HTML before the heading, after the content, after a set or random number of paragraphs and so on.

Create Pages and Posts
A Word Press website consists of posts and pages, and the two might initially be confusing. Many websites have a constant stream of new items, and they could be news stories, tips, features, comment, photos and so on. These are posts organized by date into a feed a bit like Facebook and Twitter news feeds. The bulk of many websites is often made up of posts.

An example of the page is the about us page, that nearly all websites have. It contains information about the site owner or company, some history, address or contact details and so on. It rarely changes and is accessed using a link or menu. It depends on the theme, but usually there's a menu near the top of each web page and pages are added to it. A website could be made up entirely of posts or pages, but usually there's a mixture of the two.


In Word Press you select Posts> Add New or Pages> Add New in the left panel. It's the same editor and it has Visual and Text tabs just above the editable content area. The Visual tab has a word processor like toolbar containing formatting tools, and the Text tab is used when Y9U need to enter HTML code. You will mostly use the Visual tab, and when creating a post, there are options to format it as a standard post, a photo, video, quote and so on. This applies different styles, colours and fonts depending on the theme. Select each format and click the Preview button to see the different post types.

The website's home page can show the posts feed or a static page, and this is set by going to Settings> Reading. Choose the static page option and you can select any page you've created, if you choose to show the latest posts, you don't want to show posts in full on the home page. It's standard practice to display a brief extract with a link to the full article. When creating a post, there's a more button in the toolbar. Position the cursor at the end of the first paragraph and click more to define it as the extract.