- September
Posted By : Code Buddy
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How to Customize Your WordPress Theme

Do you need to know how to customize a WordPress theme?

There are many reasons why 30% of the top 10 million sites choose to use WordPress as their content management system (CMS).

For people with zero programming experience, you can install it with one click. There are also thousands of themes available to create the look you want.

For developers who are well-versed in code, working in WordPress saves time and development costs. It’s free to use and open source, which means that anyone has access to the code to make improvements and customizations.

WordPress is so easy to use, anyone can make customizations regardless of your programming experience.

Read on to learn how you can customize a WordPress theme.

Customize WordPress Setup

Once you install WordPress, there are some basic customizations you’ll need to make in order for your site will appear in search engines.

The first thing you need to do is to set the permalink structure. WordPress installs with a permalink structure that names your pages as www.yourdomain.com/p=123

This type of structure will do you no favors for SEO. You’ll need to change your permalink to “post name”

Next, to your dashboard -> Settings -> Reading and make sure you uncheck the box that says “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”

Choose the Right Theme

WordPress is one of the easiest programs to use, but even more so, you can build any type of site with it.

If you want an ecommerce site, there’s a WordPress theme for that. Same with a membership site, a business site, a blog.

The theme you choose is going to be the biggest difference maker in how you can customize your site. Before you pick your theme, think about the type of site you want.

What colors will you need to use? How many pages? Will you need product pages? Will you need a photo gallery?

These things are what you’ll need to consider to pick the right WordPress theme, along with excellent customer support.

Your theme should be responsive, and fast. A site that’s not mobile-ready and slow will turn your users off as well as search engines.

Create a Child Theme

Before you do any customizing in WordPress, you need to create a child theme. A child theme is a duplication of the main functions of your site’s theme.

There’s an important reason to do this early n in the process. When customizing the CSS in your theme’s style.css or functions.php files, your changes will get overwritten everytime you update WordPress or your theme.

The second reason is that if you break something with your customizations, it’s easy to revert back to your parent theme.

To create a child theme, you’ll need to create a separate folder, then copy your site’s functions.php file, style.css, and index.php files.

Start Customizing with the Customizer

If you’re new to customizing WordPress, you’ll want to start with something simple. Fortunately, WordPress specializes in simplicity.

Go to your WordPress dashboard, and then to customize. Depending on the theme you use, you can change colors, fonts, upload a logo and more.

You can add or adjust menus, add widgets or customize your footer.

Customize with Plugins

Plugins are one of the best ways to customize your WordPress site.

There are thousands of plugins for WordPress and you can add any type of function possible. You can connect WordPress with your social media accounts, email lists, make it faster, or SEO friendly.

Let’s take a look at some of the top functions you can install plugins to customize WordPress.

  • Security
  • SEO
  • Image Compression
  • Caching
  • Email & Contact Forms
  • Ecommerce
  • Backing Up WordPress
  • Landing Pages

You can find a plugin that can do almost anything. If there’s a specific function you’re looking for, you can start to find a plugin by searching the WordPress plugin directory. If you can’t find it on WordPress, you won’t find it anywhere.

The major drawback to relying on plugins is that they can slow your site down dramatically. For every plugin that’s installed, you’re drawing resources away from your server to deliver your site to users quickly.

If you need to install plugins, make sure they’re not bloated with bad code, and they don’t conflict with each other. Otherwise, they’ll break your site.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the number of plugins to ten to keep your site fast. You definitely don’t want to have more than 20.

Geek Out! Customize with CSS & HTML

You may have little to no programming experience. You can still learn to code through online tutorials, bootcamps, or a formal education.

Regardless of how you learn to code, WordPress provides the perfect playground to apply what you’ve learned.

Some of the most common customizations are for colors, adjust the menu, align the text, or change the

For example, if you want to take one item on your menu and have it over to the right so it stands out, like a Contact or Book a Consultation item, you can do that with CSS.

You’ll need to identify your menu item and then add this code:

#menu-item-xxx { background-color: #ffffff; float: right; }

You can apply this in your style.css file in the child theme, or in the custom CSS area of your theme.

In HTML, there’s a way to highlight text by using the tags around the text you want to highlight. You can do this right in your blog post, by using the Text feature.

How to Customize a WordPress Theme

WordPress is an incredible system to use to build a website. You experience the real flexibility and power of this CMS when you learn how to customize a WordPress theme.

There are several ways to learn how to customize your theme. As a beginner, you can start with the general customizer that comes with WordPress and use plugins to make adjustments to your theme. As you gain confidence in your programming skills, you can use CSS to customize your theme.

Would you like to find more tips on making your website great? Check out these articles to learn how to code in WordPress and CSS tips.