Learning Theme Customization in WordPress
If you are yet to begin with WordPress, it’s important to start it all by using an already existing theme that would fit your needs in terms of functionality. Take a look at the available options before modifying files and create a child theme. Let’s scrutinize the following steps and continue reading.
- Select a good theme for customization
- Make the necessary changes
- Use plugins for further transformation
- Learn how to use CSS
- Making advanced changes through the child theme
Are you ready to begin?
1. Choose the Right Theme for Customization
You should choose a theme that has both functionality and color scheme. You have to make sure that the site would do what you want it to do. It is also important to keep a general look and feel for your website. Whenever you do, do not be use your selection on color scheme alone.
2. Utilizing the Theme Customizer
The WordPress Customizer makes it easier for you to get started doing some changes to your site. All you have to do is to log onto WordPress and go to your home page. After this, you can click the button for customization at the top of the toolbar.
In this example, OppSource can exchange their side logo and icon easily using the customizer. All they had to do is to select Site Identity.
By selecting the color tab, you will be able to modify the color scheme of your website accordingly. Check out other websites as examples.—however, you should keep in mind that there are different color schemes based on what the developers have kept available.
3. Plugins for Customization
Many times, we can easily edit according to our needs by using a simple plugin.
Plugins can easily give us the functionality and a distinct style for our site. Things didn’t we may not be able to do on our own as we begin our WordPress experience.
There are some independent developers will offer you a basic functionality depending on the head on that you will want to have for free. This means that you will have limited functionality and would have to pay for a more extensive version of the plugin.
Some plugin examples for customization include the following:
- Site Origin CSS– It will help you modify visual elements even if you have little to no knowledge of CSS.
- Galau UI Visual Editor– It will help you add or remove beach blocks while giving you the opportunity can still view the front-end of the website.
- The Visual Composer– This plugin has existed for a long time already. However, it would take a lot of practice to use this effectively. It is usually embedded in many themes. This program will be able to let you do anything with your website even if you don’t have basic understanding of code. It’s not very precise though, so it is still important for you to learn a little bit of CSS before starting.
- Beaver Builder– This is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to drag and drop items easily.
- Elementor– Another plugins similar to Beaver Builder
4. Customizing with custom CSS
When I first began editing themes, I was just adding some customized CSS. I utilized jet packs with functions that you can usually search for in Appearance, then a selected edit. There are plenty of plugins that could help you write your own customized CSS program if you are afraid of doing something wrong.
However, it is just a matter of style. You should try one of these available options as your own strategy in the beginning.
- The CSS editors found within Customizers
- The Jetpack Plugins
- Advanced editor for CSS
Always remember that last option is reserved for individuals who are well informed regarding CSS, but would like to add it directly using Customizer. From there, they will also use it across different devices. (the phone, tablets and desktop computers)
5. Customize the WordPress theme by using a child theme
There are a few limitations when it comes to editing with CSS. More often than not, is all about aesthetics and not functionality at all.
If you’re working with website foundation, the best way to customize through WordPress is to use a child theme.
If you do not know how to do this, it would be best to read this article first.
You can skip this step, but do it at your own risk. If you change a theme of right instead of using a child theme, there’s a chance for you to lose all your edits to the website as soon as it updates.
A Child Theme Defined
One of the easiest ways to describe it is that the child would sit above the parent theme, or the main theme itself. Your web site will only utilize the files from your child theme if it exists. If you have an index.php file, but not a page.php file, the index file will be utilized but will return to the parent theme page template upon reboot.
This system allows site developers to add, modify or an existing themes without having their previous work changed or deleted by web site updates.
Creating a Child Theme
The WordPress files in a theme control the overall look and feel of a website. To successfully edit this, go to your WordPress dashboard and logon to Appearance. After this, you can select Theme Editor. You can also get the files from an FTP connection.
You could use FTP clients such as FileZilla to gain access. By doing this, you will be able to undo any mistakes that you will make within the website design.
In the WP, content, and theme folder, (/wp-content/themes/folder) you should create another folder with your chosen parent theme name-child. Replace the theme name with your actual chosen file name.
The new child theme requires only a single file to work. This is known as the style file. (style.css) it ought to start with standard headers. Below is the format of your style file.
- Theme Name:This refers to your child theme name.
- Description:A child theme for (insert parent theme name here)
- Author:Your Brand Name
- Author URL:https://chosendomain.com
- Template:Parent Theme Name (lowercase, no spaces)
After this, you can import your URL using this syntax: “../parentthemename/style.css”
You may change your parent theme name accordingly by replacing the directory or folder name of your main theme. (This refers to the theme you are updating.) Customize the name of your child theme’s style file.
The next step would be to go back to your WordPress dashboard and get to Appearance. After this, you can activate your child theme.
Always remember to use FTP while doing edits. It would be detrimental to your website to edit your theme files using the administrative theme editor. One wrong move can lock you out and prevent you from using the website altogether. Using FTP for editing will be much more secure.
Overwriting the Parent Theme
You can do this by copying template files for your child theme. If you take the single.php domain and copy it into the folder, you will be able to change the code or internal structure of that template. The Single PHP file in the child theme folder will overwrite the one in the parent theme.
However, the rest of the parent theme templates and its if related files will still be usable.
To find out if your edits have actually been saved and are working, you should add something easy to spot such as a paragraph within the template file. You may use this syntax to do so.
<p style=”color: red; font-size: 50px”>MI doing this correctly?</p>
If you are able to save this algorithm to a template within the child theme, the single PHP file for example, you should see this on your site. If this happens, the child theme was able to overwrite the parent theme templates.
Changing the PHP File: Learning to Avoid This
In general, PHP and HTML codes are normally combined. The content will not exist within the template, it is placed within a WordPress database exclusive to the website and gets included into the design via PHP. You should avoid trying to tweak these website elements unless you are familiar with developing WordPress themes.
There are various ways to properly customize themes for WordPress.