How to customize your wordpress blog
In this Article we tell you how to customize wordpress blog and we teach you the easy away and give you a lot of valuable free links to more free information! To start with you can click on this link to open up a new window with are article on how to great a Static Landing Page for your blog so everyone that goes to your home page sees one main article (they can still navigate all the articles on your site using the menus or sidebar widget menus).
This article has the following content and Layout:
1) We have a guide with links to FREE articles and resources as needed to show you how to customize your wordpress blog.
2) The video got screwed up so I deleted it However we did add more links to more guides and information!
How to Customize your wordpress Blog Guide
Here is the table of contents for this Guide
- 1) How to Customize your blog with a New Theme (with Links to FREE and paid for Themes)
- 2) How to customize the Theme that you already have
- 3) How to Customize your blog with free wordpress plugins
- 4) How to customize your blog posts
- 5) More customizations
OK here is a video guide for How to Customize your Blog with a custom page template!
1) How to Customize WordPress blog with a New Theme (with Links to FREE and paid for Themes)
The single fastest way to customize your blog is with a new theme. All wordpress blogs come with a default wordpress Theme (Note Themes are also called BlogSkins or skins) that can be changed with a few clicks of a button out of your wordpress Admin panel. There are 1000's of free WordPress Themes available for instant download.
There are also some excellent companies that sell professionally designed Themes. The advantage of professional Themes is they generally have MORE customization options and they are easier to set up and customize. They also have a full time support staff to help you if you have problems (which is not true for free themes. With them you are on your own in many cases). You can expect to pay from $25 – $75 for a Professional Custom Theme for your blog.
SO How to get started? Here are 3 great links to get you going:
- 1) You can click on this link for a free guide on how to skin wordpress (install a new WordPress Theme)
- 2) You can click on this link for a free guide to our Top 10 FREE WP THEMES WP Downloads (includes the download link and theme reviews)
- 3) You can click on this link to open a window to a website that reviews the best Professional Themes
2) How to customize the WordPress Blog Theme that you already have
The 3 main ways you can customize an existing WordPress Blog are
A) Adding “Widgets” to the Header, Footers And Sidebars
B) Adding “Plugins” For New content and Features
C) Changing the colors, fonts and back ground.
A) How to Customize WordPress Blog by Adding Widgets
A widget is a name for pre-coded functions that you can usually drag and drop into the sidebars, header or footer of your Blog. Examples of widgets include:
- · A list of your most recent blog posts
- · A calendar
- · An email optin form
- · An archive of older posts
- · A “Tag Cloud” (Terms you can click on to find related articles
- · Advertisements /Monetization methods like Amazon and Adsense
- · Blank Text space (For adding advertisements or other widgets you find on the web).
Many Themes give you different levels of control over the Sidebars (the areas to the left and right of your main blog). They may allow 1 wide sidebar on the left, or on the right or both. They may allow you to set up 2 half width sidebars on either side or both. It depends on the WordPress Theme.
To see what widgets come with your Theme Click on the Appearance tab on the left side of your admin panel. Within the drop down click on the “Widgets” link.
This will bring up the widgets screen with a list of Widgets that you can use in the center and a list of spaces you can put them in to the right (Such as Left inner Side bar -the area closest to your blog post on the left or left outer sidebar – the area to the extreme left of your blog posts).
To add a widget just put your cursor over a widget you want to use, click on it and while holding the mouse button down, drag it over to one of the side bar areas and release the mouse button. The widget should now be in the area that you dropped it.
At this point some widgets will be open and ask you to enter a title or configure it in some minor way (like ascending or descending order, etc).
To see all the widgets in a specific area (like right sidebar) just click on that areas heading at it will open a little box showing the widgets in the order that they will appear in on your Blog.
To change the order of the widgets in one are just drag and drop them ahead of or behind other widgets in that box.
At any time you can save and go to your blog and see the widgets that you have used or moved. Instant gratification!
B) How to Customize your WordPress Blog by Adding Plugins
We are going to walk you thru finding, install and setting up/ configuring wordpress plugins. We will then finish up by giving you our list of the best WordPress Plugins out there!
WordPress Plugin How To – the Basics
NOTE: I am having a problem with the images for this article. They will be back in a few days.
1) Once you have logged into your WordPress admin panel, if you look on the left side you will see a list of functions you can access. These are what I call "Tabs" in your Admin Panels. You want to look for the "Plugins" Tab like I have in the picture below. I have highlighted the “Plugins” Option in yellow (Note: mine has a red 1 next to it. That is telling me that I have 1 wordpress Plugin that is ready for an automatic update).
2) If you click on the plugins option it will expand and give you several choices:
3) Clicking on the “installed” option will show you all the plugins that you have currently installed.
Clicking on the “Add New” option will let you search for new plugins to install.
And Clicking on the “Editor” option will let you edit an existing Plugin. IF YOU ARE READING THIS “How To WordPress Plugin Guide” you certainly do not want to try to edit a WordPress plugin. Modifying a WordPress plugin without really knowing what you are doing could lead to very unpredictable results!
4) I am going to start by having you click on the “Add New” Plugin option and show you how to select a new plugin and install it and then set it up to run. It’s Easy! Let’s start:
5) Click on the “Add New” Option and you will go to the “install Plugin” Screen. I have a picture of the main part of the screen below
6) There are 2 basic ways to search for WordPress plugins. You Can enter a term to search on in the search bar (highlighted in yellow above) or you can select one of the Tags (a tag is a group of like items) that sounds like what you are looking for (Highlighted in Pink above).
7) For example, if you want to find a plugin that lists related posts at the end of each post you would type in “related Posts” in the search field and hit search. It will bring back a list of WordPress Plugins that contain the term “Related Posts” like you see below.
8) If you read each plugins description there are several key things to look for:
- To the left is the name of the plugin. If you click on it will take you to the Plugin Creators page that gives a description of the plugin and how it works (in more detail than the “description” field you see).
- There is also a version number (release number)
- and a user rating which can help you judge which is better (although the newest ones won’t be rated yet).
- To the far right is an “Install” word (I had to cut it off in the picture). If you click on install it will install the plugin!
9) Once you have clicked the install word
- you will get a pop up screen that describes the plugin in more detail and has an install button.
- Clicking the install Button makes the pop up screen go away and one of several things will happen;
- – You may get a screen that displays the steps WordPress is going thru to install the Plugin
- – or you may get a screen asking you to login to your Web hosting account in order to install the plugin. If you get this enter your login and password and the plugin will start to install with the same descriptions as mentioned in the prior dashed line.
10) Every once in a while I have a plugin take a while to install or even fail. Usually this is due to a temporary internet connection issue. One time the plugin had a problem. All I do is redo these steps and install it again. If it fails I just try another plugin> There are often many (10 – 50) plugins that will fit the same need.
11) Once the plugin is installed there are still 2 steps left.
- First you must activate the plugin.
- You can click on “Activate Plugin “installing it or
- You can Click “return to plugin installer” to look for more plugins to install>
- If I choose not to activate the plugin at this time I can do it any time I want by clicking on the “Installed” option from the plugins selection on the left hand side of the admin panel s shown in the picture at the start of the “How to WordPress Plugin” instructions.
12) Clicking on the "Installed" option in the Plugins Tab (on the left side of the Admin Panel) will give you a list of all of your plugins , a brief description of the plugin and a link to either:
- – Activate the plugin if it is not Activated yet
- – Deactivate the plugin if it is activated and you want to turn it off
- – Edit the plugin (remember you don’t want to do this unless you are a programmer
13) There is also a box to the left of the plugin. You can check this on one or more plugins and Activate, deactivate or delete one or more plugins at a time with the “Bulk Actions” selection just above the “plugins” column of the Manage Plugins page that you are in.
14) Final Step! Once you have activated your plugin there are usually options that can be set.
- Most plugins I have installed work right out of the box.
- But some require you to go into the “Settings” option on the right hand side of the Admin panel and select your plugin to modify its settings or configurations.
15) These plugin settings vary. If it is a plugin to add related posts to the end of a post, it may ask you how many you want to add (1 – 10). Or a plugin may ask you other preferences. So always check in the settings so you see what options you have to set or choose from.
16) Every once in a while a Plugin will have an additional Selection of its own in the admin panel.
17) This is usually below the settings tab with its own tab.
4) How to customize your blog posts
There are a lot of cool ways you can customize your blog just by customizing the posts:
1) Add Videos – they don't have to be yours! You can get them from You Tube. Just make sure they are relevant and you give credit (usually by a link) to the Author.
2) Add Photos – There are a number of good photo album plugins out there.
3) Create custom page types for your posts so that a post about events has a nice calendar format for example. You can find dpecific FREE plugins to help with this or you can do it yourself or you can select a new theme that has the specific post types built in.
4) Use a unique font and color scheme -
- Avoid those that are hard on the eyes. For example even if your blog is a grunge blog avoid all black with white type -it may fit your niche but it may be impossible for many people to read very long.
- Avoid ones with a lot of flash and animation unless that is what your niche is about. People will NOT want to see the neat animated intro after the second site time they go to your site and most people don't have the patience for the first time. BUT if you give them the option to click on the link to pop up the animation – that works great for everyone!
5) There are a hundred more ways from how many columns you set up to how simple or complex you make the blog look. Use your imaginsation BUT make sure that whatever you do is the right thing for your Niche, your intended readers!
You can click on this link to read an article on the best wordpress plugins so you can know how to customize your blogs with wordpress plugins!
OK thats it for this How to customize wordpress Guide Article