How to Customize Your Blog Theme in WordPress

 

So, you got WordPress set up and now you’re ready to learn how to customize your blog theme in WordPress

 

This article is going to show you everything you need to know.

 

A quick word of caution before we get started:

 

Themes and customizations can be very simple or very complex. If you’re a newer blogger or you’re not super ‘Wordpress savvy’, this part can become a little overwhelming. 

 

That’s why I always recommend setting up your absolute minimum customizations today, and then walking away from your theme for the day (unless you have hired help).

 

Focus on a different task, like organizing your blog menu or writing a blog post.

 

The truth is: we’ll always be tweaking and changing our theme and our site design, it’s just part of being a blogger. There is no need to make sure that everything is perfect today.

 

Let’s just get the basics down!

 

 

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HOW TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR BLOG THEME

 

Let’s walk through a few of the common customization options that most themes have, just so you know what they mean.

 

To customize your blog theme, go into your WordPress dashboard, click on ‘Appearance’ and ‘Customize’. Depending on your theme, it’ll probably look something like this:

 

 

You’ll click on each arrow to make the adjustments you want and then preview how they look on your website.

 

SITE IDENTITY

 

 

This is where your website title, tagline, and logo will go. These will appear at the top of your website if you choose for them to be displayed.

 

They can be adjusted here within your theme customizer anytime!

 

An example:

 

 

COLORS

 

If this one is an option in your theme customizer, you can click here to choose your color scheme for your header text and background.

 

Make sure your header text is a darker color that’s easy to read on mobile devices!

 

The location is different for each theme, but in the Astra theme, you’ll find this under Global settings.

 

 

HEADER IMAGE

 

This is where you’ll add an image to the header (or very top) of your website, if you choose to.

 

BACKGROUND IMAGE

 

This is where you’ll add a background image behind the main content on your website, if you choose to. If you do decide to add a background image, be careful to choose something that isn’t too distracting to your reader’s eye.

 

MENUS

 

Your menu options will vary based on the theme you choose, but this is where you can adjust which menu structure(s) will be assigned to your website. 

 

Most themes have the options to display multiple menus on your website. You might have the option to have a header menu, a main menu, a footer menu, etc. 

 

Your menus are essentially the main rooms of your house (your site), the different places that you can send your readers when they come by to visit your site.

 

We’ll talk more about your menu in the next section of this guide, because your layout menu is super important.

 

WIDGETS

 

Widgets are the optional enhancements that you can place on different areas of your site. Things like a search bar, a category list, a calendar, etc…

 

You’ll find and select available widgets under Appearance > Widgets in your WordPress dashboard. And you can choose where they sit on your website theme in this Widgets tab in your customizer. 

 

HOMEPAGE SETTINGS

 

This is where you’ll decide what is going to be displayed on your homepage. 

 

Common display options: you can create a static post that appears every time someone lands on your homepage, or you can choose to display your latest blog posts.

 

For SEO purposes, having a well-organized and optimized static homepage is best. 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA SETTINGS

 

If your theme has a social media follow bar, you’ll input all of your social media handles there, so that people can find and follow you on social media. 

 

ADDITIONAL CSS

 

If you’re familiar with CSS (cascading style sheet), this is where you can make adjustments to the code on your blog.

 

All themes have different customization options, so yours might not look exactly like this, but it will be very similar.

 

Set your basic customizations, and then we can get to work on your website menu.

 

GETTING HELP WITH YOUR BLOG THEME

 

As awesome as a customizable theme may be, sometimes ya just don’t have the energy to set this thing up on your own.

 

And that’s okay!

 

If that’s the case, you can always find someone to set your theme and basic customizations up for you for a small fee.

 

After your basic text, color, page, and header customizations are setup, we can turn out attention to our menu settings!

 

 

We’ll cover this in part 9 of this 10-part starter guide: Setting Up Your Website Menu and Main Blog Pages

 

Previous sections in this 10-step guide:

 

1: Defining Your Blogging Goals

2: Choosing Your Blogging Niche

3: Choosing Your Domain Name

4: Choosing Your Website Hosting

5: Pointing Your Domain to Your Host 

6: Downloading WordPress 

7: Choosing Your WordPress Theme

8. Customizing Your WordPress Theme

 

 

 

 

 

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