CUSTOMIZING YOUR WEBSITE(THEME) AND MAKING IT LOOK JUST THE WAY YOU WANT
Customizing your theme is similar to designing that is done in interior of a house.
It is also similar to plating/serving a dish.
See, you have installed the theme which means that the dish is cooked. Customizing is like garnishing the dish and making it presentable and inviting.
When you go to your website just after activating a theme your website has the default settings/options and it does not completely looks like your personal website or the website you want your to be.
In this step we will be changing the looks and making the website just the way you want.
STEPS FOR CUSTOMIZING YOUR WEBSITE (THEME)
1- I hope you are in your WordPress Admin area.
(Go to www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin
Log in. And there you are.)
2- Take mouse pointer on “APPEARANCE – click CUSTOMIZE”
3- Your screen will look something like this.
4- This is live view customizing window. Here you will be able to make changes to your website and also view it in real time (I mean give it few seconds)
On the left you have the options and on right is the look of your website.
5- Take a moment and see what all options are there. Please do not change anything that you do not understand completely. (Make yourself familiar here because now you will be spending a lot of time here)
Explore a bit. Everything is well explained and you won’t find it hard. Once you have looked at the options come back here.
WORKING WITH WORDPRESS THEME
Each theme has different functionalities / options that it provides to its users.
However there are some most useful options that almost all the themes have. But these options are not put in a certain order by every theme. Each theme has its own ways and positions where they put these options.
Here we are mentioning those options which are present in almost all the themes.
SITE TITLE & LOGO OPTIONS
SITE TITLE – This option is for changing your site’s name and logo. Site’s name is the name that you want to give to your website. (Note that you may have already thought of your site name before buying domain. Right. You may have also mentioned your site’s name while installing WordPress.)
This option is just in case you want to make changes. Do note that you can not change your domain name.
For Example- When we bought this website’s domain www.Lawyerstech.com , we thought we would name our website Lawyers Tech. But later we changed the name slightly to Lawyer’s Tech. We can change this further to ‘Narendra Gandhi Tech’. No problem. But we can not change the domain. It will remain www.LawyersTech.com
Also don’t you think it would appear strange if the domain name and website name are a lot different.
TAGLINE – After Site Title we have something called TAGLINE.
When you look at our site’s heading you will see ‘True and Tested’ written below our site’s name. This is site tagline.
You can say that it is similar to tagline of brands like,
Nike – Just Do It
Adidas – Impossible is Nothing
Lawyer’s Tech – True and Tested
So if you have thought of a catchy tagline then put it there.
Make sure it is short and catchy. Keep it under 4 words.
For personal websites (like www.RahulModi.com) please do not put a tagline. You are an individual not a product. Right?
You can either choose to show your tagline or not. Upto you.
(Note- Additionally you can also change your tagline by going to your ‘Wordpress Dashboard – Settings – General – Tagline’)
When you open you website in browsers like Chrome and Firefox you see a very tiny picture in the bar where websites name is there.
For our website you will see words “LT” written on a white background. This is what Site Icon is. It is also shown when you bookmark a page.
It is always recommended to put your site icon here.
Note- Different themes will confuse you between Site Icon, Site Logo and Favicon. Read this post. All are almost same, Just their placement is different. It is uniform and recommended that site icon, site logo and favicon are same.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR SITE ICON?
See there are many ways to do so. If you are creative or have creative friends ask them to design a logo for your website. Additionally there are mobile apps to make logos but most of the features inside those apps are paid or in free versions they leave big watermarks on the logo. So it is best to design one yourself.
One of the easiest and simplest way is-
A- Open a photo editing app like PhotoGrid, Over or PicsArt.
B- Choose a white or any light coloured background. (Keep the picture’s dimension as SQUARE)
C- Put the initials of your website in dark colour and save the picture.
E- Now click on “Add site icon”.
Upload the image from your computer.
Follow the steps required.
When you are presented with this screen (see below) fill in the details like Title and Alt Text. (Make this a habit to fill these whenever you work with images on your site.)
Now, open a new tab and go to your site you will see the site logo(favicon) next to your site’s name. (This will not be shown if you are using Apple’s Safari browser.)
There might also be an option called “LOGO”
If you have a logo (can be same as the site icon) you can put it here.
Note- Size of logo is generally greater than site icon(favicon).
The logo if selected will be visible on your website (most probably on left side of your website’s name or in middle.)
If your theme supports then you can even choose only to show your website logo and not your website’s name. (If you go to Apple.com nowhere on the website it writes the word ‘Apple’ in big fonts. There is only a small Apple logo on the left side.)
(On our website (Lawyers Tech) we show only our website name and not the logo or logo with website name.)
(WHENEVER YOU MAKE A NEW CHANGE, THE “PUBLISHED” BUTTON WILL TURN TO “PUBLISH”)
HEADER IMAGE / HEADER VIDEO
Not all themes support this (especially header video)
Using this option you can put a picture (generally horizontally wide) in your website’s header area (top area).
Note- If you put unnecessary pictures on your website and they are not of small size or are not optimised then your website will become slow.
In most cases we do not think header image or header video is necessary.
Anyways if it suits you go for it. Just make sure that you do not put pictures with file size of 500KB or 1MB etc. Keep it as small as possible.
BACKGROUND IMAGE and BACKGROUND COLOUR
Many themes have the option to change the background image. This is shown when you drag the web page down or up after it has reached its top or bottom. You see a colour/image for few milliseconds. At www.lawyerstech.com it is light blue.
Some themes(like themes from Wphoot) also have option of Background Pattern.
Apart from that there is an option of background for entire site too.
At www.Lawyerstech.com is white. There is no background image or background colour. It is default white.
Tip- We recommend that you leave all the backgrounds as it is. How often do you see a website with colourful background or an image in it?
Do not change these. White looks best and suits all screens and colours.
STATIC FRONT PAGE
If you do not plan to update you website regularly and it is only for images and providing fixed information etc then choose “Static Page”
Static Page is for websites like – Personal non regularly updated websites, Websites for hospitals, buildings, company, shops, service provider etc.
If you are planning to write blogs, articles and want that all the new articles that you write is shown on the front page then you should choose “Your Latest Post”
At www.LawyersTech.com we have opted for “Your Latest Posts” so that all our new articles are shown on top.
You can choose to show your social profile icons (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc) at various places.
Most websites choose to show it at bottom of the page. Some also show it on top of homepage as small icons.
See what fits for you.
In theme option fill in your full Twitter, Facebook url.
For Example- www.twitter.com/Lawyerstech
Most themes open these social links in new tabs.
(If theme does not support social icon then it can be added using plugins.)
These are very important and help you customize your website even more.
Almost all themes have a “Primary Sidebar” which is shown mostly on right side. If you have a static page or if your website is not for blogs/written articles you might not need this.
At www.Lawyerstech.com we have SEARCH, RECENT POSTS etc in our sidebar.
Additionally you can have widgets in footer columns.
At Lawyer’s Tech we have menu, text, search, about us, disclaimer etc in footer column.
This is the bottom of your website. It might have-
Your Website Name
Theme by *company name*
Powered by WordPress
Some themes give you the option to rename these. Some give you the option to completely remove ads like ‘Theme By…. , Powered by WordPress’. (Themes from Wphoot)
Most themes allow to remove these only in paid versions of their theme.
This is for adding additional code to your WordPress theme/website. You do not need to do anything with this now.
I will explain its uses and some simple code which can be used later. (You just have to copy and paste them in the box. Nothing complex.)
These were some of the basic options that every theme has. Do know that every theme has tons of other options and other benefits or drawbacks. There are thousands of themes. Writing every function of all themes is not possible.
But do keep in mind that all the options are self explanatory and mean same as their respective english meaning.
Also if you do not understand anything just try playing with it. Change it to on or off or add image or change colour or do whatever it says and view the changes in live preview. Act accordingly.
Or you may also make a change and click publish. Now open your website in new tab and see the changes there. If you do not like it change it back.
Let me tell you honestly.
If you are a beginner you will need a week (20-30 hours) to fully understand everything. See the fact is, these are not complicated things. They are very simple but you have to figure them out. You have to make a change and see it; Did not like it; Change it back.
You put a picture in header or sidebar; It is too big or does not fit; Go back and remove it; Try with another picture or Resize the picture.
You put a text on top or at the footer; Text is bold, in upper case and is not fit for mobile screens; Go back and try to remove some words; Change from upper case to lower case; Publish and check again.
There are many such small things. Believe me, in no online video or website these things can be explained which suits specially you and your website.
Videos and help websites will only give you a rough idea how things work. There is no baby feed option. You will have to experiment. But the best part is these things are exciting.
Have you tried cooking?
The fact is you can order that dish online from a restaurant. Why bother in kitchen!
Still we cook. Why?
When you build your own website you learn a ton of things. You can contact me or any other person and ask them to build your website. I can build your website under 2 hours with all the optimizations and everything. I and others will be able to support your website for a month or so if it faces any problem but then what? What after 14 months? Suppose after 2 months you wish to change the photo on your website to your latest one. For this you will have to contact me/website builder again.
And believe me all these are as simple as eating a cake. But before you eat you will have to walk some distance and buy that cake! Hope you understand what I am trying to say.
(If you contact me to build your website I will earn more money but it will also be my failure that I was not able to explain well here and you had to get your website built by me or someone else.)
If you are interested in the long term maintenance / updation of your website, then you should experiment and learn to customize and change things on your own.
You might think ‘Nah, these are technical things and complicated; I can’t do it’
But I believe that you can. All you need is few days(~30 hours). You not only will be happy and satisfied by what you learn but you will be trained and then your ‘self’ will tell you to experiment and experiment. You will put a picture. You will see that I can change its size to better fit. You will keep tweaking your website until you are satisfied.
BUILDING A WEBSITE IS EASY. TECHNICALLY SPEAKING YOU BUILT YOUR WEBSITE THE MOMENT WORDPRESS WAS SUCCESSFULLY INSTALLED.
WHAT TAKES TIME IS PERFECTING THE WEBSITE ACCORDING TO PERSONAL TASTE AND REQUIREMENT.
NEXT READ- Choosing and Installing WordPress Theme.
1) Introduction to building a website without coding.
2) Overview of how we will build a website.
3) Buying Domain
4) What is SSL Certificate and why is it important?
5) Buying Hosting
6) Connecting Domain & Hosting
7) Installing WordPress
8) Changing few important WordPress Default Settings
9) Basics of WordPress Website Customization
10) Installing Plugins
11) WordPress Theme – Customization and what all it has?
12) Choosing & Installing WordPress Theme
13) Creating Menu, Page, Posts, Category, Tag
14) Building Primary Sidebar, Menu, Footer
15) Tips for Website