If you’ve already selected and installed your WordPress theme, the next step is to customize it and give it a unique look.
Customizing a WordPress theme involves several steps and customizations, including using a customizer to change fonts or colors.
If you are not familiar with the customization process, you can hire someone to do it for you. However, with a little guidance, it’s easy to customize a WordPress theme yourself.
Do you need to customize a WordPress theme?
The theme you choose for your site determines the look of the site, including how the content is displayed.
If the theme matches everything you want for your website, you don’t really need to customize it. However, there are a few things, such as your logo, header and footer, and colors, that you can quickly change before launching your site.
For changes that are more focused on how your site will work rather than design, you can install a plugin for additional functionality. However, you should consider whether you want to keep the same functionality in case you: change theme in the future.
Customize a WordPress theme
You can customize a WordPress theme through the Theme Customizer, Theme Editor, use page builders or theme frameworks, use a child theme, or edit your WordPress theme’s code.
Customize a WordPress theme with Theme Customizer
The Theme Customizer is a WordPress feature that allows you to make simple, design-oriented changes to your site. It offers tweaking options like fonts, colors for links or buttons, and more.
You can access the Theme Customizer by going to the Appearance settings on your dashboard and select To adjust† You can also go to the admin bar and click the . click To adjust clutch.
In the theme customizer, you can also add a logo, social media buttons, or edit the header and footer sections to change the design and layout of your site.
To add a logo, go to Appearance > Customize > Site Identity and then select Change logo to insert a custom logo.
You can also change the site icon (favicon) on the same screen by going to the Site icon part just below the Page Title fields. Click Change image to insert your custom site icon.
Remark: Customization options depend on the theme you are using.
Customize a WordPress theme through the theme editor
The WordPress theme editor allows you to access and edit theme files directly.
It is not recommended to edit files in your theme, even if you know how to write CSS or PHP. When you try to open the editor, WordPress even warns you about the action because of the consequences of editing pages directly, some of which can be irrevocable.
Any changes to the Theme Editor that destroy your site are untrackable and will not change the previous version of the theme file. In addition, when you update the theme, you may lose any changes you made.
You’d be better off using a test site to test your site on, and a code editor to edit files on the live site.
Customize a WordPress theme with a Page Builder plugin
A page builder plugin allows you to customize the design of your site using a WYSIWYG interface (what you see is what you get). Page builders also provide the flexibility you need to quickly design and format your pages.
After installing the plugin on your theme, you can use the available options to customize your site to your liking.
you can use Elementora popular page builder that provides a drag and drop interface so you can edit your pages and posts while previewing your edits in real time.
Using a theme frame to customize a WordPress theme
Theme frameworks consist of a parent theme (framework) and several child themes, which allow you to customize your theme to your liking.
A popular example of a themed framework is: division† This framework provides customization options and a drag and drop interface to help you further customize the design of the underlying theme.
Customize a WordPress theme by editing the theme code
If you have some knowledge and experience with coding, or are familiar with editing CSS or PHP, you can customize the theme by editing the theme code.
Before you do that, make sure you modify the code in accordance with Coding Standards for WordPress to avoid messy code on your site and ensure quality, consistent code.
If you’re writing new code or making changes to the theme, leave comments to help you remember what you’ve done if you decide to work on the code again sometime in the future. These files include:
- The Stylesheet or style.css, which contains all of the code used to format your site, including colors, fonts, layout, and more.
- The Functions.php file, which contains code that registers functions such as widgets, featured images, and other theme elements that make things work in your theme. If you don’t know how to edit the CSS or add code to the Functions.php file, use a plugin. This way, you’re not blindly adding bad or messy code to your site.
- Theme template files are also part of your WordPress theme and they determine the type of content that WordPress will display on a page, post type, or archive.
Again, you need to be careful and know how to edit theme template files as making changes can damage your site.
Test changes on a test site or local installation before editing them on the live site. It’s safer to test on a test site to make sure everything works before pushing the changes to the live site.
Remark: If you don’t know how to edit the theme code or can’t do it safely, use the Customizer or make adjustments elsewhere in the admin dashboard.
Customize a WordPress theme with a child theme
If you are editing a custom theme specific to your website, you can edit the theme directly. For third-party themes, creating a child theme ensures that you don’t lose the changes you’ve made when you update the parent theme.
A child theme inherits the same functionality as your parent theme, making it ideal for testing changes without breaking the original theme.
- To create a child theme, go to wp content/themes in your WordPress installation folder and create a new folder.
- Open Notepad or another text editor and paste the code as shown below to create a style sheetand then save the file in the underlying theme folder you created. The Template: Twentyseventeen tells WordPress that it is a child theme of your current theme, while the last line in the code imports the stylesheet of the main theme into the child theme.
If you go back to the WordPress admin panel under Appearance > Themes, you will see the child theme you just created. Select the Activate to use the child theme to customize your site.
Create a unique WordPress theme
Customizing a WordPress theme is not that hard to do if you are familiar with WordPress. However, some technical aspects, such as editing code, can make or break your site, especially if you don’t know how to do it.
When customizing your theme, remember to use version control to track changesmake the theme responsive and make sure the changes don’t affect accessibility for people with disabilities.
Are there other methods you use to customize your WordPress theme? Share with us in the comments.