WordPress Knowledge Base

Themes

WordPress Multisite Explained

WordPress features a powerful function called “Multisite”. Enabling multisite allows users to manage multiple WordPress websites from one WordPress installation. Each website in a network is independent, but the WordPress admin can modify the settings so that plugins and themes can be shared among the websites. When there are updates available for the shared theme and plugin, the site admin only needs to update the corresponding elements once instead of managing them individually. By disabling the network function, the site admin can isolate the plugins and themes access across all websites. To learn more the features and installation of WordPress Multisite, watch this video for full details.

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Tips on how to find a free WordPress theme

Choosing a free WordPress theme can be a tough job, especially if you’re a beginner. While an attractive free theme might have caught your eye, be aware that it can contain malicious codes which can ultimately make your blog, website and web server become part of a zombie army of machines participating in an attack on some other website.

  1. Always select themes through the WordPress Free Themes Directory
  2. Visit the developer’s site. You can also check on the WordPress.org forums to know that developer’s reputation.
  3. Once you have the theme installed, install/activate the WordPress Exploit Scanner plug-in . This plug-in will search through your website’s files and database tables and notifies you of any suspicious code. It also examines your active plugins for unusual filenames.

Other useful plugins:

  • TAC (Theme Authenticity Checker) – this plug-in searches the source files of installed themes on your blog for signs of malicious code.
  • WordPress AntiVirus – this plug-in scans your theme directory to look for a WordPress permalink back door, which is a very malicious malware.
  • Login Lockdown WordPress Security – this plug-in helps brute force password discovery by recording the IP address and timestamp of every failed WordPress login attempt. If more than a certain number of attempts are detected within a short period of time from the same IP range, the login function will be disabled.

General precautionary measures:

  • Always have your WordPress software and WordPress plugins updated to the latest version
  • Delete any unused themes and/or plugins installed but not activated
  • Always have a strong password.
  • Back up your WordPress database on a regular basis. You can also use these plug-ins to help you backup your blog.

Further/advanced reading:

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How to Upload WordPress theme and Customization

In this video, we’ll demonstrate how to upload a WordPress theme from your computer & customize it.

This is the demo WordPress website we built earlier!

http://www.DoteasyCafeteria.com/

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How to Install WordPress Theme

In this video, we’ll demonstrate how to find a WordPress theme in the dashboard & install it.

This is the demo WordPress website we built earlier!

http://www.DoteasyCafeteria.com/

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Tweaking your WordPress Theme

WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms in today’s web design industry, largely because of the vast selection of available themes, free and commercial. But most often a theme is only a starting point – there is no such thing as a perfect theme – many website owners start with a great theme and tweak it to perfectly suit their needs.

Tweaking is not a privilege of those proficient in scripting or programming. There are many “customizations” you can make to your WordPress theme, even if your scripting/design knowledge and experience is limited.

Here are some of the easy customizations you can make to your WordPress theme.

  1. Edit the theme’s CSS
  2. Display post excerpts or full content
  3. Excluding/including a category
  4. Crafting page navigation
  5. Add something (anything) to the end of your blog posts
  6. Change the header image (if theme has a header image)
  7. Change the sidebar
  8. Add contact form
  9. Add Google Analytics tracking code

Edit Theme CSS

You can tweak colors, fonts, layouts, backgrounds and other visual elements by editing the Cascade Stylesheet, or CSS. Most of the time, you will find the theme’s CSS style in the file style.css. You can access this file via Appearance > Editor in your WordPress admin panel.

How to:

  1. Locate the attribute you want to edit. The attributes are identified by names indicating sections, such as body, header, etc.
  2. Make the changes to the code displayed between the curly brackets { }.
  3. Save the changes

For more information: http://codex.wordpress.org/CSS

Display Post Excerpts or Full Content

By default, your theme will display the full content of your blog posts on your home page. But if you would rather display only a short excerpt from the post as a little “teaser” to click through to the full article, you can tweak your theme to display excerpts.

To do this, you will need to get familiar with two tags:

1) The tag that displays your full post content is <?php the_content(); ?>

2) The tag that displays your post excerpt is <?php the_excerpt(); ?>

All you need to do is replace the content tag with the excerpt tag on your index.php file. Then, when you write a new post, enter in your article summary (or teaser) in the Excerpt field.

*Note* If no excerpt is set, it will automatically display the first few sentences of your blog post.

For more information on excerpts: http://codex.wordpress.org/Excerpt and http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/the_excerpt

Excluding/Including a Category

Let’s say you want to display posts from only one category on your homepage, or you want to exclude posts from one or more categories. Here’s how you do it:

Add this code where you want the posts to be displayed:

<?php query_posts(‘cat=3’); ?>

This code will display posts only from category ID 3. Change this number to whichever category ID you’d like to include.

If you want to do the opposite, all you need to do is add a “-“ in front of the category ID number, like this:

<?php query_posts(‘cat=-3’); ?>

This will exclude all posts which have the category ID 3.

For more information on query posts: http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/query_posts

Page Navigation

Many themes display all of your pages across the top of your site. But let’s say you’d like to exclude a page from the main navigation. Here’s one way you can do it:

Look for the following code (usually in the header.php file):

<?php wp_list_pages(); ?>

Change it to this:

<?php wp_list_pages(‘exclude=4’); ?>

This will tell WordPress to list all your pages except for the page with ID 4. You can change this number to whichever Page ID you’d like to exclude.

If you want to exclude more than one page, simply separate all the page IDs with a comma, like this:

<?php wp_list_pages(‘exclude=4,5,7,10’); ?>

For more information on WP list pages: http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/wp_list_pages

Add Something (Anything) to the End of Every Blog Post

Maybe you want to add a link to subscribe to your newsletter, an advertisement, etc. To the end of every blog post. Here’s how you do it:

The file you need to edit is the single.php. This is the template that displays your single articles. Open the file and find a good spot for the content you want to add. For example, to add a “Subscribe to newsletter” link after your post (and before the comments):

<?php the_content(); ?>

[the “subscribe to newsletter” link]

<?php comments_template(); ?>

Changing the Header Image

Websites are often judged by their looks and the first impression comes from the header – it is the first thing that your visitors see.

Your theme’s header is specified in the header.php and the style.css files. In the header.php file, you may see:

<div id=”header”>

<div id=”headerimg”>

<h1>

<a href=”<?php echo get_option(‘home’); ?>”>

</h1>

<div class=”description”>

<?php bloginfo(‘description’); ?>

</div>

</div>

</div>

And in the styles.css file, you may see:

#header {

background: url(“<?php bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’); ?>/images/header.jpg”>

no-repeat bottom center; }

#headerimg {

margin: 10px 8px 0;

height: 192px;

width: 740px; }

To change the image file, replace the “header.jpg” with the name of the new image file you have uploaded to replace it. If it is in a different directory, replace the bloginfo() tag with the address of the image’s location.

If you are using an image that is the same size, then simply replace the image. But if the image is a different size, change the height and width in the #headerimg section.

For more information: http://codex.wordpress.org/Designing_Headers

Changing the Sidebar

The sidebar is the narrow vertical column placed either on the right or left-hand side of on your theme, and often jam-packed with lots of information to provide navigation for the visitor. The list of navigation item often includes Categories, Pages, Archives, Search, Recent Posts and Recent Comments.

The information displayed in the sidebar is controlled by the theme’s sidebar.php file.

Take a look at the file and you might see:

<?php wp_list_pages(‘title_li=<h2>Pages</h2>’); ?>

The Categories list might look like:

<li id=”categories”><?php _e(‘Categories:’); ?>

<ul>

<?php wp_list_cats(); ?>

</ul>

</li>

You can change the sidebar by editing the sidebar.php file. Or, you can also use the widgets subpanel ( located at Appearance > Widgets) in your WordPress admin panel to add and change your sidebar (this option does not require you to know any scripting). If you have installed and activated sidebar plugins and widgets, you will find these plugins listed in the widgets subpanel.

For more information: http://codex.wordpress.org/Customizing_Your_Sidebar

For more information on the Widgets subpanel: http://codex.wordpress.org/Widgets_SubPanel

Add Contact Form

By now, we all know that adding a mailto link on a website is the easiest way to increase the amount of spam in your inbox. Instead, use a contact form. WordPress has hundreds of contact form plugins you can choose from: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/search.php?q=contact. Contact Form 7 (http://contactform7.com/) and Cforms (http://www.deliciousdays.com/cforms-plugin/) are a couple great forms you should check out.

All you need to do is install the plugin, activate it and design your form, then add it to your page in just a click.

Add Google Analytics Tracking Code

Everyone wants to know how many visitors come to their website. Google Analytics is the most popular tool for tracking your website traffic. Adding the Google Analytic tracking code is very easy – setup an analytics account with Google and copy and paste the provided code before the </body> tag on the footer.php file (so that the code is embeded at the bottom of all pages of your website).

For more information: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/

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Choosing a WordPress Theme

You can either choose your WordPress theme within the dashboard or download themes from professional WordPress themes providers such as Themeforest and Template Monster. There are many free WordPress themes as well as premium design themes with a small amount of one-time fee. But, the choice is all yours! For more info, please check out here as we’ve hand picked a few wp theme providers for you to choose, both free and paid providers.

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What is a WordPress Theme

WordPress theme is the “layout” of your WordPress website. Whether you want a website for business, e-commerce, online portfolio website, you can choose from thousands theme within your WordPress dashboard and download your desired theme for free. Or, you can purchase premium design themes from all sorts of professional website templates providers and create your WordPress website with a more complex design and layout. All WordPress themes (free or paid) are fully customizable and you can further tweak your themes to better suite your needs.

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Themes – Understanding what’s out there

We’ve shown you many free and ready to use templates. Now free is good, but not necessary the best and this is because your website has needs. In this article we will be going over the three general categories of themes.

Free Themes: These are themes that are ready to go and they are free to use. These themes unlike the other two categories of themes, while they look great visually, they may sometimes be lacking in functionality which you want to have on your website. Now because of repository of WordPress plug-ins available, we’re pretty sure you can find and install the functionality missing. We do suggest only downloading free themes from well-known WordPress theme providers such as WordPress Theme Directory.

Framework Themes: These themes provide building blocks so that you can create your own custom theme. Framework themes allow you efficiently create your own structure and style which you can apply to your entire site. Now with one framework theme, you can create many different styles with just one theme and developers may continue updating the theme so that more styles can be created. Now one limitation to framework themes is that they are usually very limited in functionality. These themes are generally more for advanced users. Also these themes can range anywhere from $60 to $200 in price. Some examples of framework themes:

Premium Themes: This is growing area for available themes. Now pricing can range anywhere from $30 – $60, but this may be a small price to pay consider the elaborate designs, vast selection of built-in features for customizations, and with some themes you can get direct support from the theme authors themselves. Often these themes will make your site look like it was custom designed for you. One of the deciding factors when picking the premium theme to use is to look at the number of downloads and rating that theme has. For a theme to be used by thousands of people is a good thing, it means the theme is obviously built will, easy to use and has all the right built-in functions. Now even though the most popular themes have been downloaded and used by thousands of other people, it is what you put into your website (i.e. content, pictures, etc.) that makes your site unique. Places where you can find premium themes:

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Buying a Theme – What to look for?

Three item checklist before buying a theme:

  1. Appearance and Functionality
  2. Number of Sales, Reviews and Ratings
  3. Updates and Supports

Appearance and Functionality ­– This pretty self-explanatory where you should pick theme which you like the look of and has the functionality you want. Because a theme can have so many combinations of functionality and appearance, you may not get everything you want in one theme. Remember functionality can be added by finding the right add-on plug-in, and unless you’re willing to edit the PHP and/or CSS code yourself, it’s probably more important to find a theme that matches the look you are going after.

Rating and SalesNumber of Sales, Ratings and Reviews – like buying anything online, these are your basic research criteria. Number of Sales is actually a two sided criteria. Not only are you checking out how well the theme itself is selling, but you also need to check out how well the developer’s other themes are doing as well. A good developer will have multiple themes with high number of sales. In terms of ratings and reviews, these speak to the popularity of the theme. Of course 5/5 stars themes would be awesome, but if it’s only rated by a few people, the overall results could be skewed. ReviewsWhereas if the theme has 4.73/5 based on 8034 ratings you know the popularity and rating of the theme is a bit more true to life. Read reviews. Specifically look for good AND bad reviews. Reviews give you a much higher level of detail which a simple star rating cannot on how good a theme actually is. Now once you start reading the reviews, you will notice that sometimes the review is not only about the theme selected, but also about the developer (leading to next topic).

changelogSupport and Updates – Now what happens after you buy a theme? Support is becoming a more common thing these days. Like I mention previously, when you start reading the reviews, you will notice that a lot of reviews are about the developer and not just about the theme itself. These reviews are crucial as this will indicate how responsive a developer is when you run in to problems using their theme. Also a good theme will generally come out with updates. Now updates can come in the form of new functionality or updates/fixes to existing ones. A theme that is continually updated means it is going to have better longevity as it will continue to work with newer versions of WordPress. And when your theme is updated, usually the developer will allow you to download the updated version of your theme and even include instructions on how to update your theme safely.

Now you are probably thinking, if I buy a popular theme, wouldn’t my site look like everyone else’s? Remember a theme is only a template for building your site. For most of the popular themes, they are popular because there are lot of customizations and functionality which means no two sites built are going to be exactly the same.

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Popular tags

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