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How To Customize a WordPress Theme

How To Customize a WordPress Theme

Did you just finish creating a pixel-perfect website design and are waiting for your customers to come and visit your website? You might be able to draw in users' attention towards your site, however, to bring good traffic and encourage them to re-visit your site  requires putting in a lot of efforts.

Although, there are lots of ways to make people come to your website and even helps in turning them into your regular visitors, but the best way to do is to create a fresh-looking and captivating website design. But re-designing the complete design layout can give you a hard time. This is where a WordPress theme comes in handy.

Almost every WordPress theme comes with plenty of customization options, enabling you to modify the look and feel of your theme as per your own requirements. But, if you're a novice developer and don't have much knowledge about theme customization, you can find lots of online tutorials and resources to become familiar with the WordPress theme customization process. But, let's face it! Most of the online materials are difficult to understand for users who're new to WordPress.

So, to help you learn about how can customize a WP theme in a simple and easy manner, I've written this post – that will talk about the need for customizing a WordPress theme and the smart way to accomplish this objective. Before diving into details – how you can customize a WP theme, let's first look at the most obvious concern:

Importance of Customizing a WordPress Theme

A website serves as a great tool, using which you can expand your brand's reach to a wider clientele. Moreover, a well-designed website design plays a crucial role in conveying your brand message to your target audience effectively. But, there may be various websites with the same design as yours. And so, to make your website design stand out from the rest, you will have to customize your theme.

Customizing a WordPress Theme (Using Child Theme)

Often when modifying a WordPress theme, you'll most likely will have to make changes to your theme's core code. But, if you're a beginner directly working on the core code of the theme might impact your existing website design – resulting in loss of upgrades made to the existing WordPress theme. One best way to perform theme customization is to create a child theme and make the tweaks to that theme in accord with your needs.

Wondering, what is a child theme and why it should it preferred at the time of custom development?

A child theme, in essence, is a theme that inherits all traits (i.e. style and functionality) of your main theme (also referred to as parent theme). What's best about child theme is, it gives you the ability to make the desired changes to the theme without losing the changes that you've made to your parent theme. Remember that for creating a child theme, a parent theme should be installed in your WordPress install.

How to Create a Child Theme?

To create a child theme you require two things: one folder and a file. First off, create a folder and save it on your system – with the same name as that of your child. Next, create a CSS file named “style.css” and save it in the folder you've just created. And then, all you have to do is to embed following information in the style.css file (so that it can make out that it's a child theme).

 

/*
Theme Name: First Child Theme
Theme URI: http://yourdomain.com/
Description: This is a custom child theme.
Author: Name of the author
Author URI: http://yourdomain.com/
Template: parenttheme
Version: 0.1
*/

In this code, you just need to make changes to the theme name to something you like, and also choose to replace the Template line (i.e. parenttheme) with the name of your parent theme.

One more important thing I would like to bring to your notice is that your child theme won't have any styling information. But, you can make your child theme design look exactly the same as the design of your parent theme. For this purpose, simply import your parent theme stylesheet using the below line of code:

@import url("../parenttheme/style.css");
Note: Don't forget to change the line “parenttheme” to your own parent theme name.

Once you're done with all the above discussed changes and have saved the style.css file of your child theme, you're only left with – adding the new child theme to your WordPress install. To do so, follow the below mentioned steps: 

  • Step 1 – Establish a connection to your FTP client (such as Filezilla or any other FTP client).
  • Step 2 – Browse to the “/wp-content/themes/” folder, open it and upload the newly created child theme along with the style.css file. Uploading this folder will activate the new child theme in your WordPress site admin panel theme area.
Note: Remember that for making advanced edits and changes to the child theme, you will need to create a function file and add it into your child theme folder.

Let's Wrap Up!

If you're running a WordPress site, then you'll probably want to customize it to match up to your needs. The theme customization needs vary from simple tweaks (like changing font size, changing colors, etc.) to more complicated ones (such as modifying your entire theme structure). Therefore, customizing a WordPress theme will look a difficult task for you. But, if you've basic knowledge about how you can create and utilize a child theme and stylesheet, you will be able to customize your website design without risking any damage to your current WordPress website theme.

Author Bio - Being a passionate PSD to WordPres theme developer, Mike spends most of the time in learning and researching about the new technologies and share his knowledge with the people through his creative blogs.

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