Now that you have looked at themes from the WordPress.org directory and narrowed down the possibilities to a few ‘definite maybes’ it’s time to upload those themes to your site to see how they look with your content. I don’t cover themes in-depth until later in this class since you can’t really tell how a theme will work for you unless you have some of your own pages, posts and images to look at it with. It’s kind of a catch-22 since ideally you’d want to choose your perfect theme right from the get-go on a fresh installation of WordPress. The problem is that you can’t really tell what that theme has to offer and if it’s right for you until you see how it works with your content.
In this introductory class on WordPress we won’t be getting deep into the CSS code, however I do think that a little bit of CSS knowledge can help you make essential adjustments to your theme. In a previous post, CSS in 10 Minutes, I explained the basics of CSS, in this post I want to quickly show you two very useful properties: Display and Visibility.
The basics of CSS are very easy to grasp and, I believe, more easier to immediately grasp than HTML.
The first thing you need to know is that CSS and HTML work in tandem. If your website were a human HTML would be the body and CSS would be the clothes you put on it. CSS sets down the rules for how your website will appear where HTML lays out the structural elements. CSS also determines the placement of the structural elements ( to use the body analogy, css could attach the right arm at the hip rather at the shoulder., yikes!) But that’s where it gets complicated and we will only be dealing with some of the basic cosmetic changes.
A newly established Meet-up group Southern Maine WordPress Meetup is having regular meetings on the third Tuesday of the month at 6pm. Meetings held at the Casco Bay Technology Hub suite 206, 30 Danforth Street, Portland, ME
Most of the meetup is geared toward developers and designers who build websites using WordPress, although there is usually a segment at the beginning where users, such as students from wpstudent.net can new things to apply to their website. From tips to best practices it will be a good chance to pick the brains of people who have had many years experience with WordPress.
When you are trying out a new theme and you want to see how it will style all the elements that you could possibly put into a post, from headings, to images… there is an easy way to do this with some sample content.
We will be creating a post called Theme Tester and then we will be going to a Content Generator that will provide us with content that has most of the commonly used HTML tags that format your text and images.
There is a lot that can be done to fine tune your theme with careful application of some CSS styles. You don’t need to be a CSS expert to know enough just to make small changes and we will basically be cutting and pasting code snippets to get the job done.
The beginner tips I’ll show you are just for minor tweaks, we’ll be just hiding and slightly augmenting a few elements I would not recommend that beginners make any structural changes, as you can potentially break your theme.
A cozy place for wordpress nerds
There are two podcasts that I listen to regularly to pick-up WordPress tips. They both somewhat lean toward a WordPress developer angle, so as a casual WordPress user you may not find these useful, but, if you are actively looking for ways to adjust and improve your site, you can check them out and get all geeky about WordPress!
Your Website Engineer : The host Dustin Hartler is like an ADD kid hyped on WordPress. Even so, there is always more tips and information per episode than you can shake a stick at.
How helpers help websites that help themselves to these services.
In keeping and maintaining a website there are several things that I recommend doing to get the best out of what you’ve got. Like anything we own that requires maintenance, a car, a house, pets, we rely on other professional services to do the job far better than we could do ourselves.In the web-world I refer to these as helper services. Helper services are there to bring optimal performance and ease of use (for you and your visitors) to your site. They all requires you to at the very least sign in, so there will be more user names and passwords to remember, and while there are many paid for services that are very good I’ve tried to limit the services mentioned to the ones that are free (or nearly free).
There are a lot of things to consider in choosing a domain name. I’ve found a few sites with good information that I generally agree with. Here are a few sites that have good guidelines for choosing a domain name.
And here are some domain search sites to check if your desired name is available.
I ran into a friend of mine the other night and when I was describing this class to him, one of the first questions he asked was, what were some examples of the kind of sites you could build with WordPress. I had been meaning to mention this for the first class just to give new students some design ideas that they might want to emulate for their own site. Some of the examples are based upon advanced customizations that are above and beyond the scope of this introductory class, but even so there may be one little dynamic that with the help of a plugin, may be doable even for a beginner. And knowing what is possible is something to keep in mind even when you are going for a simple approach.