Many WordPress themes offer templates that can give your site a jumpstart. They offer image, design, and plugin suggestions for almost any type of blog. You can easily customize a WordPress template to make your blog stand out and reflect your personal brand.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase. Please note that I only get affiliate links for products that I use.

What is a WordPress Theme?

According to WordPress.orgA WordPress theme changes the design of your website, often including its layout. Changing your theme changes how your site looks on the front-end, i.e. what a visitor sees when they browse to your site on the web.

A WordPress theme template refers to a single page rather than an entire site. Almost every theme includes free and paid templates that offer samples of page designs such as home pages, contact pages and about me pages. You can use single pages or use the templates for entire websites, such as blogs, e-commerce sites or business sites or other niche sites.

I always suggest using Kadence or Astra theme for your site. They are very popular themes with a clean design, and can be used to build a website from scratch. But if you want to start with a well designed site instead of a blank page, you should use a template.

When it comes to customizing your WordPress theme, the first step is selecting the right template. The template serves as the foundation for your blog’s design and layout, so you should choose one that aligns with your blog’s niche and goals.

In this tutorial, I am using the Kadence free theme. Follow along by installing the Kadence theme and Kadence blocks plugin. Then install Kadence starter templates. You can sort the templates by free or paid and by type of website: blog, course, event, nonprofit, political, membership, etc. Choosing a template that is in the same niche as your website, for example, a food blog template for your food blog, will help you know what pages and plugins you will need to build your site. Please note that you can choose a multipurpose theme if you really like the layout, and you can customize it to fit your brand.

I am going to choose a course theme, and use it to make a site where I can sell my courses.

Factors to consider when choosing a template

  1. Design: The design of the template should resonate with your blog’s style and target audience. Look for clean and visually appealing designs that align with your blog’s niche and personality.
  2. Layout: Consider the layout options available in the template. Does it provide the flexibility to showcase your content in a way that suits your needs? Look for templates that offer various page layouts, such as full-width, grid, or magazine-style layouts.
  3. Responsiveness: Because the majority of websites are viewed on mobile devices, it's important to choose a template that is responsive and adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes on mobile devices. Ensure that the template you select is mobile-friendly to provide an optimal user experience for your visitors across different devices. Kadence is a responsive theme and is a good choice to start with.
  4. Customization options: Assess the level of customization offered by the template. Look for themes that provide extensive customization options through the WordPress Customizer or theme-specific customization panels. This will allow you to easily modify the template to match your branding and design preferences.

By considering these factors, you can narrow down your choices and select a template that not only meets your blog’s requirements but also provides room for customization and growth. Choosing the right template is an essential step in the customization process, as it forms the foundation of your blog’s design. Take your time to explore different options, compare features, and find a template that aligns with your vision for your blog.

Using the WordPress Customizer

The WordPress Customizer is a powerful tool that allows you to customize various aspects of your chosen template. It provides a live preview of the changes you make, making it easy to see how your customizations affect the appearance of your blog in real-time.

  1. Logo: One of the essential elements of your blog’s branding is the logo. In the Live Customizer, you can upload your logo image, adjust its size, and position it according to your preference.
  2. Colors: Customize the color scheme of your template to match your brand’s colors or personal style. The Customizer allows you to modify the colors of various elements like backgrounds, text, links, buttons, and more.
  3. Fonts: Enhance the typography of your blog by selecting suitable fonts. The Customizer provides options to change the font family, size, weight, and style for different text elements, ensuring a visually appealing and readable presentation.
  4. Header and Footer: Customize the header and footer sections of your blog. You can modify the layout, add or remove elements, and adjust the spacing to create a unique and cohesive look. You can also add social media integration in most themes.
  5. Widgets: The Customizer enables you to manage and arrange widgets within your template. You can add, remove, or reorder widgets in specific widget areas such as sidebars, footers, or header sections.

How to access the Customizer

From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Appearance” and click on “Customize.” The Customizer will open, displaying a live preview of your blog. On the left side, you’ll find a list of customization options.

Use the navigation menu on the left to explore different sections such as Site Identity, Colors, Typography, Header, Footer, Widgets, etc.

Within each section, you can modify settings using the available options. For example, to change the logo, click on “Site Identity” and upload your logo image or adjust its properties.

As you make modifications, the live preview on the right side of the Customizer will update instantly, allowing you to see how the changes affect your blog’s appearance.

Once you’re satisfied with your customizations, click the “Save & Publish” button to apply the changes to your live blog.

While the WordPress Customizer provides a great starting point for customizing your template, you can take your customization efforts to the next level by utilizing WordPress plugins. Plugins offer additional functionality and customization options that go beyond what the Customizer alone can provide.

Plugins for specific customizations (e.g., page builders, SEO optimization, social sharing)

  1. Page Builders: Page builder plugins such as Elementor, Divi, or Beaver Builder allow you to create custom page layouts by using a drag-and-drop interface. These plugins provide extensive design options, allowing you to build pages without any coding knowledge, BUT they are not recommended for people who have no website-building experience. Page builders can add unnecessary bloat to your site and cause it to slow down.
  2. SEO Optimization: Plugins like Yoast SEO or Rank Math help you optimize your blog for search engines. They provide features such as keyword optimization, XML sitemap generation, meta tag management, and more, ensuring your blog ranks well in search engine results.
  3. Social Sharing: Social sharing plugins like ShareThis enable you to add social sharing buttons to your blog posts. These buttons allow readers to easily share your content on various social media platforms, increasing your blog’s visibility and reach.

To install and activate a WordPress plugin, follow these steps:

How to install and activate plugins in WordPress

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins” and click on “Add New.”
  2. Search for the desired plugin using keywords or browse through the featured, popular, or recommended plugins.
  3. Once you find the plugin you want, click on “Install Now.”
  4. After installation, click on “Activate” to activate the plugin.

Exploring plugin settings and options for template customization

Each plugin you install will have its own settings and options that you can explore and customize. These settings can typically be found either within the plugin’s dedicated menu in the WordPress dashboard or within the Customizer itself, depending on the plugin.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the plugin’s documentation or tutorials to understand how to make the most of its features and customization options. This will enable you to fine-tune your template and tailor it to your specific needs and preferences.

By utilizing plugins, you can expand the functionality and customization capabilities of your template, allowing you to create a truly unique and feature-rich blog.

By using a WordPress template, you can create a professional and polished look for your WordPress site, without the need for extensive coding or technical expertise. Customizing your template allows you to have full control over the visual elements and layout, aligning them with your brand identity. Remember, template customization is an ongoing process. Continuously evaluate and refine your design as your blog evolves. Regularly seek feedback from your audience and analyze website analytics to make data-driven decisions. With the right customization techniques, your WordPress template will become a true reflection of your brand and content.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *