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Customizing Your CMS Theme

Customizing your CMS theme is a step that we must take when trying to grow a business or blog. Although some downloadable themes are sufficient for most needs, there inevitably comes a time in every successful website’s life when changes need to be made. Some of these changes may be as simple as editing the graphics, or fonts, and others are not so simple.

So what can one expect from a change in their template?

Graphics, Colors, and Fonts

Branding your website is the best way to promote it. If you think about your own experience with other websites you have visited, you probably remember the color scheme, logo and basic layout. Perhaps not in detail, but it really is about whole package. If you have been using a ready-made theme, you have come to realize by now that although it offers an attractive package, it is far too generic to make it your own. You may be thinking about changing the look to better suit the direction your business is taking. Whatever the case may be, you already know that visitors will remember you by the website you keep. Not only that, they will judge you by it.

In the internet marketing sector, we hear a lot about how to make a website SEO ready. We read about techniques to make our websites get found and rise in the ranks of search engines. Many how-to websites will instruct eager webmasters to add relevant content and create backlinks, but less emphasis is given on branding. A website or blog that generates income should have a logo as a way for visitors to recognize and remember the website. It gives the website a professional feel and lets visitors know that you mean business.

A background image can also be an appealing way to attract repeat visitors. If it is properly integrated, it adds more dimension while still aiming for simplicity. A good color scheme is also a definite asset, and after one is selected for the website, one should always use the same scheme for external websites that link back to your main hub. Although you may like the structure and design of your theme, maybe you want to adjust the colors to match your own tastes and brand look.

Most of this can be done in CSS. Something that is often overlooked, but just as important as images and colors, is the font. Different font families and colors will will give your website different meanings. For example, Verdana will make a website look like it is about technology, or, if in a smaller font, it will denote tranquility. In order to determine which font is best for you, it is useful to take a look at other websites in your niche, and pick out the ones that have the most professional look. You can even choose to use a font that is not included by default. These will have to be downloaded and added to your website files, and linked to inside your CSS.

Customizing Your Theme with Child Themes

Sometimes, a custom theme is not as customized as you would like. Giving your website a different look using graphics, colors, and fonts is only the beginning.  As your site becomes more complex, so do your layout needs.

Custom themes are great in the sense that they tend to be updated with browser compatibility fixes and allow you to add new features that come with newer releases of WordPress. But if you change the code of your theme, you will not be able to use those changes once you have installed an updated version. This is where a child theme comes in.

When creating a child theme, you can modify your website based on the existing theme. The ‘parent’ theme’s CSS file is imported into the child theme’s CSS. Then, as you might expect, additional styling is included in the CSS file for the child theme. When you upload an updated theme, you will get all of the new functionality added with the new theme, such as feature integration with new versions of WordPress. You will not even need to upload the child theme again since it is placed in a different folder from the new parent theme. This is the power of a child theme.

Creating Page Templates for New Layouts

Apart from a change the CSS in order to achieve a more suitable look for your website, a new page template gives you more flexibility for when you create a new page. A page template is based on your existing CSS for each page, but has additional CSS and involves creating a new HTML page all together. It is then uploaded to your theme folder, and can be used whenever you create a new page.

When you add a new page to your website, you normally choose a template from a drop-down menu. Most themes already include a couple of layouts to choose from. But sometimes, a more specialized template is needed. A new template will create one more layout option to choose from. You can have as many options as you like by adding a new template file to your themes folder.

How to Make the Change

If you are not a web developer, or simply do not have the time make modifications, CMSHelpLive can make them for you. We have many CMS experts on hand to answer your request within 1 hour of submitting it. Our experts are very good at communicating with or without ‘techno babble’.

Submit a support ticket at CMSHelpLive, and allow us to help you shine!

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