Beginning Blogging 9. Keeping up Appearances.
July 19, 2010 4 Comments
Next let’s work through choosing another Theme for your blog, giving it a header of your choice and also choosing a new background. Some of the newer themes allow you to add a new header and background to them. So let’s choose one shall we? From your WordPress dashboard, click on Appearance from the left hand sidebar. You will be presented with all the themes that are currently available on WordPress. We need to narrow our search for a new theme down to background and header customisation.
From the Manage Themes page, click on Feature Filters at the far right. Here you can filter out the features that your are looking for in your new theme choice. Because I want to demonstrate applying a background AND a new header, I’m going to tick those choices of features for my new theme and then click on Apply Filters. You can apply any criteria that you like to your search for a new theme, colours, how many columns you prefer, the width of your blog and any other filters that you feel are important to you. Once you click on Apply Filters, then all those themes that meet your filters will be shown.
To see what each theme looks like in appearance for your blog, click on the Preview tab below each theme’s icon. If you don’t like that particular theme, then click on the small cross at the top left of the preview window to be returned to the filtered themes so that you can Preview another one. As soon as you find a theme that you like, simply click on Activate (name of theme) at the top right hand side of the Preview window and your new theme will be applied to your blog. For this tutorial I have chosen the theme Koi.
Next, let’s give our new theme a background. In your chosen theme, click on Background from the Manage Themes page or from the Appearance list in the left sidebar on your Dashboard. You can use any picture you like for a background, and there are plenty of backgrounds available to use on the Internet. Try doing a search for free backgrounds. Wallpapers are ideal for use as backgrounds as well. I am going to offer a few tips here for choosing a good background for your blog.
- Try to choose as big a background in pixel size as you possibly can. It will then fill the entire webpage from side to side and it will not be necessary to apply any background colour as any side areas will not be visible. If not, you may have to apply tiling which can look unsightly.
- The higher definition backgrounds and wallpapers always look best in my opinion, as do those without any overly fussy graphics.
- Do note that if your chosen theme is transparent in the writing or sidebar area, your chosen background will show behind. Text could then be rendered difficult to read unless the background you have chosen is fairly plain in nature, and the colour of the background is fairly light for dark text or alternatively dark for light text. You might have to try several backgrounds out until you find the one that looks just right. A very good site for backgrounds I have found is Awesome Wallpapers here on WordPress.
- I find that the backgrounds that seem to work the best are the very subtle one’s, either with very gradient shading or textures.
From the Custom Background page, click on Browse to be taken to your files on your computer where you can choose a picture to use as your new background. When you have chosen your background image, click on Upload. Once your background image has uploaded, you can choose its display options. Its Position will largely depend on how large an image it is and if its very large you should be able to leave it in the centre. If its smaller in width than the screen, you will have to choose left or right and also to repeat it by clicking on Tile. Next you need to choose whether or not the background image will scroll down whenever a visitor scrolls down the page. You can enable this or have the background image remain fixed whilst the blog scrolls down. Finally you can choose a background colour to compliment your new background image. If the image chosen is fairly large in size, then choosing a background colour should not be necessary. If not, simply select a colour from the colour wheel and then click on Save Changes. You will be informed that your background has been updated and your can then click on Visit your site to see how it all looks. NOTE. If you prefer to have a plain background, then simply choose a different colour or leave the original background at the default.
Next, let’s add a new Header to our theme. I’m going to choose one of my favourite panoramic photos of Loch Lomond for my header. So click on Appearance/Header from the Dashboard Sidebar and again click on Browse in order to upload a picture file from your computer. Depending on which theme you chose, you will be informed that the chosen image will be cropped and to what size. For example, for Koi, I am told that my chosen image will be cropped to 980 x 200 pixels. Once you have chosen your image, click on Upload as before.
When your chosen Header image had successfully uploaded, you can move the crop area around until you are happy with the result, and then simply click on Crop and Publish. You can now go and view your new header to see how it looks. Returning to the Custom Header page will allow you to upload a new header if your not happy with how your chosen header looks, Remove your header or Reset Image which will restore the original header image if one was present in your chosen theme. Some themes may also allow you to choose to Display the header text or not and to select the colour of your header text from a colour chooser wheel. If your chosen theme allows you to choose your header text colour you will also be offered the choice to reset it back to the original colour. When you are happy with all your Header changes, click on Save Changes.
And that’s it. We have now added our own background and our own header to make our chosen theme look pretty unique and different from anyone else’s blog. Next post, I move onto adding pages to your Menu which on WordPress works exactly as it should work, allowing your visitors to click through to either another page you have composed (such as About Me) or alternatively be taken straight to another blog or webpage, such as your photo portfolio for example.