Why Change the Appearance of your WordPress Blog?
To change the appearance of your WordPress blog is, in my opinion, one of the most fun parts. It is like decorating a room or a house because it is all about putting your own stamp on it and making it look the way you want it to and different to all the others. If you are using WordPress as your blog platform there is literally no end to the changes you can make, and it is not too difficult either. That is just one of the reasons why WordPress is so popular!
Today I provide some guidance to help you take the first steps to change the appearance of your WordPress blog to suit your own needs.
Appearance Dashboard Feature
To change the appearance of your WordPress blog you need to open your dashboard and locate the appearance tab first of all. It is over to the left of your screen in the big list of tools that are provided and is usually around halfway down the list. There is a little paintbrush symbol beside the word “Appearance” so look for either of those. When you find it just move your mouse over the tab and it will highlight, then a second menu will appear as well. On this list the first option will be Themes:
Choosing A Theme for Your Blog
The themes are the main thing that will change the appearance of your WordPress blog. To choose one just click on the word Themes in the list and you will be taken to a new page. Depending on which WordPress platform you are using you will see a variety of design options to choose from. If you are using WordPress.com there may be a few on your list and with WordPress.org there will be a lot more. Regardless of which you will see a number of images on this screen something like this:
Note that all of the themes here can be customised to suit your own needs, so you can change images and move things around a bit later if you want to. The main thing to look for here is a general layout and colour theme you like. To see the theme in more detail just click on the image and it will open a preview screen. Don’t worry if the text is in a different language or anything like that as you will be changing that to suit your own blog. In the preview mode you will also see a features section that describes the main features of the theme you have clicked on. Some may allow for large images on your home page for example, and some might have slideshows.
If you don’t find a theme you like you may have more available which you can access using the tabs just above the images.
How to Choose a Theme
At this stage really it is all about trying things out to see how the features of the theme fits with your own taste and requirements. A craft related blog might be suited to a theme which allows for multiple images on the home page for example, whereas a news style blog is likely to have more text there.
Another thing you may like to check out is the rating a blog theme has got from others who have used it. This is provided using a star system and is available when you open the preview of each theme.
When you find a theme you like you just need to click on the install button and it will appear like magic on your own blog. There is no programming etc required and it is very easy to change themes again if you change your mind. To do that just go back to the themes page and install a different one!
Voila! Your blog will have literally transformed with a couple of clicks of a button 🙂 Its great fun to play with the themes, and you could loose whole days doing it…..
When you have stopped playing with different themes and have made your decision which one to use it is time to work on the next step:
Customising Your Theme
Once you have a theme uploaded to your blog it is time to do a little customising. To do this go back to your WordPress dashboard and the appearance tab just as before. This time you are clicking on customise which is the second item on the menu. As WordPress has so many things you can change I will focus on just a couple of them today and will cover the other changes later.
When you click on customise this will open a new page that has your blog showing on the right and a list down the left. It should look something like this:
The first things to customise are: Site Identity, Colours and Header Image. You can look at the others of course if you want to – nothing will change unless you click the update button each time so you can view before you decide to keep it. To access any of the customising features just click on the relevant item on the list to open it.
Within the site identity menu you will be updating the Site Title and the Tagline if you want one. It is easy to update and you simply enter the text you want into the site idenity box as shown below:
As you can see you can also add a site icon here if you wish to. I haven’t done that, but it is just a case of uploading a picture of your choice by clicking the select image box. When you edit anything in the customise feature the green saved button at the top of this image will change to say Save and Publish. Make sure to do that when you have made the changes you want or your blog will not be updated. When you have clicked save and publish you will need to click the little arrow on the left (beside site identity) which takes you back to the previous menu.
Next, you might like to change the colours of your blog (or just play with them to see what happens). Again simply click on the option you want from the list, so colours in this case, and it opens a new box. The colours one provides you with the option to change both the colour and the shade of when you click on the select colour button. A colour chart as shown below will appear and you choose the colour along the bottom and change the shade with the slider at the side.
As you can see from the picture preview of my blog on the right the purple colour is quite vivid. If I move the slider on the right down closer to the bottom it becomes a lot lighter in shade.
Lastly for now we will look at changing the header image. This is one of the main things that will change the appearance of your WordPress Blog so choose wisely. Again just click back using the little arrow and then click Header Image to change this. The new box opens and shows the current image if you have one and there is an add new image button. Click this and upload a new image if required (noting the sizes as dictated by the theme you are using).
You now should have a blog that looks quite different to the plain one you started with. You can of course update your theme and customising at any point in your blog journey, however it is best to find something you like early on. Changing themes and colours etc can be a little disconcerting for your followers so try not to do too much changing around once you have regular readers!
More WordPress Blog Tips
In my free blogging mastery course I do offer some more guidance regarding design and many other useful tips. I also provide step by step instructions regarding how to start a blog!
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