Posted by: Yorgo Nestoridis
How to customize your WordPress Theme
This post discusses three ways of customizing the new XR Theme for WordPress in view of the upcoming Ycademy Online Seminar:
- Theme Options
- Custom CSS
- Child Themes
- More Options
Before starting with any customization
Before we customize a WordPress theme, we need to clearly define our project and goals we want to achieve in order to decide at which level we need to intervene.
Also, the project will define the workflow and importance of the intervention.
1. Theme Options
First let’s start by checking out the native theme options; XR theme options allow to implement basic branding options, such as colors, fonts, logo as well as to define layout elements and display of the frontpage.
XO comes with quite a lot of built-in ready to use options. With a few clicks, your site changes face and adapts to most any need.
Most users will be satisfied by just using just Theme Options.
These Theme Options are found from the dashboard under ‘Appearance’.
Other Theme related options are built in shortcodes; these add editing features such as buttons, tabs or others as specified on the shortcode page.
2. Custom CSS
If Theme Options are not sufficient to tweak the theme to needs, then the next step to consider is the Style sheet. CSS customizations can easilybe added right from the dashboard, using the Custom CSS tab under ‘Appearance’ or directly from the top menu bar.
The built in CSS editor helps writing clean code; the code added is stored in the data base and injected into the header script.
For minor modifications, the custom style sheet comes in handy. However, the disadvantage consists in the fact that the custom styles are injected into the header of the theme (check it out from the source code as per below):
This inconvenience can be taken care of by custom optimizing the theme once the design customization is done with.
Alternatively and for more important custom styling, I would rather use a child theme wrapping up the style sheet properly as external style.css file.
3. Child Themes
Child themes are used for advanced customization, namely when there is a need for tweaks going beyond pure style and design elements.
While most design changes can be handled from Theme Option settings and Custom CSS, functional tweaks and structural changes are done by creating a Child Theme, adding namely elements to functions.php as well as template files.
4. More Options
Once you have explored the above 3 levels of intervention, there is still room for more, namely when it comes to add functionality to the site. In many cases this can be achieved by adding plugins.
Advantages of XR The Theme
XR is designed for easy customization. Most users will find the Theme Optimization tools provided in the dashboard sufficient to implement all necessary modifications.
Advanced tweaking is possible, even from the dashboard, whereas I prefer to embed such advanced hacks into a child theme.
XR’s architecture is set to serve most any purpose, making it a truly universal multi-purpose theme. Developers need only one theme as a base for unlimited applications of any purpose, including media and eCommerce.