2 Ways To Safely Customize Your WordPress Site Without A Child Theme

2 Ways to Customize WordPress

This year (2016) I gave a talk at WordCamp San Diego as part of the Beginners’ Bootcamp, entitled “Customizing Without Hacking”. It was an introduction to best practices for customizing WordPress without doing anything that will break your site or make it a nightmare to maintain.

Learning from the beginning how to customize the right way will make your future-self’s life much easier:

  • Your changes will be future-proofed to keep each layer of your site update-able: WordPress core, themes, plugins.
  • Using WordPress best practices means that if you are building the site for someone else to maintain, or if you will have someone else helping you in the future, they won’t have be Sherlock Holmes to figure out how the site works.
  • You’ll have confidence and peace of mind when experimenting with your site, knowing that you’re not going to break something beyond your own ability to repair.
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How To Change The Color Of The Thesis Comment Box

change colors of comment box and text in thesis

Since I’ve had a few clients that have been using the Thesis theme, I’ve learned a thing or two about it, and have written a couple posts in the past. On one of those posts I received a question about changing the color of the comment box in Thesis and thought I would respond with a screencast. You’ll find the code snippets mentioned in the video,at the bottom of the post.

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Handy Web Design Resources For The Non-Designer

Web Design Resources for Non-Designers
I consider myself creatively impaired when it comes to visual design. I know generally what I like and what I think works, but I’m not good at actually creating it from scratch. I leave that type of stuff to the pros and absolutely think that just because you can use Photoshop, or make a website, that does NOT qualify you as a designer!

But once in a while, I need to sort of cheat and pull off some design-y type things and I have found several online tools that help me do this in a competent way. Plus, most of these tools are just super-fun to play with!

Web-based Color Palette Tools

Need to pick a font color for a website that will match the overall look and feel? Or maybe you need to introduce an additional color that will match. These handy tools will let you upload a logo or any image and generate a color palette of complementary colors.
Color Palette Generator
This is very simple to use – just paste in the url of a logo or image and it will generate some colors.
Adobe’s “Kuler”
tool does a few more things. It has some preset color schemes which can be useful if you’re starting from scratch, or you can create your own based on a color you select, or an image. It also presents versions of the color schemes based on mood or other criteria.

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How To Change Colors of Comment Text, Number, Brackets and Backgrounds in Thesis

change colors of comment elements in thesis

The other day a friend asked me about styling the various parts of the Thesis comments display and when trusty Google didn’t come up with a fast answer, I was forced to delve into some CSS with the aid of Firebug to determine the solution.

If you use the Thesis theme, on your homepage you may display the number of comments for a post, like so:

thesis comments

 

So the question is, how to change the colors of each of those elements – the word ‘comments’, the curly brackets and the number of comments. You can simply copy/paste the relevant code snippet from below into your custom css file to achieve the desired result. I’m using the color #000000 in the code samples, but you can pick out your own colors here.

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How To Choose A WordPress Theme – Design & Functionality Considerations

This post follows on from – How To Choose A WordPress Theme -Free, Premium or Custom

When choosing a theme you must consider design, layout and functionality.
When considering these, keep in mind the general type of theme you are looking for (see previous post). If you are looking for a free theme,  you need to find something as close to what you want as possible (or be savvy enough to tweak it yourself). If you are looking at Premium themes,  you may have some flexibility on colors and admin options. The closer your theme is to what you want to begin with, the less tinkering you will have to do. Determining what options the theme gives you will be important.

Remember as you are looking at themes that colors and fonts are easier to change (with a little CSS) than things like sidebar placement, and changing the layout/ structure, unless you’re comfortable with PHP.

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How To Choose A WordPress Theme – Free, Paid or Custom?

One of the biggest sources of frustrations I hear from clients when using WordPress is choosing a theme that looks good and does what they want it to do.  The next couple of posts will attempt to provide some guidelines to help make this process easier.

Selecting a theme is about more than the way it looks. Functionality and the ability to control options from your WordPress dashboard can be just as important. Many people choose a theme on looks alone and then become frustrated because it doesn’t work the way they want it to.

Generally speaking, there’s 3 types of themes available – free, premium and custom-built. To help decide which category you might be in note down your answers to the following questions:

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