Do You Need A Child Theme?

Do You Need A Child Theme

Creating a child theme is generally the best practice  for modifying or customizing an existing theme. However in a couple of cases there may be another, easier way, especially for beginners and non-coders.

Why Use A Child Theme?

If you need to modify your WordPress theme by editing any of the code, a child theme provides a way for you to do this safely. By “safely” I mean that it enables you to keep all your modifications separate so that you can continue to update the main, or parent theme in the future.

Let’s break that down a little further.

A theme is a set of files that lives on your server. In the screenshot below, I’m using an FTP program to look at my server but you would see the same thing if you used the File Manager from inside your web hosting cpanel. Once you navigate to the
wp-content folder you will then see the themes folder. Within that you’ll see a folder for each theme you have installed. In the screenshot below you can see some of the files and folders that comprise the Twenty Thirteen theme:

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Best Way To Add Blank Lines & Space In WordPress Editor

If you’ve used WordPress even just a little bit,  you’ve probably come up against the fact that it’s really hard to add extra space into the editor. You can only hit “return” a couple of times before it starts eating those extra line spaces you’re trying to create.

So if you want to create extra empty space in your page or post – anything beyond a paragraph break or two, you’ve probably pulled your hair out. This guide will show you the reliable ways to work with spacing in WordPress.

Adding a blank or empty line in WordPress

Hitting the Enter or Return key in the WordPress editor will create a new paragraph. This will leave a blank line before starting a new line.

If you don’t want to skip a line, you can use a line break instead. To do that, hold down the Shift key while pressing Enter/Return. This will start a new line without making a new paragraph.

Add a line break in a WordPress list

If you hit Enter while in a list, you will create a new bullet point. If you don’t want to do that, but just have a line break within the same list item (see item 2 in the screenshot below), hold down Shift and press Enter.

How to add space between letters in WordPress

To add spacing between letters in the Block Editor:

  1. Click on the text you want to change. In the right panel, make sure the Block options are showing.
  2. Click the 3 dots next to Typography
  3. Click letter spacing
  4. Choose the unit of spacing and set the value.

Note that this applies to all the text in the block.

If you want to apply the spacing to specific words within the block, you have to edit the HTML directly.

  1. Select the block that contains the text
  2. In the top toolbar, click the 3 dots and select Edit as HTML
  3. The code we will add is: <span style="letter-spacing:1em"> Your text here</span>
  4. Look for the text you want to change. Immediately before it, paste: <span style="letter-spacing:1em">
  5. After the text you want to change, paste </span> – this closes the style and ends the spacing.
  6. When you are done editing the HTML, click the 3 dots again and select Edit Visually.

How to add space between words in WordPress

There isn’t a way to do this without editing the HTML (that I have found). Possibly some plugins that extend the editor might have this feature, but since it probabbly shouldn’t be used much, adding one of those plugins just for this, would be overkill.

  1. Select the block that contains the text
  2. In the top toolbar, click the 3 dots and select Edit as HTML
  3. The code we will add is: <span style="word-spacing:1em"> Your text here</span>
  4. Look for the text you want to change. Immediately before it, paste: <span style="word-spacing:1em">
  5. After the text you want to change, paste </span> – this closes the style and ends the spacing.
  6. When you are done editing the HTML, click the 3 dots again and select Edit Visually.

How to add spacing between blocks in Gutenberg / block editor

The Block editor makes it quite easy to add vertical space between blocks. There is a block called Spacer which is there by default.

Simply add it and then choose how much space you want to add.

You can choose any of the following units to set the space in:

  • px – pixels
  • em
  • rem
  • vh
  • vw

For full explanations of these units, please see this guide.

Pixels is the simplest and one we are all mostly familiar with. The problem is that this won’t scale with different device sizes. For example, if you add 200 pixels of space, it may look fine on desktop, but may be too much for mobile.

So using one of the other relative units may be a better choice.

You can also click on the block and drag the edges to expand or reduce the size of the block.

Adding space in the Classic Editor

There’s several workarounds you can use if you happen to know HTML but that horrifies many non-techie WordPress users. Well the best way I have now found is an awesomely simple and to-the-point plugin called Spacer.

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How To Collect User-Submitted Testimonials On Your WordPress Site

Gravity Forms, Testimonials Widget

Just recently I’ve worked on two sites that needed a way to display testimonials and a way to collect them from clients via the website itself. With WordPress there are several ways you could achieve this, this is just the method I happened to come up with recently.

Most of the time, for testimonials I end up using the Testimonials Widget plugin. Mostly I like the widget that comes with it which rotates individual testimonials. It’s pretty user friendly to get up and running with as well.

Since I use Gravity Forms (cupcake, AKA affiliate link ) on pretty much all my client sites, it made sense to put the two plugins together to create the submission system. Gravity Forms comes built-in with the ability to have a user submit a form which gets saved in your WordPress site as a post. The Testimonials Widget plugin uses Custom Post Types to create a customized edit screen for adding new Testimonials. Fortunately there is a free plugin for Gravity Forms which extends that capability of saving form entries as posts,  to custom post types as well. It’s appropriately named Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types. Once the plugin is activated it integrates seamlessly with the usual Gravity Forms creation process. 

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What Happens If I Change My WordPress Theme?

What happens when you change your WordPress theme

When the same question crops up again and again, it’s time for a blog post!

Changing your WordPress theme can be a scary prospect if you’ve already invested a lot of time and effort building your site – what if you click the button and ‘poof!’ your site becomes dust?!

So here’s a guide to what will and won’t change about your site when you switch themes. Depending on the specific themes you are switching between your experience may be more or less tricky.

The overarching rule is that anything that is a core WordPress feature will remain, and all plugins and their features will remain, but anything that is theme-specific will no longer be available to you.

So let’s dig a little deeper into what this means.

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Easy Ways To Create Columns, Grids and Cool Layouts in Your WordPress Post

easy grid and column layouts in wordpress

LAST UPDATED: August 2016

Have you had one of these fights with the WordPress post editor? Have you tried creating neatly aligned rows and columns of images? Or perhaps attempted to place 2 videos next to each other? Such tasks can seem simple in concept, but can be maddening to attempt.

Basically the WordPress editor by default is just not good with allowing you to do anything column or grid-based, unless you hand-code the HTML, which defeats the purpose of using WordPress, amirite?

Fortunately, by installing one simple plugin you can quickly and easily attain more flexibility with your page and post layouts.

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