How to Customize A WordPress Blog Theme

In recent times, I have read many bloggers who, while offering tips for making an impact in 2013, advice that you have a customized WordPress theme instead of a free theme!

Now, I totally agree that having a customized wordpress theme is very important. However, I’m truly surprised that many of these bloggers who give such advice simply ask that you buy a premium theme instead of using a free one. In fact, they even go as far as letting you know what theme they are using that makes their blog theme “customized”!

Question please: Does having a premium wordpress theme automatically make your blog customized?

Frankly, I doubt that!

You may have bought a premium theme but that does not make your blog different from the many others using that same theme except if your premium theme is specifically made for your blog. But this I found not to be so in many of the blogs I’ve seen.

What Makes Your WordPress Theme A Customized One?

To answer this question, let me use the case of the Web Income Journal. Some time ago a reader in a comment said,

“I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days”

I’m sure that reader saw something different in this blog’s look and feel for him to ask that question. So let me use this post to answer that question and also use it to help you understand what it means to really customize your wordpress theme.

BTW, I want you to pay careful attention because within this post you will discover how you can have a customized theme for free!

Ok, since I have gotten your attention there, let me quickly say that the is running on a Theme Junkie premium theme but there is no other blog running on that theme like it out there!

Being very familiar with the themes from Theme Junkie, I can say that when I see a blog running on that platform I can know without blinking an eye! But unfortunately I must say the only thing that differentiates most of these blogs is nothing but the name, the blog logo and sometimes the color. And of course, the content! 🙂

But, I don’t regard as that customization.

Do You Really Want to Customize Your Blog’s Theme?

If you do, you have two options:

1. Go the DIY way, or

2. Get a professional to do it for you!

For me, I want the DIY way because I offer professional blog customization services and I know what I was doing!

If you want to do it the DIY way please make sure you know what you are doing else…!

Now, let me show you what I did to customize this blog’s theme even when it was already a premium theme!

First, compare the original theme as is and then the customized theme on the blog right now:

how to customize your wordpress theme

Can you see the great difference between the two? So, how did I do it?

1. The Header

a. Removed the categories menu.

b. Move the primary menu (pages) to the right of the blog logo instead of the top position it was occupying.

c. Changed the header background color.

d. Created a simple logo to reflect the name and mission of the blog.

Files worked on: header.php and stylesheet.css files.

2. Home Page

a. Removed the recent articles at the center top and put a code to show the top articles (this was really trick-ish!)

b. Changed the font and look of the titles.

Files worked on: index.php and the stylesheet.css files.

3. Sidebar

The default theme had 3 sidebars, the top sidebar and then a right sidebar and left sidebar nestled under the top sidebar. Didn’t liked it this way and so, I removed two of the sidebars and made it only one. I also removed some other codes thus making the sidebar less cumbersome.

I also changed the title font by changing the h3 font in the stylesheet.css file.

Files worked on: sidebar.php and the stylesheet.css files.

4. Footer

For this I did not just removed the default links and changed the look, I also moved the necessary legal pages here instead of including them in the top menu on the header. The links were also moved from the left hand corner to the middle of the page.

Files worked on: footer.php and the stylesheet.css files.

5. Single Post Page

A lot of customization went into this page. Changed the post title font and look, added the author’s gravatar  and also instead of using a plugin to show related posts, I got a php code to do this. Besides, I removed some other codes which I considered not necessary for me!

Files worked on: single.php and the stylesheet.css files.

6. Fonts And Title Links

You will notice also that column titles like the sidebar titles, blog titles and home links are also customized. All of these were done by changing the font sizes in the stylesheet.css file.

Now, How Would You Love Me To Do This For You For Free?

Ok, I’m sure you will be interested in this. As I mentioned earlier, I offer professional blog customization for a fee here. However, as a valued reader of this blog, I have decided to give you the opportunity to hire my services for free! All I ask is this:

1. Tweet this post

2. Share this post with your LinkedIn network

3. Post a comment on this post expressing your thoughts about the post, and

4. You agree to give me a written testimonial once the work is accomplished. Of course, you are free to express your own opinion in your testimonial.

N.B. This offer is only for five persons and the theme to be customized will be provided by you!

Interested? So, what are you waiting for?

Over to You: Do you agree that customizing a wordpress theme goes beyond buying a premium theme? Have you taken time to customize blog’s theme or are you simply using it “as is”?

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