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You've Found the Perfect WordPress Theme - Now What?

Does this scene sound familiar? You see an amazing theme demo site, buy the theme, install it, and realize that your site looks nothing like the demo. This is an all too common occurrence, but fortunately there are steps we can take to fix this.

Bottomless Design

on 24 March 2014

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Transcript of You've Found the Perfect WordPress Theme - Now What?

Viewing a theme homepage
Many themes have a custom homepage, which is typically defined by a page template. If so, you will need to enable it by doing the following:
Add a
New Page
Give it a
such as Home.
Go to
Page Attributes
and give it a
(or Homepage, or Front Page, etc) and then click
Go to
Settings / Reading
For "
Front page displays
", select "
A static page
For "
Front page
", select
Save Changes

Check with the Theme Company/Author.
Many themes have demo content available for download. For example, WooThemes:

Demo Data Creator
A plugin with lots of customization options. Also provides an easy option to delete all content, although
this includes any user created content
, so use with caution.

Theme Unit Test
A WordPress XML import file.

Create Your Own
Create your own demo content as needed by going to Pages / Add New, Posts / Add New, etc
You've Found the Perfect WordPress
Theme - Now What?

Consulting the theme documentation
Resources for Importing Demo Content and adding your own
Viewing a theme homepage
Using the WordPress Theme Customization screen
Configuring Theme Options
What to know if your theme comes with custom post types
Should you use a development site?
Resources for Importing Demo Content
and adding your own

Using the WordPress Theme
Customization screen

Themes will make varying use of the Customize page.
Some use it only for basic settings such as background color/image and front page display.
Some use it to control every theme customization.

The Customizer allows us to see what adjusting the theme settings would look like without needing to publish the changes. Adjust settings and see the effect it will have on the theme in real time. Continue adjusting as needed and then either click "Save & Publish" to commit or else click the "Cancel" button.

Configuring Theme Options
When Theme Options are used, they are bundled with a theme and can be used to adjust countless types of settings, depending on what the theme author has included. Some examples of what can be found in a Theme Options panel include:
Many themes come with their own version of a Theme Options panel.

This may be titled different names:
Theme Options
Theme Settings (occasionally used in conjunction with Theme Options)
The Theme Name
and found in different places:
Appearance / Theme Options
As a top-level administration menu (common for Theme Settings & Theme Name)
As a sub-level menu under Settings (rare)

Logo upload
Color selection (background, text, links, etc)
Font selection
Home Page specific settings (varies by theme)
Additional input (scripts, CSS)
When adjusting Theme Options, the updates will be applied to your site upon clicking the Save button.
What to know if your theme comes
with custom post types

Many themes come with custom post types. They will add extra functionality to a theme such as Slides, Portfolios, Testimonials, etc. Displaying content for these custom post types will vary per theme.

Available custom post types and how they are used will vary, so check the demo site and the documentation first so you know what to expect.

: If you change themes, custom post types included with the original theme might not display on another. For example, if your current theme uses a Portfolio custom post type and you switch to a theme that does not have that exact post type, then the new theme would not have a way to display the portfolio. However, you could modify a child theme or configure a custom post type plugin to display the content.
Consulting the theme documentation
If you get stuck when setting up a theme for the first time, there are many options available:
Theme documentation.
Many themes come with some sort of documentation or instructions for how to configure it. Theme authors write these with the end user in mind, so please take the time to read theme first when you have a question.
Refer to the demo site.
A lot of answers can be found just by seeing how the theme author configured the demo site. Developer tools can be very handy for this.
Support forums.
Is there a forum where others have already posted the question you have? If so, you may be able to find the answer you're looking for.
Contact the theme author.
Theme authors are usually available for support type questions. In instances where it is a larger company, this may result in a support ticketing system.

Should you use a development site?
Setting up a development site allows you to make numerous types of changes without applying them to the public until you're ready.

To gauge whether or not a development site is right for you, try to consider how big your audience is versus how major the changes are that you wish to make.

If you're creating your first website and haven't announced it to anyone yet, then a development site may not be necessary. However, if you have built up an audience for your site, you may not wish to edit it live, making a development site recommended.

Some advantages to having a development site:
Adjust theme options & settings
Make changes to your site content
Check to make sure that link and image paths are correct
Try out new theme features
Try out new plugins
Have fun and enjoy
creating your website!

Stay in Touch!

Adam Mills
Bottomless Design

WordPress Themes:
Full transcript